Monday, July 29, 2013

Richard Simmons, Rebooted

Watch out, world! Richard Simmons is comin for yer youngs. Not content to occupy a cozy, largely untouched but small niche in the pop culture landscape for decades, Richard Simmons is angling for a viral revival. He's got a youth-oriented branding consultant plugging him into the world of YouTube fitness vlogs -- a home-fitness genre I view with fascination and an odd sense of dread, as damp and impenetrable as the rainforest in Aguirre, Wrath of God. (Wow, that description jumped off the subtlety cliff quickly.)

Well good for him. The man is nothing if not enthusiastic and game for anything, even allowing his 65-year-old, short-shorted frame to be plunked down in what looks and sounds like a Ministry of Sound video. Based on the clip, it seems to involve him shouting with a mixture of encouragement and panic.

Anyway, I've got my eye on you, Workout Wednesdays. I've never done a full Richard Simmons video, which is highly negligible of me. I've reordered my Netflix queue to remedy that. In the meantime, here's this promo video Simmons did with the gentle-hearted ADD kids over at Buzzfeed. Who knew he had such a fierce bitch-face?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Turbo Jam Fat-Blasting Turbo Time

VIDEO: "Turbo Jam: Fat Blaster" (Beachbody, 2006)
STYLE: Cardio kickboxing with high-intensity intervals
INTENSITY: Low to high
STRUCTURE: Short warm-up and cool-down bookending ~25 mins of dance-inflected cardio kickboxing; four "turbo" intervals; 30 mins total
GIST: Fun, fast, and good for repeat viewing; perfect for days when you're short on time

It occurred to me that I should probably post more straightforward workout video reviews. It can't all be celebrity squat-thrusting and bizarre Slavic odes to Depeche Mode around here. Sometimes you just need a decent workout video to get you through another day of barely not being a lazy slob.

This is Chalene Johnson. She is more than the person jovially grimacing on the cover of this "Turbo Jam Fat Blaster" 30-minute, effective and fun video. She is a "fitness personality" at the helm of a whole little exercise/self-improvement empire that encompasses a gazillion Turbo Jam videos, a kickboxing-class franchise called Turbo Kick, an annual "you go, girl!" retreat called Camp Do More, and probably a bunch of other stuff I don't know about. She's really tan, works a ponytail like Toni Basil in full "Mickey" mode, and knows how to get some calorie burn out of a half hour. 

"Turbo Jam Fat Blaster" seems to be a shorter, more interval-heavy sampler from her longer workouts. It's all the "turbo" sections from her other titles, first done at low intensity and then in "turbo" mode. There's a lot of turboing going on in general, whether you're riding a pony . . .

. . . jumping up in the air like you just do care (about your physical fitness and desire to live a full, sexy, meaningful life) . . . 

. . . or ferociously stamping the ground with both feet, because WE ARE TURBO-TAXING OUR BODIES IN AN AWESOME, HIGH-INTENSITY WAY RIGHT NOW.

This is the first Turbo Jam workout video I've gotten through -- not because they're difficult but because Chalene's turbocharged style -- as seen in a couple other titles I tried -- didn't really get me going. 

That said, I really enjoyed this workout: the choreography is fairly easy but not too easy to pick up and comes at you without any dilly-dally, making it good for repeat viewings. The moves are a fun blend of kickboxing and dancey flair. Chalene is high-energy, but that's the nature of her game, boo. Deal with it, and enjoy the quality sweat sesh.

Also, boobs. Damn near every woman in this video has big ol' fake titties. I guess that's what you do in L.A.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Estelle Getty: "a peanut who's determined not to get any smaller."

This really needs no introduction or explanation, except to say that it's almost my recently departed grandma's birthday. She made nearly 92 years and stayed young at heart for all of them. I miss her.

PS - Be sure to hold out for the part where she brings in her trainer, a "full-time French hunk," and they exchange mutual affection thusly:

     "Estelle, you're my inspiration."

     "Oh please, I could live inside one your thighs."

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The United States of Aerobica

America! 4th of July! Summertime! 

You know what I'm getting at: the Crystal Light National Aerobic Championship, of course!

The Crystal Light National Aerobic Championship is, first and foremost, a blogging bounty of gifts sent  directly to me from YouTube heaven. Second, it's an 80s prime time TV happening that capitalized on the height of the aerobics trend by showcasing the nation's sproingiest, most patriotic and attractive fitness freaks. I've covered it before here, and I'm kind of amazed I haven't posted more, because there's just so much of this:

And I'm far from the only one to notice. Splitsider has this fun interview with Alan Thicke, who got roped into hosting the program. Since the last time I cruised the hallways of the Crystal Light cathedral, the clips seem to have become fodder for lazy-kitschy music videos.

I'm fully on board with this aerobicized fan video for Eddie Murphy's "Party All the Time."

Oh, Crystal Light National Aerobics Championship. You're like that whale carcass from Planet Earth, chilling on the deep sea floor and supporting an entire little ecosystem of bloggy, briny creatures. We'll pick off your detritus of spandexed 1980s television, scavenging it for the nourishment of a Kickstarter page or an art-school video collage, turning the bites into bytes until you've been completely subsumed by the big blue. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Lookin' full, gentlemen.

In honor of DOMA's timely demise last week, here's some raw man meat sourced from the strip-mall GNCs of America.

This video was one of the only fitness selections at my local public library branch. The "" byline on the cover was clue #1 that it maybe didn't need to be shelved under under Health & Fitness. The back cover copy said nothing about the workout but featured short bios of the meatheads: Kyle was the face of American Eagle Outfitters' summer 2007 campaign -- as if anyone could forget it!

Steve has been featured in Men's Health, Details, and Neither Dick Nor Ass Weekly

And so forth.

This title seems to occupy a weird space between workout videos and pornography, one that I knew existed from all the YouTube videos of super-skinny, big-boobied, barely dressed women performing rigorous exercise (a post for another day). This is the male version, and it's one step up from getting your rocks off by flipping through a Hollister catalog. 

There's no nudity -- not even some harmless horsing around, until you get to the DVD bonus feature that shows them play-wrestling. It's just three cut-up dudes with empty thought bubbles floating above them, doing weights. There's barely even instruction. It solves the timeless problem of how to ogle guys at the gym without having to actually work out. It looks like it was made on a camera phone.

After telling his brosephs what they'll be doing in the gym today (spoiler alert: weights), Kyle leads the group in a self-conscious shedding of shirts. It's all very "no big deal; just another day looking this good." And then, I kid you not, Kyle gives his comrades the merest glance in each direction, nods his head and says, "Lookin' full, gentlemen. Loo-king full."

It's low-grade erotica or "body inspiration," depending on where you are vis-a-vis the closet. And if the flexing and huffing and puffing in gym shorts isn't enough of either for you, Amazon recommends graduating to the full monty: 

Happy Pride!