Feel the Burn

It’s April again, my recovery month. The month I do fun stuff or heavy stuff – whatever I want. This April, since I’m so close to my second nap and have stayed disciplined (bordering on obsessed) for almost three full weeks, I’m only choosing blog challenges that will help me in my quest to shed the weight of the world I’ve been carrying for a while now. I can’t have anything distract me from my goals because I am easily distracted, especially by food and naps. For one month, this will become my own personal Health and Fitness blog. You have been warned.

This week, I noticed that I’m already getting bored with the same old workouts. I felt the need to expand my horizons, to turn to the wisdom of the past.


I searched for inspiration in the previous century, specifically the 1980s and 90s. And like any true seeker of truth, I looked to YouTube as my guide.


You know all those crazy workout videos people share on Facebook? I started to think maybe it was unfair for people to judge solely based on select clips. Maybe there really was some value in giving each workout an honest chance to prove itself. I did it with Prancercize, so why not see what else I could discover?


This was not my first time with this particular technique. My sister did these exercises daily in the 90s, and sometimes I joined her. She still swears by it for tightening up double chins. I can remember several times being upstairs and panicking when I heard the “PAAAH” breathing, thinking someone was dying down in the basement. My sister has one of the most powerful “PAAAH”s you’ll ever hear. I gave one of the other Bodyflex videos a try, and was reminded of that song from my kids’ Elmocize video – “Workout in a Chair”, except with less actual workout involved.

Although I really enjoyed making my very best lion face, I’m not sure I got a lot out of this workout. It probably won’t make it into my regular rotation.


This one was really weird. I can’t decide if I was more bothered by the length of Barbie’s thighs or the frighteningly perky workout instructor.


Jennifer Love Hewitt fans will enjoy watching her in the video, but the dance moves are so fast and jerky, I had trouble keeping up. I also did not appreciate the reminder that I never could, and apparently still cannot, do the Roger Rabbit (renamed in this video: “Attitude”) or the Running Man (“Jammin’ Jogger”). Thanks for making me feel self-conscious of my actual human-like body proportions and my inability to do 90s dance moves, Barbie. I just don’t need that kind of negativity in my life.


This series of workout videos appears to be meant for Japanese businessmen to learn English while getting a little bit of exercise during the workday. Each exercise repeats a phrase in English several times, covering such topics as what to say in a business meeting, a golf game, a doctor’s office, getting around town, asking someone on a date, or what to do if you are robbed by two men.


The workouts are focused mainly on the arms, and after 30 minutes, I was feeling it. I also noticed an improvement in my business English. The moves sometimes seemed awkward to me, but I’m sure with practice, I could master them. I also think that, with a little bit of work, someday I could sound like I know something about golf.


After growing up during Richard Simmons’ heyday and watching so many Sweatin’ to the Oldies commercials as a child, I was really looking forward to the chance to try it for real. Unfortunately, these seem to be targeted to those who need an extremely low impact workout. I felt like I got more exercise sitting in the chair than I did with these dances.


This video is led by Jazzercise’s founder, Judi Sheppard Missett, who is quite a character. When I first saw clips of this video on Facebook, I watched it without sound. At first glance, Judi reminded me a lot of my mom in the 80s – similar hairstyle, tan, and body type. But once I turned the sound on, I realized that’s where the similarity ended, mainly because my mom is not crazy.

As I did this workout, I tried to pin down just who she reminded me of. Her speaking voice sounds like Doris Day, but her personality reminds me more of Carol Burnett’s Miss Hannigan character. Her tendency to speak the lyrics of each song reminded me a bit of William Shatner, but when I woke up the next morning, I realized she reminded me more of the cute old man at a nearby Alzheimer’s residential home. He also likes to break into song or quote song lyrics in their entirety, but when he does it, it’s endearing because he’s old and sweet and has Alzheimer’s. It’s not quite as cute when Judi does it.

I could maybe overlook her quirks if the workout was effective (much as I do Jillian Michaels and Tony Horton), but I woke up with several pulled muscles. Not just sore, but pulled. Days later, they still hurt. I think I’ll steer clear of those moves in the future.


Out of all the workouts I tried this week, this was the only one that felt like actual exercise. In the introduction, Cher is pretty clear about the fact that fitness is not her profession and that she takes all her cues from the professionals. Much like the Barbie video, the workout is led by another, with Cher interjecting now and then with little quips and jokes. At one point, she cuts the instructor off mid-sentence when one of her songs comes on: “Oh wait, don’t talk now. I want to hear this song. I love this song.”

The amazing outfits in this workout let you turn back time (see what I did there) and be grateful for how far fashion has come since 1991.

Although the YouTube exercises were a nice way to break up the monotony, I’m pretty sure they’re not going to help me achieve my goals. They did, however convince me to give leg warmers and sweatbands another chance. They also reminded me that, no matter where you are on the fitness spectrum, you can always start somewhere. There’s something for everyone.


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