December 5, 2023
December 5, 2023

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Behind the Scenes of an Exercise DVD—Part I

It was September last year when, out of the blue, I was called by a Brook­lyn-based DVD production company and asked to de­sign and present an exercise DVD made ex­clusively for frum Jewish men. How could I say no? After all, how many times in one’s life does one get invited to make an exer­cise DVD?

I was tasked to prepare two of four DVD segments, including an advanced “Weights & Resistance” segment and a “High-Inten­sity Cardio” segment; the remaining two basic segments were to be designed and presented by David Oscar, a second train­er. After settling on contract terms—in it­self, somewhat of an energetic workout— I started in earnest to design the segment layouts. I was asked to design the workouts so that anyone could perform them in the comfort of his own home, with equipment that is commonly found around the house. No problem; I love improvising. By now you should know that I don’t believe in excuses to avoid working out, so pulling together a workout that uses water bottles, broom­sticks, and chairs was right up my alley. You’d be surprised how many instruments of torture can be found lying around, just waiting for the opportunity to expand your lungs and strengthen your muscles.

I was told to keep the cardio seg­ment to 20 minutes in length; short and to the point—challenge accepted, and boy does it get to the point. Be warned, this interval workout is not for the faint of heart. Snuck in between a brief warm-up and stretch at the beginning, and a cool down and stretch at the end, there lies a quarter of an hour of non­stop heart-pounding effort with three increasingly difficult movement levels crammed into each minute of the rou­tine—your heart rate will rise, and your entire cardiorespiratory system will thank you. All fun and sweat.

The weights and resistance segment is a little longer, at around half an hour, but that’s because it works all the major muscle groups in the body; shoulders, back, chest, legs and abs—all are woken up. You’ll dis­cover muscles you never knew you had.

I must admit, running through the workouts myself before they were ready for review by the production compa­ny was probably more enjoyable than it should have been; and that passion must have been obvious when I dem­onstrated the workouts shortly thereaf­ter. Very few adjustments were suggest­ed, and so the workouts were set and ready to be practiced with my backup crew (Avi Schofield and Chaim Fried­man, both certified personal trainers).

Exercising with other fitness profes­sionals (or any training partner, really) is fun and is always encouraged—everyone motivating each other. It was also helpful not needing to explain how to perform the majority of the movements. Choreography, on the other hand, took a little work, with some of the more “adventurous” cardio movements needing several repetitions to “click.” Once that was done, we discussed who was going to be demonstrating which exercise difficulty level, and what the best cues were for each movement transition. After only a short while, though, we were running through the routine, sweating and laughing. Amazing.

After a few rehearsals we were ready to record. Stay tuned for next week’s ar­ticle to find out what happened next…

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

By Chemmie Sokolic

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