June 13, 2007

Well, I never thought I’d be saying this . . . but I succumbed to the most faddish and infomercial-esque of self-improvement methods, allowing a man to enter my house in order to shout random things in my ear (“COUNT IT! COUNT IT!”) and intimidate me with his shiny, bulging muscles. And although the entire experience was more than a little ridiculous, my ass tells the story of success, which goes like this: OH MY GOD OW OW JESUS OW.

I’m talking, of course, about Tae Bo:


Feast your eyes on the terrifying visage of Mr. Billy Blanks, a man comprised of rippling sinew; a strange, Paris-Hilton-like, comes-and-goes drooping eyelid; and a series of robotic (but surprisingly effective) motivational phrases featuring the term “ya’ll”.

I took that photo while attempting to work out to the “Cardio Circuit 2” DVD obligingly coughed up by Netflix, which at first seemed chock full of faults: the music sucked, Billy’s increasingly transparent pink shirt was disturbing, and his cues were hard to follow—but about halfway through I realized that I needed an excuse to hit the pause button because hey! Were those my lungs . . . lying on the floor?

There is a woman on the DVD whose utterly ripped physique and periodic screams of encouragement to her fellow sufferers seem to indicate she is there as a motivator, or a shining example of What To Aspire For, but the longer I was forced to endure her grim, ferocious presence, complete with one fist thrust dramatically in the air after each routine and a triumphant shriek aimed to the class (“YEAH! YEAHHH!”), the more I began to . . . well, it doesn’t seem nice to say that I began to really, really dislike her, but there it is.


It’s just that she reminds me of an evil member of the Inner Party observing us all in order to report us for our various physical shortcomings, and I’m positive she goes batshit during the Two Minute Hate.


(She’s probably a perfectly nice person when she’s not doing Tae Bo.)

Billy periodically pulls up her shirt and paws her midsection, ostensibly to show her ab muscles during a routine, and I cannot help but picture the behind-the-scenes footage involving the two of them. JB, briefly passing by the living room and catching sight of the TV, observed: “Man, I bet he tears into her, you know what I mean?” And I DID know.


(Edited to add: oh my GOD, I have learned that the Terminator girl is Billy’s daughter [!!!], so clearly JB and I are going straight to hell.)

All in all, I am much more fond of chirpy Chalene Johnson and her focus-on-FUN! Turbo Jam workout, but that Tae Bo definitely has something going for it. Holy crap, I’ve joined the Cult of Billy. COME ON, YA’LL!


62 Responses to “Moving on (COUNT IT! COUNT IT!)”

  1. ang on June 14th, 2007 6:48 am

    I’ve been on the Taebo bandwagon for about 5 years now and I LOVE the fact that when I’m faithfully working out 3 to 4 times per week, I can eat anything! My favorite is the bootcamp version but I don’t do the rubber band things. Those are just an embarassing ER trip waiting to happen. However, just for fun, try screaming obscenities at the buff bitches when you’re in the middle of a particularly intense set. (at least until Riley starts walking around mumbling F*ck you Billy Blanks) It becomes marginally more entertaining.

  2. jenna on June 14th, 2007 7:25 am

    Oh God. I put Tae Bo in the exercise DVD rotation last year after having Z. “count it. COUNT IT!” would ring in my ears for weeks afterward. Finally I decided to put it on mute and put on my own music. Soooo much better.

  3. Deon on June 14th, 2007 7:50 am

    1999 called and it wants it’s workout tapes back. kthxbye.

  4. thejunebug on June 14th, 2007 9:38 am

    I bought the Tae Bo tapes in 2000. I paid… I dunno, $70 for the whole set? I couldn’t get through the first 8 minute intro workout without knocking myself over. I’m too much of a klutz to do well at that kind of thing! My sister in law knicked all the tapes from me a couple years ago and had the same problem, so now they’re gathering dust on HER shelves. Hah.

    She’s his daughter?! Whoa.

  5. thejunebug on June 14th, 2007 9:44 am

    Oh and g~ is right, it’s spelled y’all.

    *waves at ~g* I’m in Georgia, too!

  6. Lesley on June 14th, 2007 6:46 pm

    My favorite is the bootcamp version but I don’t do the rubber band things. Those are just an embarassing ER trip waiting to happen.

    You’re not kidding. I skimmed the basic boot camp vid last night (have yet to do it) and think those people are CRAAAAAAAZY. The pace at which they do bicep curls with the bands is outrageous and possibly dangerous. I will definitely be adapting the moves (because I do like the bands. Note. I will not be doing any kick boxing leg moves using bands.)

    I dislike the vomitous red carpet they work out on. That’s a bad colour to visualize absorbing copious amounts of sweat), and his shorts are ridiculously flamboyant. His daughter looks like she could be a role model for one of the animated warriors in 300. Scary.

  7. Nancy on June 14th, 2007 6:46 pm

    I never thought about netflix for workout videos. Now I have completely different plans for the summer.

  8. blueenigma on January 12th, 2009 12:24 am

    Interesting. Certainly all black, muscular men are perceived as “scary”, “horrid” and “crazy” to white folks. Particularly white women. It’s an age old myopic view. I’m almost positive it is this very atavistic working that led the original poster to suggest he would “tear into her” and the other idiot (Melanie) to intimate incest. Because, by god, a dark, strong black man simply MUST lust after a white woman, no matter how emaciated and ugly she looks. And also, he MUST be incestuous as well. After all, he is a dark black man!! All of you. Pure idiots. The same fools who would vote Bush back in, if you could, simply to avoid voting for a Black man, I bet.

  9. me on October 27th, 2009 2:07 pm

    hey, you know nothing about Billy or Shellie … Tae bo is one of the best workouts ever! and you shouldn’t talk shit about someone you don’t know!
    so if you don’t like tae bo don’t do it alright?

  10. Lori on November 28th, 2009 3:56 pm

    I agree with the previous statement. You all know nothing about Billy or Shellie. They are 2 of the most motivating, amazing role models on this earth. I am a certified tae bo instructor and just because a workout is difficult the first few times you try it does not mean it is bad. It means you need to work harder and you will start to see changes in yourself.

  11. Another "Me" on January 18th, 2011 1:59 pm

    I agree with “Lori” and the original “me.” While I don’t necessarily enjoy Shellie’s overly-enthusiastic comments and such, I don’t watch the workouts for the characters… I use them to get into shape.

    I used to do Tae Bo religiously back in the day, but broke the DVDs back into rotation after my elliptical broke a couple of months ago. And while I had been running 10-17 miles at a time on the elliptical three or four times a week, the first time I put the Fat Blasting Cardio DVD back in, once again… Billy kicked my booty.

    I’m actually noticing a difference in my body again already, even though I’d been averaging 50 miles a week before. Lori, I agree that if you continue working on it, you will eventually be able to complete it and notice great differences.

  12. Josec Talisa on December 26th, 2017 2:02 pm

    hey Billy…,we need you here with us…,miss you

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