When I was a kid, my dad and I started a tradition that we continued all the way through my high school years: working out together. But when I say “working out together,” even though, for us, that ran the gamut from team sports to weight training, I immediately and exclusively think of a specific style of workout: aerobics. Think back to pre-Buns of Steel: Bodies in Motion.
See, my dad was a jack of all trades, so while his day job was as a literally buttoned-up CPA, his passion project was sports and workouts, as well as coaching and training others to excel at same. We had gyms both in our basement and the second floor of his office building, full of equipment that would make any high school football team jealous. He was a stickler regarding weight-bearing exercise for kids under 12, though (and rightly so), which led to a compromise: our first “streaming” fitness class beginning when I was eight: aerobics on VHS.
The tape series was led by an Israeli man with glorious, curly hair named Gilad Janklowicz, a workout god who hopped, jumped, and swung his way through countless living room VCRs as the host of Bodies in Motion, the longest-running fitness program in the United States. His outfits were the gold standard for generations to come, and I like to think he opened the door for men to feel that they had just as much of a right to feel uncomfortable in leotards and spandex as women did.
Not only did Gilad look incredible, he talked and laughed through the program like it was totally no big deal and he had all the oxygen in the world. He cranked out priceless one- (well, two-) liners like: “Piece of cake! No, don’t have a piece of cake.” His smile was dazzling and his moves were more so.
While I’ve spent many days and nights in the past 37ish years thinking of the great start Gilad gave me in my fitness career, I’ve only just discovered what an incredible gift he had as I started to record a couple of tiny videos for my tiny YouTube channel and Instagram stories recently.
With Freelance Fitness, I want to show people that you CAN work out in a tiny space, even if you don’t have a lot of equipment, or even, necessarily, full wingspan room. But what I didn’t factor in was that what looked the most effortless was really the most difficult: talking and laughing my way through a simple series of moves without throwing up.
And without looking like a raving bitch.
Case in point: today’s workout, which was a five-minute, 30-second-alternating series of two moves: bicep curls with a resistance band and fast feet. Not that bad, really. It was meant just to be a “Hey, I need to get moving again, fight off the 3 p.m. nap urge, get focused to power through my afternoon, blah blah.”
What it turned into was me mildly panicking at how hard it was to smile, and completely forgetting that it wasn’t like this was a live video, or even that I had subscribers beyond my own – well, beyond me, probably. And all I could think, when I watched it afterward, was, “What would Gilad do?”
Gilad would’ve just danced his tail off on a beach without getting any sand, or sweat, stuck to him. Like, at all. He would have jumped around his ladies (there were always like, three or four beautiful, aerobically-inclined women, occasionally a man, with him) and teased them graciously. Good times would have ensued.
You know what? We would all do a little better in life if we tried to be like Gilad, and have our bodies in motion, both physically and, um, metaphorically? So that’s why I’m about to bestow the most supreme of gifts upon you: he has his own streaming channel. Right here. And it’s called Gilad on Demand, because the Demand for Gilad is very real.
There’s something very comforting about finding the gems – and gyms – of our youth. So let’s shed the weight of the wait – and maybe also the actual weight – together.
(And don’t have a piece of cake.)