I’m so old that my first exercise video was not even audio-visual: It was sound-only. An LP.
And it was ridiculous. Of course, the instructor (you may have heard of her—Jane Fonda?) tried to clearly explain what moves to do, but that just didn’t always work. What some of the moves were meant to be remain a mystery to me to this day. (But no, I don’t still have the album…)
So the advent of exercise classes on VHS home tapes were a clear improvement. Not all the moves were easy to do, but at least you could always tell what they were.
And as is true in general, the exercise DVDs were an improvement over those. No more rewinding and fast-forwarding. More content could be put on each disk. Easier to pick and choose to do partial or combination workouts.
I love working out to videos. Nothing’s more convenient, you never have to worry about the weather, and unless you’re buying a crazy number of them, it’s way cheaper than a gym memberships. You get something of the illusion of working out with someone else, and even that illusion is more motivating than working out on your own. And the variety available—aerobics, strength, flexibility, or a combination of all. Short, long, or in between. Dancey or athletic. Easy-going, intermediate, or tough.
Whatever your mood today: There’s a home workout for that.
And so it really pains me to see Collage Video go out of business. They sold nothing but fitness videos (along with a few fitness accessories). And they did it better than anyone else.
They broke down each video by all the factors that home fitness die-hards care about: instructor, length, level, workout type, body part focus. They included video samples so you could assess whether a new instructor or style seemed appealing. They had fantastic forums and review comments. They rated the videos themselves, highlighting some as favorites.
But ultimately, they could not battle the price pressure from the likes of Amazon, nor the general decline in the DVD format.
So when I decided I could use some more workouts with a lower-body focus, I did what I always do: I picked up the latest Collage Video catalog and picked out about five that I thought would do.
Only now I cannot order them from the Collage Video website.
Amazon? It had exactly one of them in stock. OK, so I probably didn’t need all five, but I wanted at least one more. I went a-huntin’, and finally located a site that offered one of them as a download. I can burn that to DVD or play it from the computer (which is connected to my TV), so that’s fine. Only, I needed this rubber band thingie for that workout. Collage would have sent it to me with the DVD. With the download… Not so much. So more research for that, resulting in a trip to Walmart to purchase that.
I’m not sure this is progress. I know streaming is the thing now, but the best option there seems to be Gaiam TV, at $10 (US) a month. Not a crazy price, but then, I don’t think I was spending $120+ yearly on exercise videos before…
March 29, 2014 at 4:48 pm
I was always a Denise Austin fan because she was just so darn chirpy it was hard NOT to believe I was awesome while doing leg lifts.
April 6, 2014 at 6:04 pm
I somehow never acquired a Denise Austin workout, despite the many available. Just got my first Leslie Sansone, though. She is very chirpy and cheery! Somehow, it doesn’t bug me, though. It’s like, yay, this is fun workout! I love Lionel Richie (what?)!
November 17, 2014 at 10:55 am
I guess someone on the east coast bought Collage..http://www.collagevideo.com.
November 17, 2014 at 12:02 pm
That’s good to know! Thanks for the update.