What we learned from Billy Blanks
“Life is coming, might as well put up your dukes.”
“Put on your power 24/7.”
“Commit to yourself; life will change.”
“Build up confidence and you will break down barriers.”
(Some of HellaWella’s favorite Billy Blanks quotes. You will soon find these hanging up on our office walls!)
We all know who Billy Blanks is: World karate champion, actor, author, philanthropist, and inventor of the crazy popular Tae Bo fitness program that took the world by storm in the ‘90s. HellaWella recently had the chance to hear Blanks speak — and take a Tae Bo class lead by the master himself — at the PIX 11 Health and Wellness Expo. Our conclusion: Not only is Billy Blanks a great motivator with killer abs, you can also learn a lot from him.
At the health-and-wellness expo, Blanks led two Tae Bo classes, starting with a stretch, warm-up, and simple Tae Bo moves like the upper cuts, speed bags and lunges, mixed with heart-pumping cardio. After the warm-up, Blanks took off his jacket, exposing his ripped physique, and received cheers and cat calls from a crowd of ladies — at age 56, he’s still got it.
Afterward, Blanks led a discussion called “Allow Your Mind to Bring Your Body Under Control.” He talked about how your thought process plays an important role in getting and staying fit, and living a healthy lifestyle. Here’s a few key points he made:
Overcome. Blanks shared with the audience how he was a shy kid with a learning disability. He was placed in special education classes because teachers thought he had a mental disability. Turns out, he was just a shy kid with dyslexia. (He didn’t find out he had dyslexia until he was 35). He didn’t come out of his shell until he attended karate classes when he was 11 years old. The experience changed his life. “It gave me the opportunity to see out of my own eyes that I can be great,” he said. Blanks also learned that the key to changing your body is to focus your mind.
Focus. “How do you get to your dreams when your eyes are not there?” Billy asked the crowd. “Keep your eyes focused forward and you will reach your goals.” Blanks said to think of yourself as a baby when you begin a workout program. You are crawling at three months; walking by 1 year; and running by 2.
Don’t let your senses fool you. Blanks explained — and many of us can agree — that after 15 to 20 minutes of exercise, one of your five senses tries to break down your will with every excuse in the book. Doubt and fear derives from what you see and hear, Blanks explained. You can’t expect to look like the person you see on the cover of a magazine after a week of exercising. And you can’t listen to your negative thoughts. Physical fitness is a 365-day commitment.
So where has Billy Blanks been?
He married his Japanese interpreter three years ago, and has been living in Osaka, Japan. He’s also been busy developing a new exercise program called PT 24/7. The program incorporates specially designed resistance bands and gloves with a Tae Bo-like cardio workout. Check it out here.