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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?