A Cartoonist’s Diary

Vanessa Davis: Day Two

For the last few months, I’ve tried to do more exercise, and have been working out to videos in my living room. I wouldn’t say these are my favorites, but they're the ones I’ve been using.

GILAD The 60 & 30 Minute Low Impact Workouts:

These workouts are from 1987. I like that Gilad wears a belt—and that his mom is one of the exercise crew in the thirty-minute segment—but his moves are a bit goofy. For instance, he is really into doing the Charleston. He says he wants to see “thighs flying in the air!”

Even crazier (obviously) is Richard Simmons Disco Sweat. The opening sequence is an homage to Saturday Night Fever, with Simmons’ shiny, smooth legs strutting down the sidewalk while mellow disco music plays in the background.

I love his closet full of tank tops. He selects a BeDazzled “Brooklyn” number.

Despite its 1970s theme, everyone is decked out in 1990s-wear, with baby-doll dresses and biker shorts. And one lady is in Kente cloth print (not shown here, unfortunately). It’s a different world from where we’re comin’ from.

My favorite parts, though, are when the DJ announces the different impact-level intervals. Here he’s saying, “This is your first low impact interval, fuhgettaboutit! Just shake that booty, ayy-ohh!” I don’t know what that lady next to him is supposed to be doing.

Basically, a big goal for me with these exercise videos was to try to find a “normal” workout—like the aerobics classes I took as a kid, with stretching, jumping around, and then some floor exercises like stomach crunches, butt squeezes, and leg lifts. The closest thing I’ve found is Kathy Kaehler’s Workout Class, even though it’s for step aerobics. (I HATE step aerobics. I’m already exerting myself, on top of it I have to worry about breaking my neck on this step thing??) So I don’t use a step, but as Kathy repeatedly reminds me, I’m “still working out, even if it’s just on the floor.” I do like how plain the moves are and especially the ballet-type warm-up and cool-down. I know it’s no big deal but I feel so fit and ladylike doing this balance:

And then, I love at the end, how they all cackle in satisfaction!

Vanessa Davis is the creator of Make Me a Woman and Spaniel Rage.