After more than a decade of being largely off the map, Billy Blanks, the creator of Tae Bo, is poised for a comeback. And he’s coming to a gym near you.
In the ’90s, fitness buffs and celebs embraced Blanks’ cardio workout class that combined elements of Tae Kwon Do and boxing.
Unfortunately, Tae Bo is remembered more today for its cheesy infomercials than its innovation. But the workout was seriously ahead of its time. It paved the way for the infinite number of fusion fitness classes available at gyms today, many of which use—you guessed it—martial arts and kickboxing moves.
“What makes me feel good is that in new workouts, fitness instructors use the basis of Tae Bo,” says Blanks. “Tae Bo still works, and people still love it, I just haven’t been here to teach it.”
That’s about to change. After spending three years in Japan, where he worked on developing new martial arts skills and updating and improving Tae Bo, Blanks is back in the U.S. and is ready to get back on the radar.
He’s currently teaching at a Gold’s Gym in California, and his newest program, PT 24/7, which features a system of resistance bands attached to gloves, will roll out nationwide at the end of October.
“Those who saw the old style say what I’m doing now is so different and new and exciting, but it still has the same foundation.” He’s also debuting a membership-based online fitness club this year.
To announce his comeback, Blanks has been jetting around the country on a national tour, which will bring him to New York City this Friday. After that, he’ll head to Tampa where he’ll be attempting to break the Guinness Book record for the largest crowd to ever do a kickboxing workout (current record: 2,340).
After that? We’ll find out if Blanks’ method is a fit for the current—and far more competitive—fitness-focused decade. —Lisa Elaine Held
Tae Bo with creator Billy Blanks is Friday, September 9, 6:30—7:30 p.m. at The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers, Pier 60, 20th Street and Hudson River Park, Chelsea. Cost is $25 for members, $35 for non-members. To RSVP and book online, visit www.chelseapiers.com