My Week With ’80s Fitness Legends!

March 29, 2020

I’m thankful to have gym equipment at home, because with the gyms being closed due of the lockdown, I can still have a nice workout. But last week I needed a little motivation, so I gave myself a challenge to workout, all week long, with fitness icons from the ’80s!

The challenge was simple: I had to complete a different and new-to-me workout video every night of the week, Monday through Friday. All the videos had to be from the ’80s and be available, in their entirety, on YouTube.

MONDAY – Richard Simmon’s Dance Your Pants Off: I started my week with my friend Richard. I spent four great years taking Richard’s classes in Beverly Hills, and it was his friendship and support that got me started on my weight loss path.

I’ve done a lot of Richard’s videos, though, so finding a new-to-me one was a bit of a challenge – but then I found Dance Your Pants Off. It’s actually from 1996, but it’s classic Richard, so I’m counting it. It has great songs, a block party feel, and Richard’s style of fun, lively dance aerobics that will keep you moving.

This is the most beginner-friendly video of the bunch, and the most inclusive. There are men and women of various sizes dancing with Richard, including my buddy Helen, a Slimmons friend who taught classes there on the days that Richard didn’t.

There’s some fun, goofy moments, like when the waitress from the diner stops by, and when, during the cool down, it’s revealed that Amanda McBroom, who wrote the Bette Midler song “The Rose,” is there singing along to her hit as everyone stretches.

TUESDAY – Jane Fonda’s Workout: This 1982 classic is the biggest selling VHS tape of all time, and it’s easy to see why: it’s a total body workout, and a great one at that. Vogue called it the “best exercise class out there” in 2018!

Whereas Richard’s videos are aerobics-based, this video is built primarily around toning and stretching all the sections of your body, with a short cardio section at the beginning. You work your arms, waist, abdominals, legs, and butt. You need a mat or towel for the floor work, and that’s it.

Jane is outright mesmerizing to watch, and so ridiculously strong and flexible. And so much ’80s hair! I did the 30-minute routine and just about collapsed afterward. And that’s when I realized I had done the “beginner” workout… and there was an “advanced” workout too! I decided to save that for later in the week.

WEDNESDAY – Jazzercise: By far the most quintessential ’80s video of the bunch. Judi Sheppard Missett, who founded the iconic Jazzercise brand (which is still going strong, by the way, with 3,000 locations worldwide), leads this video, her first, from 1983. There are costume changes for every song, and Lisa is so spirited that she’s practically a Kristen Wiig character on Saturday Night Live: singing along to the music, winking, and encouraging you the whole time.

There’s a lot of aerobics in this one, and plenty of toning in the second half. A lot of the workout requires you to stand in the ballet second position, so there’s lots of plies, which are great for the thighs!

THURSDAY – Denise Austin’s The Complete Workout: Denise is the fitnesses celebrity I knew the least about. But she’s released dozens and dozens of videos over the decades, and had workout shows on cable. I’m not sure if this is her first video, but it’s definitely one of her early ones.

This video, from 1988, made the smallest impression on me, although I must be in the minority because she has a large fan base. It just find it a little generic and unmemorable. Denise is a good teacher, though, and it’s a killer total body workout with lots of toning and strength.

FRIDAY – Jane Fonda’s Workout: I ended the week by circling back to Jane! While the beginner workout I did on Tuesday was 30 minutes, the advanced workout was closer to 50 or 55, and it is definitely difficult.

(Start the video at the 34:20 mark for the advanced workout.)

It’s the entire beginner workout, but in each section they insert a chunk of more advanced moves: tougher leg lifts, sit-ups, and stretches that make Jane look like a contortionist. By this point in the week, I was pretty sore already – I had done three total body workouts back-to-back-to-back, and started the week with Richard’s moves. But I did my best with Jane, modified a couple moves, and got through it.

CHALLENGE COMPLETED! Is there a classic, vintage workout video you think I should try? Let me know in the comments section!

Me and Richard after Monday’s workout.

Keep it up, David!

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Still Breaking Records on My Bowflex Max Trainer!

March 25, 2020

I’ve had my Bowflex Max Trainer for five and a half years. You could technically round that up to a decade! (But I won’t.) It’s an excellent piece of cardio equipment, and I love it as much now as I ever have. It’s a cross between an elliptical and a stair machine, and it really gets my heart rate going and engages all the muscles I use during my stair races.

One of my favorite Max Trainer pictures, from 2015.

Of course I brought my Max Trainer with me to Michigan when I moved last year, and Read the rest of this entry »


Yippie-Ki-Yay, My First Power Hour of 2020! (Oakbrook Terrace Fight For Air Climb Race Recap)

February 16, 2020

It’s the weekend… time for a stair race! This one was a Power Hour, in a 31-story skyscraper. So the question isn’t ‘How fast did I make it to the top?’ It’s ‘How many times did I climb it in an hour?’

The race was the Fight For Air Climb, put on by and benefiting the Greater Chicago chapter of the American Lung Association. It happened Read the rest of this entry »


I Felt Like a Total Moron At My First 2020 Race… But At Least I Have a Good Story to Tell! (Bop to the Top Race Recap)

January 30, 2020

My goal for 2020 is to compete in five stair races I’ve never done before, in cities where I’ve never raced before. I’m already 20% done with my goal, because on January 18th, I competed in the 37th annual Bop to the Top in Indianapolis. It’s one of the oldest stair races in the country, in the second-tallest building in Indiana, OneAmerica Tower.

OneAmerica Tower is 38 stories, but the race is 36, with a total of 780 steps. When you register, you can sign up for a Single Climb, or the Triple Step, which is three climbs. I signed up for both. If I’m driving five hours each way to compete, I want to compete as much as I can! Add up the two events, and that’s four climbs up the stairwell. 144 floors. 3,120 steps. But, due to a ridiculously stupid and completely avoidable mistake on my part, I ended up climbing even more than that! Read the rest of this entry »


Some New Group Fitness Classes Have Me Pumped For 2020!

January 14, 2020

I mentioned in my Year-End Progress Report that I haven’t been taking as many group fitness classes as I have in the past. But I want to change that, so on the first weekend of 2020, I went and got super sweaty at a fitness class I was trying for the first time.

This picture was taken right after Read the rest of this entry »


2019 Year-End Progress Report

January 5, 2020

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a delightful holiday season. Here’s a really awesome Christmas present that my sister-in-law Alexis gave me: a portrait of me and JJ as characters on “The Simpsons!” I love it so much.

Now let’s get into it. Time for my yearly wrap up. Time for my 2019 Year-End Progress Report!  Read the rest of this entry »


Racing Up The Tallest* Outdoor Stairway in Michigan! (Pine Mountain 500 Race Recap)

August 7, 2019

*probably

Last weekend I competed in my 29th race of the year, and my second in Michigan’s gorgeous – and incredibly remote – Upper Peninsula. I earned the biggest, heaviest finisher’s medal I’ve ever seen!

The race was called the Pine Mountain 500, and it was held at the Pine Mountain Ski Resort in Iron Mountain. There’s a ski jump there, and alongside the jump is a 500-step stairway. Read the rest of this entry »