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Making an Exercise DVD: The Good, the Bad and the Sweaty

By , SparkPeople Blogger
The new SparkPeople: 28 Day Boot Camp DVD is on Target shelves nationwide right now. It's glossy and new and ready to whip your butt into shape if you're willing to let it. It's hard to imagine that the process of creating this DVD started almost a full year ago! Just last summer, I was on a set in New York City filming these boot camp workouts, a process that was fun, challenging and interesting to say the least.

Here are some of the good, the bad and the sweaty things I experienced during the two-day video shoot.

The Good
  • It is fun. I enjoy exercising (especially when I create the workouts), and I love to teach fitness, so filming a DVD turned out to be really enjoyable for me.

  • Three's company! Lindsay and Jewel, the women exercising in the background behind me, are real pros. I've never had to shoot a video in which someone else was following along with me, and it was a real challenge. When it's just me, I can do as many reps as I want or transition to another exercise without really thinking about it. But when people have to be in sync with you, you have to cue so much clearer and give warning for what you're about to do. But on the plus side, that means you at home are able to follow along more easily, too. Lindsay and Jewel were such good sports at doing whatever I cued for during filming. Even when I would make mistakes and do the wrong thing, they'd just follow right along, perfectly on pace. Of course, those little mess-ups get fixed during editing, but they made for good laughs when we'd cut and I'd realize that I somehow started doing moves from a totally different workout in the middle of the one we were supposed to be filming. Oops!
  • A team effort. So many amazing people are working behind the scenes that you will never see, but the final product is an example of everyone's hard work all put together. From audio to lighting to camera operation to catering—every job mattered and helped us get through a really grueling couple of days.
  • These workouts rock. There is so much variety within the DVD. Even though I practiced these workouts for weeks on end to prepare for the shoot, and then did them on repeat for 12 hours on set in a single day, I still like them! Now that is the marker of a good DVD if you ask me (not that I'm biased or anything).
  • Yes, we got to keep our clothes—and our shoes. SCORE! And since many people have specifically asked about what we were wearing, our shoes are by Ryka ($70, and I seriously LOVE them). I wore Lululemon's Deep Breath Tank ($58) and Gather & Crow Crop pants ($86), which were seriously the most flattering and comfortable exercise pants I ever put on. Lindsay and Jewel wore the Scoop Neck Tank ($52).
The Bad
  • I have a problem. Speaking of workout clothes, that wardrobe included the most expensive and fancy workout clothes I had ever worn in my life. It was the beginning of a serious addiction to Lululemon that I can't seem to shake. Somebody, please help!
  • It's getting hot in here. During filming, there can be no sound interference. That means no fans and no air conditioning either because the microphones will pick up their sound. So while we work out under a bunch of hot lights, we get really sweaty because there is little to no air flow. But the second we would cut, the fans would come out and the A/C would flip on to help us cool down before the next take.
  • Working overtime. Each day on set took approximately 12 hours from start to finish. A production like this involves a lot of moving parts that all have to be perfectly aligned. Even if the exercisers are perfect, there are still multiple cameras, microphones, lights, audio issues, and I'm sure many other things I’m not even aware of that the director and assistants are all keeping tabs on. Sometimes, the microphone is suddenly not working properly or the microphone starts picking up my heartbeat (no joke!) or the rustling of my shirt as I move. Each issue means cutting, troubleshooting and redoing the take. While things generally went smoothly, lining it all up takes a lot of time.
  • Cover your ears! The microphone is "on" most of the day, and it's strapped to my clothes or body, too. I've learned from experience that you should always think ahead and remember to turn off your microphone or unclip it before each bathroom break.
The Sweaty
  • In the span of two days, I did about 1,000 lunges and squats. That could be an understatement…
  • The weight of the matter. It used to bother me to see someone like Jillian Michaels lifting 5-pound dumbbells in her DVDs when clearly, she is stronger than that. Now I know why the instructors in workout videos often use such light weights: You have to do so many repetitions of every exercise for hours on end. I used 5-pound weights during this shoot so that I could get through it and show it in good form. But yes, I am capable of lifting more and I do believe women should lift heavy weights and not fear bulking up!
  • Shiver me timbers! My clothes were soaked with sweat the entire day. I mean ALL DAY. It's a pretty gross feeling to have damp, cold clothes clinging to you for even a few minutes, let alone almost 12 hours. You can't really see it on film (thanks makeup and wardrobe!), but boy, I was stinky by the end of the day. I wore the same pair of pants two days in a row, but they do wash them overnight (much needed).
  • It's magic, you know. People often comment on how I don't look like I'm sweating or working hard in my videos, including this one. But trust me: I am dripping with sweat and my muscles are burning. I just keep smiling through it! During filming, I could feel the sweat covering and dripping down my face and I kept expecting the director to "cut," thinking I looked like I had just jumped into a pool. But despite how I felt, there's some sort of magic that happens on film and thanks to the make-up that you can't even tell. I don't know how they do it, but don't let it fool you. These workouts kicked my booty, too!
I hope you enjoyed my behind-the-scenes story, but I really hope you're enjoying the actual DVD as well! Remember that you can save $3 and get 250 SparkPoints when you purchase SparkPeople: 28 Day Boot Camp at a Target store. Here I am buying my copy!

Do you have any burning behind-the-scenes questions that you've been wondering about? 

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Lucky me!!! I was able to get my copy and use the coupon!!! Love the DVD and boy do I get a workout. Thanks for sharing the behind the scenes. Report
Thanks for a look behind the are right don't look sweaty or tired or make it look so easy!
I especially enjoyed how you cued the moves...very easy to follow!
Great job Nicole! Report
I ordered mine online, but there was no code on it to get my bonus points??? I just started doing the dvd, so far so good!!!
My Target had ZERO Bootcamp videos yesterday - good for you bad for me!
You always look great Nicole! Can't wait to get my own copy! Congrats! Report
GREAT blog, Nicole. I could feel those damp, sweaty clothes on my back - even though I am a person who does not perspire!!! Report
But we so appreciate it when you sweat too, Nicole! ;P That Boot Camp taught me so much when I got started. It got me disciplined on a daily routine for one! I will get it as a go to in maintaining now! Thank you! Report
Thanks for the behind the scenes blog...really appreciate much more all you did to put this together for us! 12 hours a day-WOW! I love that photo of you at the end there! I really love the DVD and thanks for all you did! Congrats on a job well done!! Connie Report
12 hours?!?!?!?! O.O I bet that would have burnt off all the 12 doughnuts in the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Run! XD You must have been exhausted!! Report
I really enjoyed this insight into the making of a fitness video! You did a fantastic job and I love your videos :-D I have been intimidated by every one I've ever tried, but yours are the first ones that I can actually do!! Thank you! Report
How adorable are you in that last image at the store? Makes me smile just to look at it... Congratulations - well-deserved and hard-earned (and hard-filmed)! Report
I loved this behind the scenes look at creating an exercise DVD. I picked up a copy at Best Buy in Downers Grove when you were there and have been using it several times a week since. I've used many exercise DVDs but this is one of my favorites.

One of the best things about it is your cues. You give ample warning before changing things so I can be ready. Many other instructors on DVDs give the cue as the change is occuring and I'm get several steps behind. With yours, I can stay in step and not be flustered for the few seconds until I get back on course. Report
I love this DVD - it is a nice change up from the other DVDs I own, and from the classes I take at my gym - I also really like the calender with the click through program - makes it so easy - thanks for the behind the scenes look :) Report
What a cutie you are! Wish I could afford to buy your DVD, but for now I will have to use the exercise videos on SparkPeople. Thanks for sharing your experiences and good luck with your sales! Report
coach nicole--i just think you look so darn cute! that's all--that's all i wanted to say. LOL! Report
so great to hear how this was made, the dvd rocks, thanks Coach Nicole and company you did good!!! Report
Thanks for sharing, Nicole! As a former drama junkie and a current fitness DVD addict, I LOVE hearing about the behind-the-scenes stuff! I have an idea of what it takes to produce a "show," so I know there's a lot of people involvled behind the cameras as well.
I'm doing the Jan. challenge right now, but I plan on doing the 28-day Bootcamp in Feb. I can't wait! Report
I loved this article, Nicole! I've been doing the dvd workouts for a couple of weeks now and they are really challenging me! I'm glad to know you were using 5 lb weights. That's what I started with because that's my "easy" weight level when I'm doing my other ST exercises. But I quickly went and dusted off some 3 pounders because that's all I could handle with the dvd.

It's a lot of fun to learn all the behind-the-scenes of what went into the routine. You looked amazing in those clothes and I can see why you love them. For those who are reading this article and haven't tried the dvd yet- DO IT! You will get an excellent workout! Report
You are too funny! And yay for becoming such a fitness celebrity!!!! Report
This was a fun article - and the pic is great!!! Congratulations! Report
You are sooooo adorable!!!! :-)

Thank you for the behind the scenes info. (I love that type of stuff). Now, you are making want to go buy the DVD! Report
Great story! And I'll be looking for the DVD at Target! Report
It takes a lot of hard work to look so good and we thank you for doing all the hard work for us. How do I get the $3 off at Target? Never mind I just figured it out. lol Report
This is fascinating, thanks for sharing! Report
Although we do not have a Target store in Canada (expecting them to open sometime in 2013), I was able to order a copy through Amazon (shipping sometime next week). Looking forward to following the program. You always make the exercises look easy but you also explain them well. Thanks for this new DVD. Report
I will buy one, if I do not win one, from the January Challenge. Report
WOW! That is an intense weekend :D
It was awesome reading about it!
You really are amazing, even your video's here kick my butt but you make it look so easy lol that I'm like "i want to do THAT!"
Thank you !!!! Report
Great story! My local store didn't have the video in stock, so it's on it's way. You can still save $3 online, I'm pretty sure the code is on the product page. Lulu is a real problem! I actually have stock in them!! Report
WooHoo! So glad it's available in Target now. Mom is not now, nor will she ever be an internet person but I can get her to go to Target. If we both have the DVD, (and my unlimited long distance and bluetooth) the 150 miles between us won't keep us from helping each other! Report
Wow! I bet even YOU lost weight doing that workout ;0) Report
Thanks for the behind the scenes scoop. Sounds like a lot of work! Appreciate what you do! Report
Love the behind the scenes peek. It's nice to know that even the pros get hot and sweaty when they're working out. Love all your videos-even when I'm feeling lazy I can talk myself into 10 minutes with Coach Nicole-and then once I get started I'm ready to keep going! Report
Really interesting. I wondered why on Insanity that the people are so drenched in sweat when I haven't gotten to that point yet. I thought maybe they squirted them with a hose or something to make them look sweaty, but then noticed the camera never cut away long enough to do that. The no AC thing makes sense. Report
Loved the behind the scenes ... thank you. Hmmmm, I've never paid more than 20$ for workout clothes, I may just splurge especially since those sneakers are on my reward list for completing the 28 days. Day 9 (rest day)! WooHoo! Report
I hope the DVD pack is as sparkling and fresh looking as you are in the photo above! Will check out the DVDs. Thanks for sharing! Report
I am going to Target tonight to get this DVD. I will enjoy thinking of your story as I workout with you. Thanks Nicole. Joan from Ohio Report
I can't wait to buy the DVD! I love the videos on the site. Report
Very interesting article-I've always wondered what went into the production of an exercise dvd-now I know! Good news that it's selling so well, too! Report
I, too, went to Target with coupon in hand was was so sad to not be able to find the DVD in the regular workout DVDs (there was no spot for it either). HOWEVER, in my sadness and with now crumpled paper coupon, I passed the endcap (like in the picture above) and VIOLA! it was there in a special place. SOOO, apparently Target has them on the endcaps - NOT the regular DVD spots. Report
@LYNNET- Sorry to hear that! We have been hearing that the DVD is selling so well that Target stores are having a hard time keeping up. Please be patient. We are working with them diligently to resolve the issue. In the meantime, if you look up the product on, you'll be able to search for its availability at a store near you. I've also heard that the managers there have been very helpful and responsive. In some cases, more were available in the stock room, but people had to find a manager to ask them to check. I hope you end up finding a copy! Sorry for the inconvenience. Report
I went to Target yesterday with coupon in hand and there was no DVD! There wasn't even an empty spot for it. I was so disappointed! Report
I always enjoy articles written by you. You seem to cover items most wouldn't but I find interesting and infomrative. I really liked knowing about the clothes and shoes you wore and you even provided a link. How cool is that! The way you wrote this article it makes me want to run out to Target now and buy the DVD. (Hey, I would even be running so it would be double good for me.) I've read many blogs here from people who already have the DVD and really like it. Thank you. Report
I'm a behind-the-scenes junkie, so thanks for sharing. Okay, which one is Lindsay and which is Jewel? I'm starting Day 1 of the 28 days today! GO COACH NICOLE! Report
Nicole, thank you for the behind the scenes!! I never knew what all went into the making of it and it just makes me appreciate the DVD so much more, knowing that you spent 12 hours a day filming this for all of us SparkPeople Members to benefit from!! I love the DVD very much!! THANK YOU!! Love you Nicole!! ~Krystie (krysties4) Report