Remember Tae Bo? It’s now a quarantine kickstart while working out from home
Editor's note: Part 19 of USA TODAY's Working Out From Home (#WOFH) series focuses on getting some living room exercise with a taste of martial arts under a highly motivating instructor who grew to fame near the turn of the millennium. Sign up for Good Sports, our weekly newsletter that will bring you more home workout tips + stories of the good throughout the world of sports:
In the 1990s, fitness guru Billy Blanks was reaching millions over VHS tapes with his creation for the mixed martial arts phenomenon — Tae Bo. The practice incorporated taekwondo and boxing, and Blanks was the instructor maintaining a philosophy that a healthy workout in the comfort of your own home could be the recipe for a happy lifestyle.
Nowadays, with Americans quarantined in their houses to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Blanks' do-it-from-home approach and emphasis on mind-over-matter are as relevant as they ever were in Tae Bo's heyday. Blanks feels like his style of fitness was made for times like these.
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"When Tae Bo first came out, that's what it was all about — working from the inside out," Blanks told USA TODAY Sports. "Especially during these tough times, we're at mental warfare and my thing is, let me work you out to help you find a place of peace inside yourself to deal with everything, so that when you go back to normal life, you're feeling 3-4 times better."
Billy Blanks, 54, center, leads his Tae Bo exercise class. HANDOUT. (Via MerlinFTP Drop) (Photo: usa today)
Like so many of us in the working world, Blanks has been using Zoom to connect with others, and that connection plus the reach of social media have allowed him to inspire with his longtime methods to people as far away as Japan, Germany and Switzerland.
"It's funny, when we first came out with Tae Bo, I wanted people to feel like I was inside their house with them, motivating them," Blanks recalled. "Now it feels even more like I'm really doing that. There's more opportunity now."
No need to dust off the DVD player or VCR (google it if you're a Gen Zer), Tae Bo is on YouTube — with a specialized Quarantine workout and an entire living room series. The 64-year-old also designed a mini workout to maximize the start to your day here at USA TODAY Sports.
Billy Blanks, 64, is still making Tae Bo magic happen here in 2020. (Photo: Courtesy of Billy Blanks)
Blanks, who was a seven-time world karate champion in the 1980s, sculpts most of his small workouts with boxing, kickboxing, dance and aerobics all in one. Mostly, though, he incorporates martial arts principles for his standing-in-place cardio workout cycles.
"Martial arts is over a thousand years old from generations ago, and it's proven that if you move your body, you change from the inside out," he said. "When you have the kick and the punch in the workout, you can feel like warriors to take on life. Fitness, if it's used in the right manner, can help you overcome any mental obstacle."
Blanks encourages the following five-part stationary exercise routine to begin your day with a mini "kickstart."
► Half butterfly: right leg goes out with both arms rotating out.
► Half butterfly: left leg goes out with both arms rotating out.
► High-knee: right knee goes up with body positioned to the left and hands up.
► High-knee: left knee goes up with body positioned to the right and hands up.
► Body twist: Transition into punches
Blanks notes: "Just that small workout can get your day started right. Like people go to Starbucks for their espresso, this workout can do the same thing. It'll wake you up and get you on your way. It helps you put on your power."
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