Aerobic Tae Bo®, commonly known simply as Tae Bo, is a cardio/aerobic exercise system developed by seven-time world martial arts champion Billy Blanks. It was a revolutionary exercise regimen when it gained national and international attention in the 1990s, and it became a sensation. It was designed to utilize the techniques of martial arts, self-defense, kickboxing, dancing and punch boxing to increase heart rate and lung activity while also toning muscles. It is a high-intensity workout that can allow a person to burn from 500 to 800 calories in a single hour, as opposed to the standard 300 to 400 calories that a more traditional aerobics class burns. The regimen's goal is to increase strength, mobility, stamina, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance.
The term "Tae Bo" is a blending of two terms — "tae kwon do" and "boxing" — and their meanings into one. The tae kwon do in Blanks' workout presents itself in the martial arts aspect of the routine, which is designed to increase confidence and self-control. This combines with kickboxing and punch boxing moves choreographed to dance rhythms to improve physical and mental coordination and strength; in conjunction with a balanced diet, it can also lead to weight loss. Aerobic Tae Bo® was a revolutionary exercise routine when it was introduced because it is both an aerobic and cardio workout. It is intended to help its participants burn more calories and lose weight at a faster rate when the program is used consistently.
Blanks developed aerobic Tae Bo® in 1976. He stumbled on the fitness routine while working out in his basement to the “Rocky” movie theme song. He quickly realized that, in a short amount of time, he had maximized his calorie burn and found himself exhausted. It was not until six years later that he began offering official aerobic Tae Bo® classes in his Boston, Massachusetts, studio in the United States.
In 1989, Blanks made the decision to move to California, where he opened the Billy Blanks World Training Center. It was not until the 1990s that aerobic Tae Bo® became a pop culture sensation. The success of aerobic Tae Bo® led to the production of several exercise videos and DVDs, and related merchandise remained among the highest-selling products in the fitness genre into the early 21st century. Its popularity led to a kickboxing-based fitness phenomenon at gyms and fitness centers across the nation, and aerobic Tae Bo® is taught worldwide.