An Exclusive Interview with Tae Bo Creator Billy Blanks

By , SparkPeople Blogger
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?