An Exclusive Interview with Tae Bo Creator Billy Blanks


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  46 comments   :  28,641 Views

Here's a fun fact for you: The original Tae Bo workout videos were the first at-home exercise videos (yes, videos as in VHS tapes) I ever tried. And so began my love of cardio kickboxing, which I still enjoy today.

When I found out that Tae Bo creator Billy Blanks was about to release a new set of workout DVDs (Billy Blanks PT 24/7) and would be available for an interview, I jumped at the chance! Below are his answers to my questions, and the questions of SparkPeople members (solicited from my Facebook page).

Mr. Blanks is a busy man, but he managed to answer our questions from 35,000 feet at 1 a.m. last week. Read on to find out the daily mantra that keeps him motivated, whether Tae Bo will ever be available on Nintendo Wii, and his No.1 non-fitness hobby.

Nicole: What are the health, fitness and weight loss benefits of cardio kickboxing workouts like Tae Bo?

Billy Blanks: I think the health benefits include learning to communicate with your body. No machine can teach or empower you to do that.

SparkPeople Member Denise: Where do you get all of your boundless energy?

Billy Blanks: I get my energy from watching people change and improve. To help people accomplish things that change their lives gives me joy—and the energy to keep going.
SparkPeople Member Savannah: Have you ever struggled with your weight, fitness or health? How did you overcome those struggles?

Billy Blanks: Luckily, I've never struggled with weight because I made physical fitness a lifestyle and a self-­awareness tool starting at a young age.
SparkPeople Member Gloria: You're known for bringing a lot of motivation and inspiration into your workouts. What are YOUR secrets for staying motivated?

Billy Blanks: I think the secret to staying motivated in a workout is to know that fitness is more than just sweating. It's a tool that teaches mental discipline on how to bring your body under control and it's fun to know you have the power to challenge your own body and to bring to light things that you never thought you could do with your body.
Several Members Asked: Will there ever be a Tae Bo for the Wii?
Billy Blanks: Currently there is a Tae Bo Bootcamp game for the Wii platform that was created and released only for the Japanese market in April of 2011. It went to #1 in that market in less than 2 months. Based on this success, I hope to create one to be released in the U.S.
Nicole: What does being fit mean to you? How does fitness enhance your life outside of the gym?
Billy Blanks: Being fit to me is when your soul and mind bring your body under control.
SparkPeople Member Ally: At what age did you first become a sadist? :-)

Billy Blanks:'s just a fact of life that you have to push your body beyond the pain of what you thought your mind couldn't take.
SparkPeople Member Angela: What do you like to do outside the gym, just for fun (i.e. hiking, surfing, etc.)

Billy Blanks: I like to make music. It's my hobby and dream to one day to write a song that would appeal to everyone.

Nicole: After so many achievements so far, what new goals are you working toward (personal, professional, and/or fitness related)?

Billy Blanks: The goals I am working towards right now are 1) to overcome the attitude that fitness is a trend and not a lifestyle, because nowadays people do what they see and hear on TV or through friends, and 2) to create a TV show that tells people that physical fitness outside of a weight loss program is important as a communication tool for learning about their bodies.
Nicole: Do you believe that people can get fit and change their lives in as little as 10-30 minutes of exercise per day?

Billy Blanks: I believe people can get fit and change their lives in 15-­30 minutes a day if physical fitness becomes a self-­awareness tool to bring the mind and body together as one to obtain the same goal: to get fit.
Nicole: How would you describe your food philosophy in two sentences or less?

Billy Blanks: I eat to establish a foundation for a great physical and mental performance in my everyday lifestyle.
Nicole: Do you have a favorite motivational quote, book, story or mantra?

Billy Blanks: Here is my own mantra that I tell myself. "Where I am today is where my mind and will put me. Where I'll be tomorrow is where my mind and will put me. Why? Because I have a chance to make choices in life. Good or bad, I make the choice." I also like to tell myself, "Every day above ground is a blessed day when I can move my legs and my arms."
Nicole: Tell us how Tae Bo PT 24/7 is different from the other workouts you've done so far. What will tried and true Tae Bo fans think of it?

Billy Blanks: Billy Blanks PT 24/7 was developed as a 30-minute explosive program that combines cardio and resistance training into one workout by incorporating flexibility, strength and core training into every workout. It gives people a chance to get rid of the excuse of saying they have no time to work out.

Thanks to Billy Blanks for answering our pressing questions! We'll be giving away his new workout DVDs, Billy Blanks PT 24/7 next week, so stay tuned!
Are you a fan of Tae Bo? What is your favorite Tae Bo workout?

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  • 46
    I love these video workouts. - 11/4/2011   10:16:16 AM
    Great interview! - 10/30/2011   10:04:35 PM
  • 44
    I love Billy Blanks! I have the Boot Camp DVD's - the billy bands (resistance tubes) and I remember begging my Mom for the original Tae Bo vhs tapes. Cardio kickboxing is the most fun you can have working up a sweat!

    If Billy comes out with anything for the Wii or PS3 - I'm buying :) - 10/25/2011   11:26:53 AM
  • ROBELL495
    My late sister bought me the TaeBo Live videos as a Christmas gift when I told her I wanted to get in shape for my 50th birthday. From the first time I worked out, I was hooked. I lost 45 lbs. and had wonderful results. I never felt better in my life. I have over 20 VHS tapes I used religiously. Now that 60 is around the corner, I can't wait to get my new DVSs and start working out again. Besides that, you can't get anyone more inspirational than Billy Blanks to make you WANT to work out. - 10/22/2011   12:58:32 PM
  • 42
    I still use my old TaeBo VCR tapes - esp love the 8 min workout one, because I can never find an excuse to not do this 8 min program. - 10/21/2011   11:17:27 PM
  • 41
    Billy Blanks! My teenage daughter and her friends found my old VHS tapes of his and they tried them and said it kicked their butts!!! Way to go Billy, looking forward to getting some new workouts. - 10/20/2011   9:43:36 AM
  • 40
    Great interview. I love the attitude he has towards fitness. I looked at his new program on the net. See results in 24 hrs and only doing 30 minutes a day however is a big boast. Hopefully he can live up to that claim. I still have one of his older Tae Bo dvds and it is great. - 10/20/2011   12:01:58 AM
    no kidding? Can't wait to try them! - 10/19/2011   12:59:51 PM
  • 38
    yep, i have pretty much been a fan of billy blanks since the VERY beginning. oops, just dated myself. ;-) - 10/19/2011   10:35:22 AM
  • 37
    I too have loved Billy Blanks and his Taebo series from the beginning. I still have my VHS workouts. I can't wait to get it on Wii. - 10/19/2011   3:35:37 AM
  • LORTHOM2001
    Billy Blanks is super. I have been doing TaeBo with his VHSs, DVDs and now online, since 2003 or so. Cool dude he is! - 10/19/2011   1:35:28 AM
  • 35
    Billy is the bomb! Thanks for featuring him. - 10/19/2011   1:22:12 AM
  • 34
    I love TaeBo, & have followed him since he was on cable with his show. Would love to see another show. It just got me when he divorced his adorable wife, Gayle, after 33 yrs of marriage & then at his age, married some Japanese woman and had a kid with her. He's 56. Mid-life crazy. - 10/19/2011   12:56:23 AM
  • 33
    Billy's Tae Bo videos are the only at home exercise videos I've ever done. I love the moves, I find him easy to work out with (the work outs are tough, don't get me wrong, I mean his voice isn't annoying, his instructions are good, that kind of easy!) I like the sweat and he inspires me ot work hard. I will definitely get his new DVDs. - 10/18/2011   11:14:37 PM
  • 32
    I really enjoy TaeBo and yes I have the VHS workouts and DVD workouts too. One of my favorites when I have very little time is 8 minute workout -- very energizing for sure - 10/18/2011   11:04:14 PM
  • 31
    I love Billy Blanks and Taebo, my favorite was Taebo advanced from 1997 that had a black and yellow coverbox. So sad that my VHS kicked the bucket. - 10/18/2011   8:04:31 PM
  • 30
    This article contradicts the one before it, "Rest and Recovery". No wonder people are confused. - 10/18/2011   6:41:36 PM
  • 29
    Thank you for sharing this interview..but i was shocked when he said he wanted a TV show ! that is what I have been trying to find on You Tube !! classes !! I had the VHS collection , but had to leave that behind when I moved. ty again - 10/18/2011   6:15:51 PM
  • 28
    I tried the very first set on VHS and don't even recall the actual name. It was the set everyone ordered from the infomercial! I had a hard time being a blind user. The verbal cues were not clear. I just bought the "This Is Tai Bo" DVD and really like the instructional set at the beginning that explains what each move is. I tried doing the actual workout, but again it was not easy to follow as a blind person, so I just used the moves I had learned at the beginning and made up my routine as we went along! If Billy reads the comments from SP users I hope he will consider the market for people with vision loss who also like to exercise and perhaps something for people who can't move as much.... Perhaps a chair Tai Bo for people with various disabilities? When I was confined to a wheelchair I had a chair boxing DVD I really loved and Chair Tai Bo might even open cardio to more people! Thanks billy blanks! - 10/18/2011   4:27:21 PM
  • 27
    Just LOVE Billy Blanks and his Tae Bo workouts - I have all the Bootcamp DVD's, Cardio Inferno, Ultimate Tae Bo,This Is Tae Bo, and Tae Bo Get Ripped Extreme. He's such an inspirational man! Great Interview!! :) - 10/18/2011   2:41:35 PM
    Quote from above article:

    "it's just a fact of life that you have to push your body beyond the pain of what you thought your mind couldn't take."

    Soooo, Sparkpeople is recommending to workout until it is painful and then some more?? Don't think my doctor would agree......
    - 10/18/2011   1:27:14 PM
  • JPE56K
    Can't say enough good about Billy Blanks and Tae Bo. I do it every other day. I have about 8 of his workouts and rotate them. He really gets your heart pumping and your muscles tired! I feel great when I'm done. - 10/18/2011   1:22:14 PM
  • 24
    I really enjoy his attitude on the workouts and how the people exersizing with him seem to enjoy themselves even thou they are ubersweating. - 10/18/2011   12:53:37 PM
  • 23
    I love Billy Blanks! He is such an inspiration to anyone wanting and living a healthy lifestyle! - 10/18/2011   12:43:37 PM
  • 22
    I really enjoyed this interview. He gives really insightful and basic answers. Knows what he's saying and it shows. - 10/18/2011   12:37:57 PM
  • 21
    I have the boot camp series, but my favorite is Tae Bo Blessings. - 10/18/2011   12:08:22 PM
  • 20
    I am and have been a fan for years! Taebo Live was my first home workout! I love the music in the beginning and advanced workouts! (I re-purcased the whole set on VHS because I loved them so much!)
    - 10/18/2011   11:38:52 AM
  • 19
    Oh wow, talk about a blast from the past! I think I have a few VHS tae bo tapes in my closet somewhere from "back in the day." I loved them! If there is a Wii game for TaeBo, I'd definitely be interested. - 10/18/2011   11:36:26 AM
    I still have many of the Tae Bo workouts. The VHS workouts we have put on DVD, the others were purchased as DVDs. Now to get over this back surgery and get back to Tae Bo, Pilates, and Nichole's workouts. Gotta mix it up! - 10/18/2011   11:22:05 AM
    I had many of his VHS tapes!
    Always enjoyed them, but it was hard to keep up with that man!!!
    - 10/18/2011   10:55:53 AM
  • 16
    I love taebo, still have his original workouts on VHS and uses some of his newer ones as part of my exercise routine. He should bring his original workouts back on DVD. Great interview and that man has energy!! - 10/18/2011   10:23:06 AM
  • 15
    I'm one of those who had Tae Bo on I am looking forward to seeing one on Wii for the North American markets. Just thinking about had the toughest ab exercises I have ever done! - 10/18/2011   9:53:57 AM
  • 14
    I love Billly Blanks (and his son too!). He is a true inspiration and he walks the walk...if he had a talk show, I'd watch! His show would probably be better than most of the mind-numbing crap that passes for "entertainment" these days.

    Rock on, Billy B! - 10/18/2011   9:15:45 AM
  • 13
    You can include me with the folks who had Tae Bo on VHS !! I've always admired Billy's enthusiasm and upbeat attitude ! - 10/18/2011   9:06:36 AM
    He is an amazing man!!! - 10/18/2011   8:49:28 AM
  • 11
    We still do the Tae Bo Live series from over 10 years ago! They're our preferred workouts from the series along with Get Ripped, another oldie. I met Billy in 2000 when we did a group workout on a campus and just as he was ready to leave, I yelled "you helped me lose 85 lbs!" He stopped, turned around and grabbed me and hugged me tight and said he was proud of me and to keep going. It's the genuine happiness he had for my accomplishment at that time that keeps me interested in doing workouts I can recite the entire dialogue to. - 10/18/2011   8:41:32 AM
  • 10
    Thjs was a great interview. I have tried the Tae Bo 30 min power workout video and swear that Billy Blanks is trying to kill me (LOL) but I felt energized afterwards. Thanks Coach Nicole for submitting and placing my question into this blog. - 10/18/2011   8:32:02 AM
  • 9
    I love Tae Bo!!! I use(d) it as my primary exercise routine several years ago. (Currently I'm injured and cannot use it but will get back to it once I recover). The old ones are a great overall workout..I'll have to look into the new ones. Good interview with Billy! - 10/18/2011   8:17:26 AM
  • 8
    I love taebo. It was my workout of choice when I was younger. I never felt stronger. I want to get back into it after I lose a little more weight and am able to do the moves. - 10/18/2011   8:16:37 AM
    I've tried his workouts before. My problem is that I don't like exercising with a DVD. I'd rather have real people around me in a class. He is a very inspiring guy though. - 10/18/2011   8:04:24 AM
  • 6
    wow, I am in love with this guy. I annot wait to lay my hands on the DVD. My favorite been taebo series of bootcamp. - 10/18/2011   7:08:04 AM
  • 5
    I absolutely LOVE the Get Ripped Advanced workouts (old school tae bo). They should start putting that set out on the market again as its very hard to find. I recommend it to everybody that asks what my favorite Tae Bo workout is. - 10/18/2011   6:50:18 AM
  • 4
    Wow, I cant wait for this new Tae bo dvd to come out. I love Taebo, it gets you sweating and having fun all at the same time.. - 10/18/2011   6:43:02 AM

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