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:

taebo1.jpg

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.

taebo4.jpg

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.

taebo2.jpg

(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.

taebo3.jpg

(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!

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JennB
JennB
15 years ago

That makes my (non-ripped) abs hurt just looking at it.
You are crazy!

Junni
Junni
15 years ago

Oh, JB…you’re dirty.

kristina
15 years ago

That piece of part machine-part woman is none other than Billy’s daughter, now you and JB go wash your mouth out! :)
Glad to have you in the Tae-Bo cult, you can be like the rest of us, hating him while getting hooked on all the moves.
i like to Tae-bo people at church. Go for the instructional video, tho. cuz you really can pull something doing those moves, something big and damaging.
Have fun with it! You look great, and i also have been in the same shoes with the alcohol thing.
Kristina

Swistle
15 years ago

I loved Tae Bo the last time I tried it, which was like 7 years ago. But I HATED his back-up….whatsits. And I hate that one just looking at her. I hate it when people act as if the sheer joy of exercise is making them crazy. That is, no saying “WOOOO!!!” while doing something painful, or it’s kind of icky.

Robbi
Robbi
15 years ago

I tried Tae-Bo once. I lasted about 4 minutes!

Pete
Pete
15 years ago

Mmmmm, sweaty women who could kick my ass.

Anonymous
Anonymous
15 years ago

Yes, that is his daughter.

http://www.taebofans.com/shellie.html

kristina
15 years ago

yep, that’s his daughter, of his childhood sweethart/wife, i found it at the billyblanks foundation site. Quite a story.
you can find those tapes at any thrift, especially the instructional one. I highly recommend it, I pulled my knee doing some Tae-bo, never been the same since…

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
15 years ago

Oh my god that is his daughter!
Those pictures had me laughing out loud!

Cari
15 years ago

Aside from the fist-pumping, she totally looks like she is giving birth to something. Ew.
And why does Billy wear those glove thingies?

breckgirl
breckgirl
15 years ago

OMG – isn’t he strange? Wait until you see the one where he is wearing a royal blue shiny UNITARD that is cut down below his wee stiff raisin nipples. And the bizzare droopy eye – you are right on. I had no idea that was his daughter but frankly, I can’t stand the chick. All that shouting and carrying on like she is in basic training or a pro wrestler or something. Her body is awesome, admittedly – perhaps if I were so dedicated and did a little shouting, I, too, could have amazingly ripped abs and killer thighs – but I still try to avoid looking at her during the workout and just focus on the nice, pudgy lady who is doing her best despite the fact that she is standing next to Miss Shout and Sweat. I gotta say, though, for all of the faults one can find in the Tae bo workouts, they are very effective and there is just something about Billy and his constant encouragement that is charming and somewhat endearing. Aw, we love ya, you lazy-eyed psycho!

I recently fell victim to the dreaded exercise program informercial – P90X – I’m sure you’ve seen it since it is on TV constantly. I got it for my husband, actually, who has been lamenting that he is not feeling motivated to work out in our home gym. Perhaps this set of 12 DVD’s with men pumping iron and jumping around in a manly way will help him and then, hopefully, me. I’ll enjoy watching the men, anyway. Once we get it (I ordered the chin up bar, too – 45% off if you bought it RIGHT THEN!!) and check it out, I’ll know if it lives up to the hype. In the meantime – it’s Tae Bo and The Firm – oh, and some other Beach Body series I fell for awhile back. Videos rock! YEAH!

Good luck with Billy and the pro wrestler.

Tracy
Tracy
15 years ago

Ooh, I was so looking forward to commenting to tell you that she is Billy’s daughter, but too late! So I’ll give you another oh so useful tidbit-Billy is from my hometown-Erie, PA baby! Also, http://www.videofitness.com is a useful place to go to read reviews of exercise DVDs. There is an active forum there as well if you want to ask which Tae Bo DVD has the least amount of Shellie! I couldn’t tell you as I only tried one of them a long time ago and wasn’t cut out for it.

Jane
15 years ago

I have a number of Tae-Bo routines on VHS. However, I’ve never (mumble mumble) actually done one of the workouts. Heh.

stephanie brown
stephanie brown
15 years ago

I probably shouldn’t say this, cause well, people read way into these things now-a-days, but. BUT. Is it his biological daughter? Maybe I’m the only one that sees it, but her skin definately looks pretty “average caucasian” to me. The majority (if not all) of bi-racial people I’ve seen tend to have some nice golden brown skin (of which I desire in the same manner that I desire a million dollars.) Just curious.

Betsy
15 years ago

Billy is annoying, but damned if that isn’t a good workout.

Coleen
15 years ago

I tried doing Tae-Bo once back in 2000 or 2001. I made it through several showings of the Informational Section just fine. Five minutes after I started the first DVD, however, my knee went out and I collapsed, shrieking, onto the floor. I haven’t gone near Tae-Bo since.

Erin
15 years ago

I’ve tried Tae Bo a few times, and just can’t get over my intense dislike for Billy Blanks. I know the workouts are effective, but goddamn he’s annoying and I can’t bring myself to bother. I have a really old DVD that I don’t think I even managed to finish because he was wearing a one piece blue spandex short thing with no shirt on and his nipples were all out there and it was scary. I think that worked my gag reflex more than anything else!

Glad you enjoy it though!

kristina
15 years ago

not bio-daughter, no.
I was curious about it also, that’s why I went to the site to find out more about her.
When I first saw her, I hated her, cuz she doesn’t have one ounce of fat on her. And was just too damn happy about exercising, but from reading about her, she must have some serious discipline.
She’s says one sweet on the weekend, yeah, for me it would be a costco cake, one cake=one sweet.

omu
omu
15 years ago

You know, if I had even even thought of trying tai bo those photos have convinced me to resist the urge. Something about them is uttely creepy and repulsive to me.

:shudder:

I need another Kashi dark chocolate cookie to get the ickiness out of my mind.

warcrygirl
15 years ago

I have a 4 set of Tae Bo VHS tapes, only one of which I’ve ever put into the VCR (which was oh…..5 years ago?). The other three tapes are VCR virgins. And here I was all proud that I bought the Bean…

Donna
Donna
15 years ago

I couldn’t even do sweatin to the oldies with Richard Simmons, tae bo? I think not.
This is why I look like I do, and you look like you do!

Christine
Christine
15 years ago

Yep, I fell victim to the Tae Bo craze in the very late 90’s and was doing it for 3 years straight until I completely burned out on it. I was absolutely in the best shape of my life when I was doing it AND I never changed my eating habits (hell, I was in my late 20’s and still rockin’ a fast metab.)

I had a 2nd baby almost 5 months ago and I gotta give it to Billy, my abs still look good. I am slowly getting back into it. But I remember doing donkey kicks on the floor and wanting to cry while Billy was shouting at me to LIFT HIGHER…

Tae Bo and Billy are crazy, but it definitely grows on you, and by God, it works! Just be careful with some of the tricker moves so you don’t pull something.

Leah
15 years ago

Yeah, if you don’t like the Terminator woman, you should never watch another Tae Bo again because she’s everywhere. Kind of like Ron Popeil’s daughter, Lauren; remember her?

justmouse
justmouse
15 years ago

i actually own a tai bo tape….but i have never ever used it. here is why…i bought it one day on a whim while at the walm@rt…along with a bag of oreos and various other things. when i got home, i sat down to have a couple of oreos and decided to see what all the hype was about with Billy. as i’m sitting there, my husband comes home and sees me…sitting on the couch, bag of oreos, stuffing my face, WATCHING the tai bo with my feet up on the coffee table. 9 years later, and he still finds it SOOOOO funny.

i got pissy, and never looked at the tape again. (come to think of it…i don’t think i ever bought oreos again either..)

g~
g~
15 years ago

Gosh, I hate to rain on this parade, but ya’ll is misspelled (I think). I think the apostrophe is supposed to replace letters and assuming that ya’ll is supposed to replace ‘you all’, one would only conclude that the apostrophe is replacing the ‘ou’ which would make that word, in fact, be spelled *y’all*. And I have just orbited into the nerd stratosphere. I’ll just go back to my grits and cornbread from down here in Georgia.
Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.

Josh
Josh
15 years ago

Honestly her abs don’t look up to work-out-video-employee standards, but judging by her apparent love for squating, I’d tear into her as well. Especially if it lies on the road to hell, which is paved with fun and not the good intentions everyone has been misinformed about. Her probable insanity in the sack aside, I’m sure Billy isn’t atracted to his own daughter. Not because he has some sort of aversion to incest, but rather because he clearly loves the cock. His shirt tells me all I need to know. Plus the fact that he’s a workout instructor. I’m calling a Richard Simmons on this guy. Years from now when you see him kissing some drag queen hopped up on steroids, you will look back and remember this moment. I called it first. I win ya’ll. (and there is nothing wrong with ya’ll, it’s a great word)

g~
g~
15 years ago

Yeah, as I realize that you technically rocket into the stratosphere rather than orbit. Does it help that my four year old is literally yelling mon?key noises in my ear while my bratty two year old is whining for Doritos? I really am going to just give up on proper grammer–two kids have drained all of my 11th grader English right out of my brain.

g~
g~
15 years ago

Okay, seriously, my two year old was helping me type. Shutting up now.

missbanshee
15 years ago

Good god, I haven’t done my Tae Bo tapes in YEARS, but that shit works, and I’ll tell you that much for free. I think I was dedicated to it because Billy Blanks scared the SHIT out of me, and I honestly thought he was going to come through the tv like Samara from “The Ring” and eat my face off if I didn’t follow his instructions.

Lawyerish
15 years ago

Oh, DUDE. I used to love me some Tae Bo back in 2000 when I was studying for the bar exam and it was too hot to run outside. The first time I did it (I started with the Advanced Workout, thinking I was a badassss), I had to pause it and go lay down on the floor to die a slow, wheezing death. My GOD, man. Billy puts you through the paces. And at times, your ass just wants to get up and leave the building — I mean just your ass, what with all the kicking and the leg lifting and owwwwww, my gluuuuutes. But it works pretty damn well, annoying backup people and all.

(Seriously? His daughter! That’s hysterical.)

Susan
Susan
15 years ago

I used to live near his gym in the Valley. My friend and I went to the classes for about 6 weeks but I swear the instructors were hopped up on crystal meth — it was like a sadistic contest between them to see who could do the moves fastest and how many students they could make quit. I couldn’t stand it. Then one day Billy himself showed up to teach and it was AMAZING. Night and day. I actually LOVED the class, that day anyway. I quit going soon after because I just couldn’t keep up. I might try the tapes though…you’ve all inspired me!

Jennifer
Jennifer
15 years ago

These comments are cracking me up. “Part machine, part woman” — LOL! She does look like she’s about to give birth in the first photo. But, ohhh baby I would LOVE to have those quads and hamstrings. Even though I cycle up mountains, my quads can’t come close to hers!

And, to g~, you’re right it is “y’all.” I nerdify with thee.

I wish you were posting all these inspirational workout videos at the beginning of winter. With summer upon us, I just can’t get excited about working out indoors. But starting in October I plan to hunker down in front of the TV with the Oxygen Yoga show and a few more! I’ll check back in with you in the fall and see what’s the latest workout video (and whether you have succeeded in looking like a Terminator Mom)!

jonniker
15 years ago

I love Tae Bo and I’m not ashamed to say it. I’ve Tae Bo’d for YEARS AND YEARS. I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but I find him oddly encouraging. I BELIEVE he wants me to do well.

(HIS DAUGHTER OH MY GOD)

fellowmom
fellowmom
15 years ago

I know it’s wrong, but the whole she’s-his-daughter thing made this post even funnier. And, I think I am going to have to try this. It sounds like the results are worth the irritation.

Anonymous
Anonymous
15 years ago

I know I’m harping on this, but Billy Blanks could be a zombie and we’d never know.

And on that (strainingly contrived) note, let me send you to a blog that not only is doing an amusing job of Blogging Like It’s the End of the World, but has posted a video of Jonathan Coulton’s “RE: Your Brains”, which you were suffering deeply from not seeing, even if you didn’t notice your own pain:
http://mossroot.com/worlds/2007/06/13/re-your-brains/

And of course there’s LOLZOMBIE:
http://lolzombie.livejournal.com/

I IS BITEY!

Melanie
15 years ago

Maybe they have that sort of father-daughter relationship they have in the south, the kind nobody talks about… I’ve been scared to try Tae Bo because a) I’m so out of shape I literally might die while doing it.
b) Mr. Banks there scares the bejeebus out of me.

Danger
15 years ago

The pink shirt is not nearly as scary as the flowery blue shorts.

Mack
15 years ago

I really enjoy the one with pause at the top.

Like right then she’s saying “YEA! PELVIC THRUST!”

Telegirl
Telegirl
15 years ago

If you were alone on a deserted island with a kick-ass TV/DVD/Stereo system but no channels… which DVD would you prefer to be stuck with Billy or Chalene? Which one works better and is easier to stick with? Because maybe I’ll go buy one and let it sit on my shelf.

Becky
Becky
15 years ago

OMG I lived in Erie, Pa (Billy’s hometown) and I can remember once the Tao Bo hit the mainstream there was a HUGE to do about Billy teaching like a week of classes in Erie to find new backup gals for his next video….

Lesley
Lesley
15 years ago

How ironic that just before I clicked on your site I started d.own.lo.ading Tae Bo Basic Bootcamp.

He’s looks like the Mr. Clean of Fitness with sweat and perverse clothing added.

I’m sold on Chalene too. Her lower body jam workout is definitely worth investing in. You FEEL the pain right away, but it’s a good pain.

Angella
15 years ago

I have the original Tae Bo. I crack up every time he tells you to “reach up to your higher power and ask him to GIVE YOU SOME!”

’tis a great workout though :)

HollowSquirrel
15 years ago

I have a friend who thought his name was Tae Bo, so she was like “I bought Mr. Bo’s tapes, but I haven’t done them yet.”

Jem
Jem
15 years ago

AHAHAHAHAHHAHHA ONE SWEET

kill me now

Kathryn
Kathryn
15 years ago

GAH! Two other Erie connections!! I grew up in Erie and lived there until just a few years ago! How funny–I was about to comment about Billy Blanks being from there when I saw that someone beat me to it.

I love that Erie has so little to recommend itself that Billy Blanks being from there is a huge flippin’ deal. And also? My sister knew his nephew. I’m like 3 degrees from the fame that is Billy Blanks.

Lesley
Lesley
15 years ago

Just came across this hilarious site…can’t we all relate?

passiveaggressivenotes.com

jen
jen
15 years ago

haha, in the second picture did you notice that they all look as if they wet their pants? oh and i think they are lactating as well. yuck.

tae bo is one serious workout though! gl.

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
15 years ago

I think you need a new post, everytime I check your blog I keep seeing creepy Billy Blanks and I am starting to get a little freaked out and my stomach turns a little!

I’m going to go throw up now.