December 1, 2023
December 1, 2023

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Behind the Scenes of an Exercise DVD

The workout routines were set and practiced. Now we were ready to record. What follows is Part II of an article (following Part I last week) about the adventures of making an exercise DVD; this one in particular, designed exclusively for frum Jewish men.

Those who know me are always surprised to learn that, despite my big mouth, I’m not really an extrovert, and don’t enjoy being the center of attention, so being front and center of a DVD was not something I relished. However, having the chance to bring improved health and fitness to the Jewish community trumped any personal apprehension I had about being recorded, so I bit the bullet and showed up at the first recording session.

Following a clothing check, lighting and sound levels were both tested. After that came positioning on the set—“You can stand there, but don’t come too far forward”; “Don’t go too far back either”; “Should water bottles be on screen or off screen?” etc. Marks on the floor were an obvious fix. As with many things in life, the key to success lies in the preparation.

We started filming the first workout with the background music being played out loud, but soon realized that wasn’t a very good idea—too difficult to edit afterwards—so all the workouts were recorded without background music (to be added later). Now, in my opinion, one of the most necessary criteria for a successful workout is energetic powerful music; music that inspires you, music that keeps you in rhythm. Recording a high intensity cardio routine without music was really hard.

Moreover, in addition to performing a high-intensity cardio routine, I, as the lead trainer, had to instruct throughout the entire segment as well; next time you’re exercising as hard as you possible can, try talking, even half intelligibly… not so simple. I also had to remember everything I wanted to say including warnings, instruction, and motivational cues. There is no “How to Make an Exercise DVD” manual… perhaps I should make one?

For me though, the most challenging aspect of the filming was the repetition. There we were, giving this exceedingly strenuous cardio routine everything we had, only to be told after a few minutes of recording, “Stop, we need to shoot that again; this time do this/that.” This is to be expected during any filming, of course, but while it’s one thing to have to run through your lines again, it’s totally different when you literally have to “run through your lines” as fast as you can again and again and again. The 20-minute cardio segment took us about 4 hours to film. Wow, were we tired at the end of it, but we pushed through, and embraced the energy and importance of our mission.

Filming after the first segment was a little easier, and by the end of it all we were all ready to start filming our second DVD… well, perhaps after a little break. Once the recording was completed, of course, the production and post-production editing and preparation had to be completed.

One day, several months later, I received a package in the mail. There it sat in my hands, Fit Yid, the first “100% Kosher Men’s Exercise DVD,” produced by Labriut Productions, “endorsed by Daas Torah,” and “recommended by top nutritionists & doctors.”

Over an hour-and-a-half of pure kosher exercise goodness.

My parents watched it twice, and only regret they can’t yet get the DVD in England where they currently reside because they wanted to try some of the routines themselves. My kids and their cousins watched the DVD all the way through and thought it was the best thing ever—their dad, a movie star, who knew? The whole family was doing jumping jacks in front of the TV. A family that exercises together stays together.

Making the DVD was an amazing experience—fun to design, and fun to record, but most importantly, fun to perform. If you don’t enjoy your workouts, find a different workout.

The Fit Yid DVD can be purchased online, through Aderet Music, or wherever Jewish music is sold.

Chemmie Sokolic is an ACSM-certified Personal Trainer, and owner of Frum & Fit LLC. Chemmie can be reached at [email protected]. Visit or for more information.

By Chemmie Sokolic

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