When I was younger, I went through a brief period where I wanted to look like Elle Macpherson. And if I couldn't have Elle's face and body, I would have at least settled for her impossibly long legs. Eventually I decided that I was beautiful in my own unique way, but when Elle released a workout VHS in 1994 -- called Elle Macpherson: Your Personal Best -- I jumped at the chance to emulate The Body's body through exercise.
It quickly became my favorite workout tape -- much more so than Cindy Crawford's Shape Your Body (which came under criticism because some of the warm-up moves could injure your neck and back.) But when DVDs came on the scene and my VCR eventually died, I had to give the workout up other than the moves that had been committed to memory.
Flash forward to 2017 and I discover, with delight, that some incredibly awesome person actually uploaded Your Personal Best to YouTube! Earlier today I finally pulled on my Athleta workout gear, ignoring the fact that the 12-14 pounds I have gained during the past year are making me look like I'm in the first trimester of pregnancy. This is going to be a piece of cake and a blast, I'm thinking to myself; after all, I did this workout 2-3 times a week back in the day.
I couldn't do even half of the last aerobics section. Sigh...I really am getting (ahem) older (and getting sidelined with a nasty virus for a while after Christmas didn't exactly help me stay in shape.) I was sweaty, hot, and tired -- not unlike having the flu (and I'm sure the achy part will come tomorrow.) Elle Macpherson -- and her trainer on this video, Karen Voight -- kicked my butt. But of course after hopping in the shower I felt great, and I'll be making this workout a regular part of my exercise routine a few times a week.
There's a few reasons why I love Your Personal Best. For starters, even though it was released over 20 years ago it has aged tremendously well, with just some opening graphics and the soundtrack (INXS, Power Station, Sting, etc.) giving the era away. It was also filmed in Hawaii, including one location that was featured in the first Jurassic Park movie. But most importantly, it delivers a really awesome workout in an hour that incorporates sculpting and lifting weights with burning some calories via low impact moves. And of course, Macpherson is her beautiful, personable self in it. I remember a few months after I first started doing it in the '90s, a fitness instructor complimented me on my toned upper body when I took a class with a couple of friends at their gym. So I know it works!
Elle Macpherson made an earlier workout video, in 1989, called Elle Macpherson Stretch and Strengthen, but Your Personal Best definitely beats that one. Karen Voight, by the way, has trained Hollywood stars and has produced over 25 workout videos.
YouTube is now teeming with a lot of uploaded "vintage" workouts (even though Your Personal Best doesn't feel so vintage.) Sometimes it's fun to try these out, if even for the nostalgic value of watching women hop around in colorful spandex. If you're curious to try it out for yourself, here's the entire Your Personal Best workout:
Hi, I'm Pam - thanks for visiting Go Retro! If you've ever been called an old soul like I have, or you were lucky enough to actually live during the mid-20th century in America, then you're in the right place!
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