When Tao Bo master and creator, Billy Blanks, stopped by the FITNESS offices a few months ago he created quite a stir! Women were popping out of their offices and cubicles to get a sneak peak of the man himself, as Billy and I tried out moves from his hit new workout, PT 24/7 in our conference room. Not only was Billy super-fun to hang with, but we have a shared passion for martial arts, and anybody with a butt-kicking background will always be on the top of my list. (I spent 10 years practicing Shotokan karate growing up!) After our February Express Workout shoot, I sat down with Billy for a little one-on-one.
Why did you decide to create the PT 24/7 DVDs?
I wanted a 30-minute workout with strength and cardio combined. People complain they don’t have time for both, so we put them together. The plan includes a rotation calendar for when to do the workouts and an eating plan too. We called it 24/7 because within 24 hours you’ll feel the difference and within seven days, your body starts to change.
For someone who is unfamiliar, how would you describe them and how they are different from other DVDs?
Tae Bo as a whole is a basic workout that will help you recognize your true self, change your body and your attitude. PT 24/7 will teach you how to put together a physical fitness program and make healthy living a lifestyle, not just something you do for 60 or 90 days. It builds you up mentally and physically.
Do you have any tips for readers trying this Express workout?
Pick out basic moves first. I really recommend the gloves that come with the PT 24/7 kit because they help you feel like a fighter and give you confidence. The gloves that come with the system, with bands attached, are easy to pick up. It’s really interactive with the bands. The moves in this workout and the DVDs will test and challenge you, but you’ll quit if you’re not engaged.
What do you do to exercise when you have just 15 minutes?
I take the gloves with bands and do punches. I use them for push-ups (with bands looped behind your back, hands in triangle position), military press, squats and lunges. You can really do everything with them and combine moves together, like a military press with a side lunge. Your core gets involved when you work multiple muscles.
You’re such a fitness icon and are known around the world—what is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I love all kinds of music. I make music and have a recording studio in my house. I create music for my workouts and a lot of the music in the new workouts I’m producing now I actually made. I play the keyboard and played the flute in high school. I can afford to do things now that I loved when I was younger.
I did ballet for 12 years and performed in the Nutcracker and Swan Lake.
I’m 56 and started working out when I was 12. I’ve grown with the times and have been to 102 countries. I really work out myself—I don’t just create the DVDs. My travels allow me to see what different cultures want in a workout. I really aim to help people who haven’t worked out before and those who are experienced with my DVDs. Tae Bo is always growing, just like me. I teach two classes per day, seven days a week. I work out with every day people because I am every day people!
Years ago, did you ever think Tae Bo would have been as big of a sensation as it became?
I knew it was a workout that would help people, and it was a blessing that Tae Bo took off and went into peoples’ hearts.
What was your coolest experience since your career took off?
To go overseas and spend time with the military, and to fly with the Blue Angels.
Which celebrity would you love to whip into shape?
Any celebrity who just had a baby.
What’s it like working out at 56 compared to when you were 25 or 30-years-old? What changes have you noticed?
I see the importance of maintaining my health now more than ever.
What’s up next for you?
I’m launching taebotv.com and I want to create the next new Tae Bo workout and continue to bring fresh, new ideas into the fitness world.