Downs & Ups
We Bought a Drum

Amalah + Exercise = ErrorDoesNotCompute

(Greetings! This post is sponsored by pvBody.)

I am not much of a work-outer. I've had my moments of fitness dedication, but that's all they usually end up being: Moments.

Fleeting moments of Going! To! The Gym!...immediately followed by months and months of listlessly watching the membership fees auto-deduct from my bank account before working up the energy to cancel. (Usually by claiming that I was moving. Sometimes I would wait until I actually WAS moving, just to spare my squishy, out-of-shape self the trouble of coming up with a convincing lie.)

One time I got obsessed with Couch to 5K and stuck with it for...I don't know. Maybe until the 3K mark. The weather got hot, then the weather got cold, then I got bored with my running mix music choices and then there was a lot of good TV on, or something.

Yoga, pilates, kickboxing...all things I tried once or twice before losing interest. (Or, in the case of yoga, once or twice before managing to sprain an ass-cheek so hard I could barely walk for days, so like SCREW THAT, HIPPIES.)

But it's obvious now that this pattern cannot continue. I've had three children. I'm turning 35 in a few days. My job is so desk-bound that it doesn't even require the occasional walk down the hall to the printer or copier anymore — I just sliiiiide my chair two feet over to the left. I love to eat ALL THE THINGS, but since having Ike my metabolism has basically decided to go retire in Boca or something. 

(All those pounds I tried so desperately to gain during the pregnancy? The pregnancy weight that I never actually put on thanks to all the months and months of vomiting? Yeah. I weigh more now than I did when I was carring a full-term baby inside my body.)

(As for the weight I lost during that insane juice fast thing, I managed to keep about half of the pounds off. For awhile. And then I went to Vegas and basically ate and drank the entire city under the table. Whoops.)

ANYWAY. All of this windup is basically me procrastinating on telling you my real secret shame:

Photo (94)

Yep. Me and Billy Blanks. Kicking it 1990s style. Though I'm sad to report he no longer sports the blue spandex unitard

I did Tae Bo back in the day when it was uber-popular — on VHS, yo — and you know, it really worked for me. Granted, I was in my very early 20s and 1) had zero children, 2) had my old metabolism, and 3) was too broke to buy enough food to overeat ANYWAY. 

But still, I distinctly remember getting in really good shape from all the invisible speed-bagging and imaginary round-housing. And I also stuck with it for quite awhile, since I found it to be a pretty good stress releaser. I think I continued with it semi-regularly until our VCR broke and we bought ourselves a DVD player, or maybe until we moved to our third-floor condo and I realized that Tae Bo and hardwood floors and cranky downstairs neighbors didn't mix HEY I KNOW I'LL JUST JOIN A GYM INSTEAD.

(Cue the wah wah wah waaaaahhhh sound.)

So whatever. I'm done with the trendy workout fads that everybody else is doing and swearing by. You will never see me at CrossFit or running a marathon, because I'm at home, ungracefully punching the air and sweating and grunting and trying not to kick my toddler's head.  

It may not be cool, but at least 1) I'm actually DOING SOMETHING, and 2) hey, it's not Sweatin' To The Oldies, though I'd never knock that one either, because my mom and I used to do that together when I was in junior high and I always thought it was pretty fun and oh my God you can get the complete collection for like, 30 bucks gotta go BRB.


This post is sponsored by pvBody, who offer awesome monthly boxes of designer fitness apparel customized to your style and favorite kind of workout. While Tae Bo wasn't an option on their style quiz, I absolutely LOVE the leggings and workout top they chose for me. Eat your heart out, Billy, I may be panting and wishing for death by minute 45 but I LOOK SUPER CUTE. 

USE THIS LINK and get a $15 Lululemon gift card AND 25% off your first box when you sign up for a membership. New Year's resolutions, here we all come, with a little help of getting shiny new clothes every month to remind you to stick with your workout goals this time, AMY. 




I do VHS TAPES!!! from the 80's taped off TV WITH commercials in between because I love Gilad so much (even thought I think he still has current shows on a cable channel I don't have) AND I'm not that much older than you.


Yoga. "SCREW YOU, HIPPIES" Yes to very much YES! I hate yoga. I HAVE to do something and I too have been eating all the things. I had Taebo on VHS also...also pre-kids and belly flab...I will go back to my boring treadmill Jan 1.


I know this sounds really bandwagon-y, but I started Zumba about a year ago and it was the only thing that has kept me in shape. I lost about 10 pounds since then, but the best thing is that I really want to keep doing it. I've met a huge group of women through Zumba and I actually get mad if I'm not able to go, like all "Stupid work and kids! Getting in the way of my Zumba!" All kidding aside, it really is a great program.


Billy Blanks is the MAN. Maybe I'll bust out my old VHS tapes and fire up the VCR and join you.


Oh, the Zumba... I love it - but all I can think while doing it is, "my kids aren't even in grade school yet and they would be MORTIIFIED if they saw me right now." BUT - there are women in the class as old as my mom (it's at the local rec center) and they are rockin' it (or attempting to, at least), so I suck it up and try to stand right behind the person in front of me so I can't see myself in the mirror.


Oh my word. I did Sweatin' to the Oldies with my Mom too. I also went on walks with her early in the morning armed with our Walkman and Richard's cassette tape of music and him coaching us on.


OMG I loved Billy Blanks and I was never fitter in my life. I really miss the '90s...


I've been doing yoga. It helps. I'm also into Zumba lately but then I switch up and get all racist on you and tell you I do Zumba Go-Go because I'm all DC SE Hood and Shit (I wish I knew a gang sign.)

So, um, yeah. I still have some VHS tapes (granted they're on a very high shelf and have black marker across their titles because I have kids now WHAT KIND OF MOVIES IS NOT THE POINT. Hell, I still have cassettes. And a cassette player. I can totally give an 80s by pretending we're in the 80s party. Play you some Force MDs.)


Tae Bo on VHS was my most successful attempt at regular working out until I finally got into running a few years ago. I found all of the punching pretty cathartic. I can still see the face of the one coworker I used to picture punching back in my tiny studio apartment in Alexandria. I do like yoga, but only because while I completely lack any athletic ability whatsoever, I am naturally flexible. So yoga is the first and only sporty-type thing I've ever been good at right off the bat. I still suck at balance, but I look good during the bendy parts.


I'd love to know what your kids think about the workout - especially Noah and Ezra since they're involved in martial arts. Can they follow along at all?

I'm sure that Ike just sits there going, "Hah, Mommy looks silly."

Lisa Y

I am currently at a weight I once boasted I'd never see again unless I was pregnant! (I'm not pregnant. I checked because that would have been a great excuse.) I rarely exercise because that would involve leaving the house and my kids are all little and once they are in bed YEAH RIGHT, I'M SPENDING PRECIOUS FREEEE TIME AT THE GYM. All of my workout tapes were just that--tapes. But now I'm thinking if I got myself a DVD (and Billy would be a top choice) it would be exercise for me and entertainment for my kids as they currently would try to join in and then probably just laugh at me!


I cannot stick to an exercise plan to save my ever-loving soul, although I did complete the 30 Day Shred once {after 7 or so unsuccessful attempts that never made it past day 12}. It worked pretty well until I followed it up with the 30 Day Fancy Cheese and Wine so, uh, not smart.
My favorite work out by far has been Just Dance for Wii, I can do it with my kids and as long as I keep the curtains closed my dignity stays semi-intact.

Happy Tae-Boing!


I've had my lifetime monthly rate gym membership since college, and I kept paying even when I forgot to go for five years that one time. Now I go every day, it's my therapy and the only goddamn minute I get to myself.

So I maybe did the quiz thing wrong but I don't think they showed me the outfit they want to sell me... it's cheap if it's good, but what if it sucks?


My neighbor is a dedicated Taeboer - she says it is the only workout that works for her and you can really tell when she's been doing it regularly, she looks great! Good luck!

Brigid Keely

I'd love to sign up with them but alas, this is yet another clothing company that doesn't care to accept money from fat people.


Richard Simmons and Sweating to the Oldies is my secret shame. I love that man - he's just so positive.


*looks over shoulders*

I LOVE Leslie Sansone's walking videos. She might be a bit too chipper for some, but she's so positive. She's got a few videos on YouTube, too, for extra convenience (and saving money, too!).


Tae Bo rocks! In my 20's it was my favorite winter workout. I should go dig up my old VHS tapes. Good luck! Thanks for the nostalgia.


Holy crap! I did Sweatin'to the Oldies with my mom too as a preteen.

Kristen McD

I can't knock Taebo but you'll get quicker results with weight training. Muscles yo. They're awesome. ;)


My Top Tip is very simple - find something you can imagine still enjoying enough to GetUpAndActuallyDoIt in a year's time.

Which prob means something that is more in the 'slightly out of breath' than 'I might actually die any minute now' category. And something that is Fun and Me Time and all that malarkey.


Oh! And! Second Top Tip! If you DO end up going to an actual group class, *stand in the front row*. Yes, you may feel a bit awkward to begin with, but you will get better, much faster and stay more motivated as you can actually see what the instructor's feet are doing and there's no-one in front of you to bang into or trip over.


Thank you for not mocking Richard Simmons. He's just SO over the top, but he has helped so many people. I secretly adore him for proudly letting his freak flag fly. :)


I used to love Tae Bo! I'm currently in love with a spin class I take 3 times a week in Bethesda, you should meet me sometime. First one is free and than I bet you would be hooked!


If you love Tae Bo, you might want to try TurboJam. It's got a lot of the same moves as Tae Bo (cue the air punches), and you can get the videos fairly inexpensively on ebay. TurboJam always seems more fun than exercise even though it's a really good workout.


Wait, wait, have you seen Billy Blanks JUNIOR? He does "Cardioke" - it's like the best of Tae Bo and Sweatin to the Oldies. His wife sings the cooldown song, which she wrote, in one too. Not to be missed.


I find workout videos in general to be a Godsend, but I get bored so I like to do a variety. ( has excellent reviews of basically every fitness dvd ever made.)

I refused to do them for ages. I'm a Runner, I'm much too cool for that... But the fact that you can do them whether or not you have childcare makes all the difference in the world. When I first started the kids tended to get underfoot (I actually wacked one of them across the face once. I felt terrible, but they've been much more cautious since then!) Now they're pretty much over it and they go play while I'm exercising. I figure I look like an idiot but I'm being a good role model for my kids. And I'm more fit than I've been in 10 years!


Oh, and I would second the Billy Blanks Jr. recommendation!


Too bad they don't have anything for actual fat people who like to work out.


Richard Simmons is how my mom got back into shape after baby number 5. He is also who I turned to in my early twenties when I was on Weight Watchers. "Sweatin' to the Oldies 2" was my favorite.

Moral of this story: I really don't know.


Amy, you may want to tell your sponser that people who need XL pants or tops also want cute workout clothes. I was excited to check out the site until i saw it only offered up to large (which seemed a small large at that).


Just want to say go you! Any exercise is better than no exercise! And doing it regularly will bring your metabolism back from that vacation in Boca ;-)

College at Thirty

I have Billy Blanks DVD's, and I love them. I also go to my local community center for "aerobic kick-punch" on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which is pretty much Tae Bo with a group of people who dot mind the imaginary bags and roundhouse kicks. Do what makes you happy! Don't be ashamed! Whatever gets you moving is what's important.


While I get that it's any company's prerogative to sell whatever they wish, I'm in the same boat as Brigid and Carrie up there. I would love to find a company that offers this kind of service to those of us who happen to be huge but also work out 6 days a week. While there may be a hell of a lot fewer women who are a size 22 who do 5ks and yoga regularly, I would still gladly give my money to someone who recognized that it may be harder, but we like to look cute while we jiggle, too.


I love Billy & Richard, did both of them with my oldest, who has since turned 18 & not just ran but joined the USMC bet they aren't disco sweating it out, my fave by the way. Currently preggo with #3 & just prior to impregnation got caught up in infomercial hell & spent over $100 on the zumba DVD collection which I will at least try upon eviction of said fetus BUT I've always loved what Billy did to my body even though I spent that hour kicking/punching him!


I've been wanting to lose weight for some time now, however, when I don't see instant results - I lose motivation =( I know losing weight is not something that happens overnight, but it's just... blah.

I love Billy Blanks! He's such a motivator when it comes to losing weight! My fiancee and I used to rent his DVD's from Family Video! We used to exercise and burn calories before bed time. =)

Have a Merry Christmas!


Pansy Lane

omg, my mom and I used to do Sweating to the Oldies together too, that must be a THING. Oh man I want to go buy it now, I haven't done it in ages. It used to be so FUN.


Just adding another "what about the big girls?" plaintive comment in case the PV people care to know...I went right to the site, thinking this was what might get me back to the gym after my latest...hiatus...but no cute clothes for me :(.

Mrs Q

I have about 8 tae bo DVDs. Good stuff and enjoyed it regularly until I back-kicked my sneaky toddler into the couch.

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