Monday, April 21, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Tracie Long Longevity: Defining Shape ~ 2 WINNERS

Tracie Long has long been a renowned trainer in the home workout market. She first hit the scene as a background exerciser in the original Firm workout videos. Making her way to the front of the class,Tracie Long made the shift to Master Instructor and began leading many of the workouts. Building on her roots from the FIRM and decades of experience in the fitness industry, Tracie Long founded Tracie Long Fitness. Keep reading for a detailed review of Tracie Long Longevity Defining Shape DVD and enter to win - TWO winners will each take home one dvd. 

Longevity Series: Defining Shape
Tracie Long, 2009

Tracie works out alone in a nice studio. You will need dumbbells and a med ball for this .49 minute mostly strength workout. The dvd is fully chaptered and includes premixes.

After a warmup exercises include dip & overhead press combos, front & side raise combo, upper back fly, tri kickbacks, squat variation combo adding tempo changes & balance challenges, bi curl & plies, pushups, pliet & upright row, shoulder press, side lunge-squat-and overhead press combo, side step squats, deadlifts, and concludes with a balance series, lying leg work and a core routine before the stretch.

I rate this a solid intermediate routine that can be made more or less challenging depending on the weight you use. Lots of great multi-muscle combos and tons of tempo changes keep it interesting & keep your muscles guessing. I heavied up and got a GREAT workout! Tracie is a great instructor and I really enjoyed this workout. I received this dvd to review.

#enter to #win @tracielongchat Defining Shape DVD on @fitnessforus #giveaway  & LINK

The winner will be selected at random. Contest open to US residents, no PO Boxes! I received samples of these products to review. I was in no other way compensated for my honest reviews. All thoughts and ideas expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.  I can not be held responsible for user errors in entering this contest, shipping errors, postage errors, damage in transit, or undelivered prizes. Please see my disclosures page for full disclaimers. Do not copy, in whole, or in part any portion of any postings on my blog. Do not repost my content on any other site without my explicit consent. All of my postings belong solely to Actual prizes may differ than those above.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Interview With Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp Creator: Ariane Hundt (3-13-2012)

The Belles recently had the pleasure of reviewing Ariane’s new Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp dvd. We loved the workout and are super excited about our Q&A session with Ariane below. Ariane Hundt has trained thousands of participants on New York City’s iconic Brooklyn Bridge. Her workout, New York City’s toughest, promises to change your body in 5 sessions!

Belles: How did you get started in the fitness industry?
Ariane: I quit my career in pharmaceutical market research 5 years ago to pursue my passion for fitness and nutrition full-time. I had always wanted to learn as much as I could about how food and exercise can create healtly, lean and fit bodies. i spent years studying on my own until i realized it was much more than an interest and had to become my career. After quitting my job business I trained clients one-on-one and got my Master’s in Nutrition. The Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp took off almost immediately after its inception four years ago.
Belles: What was your motivation for creating the Brooklyn Bridge Workout dvd?

Ariane: Thousands of people have taken the classes and seen great results in a matter of 5 sessions. I wanted to make this unique workout available to anyone, whether they lived in New York or on the other side of the world. The unique thing about the DVD is that it was shot on the Brooklyn Bridge and you get to enjoy the amazing skyline views as you’re working your entire body. The workout is challenging time after time, so don’t expect to make it through without stopping for the first few times. It’s designed to keep your muscles challenged so they won’t get used to the workout. Additionally, I have been using a set of very unique resistance bands that target trouble zones like nothing else. The short bands work saddlebag areas and create amazing leg definition and a lifted butt. The long bands help build lean and defined arm and shoulder muscles and slim your waist.
Belles: Do you have any future workout dvds planned and if so, what can you share with us?
Ariane: I’m planning a Slim & Strong DVD. Slim & Strong is my indoor workout with an addiction factor. Using dumbbells, resistance bands and our own body weight we produce a massive calorie burn and fat burning effects. The best part is that the afterburn, the amount of calories burned after your workout, is elevated for up to 48 hours after because of the intensity. The workout is highly effective and reshapes every single inch of your body. Some people have compared one hour of Slim & Strong to 3 hours on their own in the gym. Stay tuned!
Belles: What is the best piece of fitness advice ever received or given to a client?

Ariane: The best piece of fitness advice you should know is the following: If you want to create lasting changes in your body, don’t rely on working out alone. Workouts do change the shape of your body and help you get lean and strong, but 80% of fat burning is the result of a clean diet. Feel free to check out my fat loss advice on my Slim & Strong Blog:
Belles: What fitness myth would she like to dispel (or see disappear entirely)?

Ariane: Fitness myth: The worst myth still out there and promoted by trainers such as Tracy Anderson is that lifting heavy weights will make you bulky. It is absolutely impossible for women to build big muscles unless you have testosterone in your body and lift an insane amount of weight and supplement with various enhancers. In order to get lean, defined and see muscle definition, lifting weights is key. Cardio can burn muscle if overdone and won’t change the shape of your body. So, ladies, please pick up the heaviest weight you can lift with good form and join the ranks of Slim & Strong Boot Campers in New York City!
Thank you Ariane for sharing your insights with us and our readers!! For more information about Ariane & her Brooklyn Boot Camp workout:
Visit the Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp Website
Like the Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp on Facebook
Follow Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp on Twitter
Check out the Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp Blog

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Interview: Q&A Session with Coach Nicole (1-20-2012)

Coach Nicole Nichols is a Fitness expert and Editor for, America’s #1 diet & fitness site. She’s known for her approachable style that makes working out fun and accessible for all. Nicole has a bachelor’s degree in health promotion and education, specializing in exercise and fitness. Nicole maintains several fitness certifications, including ACE Personal Training and AFAA Group Fitness Instruction. Coach Nicole just released SparkPeople 28 Day Bootcamp by Acacia.

Belles: What can you tell us about yourself and how you got started in the fitness industry?
Coach Nicole: For as long as I can remember, I was interested in health and fitness, but mostly as a hobby. I started out my college education as an art/design major, but switched to health and fitness three years into college. I knew I wanted to do something to help people and that I was passionate about healthy living. My goal was to be a fitness writer, so landing a writing/editing gig at while still in college was a dream come true. In college I started working part-time as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, and I still train groups and individuals as my second job because I love it so much. My background in fitness and my job at SparkPeople led me to creating more than 50 free workout videos for YouTube that have been viewed more than 15 million times to date, all of which led to the creation of our most recent DVD “SparkPeople: 28 Day Boot Camp.”
Belles: Motivation and support are attributable factors in achieving successful and lasting results when on a weight loss journey. You are a favorite on SparkPeople, what do you find works best to motivate people?
Coach Nicole: It has to be fun and enjoyable. I will only do workouts that I actually like to do. I would never tell someone to exercise in a way that gets better results or burns the most calories if they are going to hate it. The only workout you will ever stick with is one that you want to do or can get excited about. Similarly, you have to change things up to keep your program fresh and interesting. If it’s starting to feel old, try something new—that goes for fitness and food.
Belles: Having helped may people through SparkPeople, what do you find is the best piece of advice for someone just starting their journey?
Coach Nicole: Be realistic and start small. People want to take the weight off overnight even though they slowly gained it all over a decade. Or they hope to pull weight-loss numbers like they see on “The Biggest Loser.” That’s not reality, and it’s not realistic. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people complaining about losing “only” a pound in a week. A pound is awesome and it’s progress! If you set your sights on losing a pound, you’d be ecstatic. It’s when you set your goals to lose 8 pounds a week and don’t reach it that you lose motivation.
More specifically, I’d say the best dietary change you can make is to start tracking your food—diligently. It will be so eye opening for you that you’ll learn to (and be motivated to) make even more changes to improve your diet than if you just applied a bunch of diet rules to yourself. Fitness-wise, I’d say it’s all about making it a habit. Just 10-20 minutes most days of the week will help you do that. Put it on your calendar like an appointment, not an afterthought.
Belles: For the readers that are not familiar with SparkPeople, what can you tell us about the plethora of fantastic advice, support and tools they can find on the site?
Coach Nicole: So much! is the #1 ranked weight-loss and healthy living website in America. We have more than 11 million members worldwide taking advantage of our 100% free tools, content and community features. We have so many amazing cool things that it’s hard to even begin a short list, but here are a few of the things you can access when you create your free account: a personalized diet and nutrition plan, free food and fitness trackers, hundreds of workout ideas, tons of different newsletters on just about any topic, recipes and recipe tool that allows you to calculate the calorie and nutrition facts in any recipe you make, support from the most positive community on the internet—people just like you and our very own experts. That’s just a start. We even have free mobile apps, workout videos, 5K training plans, and SO MUCH MORE. You just have to check it out to see for yourself!
Belles: You just released the 28 Day Boot Camp workout for Sparkpeople through Acacia. What can you tell us about the DVD making experience?
Coach Nicole: It made me feel like a real rockstar! The experience was intense, but it was very fun, too. I love teaching fitness and creating workouts, so it was a fun project for me. But it was a lot of work for many months on end to create the workouts, finalize them, practice them for many weeks (which not only makes for a good shoot but also conditions you for 12-hour days of exercising on set). I put a lot of thought into these workouts and wanted to make them as fun and universally appealing as possible. They are by far the best workouts I’ve ever designed!
Belles: You were recently voted, Americas #1 Fan Favorite Personal Trainer to Watch (psst…we voted for you). What did you do when you found out you won? How did it make you feel?
Coach Nicole: Thank you so much! I’m amazed at how many people voted in that competition and I was very excited to win the honor. I think it really shows the power of SparkPeople’s supportive community who have really embraced me as their fitness trainer since the first YouTube video I ever shot in the corner of our office. It was a great feeling and I was very excited for it. The competition ended at midnight on a weeknight, and I was up watching the votes from the edge of my seat all evening long hoping to take the honor. I’m pretty sure I did a huge happy dance and then was so excited that I couldn’t sleep very well despite it being so late at night. In general, I hope this shows a shift in fitness training. I’m a normal person who likes to exercise and I can’t wash laundry on my abs like some other trainers. I think people respond to and are motivated by a friendly exercise instructor who’s just like them, and that’s exactly who I am!
Belles: Do you have any plans to make any future DVDs?
Coach Nicole: I think I am allowed to say that I have a second DVD with Acacia that will be released later this year.  We actually shot it at the same time as 28 Day Boot Camp. In fact,  I just saw the first cover design for it today and I just can’t wait for its release to get here. I love creating workouts and I put a lot of time, thought and effort into them, so I would love to do more DVDs!
Read more about Coach Nicole’s experience filming her latest workout including a look behind the scenes!
To learn more about Coach Nicole Nichols, visit her at
Coach Nicole on Facebook
Coach Nicole on Twitter
Check out her Sparkpeople 28 Day Bootcamp workout available through Acacia!
Thank you to Acacia for putting us in touch with Nicole for the great interview!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Poise Fit & Fierce: Take Back Your Core with Dr. Teri Jory REVIEW

Poise Fit & Fierce: Take Back Your Core with Dr. Teri Jory
Dr. Teri Jory, 2014

Dr. Tery Jory's Fit & Fierce DVD will allow you to train your core and gain beautiful flat-fit abs and a sculpted total body! This DVD is divided into three sections. Dr. Teri Jory is an American Council on Exercise (ACE) trainer, 4th degree black belt, professional ice skater/dancer/choreographer and mother of twins.  

Section 1 (23 minutes): Builds power and sculpts arms and back with inner core activation. Develop upper body and cardio with inner core activation! Jumping jacks and arm pulses in POISE 6th position will pump and sculpt arms and back beautifully while boosting heart rate...all at one time. 

Section 2 (22 minutes): Develops strong legs with inner core activation. Martial arts inspired kicks and ballet style exercises such as heel raises will get your legs as powerful as a black belt, and as toned as a ballerina. 

Section 3 (18 minutes): You'll cut fit and fierce abs with inner-core activation of pelvic floor muscles. Get a fierce outer core using inner core activation! POISE core fit and fierce crunches combined with POISE pelvic thrusts will give you flat-fit abs, a healthy inner core, and tight pelvic floor muscles. 

The POISE technique was born when Teri began experimenting with different body positions and movement, combining body sculpting, martial arts and ballet to get back in shape after giving birth to her twins. For over 14 years, Teri has successfully trained women and men of all levels at her POISE Fitness International Studio in California. I received this dvd to review 

To Purchase This DVD on Amazon, Visit: Poise Fit & Fierce: Take Back Your Core with Dr. Teri Jory

I received samples of these products to review. I was in no other way compensated for my honest reviews. All thoughts and ideas expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Please see my disclosures page for details. Do not copy, in whole, or in part any portion of any postings on my blog. Do not repost my content on any other site without my explicit consent. All of my postings belong solely to

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Vemma: Nutrition Made Easy

With the right nutrients, your body can do amazing things! Vemma products can support your body and enhance overall health.The best ingredients produce the best results ajnd Vemma sources only wildcrafted mangosteen- their key ingredient. Their mangosteen is free from pesticide treatment, to retain its natural benefits. The Vemma formula also incorporates the entire fruit, including the pericarp (rind) and pulp to ensure that you're receiving the highest levels of nutrients.  While it is not required, the Vemma formula has been subjected to the highest
standard of clinical research — two independent, double blind, placebo-controlled studies — in order to demonstrate the benefits it provides for overall health and wellness. I love research behind the foods I eat and I love that they are pesticide free. Best yet it tastes amazing. I really love the taste & can really taste the fruit. 

Based on the results of the studies mentioned above, Vemma is shown to be highly bioavailable and provides:
  • Enhanced immunity*
  • Increased vitamins and antioxidants in the blood*
  • Increased overall health status*
  • Lowering of C-reactive protein*
  • Increased ORAC blood levels for 6 hours after intake*

With 90-plus nutrients, Vemma is a complete, ultra-premium daily antioxidant supplement, that nourishes the body at the cellular level to help protect and defend against everyday impurities. Vemma is available in two 32oz environmentally and economically friendly non-BPA bottles, a 30 day supply as a maintenance dose for one person. The solid nutritional foundation of Vemma starts with its strong cornerstone - the mangosteen. Despite its tiny size, this rare superfruit definitely packs some major antioxidant power and holds true to its "Queen of Fruits" reputation - and it tastes AMAZING. Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit unstable molecules, called free radicals, from damaging our cells. The measurement of an antioxidant's power to neutralize free radicals is referred to as the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) value. The higher the ORAC value, the stronger the compound's capacity and the greater its ability to prevent free-radical damage at the cellular level. Vemma boasts superior antioxidant protection of over 4,800 ORAC units per serving.† †

  • Drink your Vemma and: 
  • Protect and support a healthy heart*
  • Enhance immune response and support your immune system*
  • Create abundant energy*
  • Fight against free radicals*
  • Promote good vision*
  • Support a normal, healthy intestinal tract*
  • Maintain healthy skin, eyes, teeth, gums and hair*
For More Information, Visit: 
Vemma online
Vemma on Twitter
Vemma on Facebook 
I received samples of these products to review. I was in no other way compensated for my honest reviews. All thoughts and ideas expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Please see my disclosures page for details. Do not copy, in whole, or in part any portion of any postings on my blog. Do not repost my content on any other site without my explicit consent. All of my postings belong solely to 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fit as a Pro: Five 10 Minute Full Body Workouts

Fit as a Pro: Five 10 Minute Full Body Workouts 
Lauren Sesselmann, 2014

Lauren works out alone in front of a swimming pool in a nice outdoor set. You will need weights or Lauren says you can sub water bottles if you dont have weights. This dvd contains five 8-10 minute segments. Each segment is set up circuit style and performed two - three times.

Full Body Workout Circuit: Exercises include unweighted squats, star jumps, crab toe touches, bridge and supermans.

Cardio & Agility Circuit: Exercises include running pyramid, shuffle squats, burpees, plank and gorilla hops.

Jumping Circuit: Exercises include jump rope, jump squat floor touches, skaters, tuck jumps.

Ab Series: Exercises include plank side knee pulls, side plank hip drops & arm snake, climber sit-ups, and the hundred with swimmer legs.

Towel Circuit: You will need gliding discs or 4 washcloths for this routine. Exercises include towel Mt climers, sliding pushups on 4 towels, bridge hamstring pulls, and dragging pushups.

I rate these solid intermediate workouts. Some of the moves are higher intensity but Lauren provides plenty of time to set up & prepare for the next exercise. This dvd is mostly cardio and requires little space. I like the 10 minute formats and am always looking for good little cardio workouts so this is def a keeper for me. I received this dvd to review.

For More Information, Visit: 
Fit as a Pro on the web
Fit as a Pro on Facebook
Fit as a Pro on Twitter

I received samples of these products to review. I was in no other way compensated for my honest reviews. All thoughts and ideas expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Please see my disclosures page for details. Do not copy, in whole, or in part any portion of any postings on my blog. Do not repost my content on any other site without my explicit consent. All of my postings belong solely to

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Get Pool Ready with - Burn-FREE Razors!!!  is THE burn-free razor company! I have super sensitive legs and usually have to use an electric razor - which does not shave close as you probably know. So when I was presented with the opportunity to review 800razors I was SUPER excited, though a little leery. Well upon trying them- I am a convert- these babies cause no razor burn or irritation and provide a clean smooth shave! I LOVE THEM! Even better- the price is amazing! The Women's 5-blade razors & 12 cartridges are only $19.95 with FREE shipping and includes 4 free cartridges & crafted handle free! offer both mens & womens razors. I had the pleasure of reviewing the women’s 5-blade razor with a 360-lubricating strip fortified with aloe and vitamin E to ensure your legs, underarms, and bikini area are smooth, burn-free, and ready for the sleeveless tops, short skirts and bathing suits you’ll be wearing to show off your fab body! Get poolside ready with the help of 800razors!

I am SO stoked that I discovered 800razors - I hate using an electric razor and it really doesnt work well for bathing suit season. I am soooooo excited for my upcoming vacation where I will be sitting poolside with freshly close shaven legs thanks to No more razor urn, no more irritation. I know all of you that have sensitive skin like me will LOVE 800razors! I gave one to my niece as she also has sensitive skin and they worked wonders for her as well.

Whats better than a burn free, irritation free shave? A cheap one and thanks to 8000razors you can have both!

Check out their Burn-Free Guarantee:
They want you to try our razors with complete confidence. That’s why they created a BURN-FREE GUARANTEE - If you feel burned (for any reason) they will give you a full refund.
Stated simply, if for any reason you are not fully satisfied with your product, contact their customer service team within 60-days of date of purchase at for return instructions. The last step is for you to send them your return and they will refund you 100% of the product price. It’s as simple as that.

For More Information, Visit:
800razors on the Web
800razors on Facebook
800razors on Twitter
800razors on Pinterest

I received samples of these products to review. I was in no other way compensated for my honest reviews. All thoughts and ideas expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Please see my disclosures page for details. Do not copy, in whole, or in part any portion of any postings on my blog. Do not repost my content on any other site without my explicit consent. All of my postings belong solely to

Monday, April 14, 2014

REVIEW: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution Phase 3 Workouts

Jillian Michaels Body Revolution PHASE 3 Workouts: High-energy circuits to tone muscles and shred off the fat. This set contains the best-of-the-best exercises to attack trouble zones. Two front of the body focused workouts, two back of the body, and an intense cardio workout all at a high intermediate to advanced level to get you in the best shape possible. Workouts 9 & 10 will take you through weeks 9 & 10 and workouts 11 & 12 will finish off your rotation with a bang.

Jillian Michaels, 2012

Jillian works out in a gym set with a group of toned background exercisers. Each dvd is in one folder as pictured above. You will need dumbbells and tubing for some of the exercises. Each workout is done circuit style, with each exercise being performed for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then repeating the circuits, and mixing in a few straight cardio exercises. Each workout contains a built in warmup and cooldown. The warmups & workouts being more intense than the previous phases.

Workout 9 Front Body: (33 min) Exercises include push-up jacks, plank flys, unweighted toe plies, low jacks, down dog to cobra divers, lo to hi plank press ups, down dog to plank knee pulls, crouching burpee hop ups, side thrust burpees, unweighted chair hold, single leg squat to walk out one legged plank, boat to hollow man, band reverse crunch, plank hop ins, curtsy and lat raise, weighted crab drops, side plank rotations, and roll back up to squat hold.

Workout 10 Back Body: (34 min) Exercises include reverse plank leg raises, weighted plyo lunges, weighted dip & hitch kick, runners lunge knee pulls, curtsy & cable chest pull, lunge & chop, weighted squat hold, kettlebell swing & hop up & back, tree squat & bi curl, jump squat & upright rows, superman & upper back fly, weighted rock stars, 1/2 moon hold, static lunge & row, and weighted skater windmills.

Workout 11 Front Body: (36 min) Exercises include unweighted low squat to chair, scorpion push-ups, jump lunges & shoulder press, weighted burpees, down dog diver to chataranga, duck walk, plank kickbacks, crab kicks, cable push-ups, chataranga hold, standing Mt. climbers, dragon stance & lat raise, push-ups w/ hand hopping, Russian twist, knee twist plank, and long jump - hop back.

Workout 12 Back Body: (37 min) Exercises include rib cage pullover & single leg bridge, renegade rows, V sit to X hold, kneel to stand, tuck jumps, crab style bridge push-ups, plank & up back fly, hollow-man & cable pec fly, upper body cable hold dip & glute raise, bi hold & plyo jacks, speed bag & soccer kicks, single leg weighted squat hops, bi curls, crab toe touches, and bi hold & lateral knee hops. 

Cardio 3: (33 min) Exercises are performed for 20 seconds each & done 3X total. They include rockstar jumps, jumping lunges, plank moguls, squat jacks, hi knees drop to push-ups, standing mt. climbers, tuck jumps, runners lunge knee pulls, crab kicks, plank hop ins, down dog hop ins, long jump up & hop back, side thrust burpees, plank punches, and windmills.

I found the workouts to be high intermediates but I did use heavier weights than Jillian. I was able to use heavier weights in the entire set that Jillian shows, making the workouts more challenging.  Some exercises are advanced and she doesnt waste any time but as a whole my ranking is high intermediates.  Jillian doesnt offer as many modifications in this phase. The strength workouts will def get your heartrate up more than the other phasss. These are athletic style workouts and Jillian adds more multi-muscle exercises and includes balance work to the exercises. I received these dvds to review. 

For More Information:
Visit the Gaiam website
Like Gaiam on Facebook
Follow Gaiam  on Twitter
Subscribe to the Gaiam YouTube channel

I received samples of these products to review. I was in no other way compensated for my honest reviews. All thoughts and ideas expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Please see my disclosures page for details. Do not copy, in whole, or in part any portion of any postings on my blog. Do not repost my content on any other site without my explicit consent. All of my postings belong solely to

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Interview With Fitness Pro: Christi Taylor (12-14-2011)

Fitness favorite Christi Taylor shares her insights with our readers!

Belles: You are a long time favorite of at-home video exercisers with your unique and fun step choreography. You just recently came out of a long hiatus. Why did you decide to take the break from creating workouts? What prompted you to create your most recent workout?
Christi: Have you ever tried to do lots of things, just to find yourself not doing any of them well?   That was me 5 years ago.  My world was cluttered, stressful, confusing, and simply not fun any longer.
Yes, the change in the economy and the fitness industry was a contributing factor.  And of course you can also add my son serving in Iraq, my father passing away, and a number of other typical mid-life challenges.  But mostly, I myself (yes me) was the major contributing factor.

Where at one time in my life I went with the flow, kept a smile on my face, and sang my way through obstacles, I was now trying to be what other people wanted me to be, disappointed when I could not please everyone, and thinking that I can do it all.  I needed an attitude adjustment, BIG TIME!  I became the “jack of all trades, and the master of none” with a cocky, whiny attitude.

After some much-needed time on my knees with God, and in front of a very close and personal mirror, I began to see myself.  It was scary at first.  Then it was comforting.  I am coming back to life now.

The first thing I wanted to do was film.  However, I didn’t just want to film a DVD, I wanted to do it like the good ole days.  That meant enjoying every moment of the process in faith and perseverance; calmly enjoy the planning, prepping, rehearsals, and performance of it.  Achieving that was all I needed.  If the DVD also sells and people enjoy it, then that is the cherry on top of an already successful adventure.

Belles: We are all very excited about your new Totally Cool Step 2 and video exercisers want to know, any other future workouts on the horizon?
Christi: Yes.  I am planning to film a dance fitness workout.  That’s my biggest passion, and my personal preference to keeping myself fit.  The hardest part, as usual, about filming this type of workout is finding the right music.  The music must be energetic, stylized, and have a driving force to every movement performed to it.  I have already hired someone to create and produce new music just for my next workout DVD.  My plan is to film in the spring, or early summer if necessary.  I have some cool ideas to make it unique.  I’m enjoying the process!

Belles: How did you get involved in the fitness industry?
Christi: I fell in love with the fitness industry in 1982.  Remember the movie “Perfect” starring Jamie Lee Curtis and John Travolta?  Watching that movie was the turning point for me.  I was in the accounting industry at the time.  I decided that I wanted to transition over to the fitness world, so I began making strategic financial adjustments to help me do just that.  Walla!  Here I am almost 30 years later!   I have not regret a single moment, nor do I ever expect to.
Belles: What is your favorite thing about being part of the fitness industry? What is your least favorite?
Christi: Favorite…..
- Keeps me close to lots of people while also helping them meet their personal goals.  I am the epitome of a “people person”
- Allows me to maintain my own health, fitness, and vitality
- I have actually become more valuable to the industry as I have aged;  only of course if I practice what I preach, and adjust with the moving and changing fitness industry.
- Offers me a way to enjoy what I love most (dancing), while still being able to live a normal life, raise my children, and generate income
Least Favorite…..- Nothing

Belles: You teach live classes at Freedom Fitness in Arizona. Can you share with us the “live class” experience typically entails.

Christi: I love the live class experience – especially at this club.  They have two locations, so I get to enjoy a variety of people.  It’s not a huge gym, so it is more intimate; and allows everyone to get to know each other well.  Gone are the days when I taught in huge studios and ballrooms, with packed crowds.  Though they can be fun, I tend to loose myself and my purpose in that type of environment.  Today I teach 3 or 4 dance fitness classes per week, with approximately 12 to 23 people per class.  That’s my personal preference.
Thank you Christi for your awesome answers!!!!! For more information:
Christi Taylor‘s website
Like the Christi Taylor Fan Page on Facebook
Check out the Christi Taylor dvd store

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Interview with Billy Blanks Jr & Sharon Catherine Blanks (12-7-11)

Meet the Blanks! Billy Blanks Jr. & his wife and fitness partner Sharon Catherine Blanks have shared some of their fitness insights with us & our readers:

The Belles: We really enjoyed your Dance with me Cardio Fit and Groove & Burn dvds, do you have any new projects on the horizon?
The Blanks: Thank you for the compliment on our DVD’s. We truly love doing what we do and hope others enjoy it as well! This December our newest DVD releases! It is called “Billy Blanks Jr.’s Fat Burning Hip Hop Mixes” with the amazing Dancing With The Stars DVD director Cal Pozo! Then in March 2012, we have another DVD that will release called “Billy Blanks Jr.’s Bootcamp Dance Party”. These DVD’s are our favorites to date.
The Belles: What can you share with us about working as a husband & wife duo in the fitness world?
The Blanks: We have been working together since 2000 and we love it! It really works for us because we deal with a lot of families. We can both identify and help each other understand the needs and inner workings of the opposite sex.
The Belles: How did your fitness focused childhood influence you:
The Blanks: Growing up in a fitness family I always knew the importance to keep moving. My fitness ideals are much different than my father’s because my wife and I only create programs that are all inclusive and a little less intimidating; equally as effective, but fun for everyone. We want our programs to not only help you get in shape but to give you a boost to make it through the day.
The Belles: What does your typical workout week look like?
The Blanks: Our typical workout routine is to dance everyday whether through teaching or just as a family at home. We also throw in some strength training.
The Belles: Do you have any cool fitness stories you can share with us?
The Blanks: With our programs we have had some amazing stories. On the silly side, my wife dances out of her shoes at least once a month! One time I split my pants in the middle of class; the class got a nice shot of my boxers! On the more serious side, we built and started this program just after losing our home. We were literally living in the motel connected to the 24 Hour Fitness Gym we were teaching at. Each day we would sneak through the parking garage so that no one would see us. What we learned was that you never know what people are going through on any given day. Eye contact and true connection with our students was so important. They didn’t know this but their support also helped us get through! Each day we opened ourselves up and heard stories from our students that touched us. One of our students shared with us that she was a cutter. Because of our class, she now feels empowered. She is doing better and she is no longer cutting. One mom said the class is the 1 hour she devotes to herself. It makes her feel like a better mom. Finally, one of our male students Darrin. He is a complete “guy non-dancer”. Darrin said he came into class because he watched it from outside and it looked fun. He expected to leave after the first 15 minutes but had so much fun he stayed for the whole class! Since then he has lost 60lbs with us and has now finished two marathons! Our students and supporters make the program. Without them it would be nothing and we always place the focus on them.
For more information:
Visit the Meet the Blanks website
Like Billy Blanks Jr.’s Dance With Me on Facebook
Follow Sharon & Billy on Twitter
Subscribe to Sharon & Billy’s YouTube Channel