Billed as the "future of fitness" and hawked by numerous celebrities, Billy Blanks's Tae-Bo actually deserves much of the hype it's receiving. A mixture of boxing punches and martial arts kicks, Tae-Bo is fun and easy. One of the best elements of this four-tape set is that the first tape (which is 40 minutes long), Tae-Bo: Instructional, lays out the movements you need to successfully complete a workout. Once you've mastered the steps, you won't have to fast-forward through half the tape to get to the workout, nor will your workout be slowed down by the repeated lessons. After you feel comfortable with the movements (and they're really quite easy to follow; nothing too complicated to trip you up), you're ready to move on to Tae-Bo: Basics, a 27-minute workout (5 minutes of warm-up, 18 minutes of Tae-Bo, and 4 minutes of cool-down) that will have your heart pounding and your body sweating. Next comes Advanced, a 57-minute workout that will have your heart racing, pulse pounding, and sweat glands working overtime. There's razzmatazz on the moves, with slightly more complicated combinations that should be fairly easy to master if you've completed the first two tapes. This video seriously raises the bar on the difficulty factor.
In addition to the short warm-up, the cool-down, and the 30 minutes of Tae-Bo, Advanced Tae-Bo also includes 18 minutes of muscle-crunching floor work. You know you're in trouble when even the guys in the tape have trouble keeping up. Make sure you have truly mastered the first two tapes before attempting this one. The 8-Minute Workout is a highly compacted workout (actually 14 minutes long when you include warm-up and cool-down) for those days when you're too short on time for Basic or Advanced. While the 8-minute idea is compelling, it's not an adequate substitute for the longer workouts. Blanks, a seven-time World Martial Arts champion, is a superb instructor, providing encouragement and careful instruction (if you don't know by the end of the tape to hold in your stomach, that's no one's fault but your own). The only downside to these tapes is the less-than-exciting music. Not only is Tae-Bo great exercise for all levels, but the punches and kicks are wonderful for working out stress and aggression. This is the aerobics exercise video for people who are bored by aerobics. --Jenny Brown
When I decided to try to get into some kind of shape again I tried a bunch of other, more current workout routines but I couldn't stick with them; they were not fun, or they were too involved or too lacking.
I searched for my old standby, the Tae-Bo tapes and was really happy to find them still available. I bought them and have used them every day since they arrived - which is longer than I've stuck with any of the other programs I tried..
It's true that the music is.... humorous and lacking but that's not what I bought them for. I bought them for their effectiveness, easy to pick up and follow routines and the end results.
I would recommend these to any one searching for a workout that is fun, easy to pick up and actually works.
PS - if you don't like the music on the tapes just turn on the stereo or your iPod and listen to the music you like.... after using this a couple of times you don't really need to hear what is being said - you can follow along visually.
My first tape...Callanetics. Great sculpting workout, but no cardio. The immediate first thought...Tae Bo. I have a lot of friends who sang the praises of Billy Blanks, but I had yet to see myself what cardio kickboxing was all about. I bought the DVD version (1) because it was actually cheaper than the tapes and (2) had all the tapes rolled up into one slim package that would probably last longer anyway.
I did what the instructions told me and did the introductory workout first. This teaches you the basics of the moves he likes to incorporate into the routines. Although I feel that he could have explained some of the positions better (i.e., when you do the roundhouse kicks, turn the foot you're standing on OUT...it will help twist your hips down so you can lift your leg as high as possible while working out your gluteal muscles...he doesn't emphasize this, just tells you to keep your hand on your hip and kick to the side), you find out his workout is relatively simple in technique. However, he warns you that he CAN and WILL make it more PHYSICALLY difficult as you progress.
I then advanced to the basics workout. Being an avid runner and gym rat, I found this to be a pretty decent workout. Built up a respectable sweat and felt empowered...just pictured kicking ex-boyfriends in the face. :) Plus, I surprised myself with how fierce I can feel...really lets out stress and remains fun.
The advanced workout...whoa. Not for the faint of heart. 45 minutes of cardio with many many many fast sequences of kicks and jabs that will make you feel like a puppet being yanked in eight different directions...it's great. :) Then, the floor work...you probably have never done so many doggy-lifts in your life! Killer! :) I highly recommend this DVD!
So I can say that the Basic workout is great for beginners, and the 8 minute workout is a good addition to it. But beware--the music is awful.
The advanced tape is a very strong workout. At first I thought his inspirational motivation was kind of hokey, but as the workout progressed, I really started to like it. During the floor work, which is very challenging, he really keeps me going. There is one exercise, however, that smarts and it feels like he talks forever. But I keep with it and have really seen my body become more developed and my balance is a lot stronger.
My only complaint is that there is not any streching. In the advanced tape there is one strech after the leg work, which is definitely not sufficient. The tape ends with squats which are a great way to cool down, but then it just stops. I stretch on my own, because I feel that stretching is an integral part of exercising.
Overall, this is a great workout. When I first started kickboxing workouts, I was frustrated because it took me a few times to get the moves and it took me even longer to get strong enough to really work the moves. But it is worth it. I feel stronger, more centered and definitely look stronger and more defined.
That's why these DVDs are so incredibly great. They have the training section, the intro section, the advanced section, even the quick-and-easy section, and you can jump to whichever one you want with the touch of a button.
Once you're there, the exercises are really interesting and draw you in. This isn't just doing 8000 sit-ups in a row ... there are different moves, things to keep you interested and having fun. It's definitely something that different ages or sexes can do together - there's something for everyone. It's not "girly" and it's not "macho".
I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to stay in shape. This isn't a "miracle cure" - you can't sit on a couch and watch it while eating ice cream, expecting it to change your life. However, if you use this as part of a healthy lifestyle, you'll be impressed with the results.