VHS Review: Billy Blanks’ Tae Bo: Instructional, Basic, Advanced, and 8-Minute Workouts, Billy Blanks (1999)

May 10th, 2005 11:57 pm by Kelly Garbato

Must-have introductory package for Tae Bo beginners!

four out of five stars

I’ve been doing Tae Bo for about 15 months, and have dropped 30 pounds (and counting!). I started at a very unhealthy 140 pounds (just for reference, I’m 5’4″), and I’m now down to a lean, mean, fighting-machine 110. I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been, and I owe it all to Tae Bo!

Before starting Tae Bo, I had tried several other workouts, to no avail. At one point I was working out with Jane Fonda an hour a day, every day, and was actually gaining weight! I bought the Tae Bo original 4-pack on a whim, but it sat on my shelf for years before I finally gave it a go – I had watched my sister do it, and it just looked too hard. Eventually I had trouble squeezing into my fat jeans and, frustrated, I made the commitment to lose some weight and stick with Tae Bo for at least a year.

I began by watching the Instructional video for a week and practicing the moves. Admittedly, this was rather tedious – the pace is very slow and you end up standing around most of the time. However, correct form is essential, both to prevent injury and properly work the targeted muscle groups. Before beginning even a Basic workout, you should definitely run through the Instructional video a few times. You won’t regret it!

Once I had the moves down, I went on to the 30-minute Basic workout, and stuck with it for six months. I was so horrendously out of shape that I had to stop for breathers, even though Billy gives you plenty of rest in between exercises. It took quite some time before I was comfortable with the moves, but I did get there. If you’re new to Tae Bo (or to exercising in general), you’ll probably find even the Basic workout to be challenging. Don’t give up, though – it might take some time, but you WILL see improvement. I was very frustrated at first, as I didn’t start shedding the pounds right away, and my lack of balance was a significant obstacle. Around the fourth month, though, I noticed some definite improvement, and was confident enough after month six to move on to the Advanced workout.

Initially, I found the Advanced workout to be difficult, but after a few months I had mastered it as well. By this time I had lost about 20 pounds and gained a ton of confidence. I finally retired the original Tae Bo workouts six months ago and moved on to the Get Ripped and Ultimate Abs/Butt series. After seeing how demanding the newer workouts are, I’m extremely glad I started with the original 4-pack – had I overestimated my abilities, I seriously doubt that I would still be doing Tae Bo. I probably would have given up within the first week instead!

The Advanced workout, which runs 55 minutes, is paced more quickly than the Basic workout, though it’s much slower than, say, the Get Ripped Advanced workout or the Ultimate Abs/Butt DVD. In addition to the kicking/punching combos that you learn in the Basic workout, you also do some floor work for your abdominals and gluteals. Billy really introduces a wide variety of exercises during this session, many of which you’ll see again if you try out other videos. This is a great intermediate workout – it really bridges the gap between the Basic workout and the more intense Advanced workouts that he produced later on.

For anyone who’s new to Tae Bo, I’d definitely recommend that you pick up this 4-pack before buying anything else. Each workout builds on the previous one and, when viewed in succession, they offer a great introduction to Tae Bo. If you try to just jump right in with an Advanced workout, you’ll not only get discouraged, but you might even hurt yourself. For those of you who are shopping around for a new fitness program, look no further – Tae Bo is fun and effective. Plus, with so many different DVDs available, you’ll never get bored or plateau. Should you find your mind wandering or your weight loss stalling, just try another workout.

A word of caution – Tae Bo certainly isn’t without its flaws. The production quality isn’t the best (this is especially true with the earlier videos). Billy also tends to switch quickly from one move to the next, and to do uneven repetitions on each side (a problem he has yet to resolve). Nonetheless, this is the best workout series I’ve tried. It’s transformed me from a couch potato to a fitness freak!

(This review was originally published on Amazon. Please click through and vote it helpful if you think it so!)

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