Is Tae Bo a waste of time?

Being that I’ve won a Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man lookalike contest for 10 years running, I’ve decided to get off my lazy fat ass and do something about my rolls of sexy but very annoying man-blubber.

After trying out various methods of weight loss, I finally settled on Tae Bo. I find it to be a lot of fun, and I can keep up with it without getting bored. But here’s the thing – after 2 months, I haven’t dropped a single pound. I feel better to be sure, but I still crush the bathrom scale.

Have my eating habits changed? Not much, and I know that is another component of weight loss that I need to address. Still, after 2 months, shouldn’t I see some change? Even if it’s miniscule?

I know the argument that muscle weighs more than fat, but if that were the case here, you’d think that my shape would have changed a little. But it hasn’t. I still look like the Buddha.

My concern is this – the workout (I’m still on the basic one) lasts for 26 minutes. About 4 minutes of that is warmup, and another 4 is cooldown. And about 2 minutes for the intro/credits/adverts. So I’m left with 16 minutes of actual exercise. About half of that is pretty tame, so my heart rate doesn’t go up that much. Then comes that hard stuff, when my heart races and my lungs are burning and I’m sweating like Richard Nixon.

For all of eight minutes.

So I ask – is this a waste of my time? Would I be better off sweatin’ to the oldies?

Any activity at all should help you out some, but 8 minutes of heavy activity won’t do much. They say that you should have an elevated heart rate for at least half an hour to get cardiovascular benefit from the exercise. You might be better off going for a brisk walk.

It sounds like a decent start. If you could start increasing the time, it would be good. You want to get to at least 20 minutes of elevated heart-rate level. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re sweating your guts out. You could also supplement your workout with some brisk walking, 20-60 minutes.

You might be well advised to consult your physician and maybe a trainer for some pointers on how to start out.

I’d consult a physician on what your target heart-rate level should be for a 30-minute workout. Then get yourself a heartrate monitor. You need to keep your heart at that target level for the majority of your workout.
Any cardio activity, be it a treadmill, stairclimber, aerobic needs to get your heart rate up there for a good amount of time.

Stop by a bookstore and page through Bill Phillips “Body For Life”.
It is a commitment to follow his plan but it helps just to read the question and answer portion of the book. It breaks some of the myths of weight loss and you can adapt it to your personal goals.

  1. 8 minutes of a good cardio workout will help your heart (somewhat), but you won’t lose much weight.
  2. Tae Bo can be fun, but please make sure you’re doing it correctly (it can be hard to tell if your position is correct without a mirror). It’s easy to hurt yourself (joints, pulls, etc) - seeing a professional for 1 or 2 training sessions should give you a good start about technique.
  3. Food is as important (if not moreso) as exercercise for weightloss. Try modifying your diet (even a little) in conjunction with your Tae Bo and you should notice more immediate results.
  4. Good for you! :slight_smile:

The series has “steps”, you’re on the first one. Given the description of yourself you’ve given, you’re actually off to a very good start.
It takes time to get VISIBLE results. My experience is that for a person who is overweight and has done very little excersise in a long time it usually takes around 6 months before they see some REALLY noticable effect, if they want to proceed with the least amount of risk of injury.
I like those tae bo tapes because if you do it right, once you get to a point you can complete the BASIC level comfortably, you move onto the ADVANCED level. And once you can do the ADVANCED level you do them combined (one after the other). Since they build on one another you can get your body into shape incrementally, which is the best way to do it, in my opinion.

I suggest that if you want to speed it up a little, you try to either repeat the basic tape (that is do it twice over) or add some of the advanced tape after the basic. In other words push yourself as much as you can, and also extend the workout time.
As has been mentioned if you can work out for longer periods you’ll get more results.

Thanks muchly for the responses!

So which is it? Where do these magic numbers come from? I’ve read that the magic number is 12, but only after the target heart rate is reached. Anything over this is gravy (fat free, of course).

I think I’m OK. After 2 months, I remain injury free. Then again, I may not be getting all the benefits if I’m doing it wrong.

OK, I’m going to order the advanced tape presently. I have sometimes rewound a bit just before the cool down, but it’s such a pain to do that while still moving, and trying not to rewind too far.

The magic numbers are arbitrary. It’s not like going for one minute less than any of them will result in no benefit.

When an average person starts doing aerobic exercise from rest, it takes about 20 minutes for them to start burning fat as a fuel source. So you’re not going to burn significant amounts of fat from doing 20 minutes or less of moderate intensity activity. If you’ve been doing other forms of exercise, or you’re in better shape than the average person, it can take less time. And high intensity activity can cause you to burn a lot of fat afterwards while you’re recovering.

The target heart rate is overrated, IMO. It’s used because it correlates pretty well with oxygen uptake, which is a much better measure of how hard you’re working, but very difficult to measure. Now, it is good to have some numbers so that you can track your progress, but it’s bad to think that you absolutely must keep your heart rate in some particular range for some particular amount of time.

FYI, the reason it takes so long to start burning fat is because you can’t burn the fat that’s in storage, only free fatty acids in the blood. To get fat from storage to the blood stream takes oxygen, and you need to keep taking that in for a little while to get any significant amount of fat freed. People who can take in more oxygen at once can start burning fat more quickly. Max oxygen uptake is generally considered to be the single best measure of cardiovascular fitness.

Lastly, your exercise program really doesn’t matter that much in terms of fat loss if you’re eating poorly. Get your diet in shape!

You can make your Tae Bo (or whatever exercise you choose) yield greater cardiovascular benefit by going on a brisk walk for a half-hour before you start. This lets you hit that “magic number” earlier. I know the half-hour is a long time if you’ve got a busy schedule, but you’ll get a lot more benefit out of your workout.

For breakfast every day, try making a smoothie in a blender with two or more cups of frozen fruit, a splash of skim or rice milk (not soy), and a raw egg or two. Wash every meal down with at least a liter of water, and don’t eat again until you’ve finished another liter of water.

By super-hydrating, you provide your body with a vector to get rid of any toxins it’s storing in your fat. My girlfriend went to superhydrating and brisk walks (no Tae Bo) and lost fifteen pounds. It all came off at once, about three months after she started, over the course of a week.

No idea about Tae Bo, but I’ll third the food side being very important. Without undereating or crash dieting, I’ve managed to get back down to 12 stone from 14 (168 from 196).

As I’ve still not got off my not-as-fat lazy arse, exercise played no part in this. Without going into the details, it’s basically been a low fat diet.

Is Tae Bo a waste of time?

I was grossly overweight having been bed ridden for 6 months with a damaged pelvis, a couple of years later when I was able to I started doing step aerobics, starting gradullay and building up to 6 times a week at eh “high” level. It took me about 4 months before I noticed a difference in my body shape, so you need to stick at it! Once I gotten my weight down I slackened off on the exercise to the recommended 3 times a week and whadaya know I put on weight again!

Gleaned from the collection of fitness magazines I subscribe to and online forums I frequent:

  1. Weightloss is a simple matter of energy in versus energy out. Keep a log of your meals/nutrient content and control what you take in.

  2. Traditionally, fat loss is promoted to happen within a certain heartrate zone. Ie. sixty minutes of cardio within this range will burn x calories of pure fat (well, as pure as you can get). However, your metabolism is not raised much throughout the rest of the day, so that short window is your only time spent burning fat. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is great for raising your metabolism for long periods of time and, therefore, burning more fat for longer periods of time. (Unless, of course, you’re eating like a pig, then your body doesn’t have to burn fat at all.)

  3. Muscle building exercises (even pushups and squats) will prevent your body from shedding muscle. This is important because you want to lose fat and nothing else. (Stay hydrated, too.)

This is a fabulous page for strength workouts that require no equipment. Don’t be put off because they’re bodyweight workouts, it’s a great start until you decide you want to look like Arnold. Truth be told, become proficient at these and you’ll be far more effective as a physically active human than bodybuilders and powerlifters.

In conclusion… Tae Bo can be improved on if your goal is the most efficient weightloss possible. However, you have to enjoy what you’re doing, otherwise it won’t last long. If you like Tae Bo then keep doing it, just eat better.

If one really is built like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, I do not recommend exercising alone. The only way to know your safe physical limits is to have reached them, and a heart attack all by yourself is probably not a pleasant way to die.

Likewise, such an extremely short time for a workout could hardly do you much good if that’s pretty much all the activity you get all day.


Have you been measuring yourself with a measuring tape? Do the spots like waist, hips, chest, arms, thighs, calfs, butt.

I have been exercising since June (biking in the summer, gym now, both cardio and resistance), and I took my measurements form the start. I have noticed that even if the scale doesn’t move, my measurements will decrease.

I try and keep working out simple. You can get caught up in so much theory - heart rates, time, method, blah, blah, blah. It seems that every single person who exercises has their own idea what is best, and what method is the only way.

Just be proud you are out there doing something, and in time it will all fall in place. I think the best exercise is one you enjoy doing, that means you will be more likely to keep at it rather than giving up.

You say that after 2 months you don’t notice a change. DON’T QUIT!! Even if you feel your not doing it perfectly it is doing something. And the longer you stay at it you WILL see results and feel better. You can try different routines, different exercises, different times, but make sure you do SOMETHING.
Most people fail because they don’t see the results they want as fast as they want them and quit.
So, If your in a routine that your comfortable with or want to change it up a bit DO IT. But don’t quit.