I like to excercise at home, away from the creepy culture of gyms. I’ll go for a run if I can do it early enough that I don’t wind up being one of the inconsiderate louts that take sidewalks hostage from people with shit to do by threat of trampling.
So, fitness videos are my friend. Except that so many of them are awful.
Here’s a few things every fitness video but a handful are f***ing up:
1: the outwardly chipper but inwardly dead instructor.
I’m already doing the workout; if I enjoy it, I’ll do it again, and probably look up the instructor’s other videos. If not, no amount of hollowly encouraging prattle will make up for that. Telling me what a great job I’m doing every few seconds doesn’t work, because I’m over 4, and I realize that a prerecorded video has no insight into my performance.
2: The needlessly complicated combination.
The perfect complement to the condescension of #1 is the rapid succession of moves in combinations so intricate, a degree in choreography is the only possible buffer against the sense that you’re an uncoordinated hominid throwback lacking in the basic intelligence necessary to be healthy.
3: the lies.
If you tell me how many more to do, or how much longer to do it, then I’ll know; what I will not do is throw a tantrum because I think it’s too many or too long. When you lie to me and say “four more” then throw out “eight more” you tell me that’s what you think of me: that I am a petulant child prone to arbitrary tantrums.
Broadly, my complaint about fitness videos is that they seem to show contempt for their audience.
I shouldn’t conclude this post, however, without mentioning at least a couple fitness video instructors who I think are doing it right. Cameron Shayne’s Budokon videos combine yoga and martial arts in a simple, straightforward manner. I usually do budokon with another workout, since it’s a little light.
Ilaria Montagnani’s Atletica workout is challenging, but never as a result of having to keep up with complicated combinations; you repeat simple moves that engage your whole body, while swinging dumbbells in your fists. It feels great.
I also like a lot of Rodney Yee’s yoga videos, particularly Yoga Burn & Ultimate Power Yoga.