Punch, jab, kick, repeat. It sounds easy enough, but just 10 minutes of the routine will get your heart pumping and muscles burning. It’s called Tae Bo and it’s an internationally successful workout series created by Billy Blanks. The system combines aerobic exercise, dynamic moves and self-awareness for a challenging, body-changing workout.
“Tae Bo is so successful because it is not about the person who created it, but about teaching people how to change their mindset from the inside out which, in turn, changes the body,” says Blanks.
Punch, jab, kick, repeat. Still too easy? Now try it at Billy Blanks speed: double time.
The newest Tae Bo series, T3 Total Transformation Training, is a three-part system that engages the body, mind and will. The system comes together to change your body and change the way you think about fitness.
“It will take you to the level that you always wanted to go in your fitness life,” Blanks explains.
During T3 workouts, participants connect with Blanks as a mentor through focused instruction designed to build confidence, dedication and focus. The series comes with three different workouts, a guide to the moves, weight-loss and healthy eating guides and one-pound weights.
“It’s more than a workout, it’s a way to regain control of your body, your mind and your life,” says Blanks.
Through Tae Bo, Blanks has helped people change their lives since 1989. Combining his martial arts background and dance moves, he created Tae Bo and taught the first Tae Bo classes in his garage. Initially, the Tae Bo craze spread through word of mouth. When celebrities caught on to the dramatic results Tae Bo renders, the work out became a rapid success.
Physical fitness is important to the entire Blanks family. His wife Gayle is Blanks’s Tae Bo partner, his daughter Shellie is an instructor and is featured in many of his videos and his son Billy Jr. also teaches.
“My favorite part of Tae Bo is watching people change, helping them reach their goals, learn and grow,” Blanks says.
Working hard isn’t just Blanks’ fitness philosophy; as the fourth of fifteen children growing up in a bad neighborhood in Eerie, Penn. Blanks learned to value hard work and dedication.
As a child, Blanks struggled with dyslexia and a problem in his hip joints that impaired his movement. After struggling in other sports, he enrolled in his first martial arts class at age 11 and quickly mastered the sport. As a result of his dedication, Blanks earned a seventh-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and black belts in five other forms of martial arts. At age 20, he became the first Amateur Athletic Union Champion, a title he earned five times. He is a seven-time world karate champion, captained the U.S. karate team, won 36 gold medals in international competition and earned admission to the Karate Hall of Fame in 1982.
Blanks is known for his high energy and commitment to hard work, a quality he says he learned from his parents, “Growing up in a bad neighborhood my mom and dad taught us that you have to work for everything that you have.”
Blanks married his high school sweetheart Gayle in 1974. In 1989, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting and teach Tae Bo. It was then that Blanks’s life changed forever.
He landed roles in 28 films but more importantly, it was then that Blanks committed his life to God.
“I was gaining success but I was still always searching for something more,” he says.
Blanks was raised in a Christian home, but he didn’t accept Christ until he was an adult.
“Before I became a Christian, I based everything on sense principles,” Blanks explains. “Because of that, I was an empty person, who was off balance. When I found the Lord, Jesus Christ, I knew that I had to change my way of thinking and doing the things based on my senses and I started doing things based on the spirit man, that is when things changed.”
Seeing a dramatic change in her husband, Gayle, along with their two children, gave her life to Christ soon after Blanks did.
“I grew up learning how to base things on my senses,” says Blanks. “I am now 52 years old, and learning to redo it, that is what Jesus is doing, He is re-counseling me 24/7. I am not a perfect man, but He is. That is why I lean on Him.”
Whether transforming someone’s physical fitness or reaching out to the underprivileged, Blanks is dedicated to helping others.
He and his wife established the Billy Blanks Foundation in 1999 to equip at-risk women and children in Los Angeles and their hometown Erie, Penn. with life skills. The organization also supports men and women in the military.
“It is important to us because we feel it necessary to give back to where we came from,” says Blanks. “Also, if it wasn’t for our troops serving all over the world, we would not be able to enjoy our freedom.”
Blanks is committed to combining the two most important parts of his life, physical fitness and God, and giving his all to both. Maintaining spiritual health, he says, is an important part of physical health. Blanks is out of bed everyday by 5:30 a.m., he teaches at least two Tae Bo classes and martial arts classes in his Los Angeles Studio, pushing participants to their physical limits and pointing them to a higher power, “I want to teach everyone to keep their eyes on God, learn the ways of Christ and fight the good fight!”