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'Father of Fitness DVD' Not Slowing Down

17 Dec, 2010 By: Angelique Flores


Cal Pozo with dancers from the 'Dancing with the Stars' fitness DVD.


Cal Pozo’s successful career as a director, producer and choreographer of numerous fitness titles seems to be a series of flukes.

In the 1970s, the Cuban-born Pozo was a Broadway dancer in New York. After suffering a hip injury, he took over his own rehabilitation after doctors told him his dancing career was finished. He mixed various dancing and exercise disciplines to create his own workout program.

During the 1980s, he tried waiting tables in between dancing jobs.

“I almost set the restaurant on fire,” he recalled.

This led him to do personal training instead, using his knowledge of dance exercise and then incorporating the new craze at the time, aerobics.

One of his clients was the wife of the senior editor at Doubleday Publishing, who suggested Pozo write a workout book, after seeing the results on his wife.

“I’ll call it Bunnetics,” Pozo jokingly told him.

The editor, however, liked the idea, asking him to write a book.

“I wrote a very sarcastic kind of book,” Pozo said. “I never intended anyone to take it seriously.”

Bunnetics debuted in 1982, becoming a bestseller, and Pozo found himself on the talk show circuit.

“My dad wanted me to be an architect, and now I’m all over the TV with my buns on the air,” he said.

After another successful book, someone suggested to Pozo to do a video. Pozo happened to have taken film and video studies at New York University.

“It was a godsend,” he said.

And thus, the “father of fitness DVD” shot his first of many videos, Bunnetics. He soon after shot Cal Pozo’s Learn to Dance in Minutes, which spawned the longest-running instructional video dance series ever, he said. But he hated being on camera and moved behind it instead.

Pozo produces, directs, shoots, edits and choreographs, with more 300 productions to his name, many of them bestsellers through his Fitvid Productions.

He is a certified fitness specialist and is credited for introducing Pilates on video with the best-selling “The Method” video series.

Among the fitness icons with which Pozo has worked are Denise Austin, Kathy Smith, Leslie Sansone, Jennifer Kries and Tracey Mallet. He also is behind the DVD workouts for many of Lionsgate’s popular workout titles based on television shows and films, such as “Dancing With the Stars,” “The Biggest Loser” and “American Gladiators,” as well as Dirty Dancing: Official Dance Workout and Fame: The Workout.

“I always know we are in the best hands with Cal as he brings a level of quality, enthusiasm and passion to every area of production,” said Kajsa Vikman, VP of home entertainment marketing for Lionsgate. “In addition to focusing on every detail and the ability to anticipate where the camera should be for the next move, he has an amazing understanding of branding and how to adjust each production to fit the particular brand. He is truly a one-stop shop, with an expertise in all areas of production from set design to lighting and choreography.”

Those in front of the camera are just as happy to work with Pozo, including Chelsie Hightower of "Dancing With the Stars" and the the "Dancing With the Stars" workout DVDs.

"I came into this experience no knowing what to expect, not having a done a workout DVD before," Hightower said. "Cal immediately made me feel comfortable and at ease with the whole process. Cal's enthusiasm and love for his job only motivates you more to do a better and better job." 

Now 66 years old, Pozo has no plans to retire any time soon.

“If someday I croak teaching some 21-year-old how to spin, what a happy way to go!” he said.


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