Musings on exercise videos (yes, it’s Friday)

Over the past year, both Michael and I have been in get-fitter-than-we-have-been mode. We watch our diets, and we have been exercising. He’s lost nearly 30  pounds; I’ve lost about 10. For where we were and what we were doing, this is a reasonable place to be, and we are happy with our successes.

His exercise is basically calisthenics (the kind you did in high school), for an hour as he listens to podcasts. I tried his workout a couple of times, and, dear reader, I HATED IT. (Not that he likes it, but his stubborn comes in handy in these times). I’ve always been more of a dance and yoga kind of person, so I’ve been trying to do a mixture of dance-based cardio workouts, along with walking back and forth to work when weather permits.

Let me talk to you about the Official Dirty Dancing Workout [warning: link makes noise]. I imprinted on Dirty Dancing in a huge way, to put it mildly.

No, there was never a moment when I wasn’t going to own it once I learned of its existence. And then I got sent a copy by darling Christa, who beat me to the purchase and gleefully mailed it along when I mentioned its existence on FaceBook. *hugs her*

It is… interesting. It is definitely higher-energy and more challenging/strenuous than the Dancing With The Stars Latin Cardio DVD I’d been using (I think Maksim is pretty and Cheryl is a firecracker, okay? The point is I’m *exercising*).

But this…this is just weird. It’s kind of like Dirty Dancing and Strictly Ballroom had a snarky baby. The DVD came out during the tour of the stage version of the show, I think. The female instructor is Australian, and the male instructor is (I think) American. Random backup dancers are random.

Everyone is going through the motions, and the routines are appropriately structured and all…and they have those I’ll-smile-if-it-kills-me looks on their faces as they tape their segments for the umpteenth time.

And it’s very hard to tell if they are mocking the whole thing or not. It’s riiight on that line between earnest and completely and utterly camp.  I was describing it to Bear when we were chatting and she pointed out that it was basically the Uncanny Valley of exercise videos, from my description.


I can’t look away. I can’t decide if I’m enjoying myself or not.

But on the bright side, I keep doing the exercise…



About Lynne M. Thomas

Lynne M. Thomas is a nine time Hugo Award winning editor and podcaster. In her day job, she is Head of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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