First there were fitness videotapes.
Then came fitness DVDs, followed closely behind by an explosion of online exercise videos produced by everyone from no-name workout enthusiasts to the iconic Jake Steinfeld of Body by Jake fame.
Steinfeld’s popular ExerciseTV Video OnDemand channel and website closed down Dec. 31. But the evolution of the fitness video industry continues.
Among the relatively new options is BeFit in 90 — a free 90-day workout system on YouTube starring bubbly Olympic sprinter-turned-fitness guru Samantha (nee Davies) Clayton.
“It’s the first time an online fitness program for 90 days has ever been given away. So I’m really excited to be involved,” Clayton tells Sun Media, noting BeFit in 90 was developed through a partnership between YouTube and entertainment studio Lionsgate.
“They feel that DVDs are on the way out and free fitness online is the future. This was a way that YouTube could come together with a legitimate fitness entity like Lionsgate films and put quality content online that’s been put together by fitness professionals and is not going to get people hurt.”
Much like the fitness video industry, Clayton has evolved, too.
In 2000, the Liverpool native represented England at the Sydney Olympics, running the 200-metre sprint and 4×100-metre relay.
These days, Clayton is the head women’s sprint coach at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif.
She’s also the mother of four children — including six-year-old triplets — and the wife of retired Major League all-star shortstop Royce Clayton.
“A lot of the fitness that Royce and I do together is centred around the kids,” she says, explaining the family goes for weekly hikes and bike rides.
“I feel my fitness in general is chasing them (the kids) around.”
Clayton, 32, rarely sits still.
For example, during her kids’ soccer season, the certified personal trainer rallies together a group of fitness-minded soccer moms on the sidelines and gets them exercising.
“I bring resistance bands to the games with me,” she adds. “Instead of sitting for two hours while you wait for your kids, ‘Come on, I’ll train you for free. Let’s go!’
“I’m innovative because I’m busy. I’m a working mom. So I get it in when I can.”
Although her competitive days are behind her, Clayton still runs on the track once or twice a week.
She also enjoys Bikram yoga with her husband. And she teaches up to three group exercise classes a week for her university’s rec department.
It’s a regimen that works.
Clayton, who gained 70 pounds while pregnant with her triplets, is back to an uber-fit 122 pounds at five-foot-two.
“I’m just passionate about being healthy,” she says. “My big push is going to be childhood obesity.”
The former Arizona gym owner is joining Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” anti-obesity campaign and plans to start speaking at schools to inspire students to get fit.
“Seeing kids obese, to me, is a frightening and upsetting thing because it’s something they’re going to struggle with for the rest of their life,” Clayton says.
“It’s great people in power are realizing that we need to teach our kids about wellness now, instead of waiting until they need to be on a show like The Biggest Loser because they have 300 pounds to lose.”
The down-to-earth fitness model, who is also the lead instructor for an upcoming Herbalife fitness video series, is hoping to help develop a second 90-day online workout program with YouTube and Lionsgate.
“This is just the start of something,” she says, “that I really think is eventually going to go viral and be the go-to place for fitness.”
BeFit in 90 is linked to the BeFit YouTube channel, which boasts more than three million video views and also offers free fitness videos from Lionsgate’s massive library featuring industry behemoths such as Jillian Michaels, Jane Fonda and Denise Austin.
Samantha’s fitness advice:
“With fitness, it’s not one-size-fits-all. For me, I can happily lift heavy weights and not do a huge amount of cardio to keep my fitness in check, whereas somebody with my exact same body type, for them, they might benefit more from endurance training or a step class.
“Find what it is that you love. If you love to cycle and you hate to run, then choose cycling. You’re more likely to stick with it if you love it. There are so many different things to choose from … You have to come up with a balance that’s right for you.”
— CARY CASTAGNA, Sun Media News Services