Monday, July 30, 2012


VIDEO: "Pussycat Dolls Workout," (Anchor Bay, 2009)
STYLE: Dance/burlesque
INTENSITY: Mild to moderate
STRUCTURE: Short warm-up; three dance routines, each broken down into separate instruction and performance segments; cool-down
GIST: Good for: fitness beginners, the uncoordinated, and/or those who want to learn how to strut and do the sex-kitten thing. Not good for: intermediate or advanced exercisers, more experienced dancers, and/or second-wave feminists.

This video reminded me sooooo much of "Carmen Electra's Aerobic Striptease," and that's both a good and a bad thing. Good because I unabashedly (or maybe a little abashedly) admitted in my review of that video that, while the workout was only moderately challenging at the time I had it in rotation, it did a lot to bring me out of my shell in terms of embracing girly sexiness and being all "Hayyyy!" -- whatever that's worth.


That's how I want to feel about the PCD workout, but they make it pretty effing hard. Because as much as they talk about "unleashing your inner Pussycat Doll," there's nothing to suggest what exactly a Pussycat Doll is, other than a sexual creature that exists solely to please men and out-compete other women.

Before I get into that, though, here's the deal with the workout: For me, it ranged from "omg if I had bought this instead of watched it on YouTube, I'd be pissed" to "this is pretty fun, and it's slow-paced enough for me to do drunk!" Aside from the warm-up and cool-down, it's broken down into three dance routines, each of which gets an instruction segment, followed by a performance segment complete with costume change. The "Don't Cha" routine is reeeeeeally easy and short -- too short. Doing the same four 8-counts over and over and over, I got bored on the first time through. I had also to stop myself from counting the number of times Robin yells, "MAKE IT SEXY!" or some variation thereof.

The burlesque routine I skipped after a couple minutes, because it was just moving way too slow and also I HATE feather boas, especially when they're used to do this un-ironically:

Monday, July 23, 2012

What I will be doing after work today

This baby finally arrived all the way from the Olympic Village today. Not really. Just from wherever has their distribution center. It's got a stuuuuuuuupid name -- it's an offshoot of those NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL MUSIC YA HEARD ME compilations -- but it looks tres fun and challenging. And, of course, it uses real tracks instead of muzak. I've been trying to research US/UK music licensing disparities to get to the bottom of why American workout videos never seem to have real music, and why it's pretty common in most of the UK titles I've come across. Investigative reportage! We'll see how that goes.

(As usual, this DVD is coded for a different "region" than American DVDs or laptops will automatically allow. Most laptops allow you to switch regions up to 5 times. I'm playing all my UK vids on an old laptop on which I permanently switched regions. If you want this DVD and you're in America, look into options for working with region compatibility.)

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Well, my loving lament for the National Fitness Hall of Fame & Museum yielded some unforeseen riches, because blurred and tiny in a photo of the old museum's display of fitness artifacts, right next to the aerobics troll doll, is a VHS bearing the unmistakable visage of Elmo. "ELMOCIZE!" I cried, startling my cat, who does not like Muppets.

But it's true.

This isn't a workout so much as a collection of body- and movement-related segments, but as it doesn't take much to get small children bouncing around, I can imagine Elmocize does the trick as well as the Wiggles or whatever the wee ones are wilin' out to these days.

Elmo gets all decked out in a coach-type getup and sings an intro song with his cast of kiddies, one of whom adorably gets to have Slimey the Inchworm bobbing around on her shoulder the whole time. (JEALOUS.)

On our tour of Sesame Street's world of personal fitness, we make a stop at the holy temple of contained rambunctiousness, Gymboree. Talk about flashbacks.

Then, we hear a really odd song by this lady caterpillar who likes to work out. She is now my spirit animal. I took a lot of pictures of her.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hall of Tame

Hey, wanna see something kinda sad? Or maybe not sad, but yes kinda sad and also like something out of a lost Christopher Guest movie?

This, readers, is the National Fitness Hall of Fame & Museum. "There's a National Fitness Hall of Fame & Museum?" you say. Yes! Sort of! The museum, captured so well above, was established in 2005 in the fair and fit city of Minooka, Illinois. Somewhere between then and now, though, the bricks-and-mortar location bit the dust.

Tragic. Could it have been the aerobicizer troll doll? The Thighmaster-box-but-not-actual-Thightmaster? The topical circa-1987 issue of People magazine? 

What a shame. A fitness museum is a great idea. I would go to one. Obviously. But alas, this one wasn't meant to be, so the museum must exist in the hearts and minds and modems of random Google-searchers everywhere. 

There's a Hall of Fame page with a bunch of people you've never heard of who have amazing mugshots. There's a "Fitness through the Ages" section that's pretty astoundingly half-assed. Of typos there are multitudes. Informational gaps galore. 

Still, it's an easy way to kill 10 minutes. Plus their flash into on the homepage is nice.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Gilad to meet ya!

VIDEO: "Gilad Fat Burning Workout" (just going off of the YouTube title below; can't trace it to an actual DVD title)
STYLE: Aerobics
INTENSITY: Moderate to high for beginners; low to moderate for more advanced folks
STRUCTURE: Warm-up, 7 min.; low-impact aerobics, 15 min.; high-impact aerobics, 15 mins.; 5-min. cool-down
GIST: Uncomplicated classic aerobics with a nice studly instructor, inoffensive music and a compact but quality duration. Perfect for beginners; great light cardio for more advanced peeps.

No one in my family was much of a televised-sports fanatic, so we ESPN was never on much in our house. Which explains why I never heard of Gilad, a Harlequin cover-ready studmuffin with nice manners, until really recently. His TV fitness show, "Bodies in Motion," ran on ESPN from 1985 to 1996, and has hopped around various cable channels ever since. He's a muscle-bound man from Israel, beautiful and bland, who wants to bring you into his beach world of better personal fitness. It's really that simple.

That looks uncomfortable, does it not?

After doing this workout a couple times, I think it's perfect for beginners or more experienced worker-outers who want a light cardio day. All the moves are textbook '80s aerobics steps -- leg curls, knee raises, jumping jacks, lunges -- with the exception of a regrettable air guitar triceps thing he tries to make happen. I looked the other way for that bit, but the rest was totally pleasant, occasionally corny as hell and, overall, not requiring much thought. The first 15 minutes of cardio are mostly low-impact, so whiny whiners people who don't like jumpy/hoppy aerobics (or, of course, folks with knee or ankle issues) will have plenty to go on. 

There's a lot of marching in place, which isn't my favorite base step because it looks sooooooo earnest, but a) I typically like earnestness, and b) you can jazz it up however you wanna march. I went full-on Book of Mormon/Army of the Church to entertain myself. 

I wish I had more to say about this video, but Gilad is just sort of boringly competent, nice and professional. His instruction is clear. His moves are easy to follow. His hair is perfect. He's gracious in his pacing and attention to technique. The music is not bad, for being muzak. I enjoyed myself. You can't really mess with the guy that much. 

Well, there's this:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Thrusts of glory

And we're back! With John Travolta's nutsack and Jamie Lee Curtis' lady lycra strip alllll up in your face. In the spirit of renewal, I thought I'd share this totally nuts but ultimately disappointing video: bits of the horrible 1985 aerobics drama Perfect set to the opening movement of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. When my buddy Darren posted this on my Facebook wall, gullible me got really excited thinking that somewhere, somehow, a bunch of people are down to work out to early 20th century orchestral dissonance. That is not the case, at least not as far as this video is concerned. But now that the idea's in my head, I have some protracted googling to do.