4 cassette set - VHS.
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