Tae-Bo: The Ideal Full-Body Exercise

Even if you enjoy a particular workout, there are several reasons not to do the same workout the same way every day to ensure that regular exercise remains a permanent part of your lifestyle.

First of all, any exercise that uses muscles is more effective as far as building lean muscle if done every other day, to give the muscles the necessary 48-hour recovery period to rebuild. Second of all, doing any one exercise daily could lead to psychological burnout or boredom where you are not looking forward to the workout and just going through the motions. Thirdly, it may actually cause a physical plateau or stall effects as your body adjusts to the exercise and is not challenged by it anymore.

Lastly, it may even cause an injury by putting too much strain on tired muscles, ligaments or joints, especially if the mind is zoning out and not focusing on form. It is, therefore, more effective as well as more fun, to vary the daily exercise or cross train to make and keep regular exercise a permanent part of your lifestyle. My main exercise of choice is Tae-Bo, which is in itself an overall body workout, both aerobic (cardiovascular) and anaerobic (muscle building).

I can do Tae-Bo every other day and alternate it with another cardio like walking to burn fat and keep the cardiovascular system more fit, or weight training to build even more lean muscle. However, what I love most about Tae-Bo is that it can be used to do it all, because the same Tae-Bo workout can be done four different ways to obtain a cross-training effect:

For maximum cardiovascular effects and to burn fat I can try to do the speed and all of the reps, or as many reps as I can perform.

For maximum weight resistance to build muscle I can do it slower, focusing on powerful muscle contractions and retractions during all kicks and punches with full range of motion.

For an ultimate overall workout I can alternate the two approaches above within one workout for an interval or circuit workout, varying my intensity (breathing and heart rate and form), having realized at my age that I cannot do both simultaneously without making my heart rate soar too high.

For stretching and active recovery, I can really slow it down to make it gentle like Tai Chi.

Involving your mind more into a workout instead of just mindlessly going through the motions brings exercise to a much higher level for a complete mind-body workout. You will become more aware of how your body is feeling and performing when controlling your workout by engaging your mind to do the same workout different ways while listening to your body. Using your mind will help to know how to modify the workout to make it safer, more enjoyable and more effective. What is really wonderful about Tae-Bo is that besides having so many different workouts available (just check the store at www.taebo.com), each workout can be done many different ways with the approaches suggested above as well as making other modifications, like substituting a favorite move for a less favorite move.

When I want to add even more intensity to a workout, I can use some of the “toys” I have acquired, two of which are the standing bag and resistance belt. The standing bag will become more popular once the Tae-Bo Impact workouts are released. Having a target for kicks and punches really helps to improve form and release stress. The HITS resistance belt is a belt with flexible bands attached for both arms and legs. It makes every move more of a weight-resistance move with the feeling of increasing the gravitational pull. The neatest part is how light one feels upon its removal.

Yes, I still do other forms of exercise for variety, but Tae-Bo is still my most enjoyable form of choice providing endless hours of variety and fun.