Television exercise programs -- Get off the couch and into shape with ''Body By Jake,'' ''Mousercise,'' ''Bodies in Motion,'' and more

By EW Staff
January 08, 1993 at 05:00 AM EST

Television exercise programs

Time was, exercise on TV started and ended with Jack LaLanne. These days, LaLanne hawks a stair-stepping device in commercials while a new set of talking physiques stand ready to pump you up. With its 4.5 hours of daily sweat shows, ESPN is to fitness what The Weather Channel is to cold fronts, but other networks have also weighed in with 30-minute regimens. Here are some of the more intriguing programs that might help you make good on your New Year’s workout resolution.

Body By Jake (ESPN, 9 a.m., weekdays)
· Locale: An indoor studio
· Instructer: Congenial Hollywood trainer Jake Steinfeld
· Pep Talk: ”Today is extra-buttissimo day, gang.”
· Routine: A studio audience sits on its collective rump while a few volunteers exercise theirs. Jake, who also can be seen in the Family Channel sitcom Big Brother Jake, occasionally tosses out questions like, ”True or false: Can you rupture your eardrums by blowing your nose too hard?” (False.) Still, it’s hard not to like the big galoot. B+

Bodyshaping (ESPN, 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., weekdays)
· Locale: An Arizona resort
· Instructors: A Rainbow Coalition of hardbodies with such names as Kiana, Jennifer, Kendell, and Rick
· Pep Talk: ”Yeah. All right. Lookin’ good.”
· Routine: The show once boasted six-time Ms. Olympia Cory Everson, but since she bolted in 1990 for the big screen (Double Impact), it’s just Kiana et al. doing triceps extensions and lat pulldowns and admiring one another’s deltoids. Wondering why you’re not following along? Perhaps because you need a gymful of equipment for most of these moves. And they call this a home-fitness program? (Oh, you can mail-order the $19.95 ”Bodyshaping Home Gym” rubber-band gizmo.) D

Bodies In Motion (ESPN, 6 a.m., and noon, weekdays)
· Locale: A Hawaiian beach
· Instructor: He has a fabulous build and a foreign accent. No, it’s not him, it’s Gilad Janklowicz, a former decathlon champ in his native Israel
· Pep Talk: ”Now, push dah body in opposite directions.”
· Routine: With low-impact aerobic exercises, Janklowicz tries to do for us what he used to do as a fitness instructor for the Israeli Army. The most entertaining part is the opening montage, in which he demonstrates the discus throw and long jump in slo-mo. (By the way, Janklowicz’s equally muscular sister, Ada, leads her own exercise drill, Basic Training Workout, which returns to ESPN in March.) B

Mousercise (The Disney Channel, 6 a.m., weekdays)
· Locale: The Mickey Mouse Health Club
· Instructor: Chipper Kellyn Plasschaert
· Pep Talk: ”You can jump, you can shake it…whatever you wanna make it.”
· Routine: Plasschaert leads an eager group of kids through a workout that’s inventive and free-spirited. They hop like frogs, jerk around like toy soldiers, and soar across the room like jets. Mousercise is such fun that even the song, ”It’s a Small World,” is bearable one more time. A

Getting Fit With Denise Austin (ESPN, 5:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., weekdays)
· Locale: A variety of resort spots: beach, golf course, poolside
· Instructor: Tall, perfectly tanned Denise Austin
· Pep Talk: ”Keep stretching [during the commercial]…I’ll be right back!”
· Routine: Though Denise Austin may look and sound like a genetically engineered beach babe, she’s an exercise physiologist with a list of credentials as long as her legs, including work for the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Unfortunately, that still doesn’t make her show anything special. Standard lift-your-leg, tighten-your-tummy stuff. C

To Life! Yoga With Priscilla Patrick (PBS, check local listings)
· Locale: an empty studio
· Instructor: TV-toning veteran Priscilla Patrick
· Pep Talk: ”Now strahy-ten your spahne. In-hayle. Ex-hayle. Guuud.” · Routine: You won’t break a sweat with this quiet, low-key show, but sometimes Patrick’s relaxing stretches and light exercise are exactly what you need. And there’s something about a yoga teacher with a Southern accent: ”See ya next tahme.” B