Tag Archives: exercise videos

Fat Blast From the Past: 1980s Exercise Videos

Hey, team!  Are you ready for some fitness?  Are you?  Bounce up and down!  Again!  Now stand on your head!  And bounce, one, two, three – keep bouncing!  That’s right, bounce on your head!  You can do it!  Don’t stop, or this giant Gila Monster will eat you!  Yay, motivation!

Last week you guys gave me a great list of exercise videos to check out.  There were scary words in the titles like “shred”, “burn”, “ripped”, “turbo fire”, and “Richard Simmons.”  Freaked me out a little bit.  I don’t want to own most of them.  Keeping people like that Jillian girl from “Biggest Loser” around would keep me up at night.  I could just see her staring at me from that box with that look on her face that says “I hate you.  Now I’m going to kill you.”

What if I don't want to be shredded?  Quit staring at me, Jillian!

What if I don’t want to be shredded? Quit staring at me, Jillian!

So I figured I’d check them out of the library, or rent them, or something.  And then I decided, meh, I’m tired.  I’ll check out youtube.  Turns out this is a great source for some real exercise gems, folks.  So I figured we’d do a “Fat Blast from the Past” with some 80s exercise videos.  First up is a 1987 clip from “Buns of Steel 2” (because the first one wasn’t steely bunned enough).

You have to love the exercise leader.  Mullet, hippy beard, headband, spandex, and . . . electric blue legwarmers.  I simply must have that fine specimen of manhood!  Also, check out the girl in the back.  They’ve got her up on some sort of platform, the better to see her pink spandex leotard and blue tights.  Watch at about 2:47 on the tape where they all bow their heads in shame.

Next up!  The Firm.  No, not the Grisham novel that was made into a sucky movie filled with endless close-ups of Tom Cruise trying to act like he’s thinking.  This one’s another 80s trip – 1988 to be exact.  This clip starts up with a chick in a white leotard (more spandex!) looking confused in front of a serene picture of some hippy woman with flowers in her hair.  But then we’re in familiar territory with multi-colored leotards and tights in all shades of hot pink, blue, purple, peach – like a human Easter basket.  She starts out the routine with pelvic thrusts that would look inappropriate, but she’s so thin I don’t think she actually has a pelvis.  She stays chipper through the entire ten minutes.

But if you really want upbeat, look no further than Richard Simmons!  He is truly a freak of nature inspiration.  This clip of  “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” begins with Richard just happening to show up on what looks like the set of Sesame Street, where some random people are just hangin’ out, playing with hula hoops.  You know, the usual street stuff.  He asks if they want to dance and they all hop up and down.  This video differs from the others in that, for some reason, these people are not already in shape.  I mean, wtf, why are they doing an exercise video then?

Richard himself resembles an undercooked, malnourished turkey, but you can’t beat him for enthusiasm.  Check out his glittery tank top and short shorts.  Then pray that they never bring back those short shorts on men.  There are some fun dance moves, like on about 0.36,  where you move two fingers back and forth over your face and splay your legs out like disco dorks.

Of course, no flashback would be complete without a Jane Fonda clip.  Back in the 80s, Jane Fonda was the Queen of Exercise (Richard Simmons was the Princess).  She still does exercise tapes today, but much, much slower and a with a lot less bouncing.  This one’s her “New” workout from 1985 and features Jane, some other chick they keep focusing on (isn’t this Jane’s video?), and a girl wearing a visor, a purple crop top, yellow shorts, and a tan to literally die for – how long was she in the tanning bed?  The best one, though, is our token guy in the back wearing a crop top and red spandex pants so tight I’m surprised he’s breathing.  I admire a guy brave enough to bear his hairy midriff.

Well, that’s all for today, folks.  Aren’t you tired from all that exercise?  I know I got tired (and slightly nauseous) just watching them!  You just can’t beat the classics.  Stay tuned next time while I check out some more exciting and not at all terrifying exercise videos.

Exercise Videos: The Good, the Bad, and the OMG Part One

First off, confession time.  I have not been good Alice this past week in regards to nutrition.  There were milkshakes, bruthahs and sistahs, and fast food, and sometimes veggies were nowhere to be seen!  There are many excuses, some of them pretty good, but mostly I just have to start over again and move forward.  I have, at least, still been exercising.  So we’ll talk about that.

Okay, if you remember last time I talked about the gym and how there were other people and it kind of sucked.  But there are alternatives!  You can, with today’s fabulous technology, exercise at home all by yourself with the exception of any annoying family members that might pass by and laugh at you.  There are ways to avoid this.  For instance, working the abdominals tends to release unwanted gas.  Good way to clear a room.

I'm working my abs.  Clear the room.

I’m working my abs. Go away.

One way to exercise at home is to use exercise videos.  There are eleventy billion of these things on the market, though, so how do you know which one is the right one to use?  That’s fairly easy.  You use the one that least makes you want to vomit.  This means going through trial and error at times.  Also, you can read the reviews on Amazon until your eyes start to cross because 80 people think that “Get Great Abs with Jesus” is as great as the Second Coming, while 80 others just don’t believe in it at all.  So what to do?

I have the solution.  Or a solution.  I have tested some of these videos out, and right now I’ll tell you my favorite one.  It’s rather old, as I originally got it back in the 1990s, which is when, sob, some of my readers may have been born.  This should not be humanly possible.  Anyway, this “oldie but goodie” is a video by former bodybuilding champion – back in the dark ages I can only assume – and certified fitness trainer Tony Little.

This weirdo.  Don't worry, you don't have to get on thing.

This weirdo. Don’t worry, you don’t have to get on the thing.

Now you might be thinking – a body builder?  Yuck!  But he’s got a back story – about his back.  See he hurt it in a near fatal auto accident, and was in chronic pain.  So he left bodybuilding (this was probably not the worst thing ever, considering) and got depressed and ate a lot of twinkies and gained a lot of weight.

But rather than drown in a Hostess coma, he decided to turn his life around and design a non-impact exercise format (I’m liking the idea of not impacting things) that he could do even with an injured back.  He has several videos, but my favorites are his Fat Free series which contains two videos – one for upper body, and the other for lower body.  No part of the body is safe.

As seen on TV!  Models included only as props!

As seen on TV! Models included only as props!

I have the VHS versions, but you can get them on DVD still.  But you lose something in the DVDs, namely getting to watch him move around at super fast speed.  Anyway, there are several things I like about his videos.  (1) He’s a man, not a teeny-tiny bouncy cheerleader that you just know is going to talk smack about you with her other teeny-tiny bouncy cheerleader friends as soon as you’re done. (2) He teaches you all the exercises at once before he starts on the routine, so you can learn them, but not have to go through the training every time you do them later.  (3) He’s a goof and yammers through his videos about believing in yourself, but actually seems sincere about it.  (4) There are three exercise levels, so you can start slow and work your way up.

The best part, truly, is when he’s demonstrating the exercises.  He has a model friend (I bet she’s a bouncy cheerleader) come in to help him.  First he does the exercise himself, and then he has her demonstrate it.  Sometimes she goofs it up, so he fixes it for her by manipulating her arms and legs like she’s a puppet.  I love this so much that sometimes I rewind and watch it all over again.  You know, to, um, get the technique down.  He advises you not to use weights immediately (I think this is an excellent idea as I could easily kill myself with one) and to make small movements, not fling yourself around where you can break your neck.  I love it when he tells the model to stop doing that, she’s going to pull something.

Watch me bend her legs over her head!

Watch me bend her legs over her head!

In other words, I trust the guy, because I know he’s been through some crap before.  He’s more concerned with you doing it safely, than he is in you keeping up with fast dance moves and observing how hot he is.  And trust is fairly important, especially when you’re dealing with someone on a T.V. screen.  He doesn’t hide much, and he’s fairly self-deprecating.  If it’s hard for him, he admits it.  At one point during one of his videos he nearly trips on his carpet and keeps filming, laughing goofily at himself the whole time.  It’s hard not to like this goofball, even if he does make you do lunges that screw up your quads so that you’re walking like an old lady for two days.

The only problem I have is that they’re fairly long – roughly 35 minutes each if you’re just doing beginner level.  So fitting them in can be a bit of a challenge.  But I usually feel better after I’ve done them, and I know they work because back in the nineties – sigh – I used them for a while and I was actually in shape.  So I’d recommend this one.

There are other videos, as well as video games that can help you get in shape.  Wii pioneered the dance games.  They can be pretty fun even if you look like an idiot.  I’ll continue to review different videos and games and give you the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I’m willing to do almost anything, and especially willing to skewer any exercise guru who really sucks. So if you have anything you want me to try, let me know in the comments below.