COSTA MESA — Newport-Mesa residents interested in working out with fitness guru Billy Blanks no longer have to go far, and can help out a local elementary school at the same time.
The United Studios of Self Defense's Back Bay location at 2675 Irvine Ave. is now offering Tae Bo Fitness classes with Blanks and a special introductory rate for a month's worth of classes — with $5 of each sign up benefiting Mariners Elementary School in Newport Beach.
"We like to work with the community," said General Manager Mikki St. Germain. "We're always doing something with the community and students."
An introductory rate of $49 for a month of unlimited classes is being offered until Dec. 15 with a portion of the money going to Mariners, St. Germain said.
Blanks classes are offered at 9 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Blanks, who also teaches classes in Laguna Niguel, Dana Point and at Gold's Gym in Trabuco Canyon, became famous for creating Tae Bo fitness, a mixture of karate, dancing, boxing, ballet and yoga that increases flexibility and strengthens the cardiovascular system.
Blank, who has been teaching for 35 years, said he likes to see people change.
The focus is not on weight loss, but teaching how to communicate.
"It's more about learning to communicate with their own body and bringing their body under control," he said. It's then that the weight loss happens.
Blanks said it won't be easy, but participants will gain the power to know they can push through tough workouts.
Learning to communicate can happen in as little as one day, and within a month, people can see changes both mentally and physically, he said.
Participants can burn from 500 to 1,200 calories a class, Blanks said depending on how much effort they put in.
He spends the first six weeks of each class going through the program to make sure exercisers know how to kick, punch, count music and all the basics.
People hesitant about trying the program shouldn't be scared, but come to class, learn a lot and have fun, Blanks said.