To help me keep on track with my workouts I will be writing posts every Friday for what I’m going to call “Fitness Friday”. These posts will, as the name suggests, centre around fitness in some way. It could be a review of the equipment I’m using, a look back at my workouts for that week, or like today’s post it could be a highlight of a fitness program / guru that I love.
To start things off I have to highlight my personal favourite way to get through my cardio workouts: The Fitness Marshall.
Fitness Marshall is run by Caleb Marshall and his fabulous “Backup Booty” team. Caleb choreographs cardio hip hop routines to hit songs that are easy to follow and an awesome way to get you breathing harder. What sets these videos apart from other hip hop cardio videos in my opinion are Caleb’s theatrics. He’s such a bright and positive personality that I often find myself forgetting that I am even working out because I’m blinded by his sunshine.
I first came across Fitness Marshall this past summer while scrolling through Facebook. The workout video for Meghan Trainor’s “Me Too” had popped up on my feed as yet another viral video that demanded to be watched while I was avoiding doing housework.
Honestly, even if you’re not in the mood to workout right now this video is great just to sit back and watch. Just don’t be surprised if you end up walking around shouting “Take it to church!” at people.
What really drew me to this video was the inclusion of a plus-sized backup booty (if someone knows her name please tell me!). I was too used to seeing workout dance videos consisting of perfectly fit instructors and backup dancers with shredded abs and not an ounce of fat to sweat of. There’s nothing wrong with any of that but for me representation definitely matters. I saw myself in this plus-size woman, and I was inspired by her ability to nail the choreography just as well as Caleb and Haley.
A couple nights after watching the video I went back to it and actually tried it out. I should tell you: I have no rhythm. I can handle learning basic choreography but 9 times out of 10 the execution is not pretty. This is why I’ve never tried Zumba. I found that this felt different! You don’t have to hit the beat, you just keep moving and doing your best. And you’re bound to burn some calories just from laughing.
After showing the video to some friends and getting some positive feedback about it I decided to give more of Caleb’s videos a try. I started by just picking songs I recognized which was great until I tried Fergie’s “London Bridge”. I got my ass kicked by this song the first time and ended up sitting on the floor trying to catch my breath but I have since figured it out (well, kind of).
The Fitness Marshall youtube is conveniently organized into three playlist categories: warm ups, cool downs, and main workout. This allows you to customize your workout by selecting your own mix of videos. When I started I was doing 4 or 5 videos at a time but now that my cardio has improved I can do a full 30-40 workout with about 10 videos.
I recommend creating a playlist of your favourite ones and organizing it in a way that works for you. I personally like to start with some of the slower numbers and then work my way into the fast songs. I try to do two songs that I consider difficult back to back and then put an easier song in so I can have a little break. The best part of the videos being hosted by Youtube is that those annoying random advertisements actually give you 10 seconds to grab your water and catch your breath.
Fitness Marshall also does a workout of the week aka “The Sweat Set”. This is a playlist of 11-12 songs that were pre-picked for a total cardio workout. So far I have found they are structured to have songs to make a warm-up and a cool down which makes it incredibly convenient, though I still recommend some static stretching at the end. They aren’t kidding about the sweat part, I’ve come out of these playlists drenched but feeling energized and good about myself. I suppose that’s why Caleb uses the phrase “sweat yourself sexy”. The only complaint I have is how time consuming doing this set can be, it’s not convenient for when I just want a quick workout.
Following The Fitness Marshall on Instagram is the easiest way to get updates on new videos and to just follow Caleb and the Backup Booties enjoying life and dancing their hearts out. They also tour to do their workouts live so if you’re lucky and interested you could actually go attend one of their shows! I’m hoping the next time he wanders up to Canada I’ll peck up enough courage to show my dance moves off in public.
If you try out any of the videos let me know what you think! For now, I’ll leave you with one of my favourites: