WNK: A recent study has found that women were more likely to exercise regularly when they exercise at home. The women in the study used a treadmill as their primary form of exercise, though videos represent an less expensive and equally convenient way for people to get fit at home. Still, many Video Fitness readers have found friends, family members and even fitness professionals skeptical that they could have achieved their current level of fitness with videos alone. Why do you think exercise videos still have a certain stigma attached to them?
KA: This doesn't surprise me. There is such broad range of fitness videos out there. I would imagine it's very difficult to find the one that works well for every individual. At least with a treadmill there are limited varibles to manipulate. For this type of workout the person just has to be self-motivated and be able to push themselves to the exercise level they want. With exercise videos you're at the mercy of an instructor, someone you don't know yet, and are supposed to trust. There's a certain learning curve when you're doing a video, and probably some down time where you're not getting a good workout. I would find this frustrating. On the other hand, you have someone there keep you motivated and hopefully teach you good technique and the most effective ways to achieve the specific goals of the workout. The consumer has to realize that anyone can make an exercise video, so be selective in who you decide to work out with.
It's a similar situation I experience as a club owner. I worry about that person coming off the street to take their first fitness class. It's not uncommon, if they have a bad experience, that's it...they're done. We have lost our chance and that person may never give the concept of group fitness another chance, whether with us or anyone else. When someone buys an exercise video and is all excited to begin on their new fitness regime it may be now or never situation. That first experience has to be good, if not great. Otherwise the momentum is lost. It's unfortunate and happens way too often.
WNK: Do you think the number of home exercisers will increase in the near future? Why are most of the better fitness videos so hard to find in stores?
KA: Unfortunately, I don't know the answers to these. I wish I did. As I said earlier, the video store owners will only stock what they think their customers want, and of course what sells. They'll also choose a face or name they recognize. Getting your name recognizable is the key. How?...we're still working on that one.
WNK: Many in the media have labeled traditional aerobics classes passť. With the popularity of more sports-oriented classes like kickboxing, spinning, and such, do you think there is still room for the dance-style aerobics that you are known for?
KA: Yes, I think there's room for everything! If people would realize that variety is the key to success in keeping in shape they would feel this way too. Anyone who has been working out as long as I have has probably discovered that doing new things is what keeps you motivated and challenged. Most of our members do a variety of activites. They love all the choices. Dance-style fitness classes will always be popular especially as they evolve with the times...and as long as the instructor is great. Cycling classes, and kickboxing were not meant to replace HiLo or Step. They're all so totally different. It's just making it easier for us to find a form of exercise that appeals to and works for each individual. Good excuses for not exercising are getting harder to come by!
WNK: Video Fitness readers like to hear about what fitness professionals do to stay in shape themselves. What is your personal fitness routine like these days?
KA: I love to weight train, in addition to teaching 8 classes a week. Also with 3 kids and a big house my life is constantly on the go. Since I am always working on choreography for something there isn't a day that goes by that I'm not moving. Even housework for me is an aerobic activity. I love making it intense...no wasted moment.
WNK: Your children appear in the ending segments of some of your videos. How old are your kids now? How do you manage to balance fitness, career and motherhood?
KA: My oldest daughter is almost 13, my son 8, and my youngest daughter is 2. Finding a "balance" is nearly impossible. There are times when certain areas need for more focus and we all try to work together. Every day is different...adapting, while trying to keep a sense of humor, works for us.
WNK: What do you do to impart your love of fitness to your children? What can a typical mom or dad do to help kids adopt an active lifestyle and healthy body image?
KA: Each of our kids grew up (well the youngest is just 2) in our fitness clubs, around exercise video sets and at Fitness Conventions around the world. This is so much a part of their lives that we haven't had to do much else to promote it around the house. I feel the best thing a parent can do is be the model for their children. Know that they notice what we do. Whether it's diet, exercise, or living habits, they are curious about what they see. As parents we have to look closely at ourselves, and work to be an inspiration for our children.
WNK: You were the national chairperson of Workout for Hope. Are you still involved with this event? Can you tell our readers more about the event and its purpose?
KA: Yes I'm still very involved with the Workout for Hope. We no longer have the position of National Chairperson, and instead chose to create a National Wellness Advisory Board, of which I am a member. In addition to that, Carol Alt is our National Spokesperson this year to help us gain even more public involvement. City of Hope Medical Center is a magical place and their research is vital to gains made in fighting cancer and AIDS. I'll continue working hard for them until it's no longer necessary. I know they now have their own website so everyone who's interested in helping us out should click on. We'd love you for it!!!
WNK: Some fitness professionals, even some of the top video instructors, are currently seen hawking a variety of exercise gadgets and supplements in infomercials. We've discussed this issue a lot in the Video Fitness Forum. While we don't begrudge these professionals the ability to make a living, many of their fans feel betrayed when someone who has built their reputation by giving realistic, sensible fitness advice and producing quality video workouts is suddenly touting this or that product as the single best way to get fit. What do you think?
KA: My only response would be.. there is no single best way to get fit.
WNK: Do you have any final words of wisdom to offer your fans?
KA: Some thoughts I try to live by....life is too short to wait for tomorrow... be true to yourself and respectful of others.
Read more about Kari's videos, including reviews by Video Fitness readers