Monday, June 25, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten TV: The 20 Minute Workout

I'm not happy with my progress on Weight Watchers this year. I lost as much as 20 pounds in 18 months, but have gained back a couple pounds since then. This is in large part to my ignorance of the exercise portion of the program. I need to get my lazy ass moving again.

This is a problem millions of Americans face, and have faced for the last few decades. The birth of the fitness craze as we know it goes back to the 80s, and can be traced back to this week's Tuesday's Forgotten TV, The 20 Minute Workout.

The 20 Minute Workout was a series produced in part by a favorite of Me and You blog entries past, Nelvana--yes, the animation studio! It aired on the CityTV group of Canadian stations and sold into syndication in US markets. It debuted in the fall of 1983 and was a big success. It aired original episodes until the spring of 1985 and aired in reruns for a few seasons afterwards.

The show featured a different host on each day of the workweek who led the other instructors in various high-impact aerobic exercises. Although the exercises were legitimate, it can't be denied that the appeal of the series for many male audience members was to watch the ladies in their workout clothes, a fact which the producers were not only aware of, but counted on.

Before the Shake Weight, there was The 20 Minute Workout.

The series was a spin-off of a successful video collection of workouts released in Canada, clips of which aired as interstitial programming on the Showtime cable channel in 1982.  This series, along with Jane Fonda's never-ending series of workout videos, created the billion dollar fitness industry that is still very prevalent today.

If you're up to the challenge, here is one of the workouts. Now sweat!

 For more forgotten audio and video, check out Sweet Freedom by Todd Mason. Thanks!


Todd Mason said...

City TV famously in those years exploited (that's the word) the relatively weak censorship of Canadian broadcast to run all sorts of sleaze and borderline sleaze...hence the parody of the channel (and soon small network) in the film VIDEODROME. This, of course, made its way into the US, since the leotards were opaque...and this was a symptom of the ever-present fitness subculture...Jack LaLanne was rather less fun to watch for a certain demo, if also less robotic.

Phillyradiogeek said...

Thanks Todd! I now need to look up more on CityTV. For broadcasting interests of course :)

The performer on the record album cover I posted is Bess Motta, who became the breakout favorite of viewers and therefore the "star" of the series. Yeah, quite a bit different than watching Jack.

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Adele said...

Two summers ago, I worked with a great gal from Hollywood, Rachel Nichols.
Rachel did some TT workouts while filming a movie up here in Toronto.

That's about it for me in terms of training Hollywood actors or
actresses in person, but recently I was asked, "Imagine you're
working with a major film star who has eight weeks to lose 30
pounds of fat and build some muscle in preparation for the lead
role in the latest Hollywood blockbuster. What do you do with them?"

Here's my answer...

I would have control over every single thing that they eat. That's
the biggest ticket to success here. No booze, no excess sugar, and
just giving them enough reward to stick with the program.

If this "star" is a typical overweight, sedentary individual, we'll have
no problem getting rid of 20 pounds of fat through nutrition.

As for exercise, we need to be consistent, and stick with our intensity
principles. We would do 3 hard workouts per week using strength
training followed by interval training with the program being centered
around basic movement patterns done with free weights.

Everything is done in supersets in the workout to get more done in
less time. For example, we might do a squat supersetted with a
pressing exercise. I also like to pair free weight exercises and
bodyweight exercises in supersets, for example, a dumbbell split
squat paired with a decline pushup.

We'll do 3 superset pairs, each for 1-3 sets, and stick to 8
repetitions per set. Then we'll finish the workout with 6 hard
intervals of 30-60 seconds (with 60-120 seconds rest between each).
This way, we are in and out of the gym in 45 minutes.

On "off days", we'd still get at least 30 minutes, if not 60
minutes, of low-intensity exercise. But it wouldn't just be slow
cardio. Instead, we'd focus on low-intensity bodyweight training.
For example, if the actor can do a maximum of 25 bodyweight squats,
15 pushups, and 5 chinups, we would use easier versions of those
exercises in circuits.

Here's a sample 6 exercise bodyweight circuit that we'd do at least
3 times, doing 10 reps per exercise.

Wall Squat
Kneeling Pushup
Beginner Inverted Bodyweight Row
Stability Ball Leg Curl
Mountain Climber

After that, we might cross train with a variety of cardio exercises
to avoid overuse injuries that occur when you repeatedly do the
same activity and nothing else.

So that's pretty much it. If he (or she) sticks to their nutrition,
we're as good as gold and the actor will be ready just in time.

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"Craig's workouts were fun and challenging - I didn't dread going to the
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Anonymous said...

Although very similar to Bess Motta, the woman on the album cover is actually Deborah Corday. It’s quite easy how anyone could confuse one for the other. Bess is on one album cover where she’s bent halfway over and staring straight into the camera. Deborah is the one on her hands and knees with her hair flung up and back.