Making exercise video is a workout

January 09, 1995|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Sun Staff Writer

If you think you're exhausted after watching a 45-minute aerobics video, then imagine the fatigue that fitness instructor Nikki Helt felt after spending 12 hours working to make the moves look effortless on your television screen.

"You have to stop, do take five, take six," said Ms. Helt who appears in "Trim Walk II" with aerobics guru Denise Austin. "It's complicated."

The Ellicott City resident spent three days last November in New York taping the video. Ms. Helt said she not only had to follow cues from Ms. Austin but from choreographer and fitness club magnate Lynne Brick as well.

Despite her fatigue, Ms. Helt said, "It's a really fun workout."

The video is the first Ms. Helt has appeared in. Last week, she taped a video for aerobic instructors in Philadelphia with Ms. Brick, owner of four health and fitness centers in the Baltimore area.

"It's exciting," said Ms. Helt, a five-year aerobic instructor. "It's a wonderful experience for me."

For the past six months, Ms. Helt has been teaching step aerobics and muscle conditioning at Lynne Brick's Women's Health & Fitness centers in Owings Mills and Silver Spring.

Ms. Helt used to teach aerobics in Lawrence, Kan., before her husband got a job in the Physical Education Department at the University of Maryland this past summer.

"I'm an aerobic freak," said Ms. Helt, who said she enjoys helping people become healthy and fit. "It's so important."

To appear in the video with Ms. Austin, Ms. Helt performed low-impact aerobic movements for three to five minutes. She and another woman were chosen from among 20 instructors and members from various Lynne Brick fitness centers.

"Nikki just really shined," Ms. Brick said. "She has such a pleasant, perky personality. She's really fun to watch."

"Trim Walk II," which features low-impact aerobics and muscle conditioning, is available in stores such as Kmart, Wal-Mart and Blockbuster Video.

The second video Ms. Helt made will become available in a few weeks, Ms. Brick said.

When she's not making videos, Ms. Helt teaches aerobics. On a recent day, she strapped on a head microphone and led 16 women at the Silver Spring fitness club through knee bends, leg lifts and arm stretches.

"Squeeze that hamstring. Squeeze it," Ms. Helt commanded from atop a platform in front of the class.

In unison, the class followed Ms. Helt through a complicated sequence of turns, bends and steps, pausing occasionally to use elastic bands to do arm stretches and other exercises.

"Come on, work hard. Breathe," Ms. Helt urged the women.

Students said Ms. Helt is one of the best instructors at the center.

"I can tell a good instructor right away," said Mel Brown, a self-described aerobics junkie from Silver Spring. "She has really good choreography and she helps pace the class."

Ms. Helt said that she hopes to transform her video appearances into a show of her own one day. But for now, she's happy with the work she's accomplished.

"It's a dream come true," she said.

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