Video Killed The Class Instructor Star?


I grew up in the eighties so when it comes to working out in front of the tv, I was pretty much there when fitness videos really took off and seemed to go from strength to strength.
Fitness vids were huge, with Jane Fonda taking the crown as queen of fitness, her workout video was the biggest selling and she would eventually make a whopping 22 of them selling 17million copies collectively – AND what’s more, she’s still making them!
For us in Blighty, the Green Goddess and Mad Lizzie were soon in on the action on our breakfast TV screens, giving us a daily does of fairly gentle aerobics.
The nineties best selling fitness video came from Cindy Crawford aka The Body, and Mr Motivator and his obscenely er……. bright lycra unitards pumped it up on breakfast telly.
In the naughties we lost our regular TV workouts, but it certainly didn’t stop the trend for working out in front of the TV and Davina MacColl is probably our biggest success having now released 12 DVDs.
The number of celebrities both male and female that have made exercise videos over the years is unreal. I think one of the reasons for their success however, is as well as letting us the public get an understanding of how they lost weight etc, I know a lot of guys that have watched the videos simply to see a particular celebrity getting into some interesting positions whilst wearing very little clothing.
I have tried a few of the videos myself – well I say a few – but actually it’s probably too many to mention – from Ryan Giggs Yoga Type workout, to Tae Bo, to the Ministry of Sound’s Pump It Up (which followed in the success of the music video for Eric Pryd’s  “Call on me”), and I’m sure I’m not the only one, who’s first watch of a new video is not dressed in my sports kit and trying it out, but sat on the sofa with a bag of crisps – ha ha
The naughties also saw a move from TV screens to computer screens (and more recently phones!).  Thousands of personal trainers and instructors now put out regular workout videos on their YouTube channels. With some even becoming so popular that the video workout has switched to real classes in fitness clubs like Insanity, and others providing an On Demand service, so that you can do your favourite classes at home, or since it’s available on your phone or tablet – while you’re on holiday!
Some centres are now taking it even further an have virtual classes with the video projected onto the wall with specialist lighting and works particularly well for spin classes where it can be like cycling on a rollercoaster.
It’s this combination of streaming web workouts, smartphone apps and virtual classes that has some class instructors worrying that they will be out of a job! I know of at least one club, that only has “virtual” classes!
Fitness videos in their various formats have done so well for a number of reasons – for one it means that you can workout at home without the potential embarrassment of making any wrong moves, or any needing any special kit or the latest fashion trend (you could even workout in your pants if you wanted), and if it gets too hard you can simply stop and not have to answer to anyone about it.
Secondly, it means that you can try something new. For every class type, there is a workout video you can do at home – pilates, street dance, interval training, weights…. there’s a video aimed at all levels, genders and abilities.
Finally, it’s a lot cheaper than a gym membership!
While I would agree that fitness videos are great because they empower you do give it a go and can provide a really good workout – I think they do have a certain place in someone’s exercise routine.
They are brilliant as a quick fix, or if you’re just starting, however….  they can never replace the buzz or team bond of a group exercise class and because there is no-one else with you, you also miss out on someone checking your technique to make sure you’re exercising safely or to make sure you are pushing yourself and if you’re not really working out or having fun, there is the risk that you will think it’s not a great workout and stop!
In this disposable/on demand society we live in – just like most other things you watch these days, once you’ve seen it once or twice, it then tends to get left on the shelf and even more so –  don’t fall into the trap of binge watching and actually start doing something!
Until next time….