Friday, February 10, 2012


As many of you know, I try to work my exercise in throughout the day. Carrying my toddler son up the stairs in my home helps tone my legs, arms and core (one day I'll be able to prove he's made of granite). I walk just about everywhere and when I drive I park at least a block away from my destination. When I do have some extra time, I might take a Zumba class or do one of my beloved Richard Simmons videos. It works for me and I have noticed that I've gotten slowly and steadily more active over the last few years. I've even signed up for THREE 5ks this spring alone, something I would never have done even a year ago. Go me!
I've said it before: Richard Simmons is a National Treasure!
Tonight I took a glance at my pedometer: just over 16,000 steps. Not bad! And I started wondering, why did I HATE exercise for so much of my life? What was so bad about it anyway? And that's when I had a WICKED WORKOUT FLASHBACK from the bad old days of my youth! (cue the Alfred Hitchcock violins)

THE 20 MINUTE WORKOUT. More feared in my childhood mind than El Cucuy and La Llorona combined!

My parents, understandably concerned about their overweight daughter, thought that my following this program was a great idea-even though I was only 10. But hey, it was the 80s and while the fitness movement was well-intentioned, it may not have been as well informed as one would like. I should have stuck to Richard Simmons. I would have been so much happier!

In case you're too young to remember the cultural phenomenon that was The 20 Minute Workout, here's a clip (WARNING: this 8 minute clip feels waaaay longer than 20 minutes!! DO NOT watch the entire clip. I repeat: DO NOT WATCH THE ENTIRE CLIP!!!):
"It's a good thing leotards stretch!" Yeah, I can soooo relate! I know how much my friends and I love to put on our leotards before pigging out in public, am I right?

And can we talk for a moment about just how much of the heavy lifting and hyper-extending is being done by the hair on this show? I have as much of a prayer of keeping up now as I did at 10.

Ah, 20 Minute Workout. I know you meant well, I really do. I'm just grateful we can all laugh about it now.

So here's what:  I am actually going to attempt to conquer, once and for all, the dreaded 20 Minute Workout. This weekend. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

But something tells me I'll still prefer Richard Simmons.

What's YOUR Wicked Workout Flashback? I can't be the only one!

I did, indeed, complete The 20 Minute Workout. And? I HATED it!

Here's my brief review-

PROS:  It's short. I did manage to work up a sweat in only 20 minutes and my abs and legs were pretty sore the next day.

CONS:  Waaaay too many of the exercises are performed with your head upside-down. I thought that was something I'd exaggerated my childhood memory, but no.  This not only makes it impossible to see at least a third of the program, but I'm also pretty sure no one is meant to have that many headrushes in a 20 minute timespan. Also, there was a lot of hyper-extending and very high impact movements going on. Halfway through the workout I found myself wondering how many knee-replacements the ladies in the video must have had by the Clinton administration.

WORST CON OF ALL: The 20 Minute Workout is singularly, excruciatingly BORING. The blank set and the generic 80s synth music conspire to create a workout that feels 3 times longer than Richard Simmons' Sweatin to the Oldies (which is, in fact, 3 times longer than The 20 Minute Workout). Even if Richard didn't have fun music and people of all sizes and ages, he still has actually interesting and funny commentary to help keep things rolling along. The "commentary" on The 20 Minute Workout is mostly limited to how many reps you have left, with the occasional intro like the one in the video I linked above, which doesn't exactly make me want to jump up and get moving. Know what I mean?

Sorry 20 Minute Workout, I'm afraid this is where we part ways. But we'll always have the 80s.

Wishing you love with extra cheese-
Nacho Mama

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