Tuesday, 8 May 2012

A Slightly Longer Interlude

You know I love you, CLCW readers, don't you? Utterly. Desperately. It's almost obscene, my love for you all.

And yet I neglect you.

I'm like a footballer too distracted by the glamour of kicking a ball around a field to advertise crisps or appear in "Hello" with a lovely wife and/or mistress.

Unfortunately for all of us, my attention is being unreasonably taken up at the moment. I'm living the life of Rodney Dangerfield in "Back to School". With slightly less wisecracking.

This is not Rodney Dangerfield.

I wanted a clip of the studying montage mentioned in this Cracked article. But YouTube let me down. But that's how my life actually is right now.

I literally have to study using only my lighter.

Thinking of you all. Lovingly. Longingly. Almost a little too intrusively, if we're honest.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Mr Motivator - All New BLT Workout

And once again, I shamefully left you hanging on for the next exciting instalment of C-List Celebrity Workouts.

I’ve become inexcusably slipshod. And this is since getting Clare Balding as a celebrity twitter follower as well. What MUST she think of me?

Ah well, I won’t bore you with the humdrum aspects of my life which have hampered my ability to upload this week’s reviews. It’s not like I’m the only hard-working parent with super-villains to vanquish and fiendish plots to undermine. The city is safe again, at least. And it’s nice those orphans can sleep soundly at night. Of course, it’s a shame that they are orphans now but – meh – you can’t have everything.

This week’s reviewee is 1990’s GMTV fitness instructor – Mr Motivator.
He and Mad Lizzie (from TV-am) are the only two TV fitness instructors I can think of who became celebrities in their own right. And by ‘celebrities’ I mean people of whom an exertaphobe such as myself was vaguely aware.

Mr Motivator - or Derrick Evans as he is known to his friends and the inland Revenue – looks fab. Some might say he overdoes it a bit with his bandana AND glasses AND moustache AND mad clothes. And they’d be right of course. Overdoing it is Mr M’s USP.

The whole DVD is filmed in Jamaica. The workouts are performed against a backdrop of tropical greenery, cliffs and sandy white beaches. I am so OVER fake celebrity houses now. All workout DVDs should like this.

Or this.

This would also be acceptable.

One of the locations is an ecotourism resort owned by Mr M himself. It’s called H’Evans Scent. Do you see what he did there?

Mr Motivator is joined by a whole bunch of impossibly gorgeous young Jamaican people. And a couple of very fit – but quite mumsy – looking ladies from the UK.

The workout sections consist of: Fun Calypso Workout; Upper Body Conditioning; Bikini Body Workout, Pyramid Workout and Bums Legs and Tums.

There’s a Party Workout at the end. Although, it looks like a pretty rubbish party to be honest. I’d like to hang out with Mr Motivator. He seems like a cool guy. But if his parties consist of jogging on the spot and arm-stretching rather than booze, snacks and impromptu balloon games, I think I’ll probably give it a miss.
Most of the sections are great – I particularly enjoyed the Upper body conditioning workout. But you all know how excited I get when there’s an opportunity to use my dumbbells.

I didn’t like the Pyramid workouts where Mr M dresses as an army sergeant major and orders his coquettishly-dressed squadron to perform a bunch of jumpy-up-and-down exercise. This is partly because I prefer lovely Mr Motivator to bossy Mr Motivator. But mostly because jumping up and down a lot is logistically awkward.

Best Bit
I love Mr Motivator. Normally I complain about people talking too much rubbish in workout DVDs. I could listen to Mr M talking rubbish all day though. He is, to be fair a professional at it.

“They started out with me looking rough but I’ve rebuilt them.”

“Smile! Jesus loves you!” (You know hardly anyone says that on Fitness DVDs.)

MrM: Every lady here say ‘Yes’!
Ladies: Yes!
MrM: I love it when women say ‘yes’

This really is the perfect mix of holiday brochure and pantomime.

Worst Bit
I originally assumed it was a re-release of one of Mr Motivator’s original videos from the 90s. However further research (Wikipedia) has revealed this is a new recording made in 2007.

In which case the production values are truly terrible. All the time I was excusing the shoddy quality because I thought it had been copied straight from VHS to DVD and that they’d tried to make up for how shit it was by introducing a “select your own workout” feature (that doesn’t really work).

If this was recorded in the current century on a camera designed for the purpose then the fact that this woman’s face looks like it’s been blurred out for security purposes for the Upper Body conditioning workout is a little bit disappointing.

Weirdest Bit
Between workouts there are baffling “comedy” segments with The Mad Professor and his assistant. The credits reveal that both the characters share Mr Motivator’s surname (not Motivator , the other one) which, at least explains what they are doing on the DVD.

Mostly OK. Apart from the Pyramid Jumping which I didn’t attempt. And the dancing. I REALLY can’t dance.

Would I do this DVD again?
Well no. I’m not going to do any of these workouts again probably. I should get rid of this section. Maybe replace it with “Would I recommend this to a friend?” or “Would I sooner do this again than wank off a pig?”

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Katie Price - The Jordan Workout

Wikipedia lists Katie’s Prices career achievements as: media personality, author, former glamour model, occasional singer and businesswoman. It’s a pretty underwhelming set of achievements, really.

As an author, every one of her 38 books has been written by someone else. The glamour modelling with which she first came to the public’s attention is now just a ‘former’ occupation. And is there any adjective damning with more faint praise than ‘occasional’ singer? All we’re left with really is “personality” and ‘businesswoman”. Jordan makes money out of her selling herself.

Not that she's pretended otherwise, to be fair

This workout DVD was brought out in 2005, the year after she appeared on ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’ where she hooked up with 90s pop star Peter Andre. They were married in September 2005. Jordan tells us that she adopted this workout following the birth of her second child in June of that year in order to get back into shape for her wedding.

Jordan and Andre just before Junior's birth. I can't believe it didn't work out for these two crazy kids.

As Jordan tells us ‘I was due to get married AND go on my honeymoon.' What are the chances, eh? Both those things happening at the same time.

She also tells us that she had never dieted or exercised in her life. This comes across as an admission that as she neither really needed to lose weight, nor enjoys exercise, she was blatantly releasing a workout DVD for the cash.

The DVD itself is fine. It appears to be literally set in Barbie’s Fashion Fairytale Palace. If ‘Jim’ll Fix It’ were still around, I’d be convinced that dressing the set had been left to a very lucky six year old girl who had a whale of time purchasing fluffy lights, disco balls and novelty seating.

Oh, I see, it's a shoe

Trainer Richard Callender tries to counteract the girliness by using lots of boxing expressions and frequently reminding us that he’s heterosexual.

There’s lots of punching and jumping and stretching. None of the sequences are difficult to follow. This is probably for Jordan’s benefit, who really doesn’t look like she’s done this (or probably any) workout before. Plus she really doesn’t seem all that bright, bless her. Richard tries to engage her in conversation during the workout. When he asks her how she’s down during the warm-up, she replies perkily “Warming up!” – a pretty typical Jordan comment. Her internal thought processes seem to be a running commentary of whatever she’s doing at a given moment.

I’m not sure who this DVD is aimed at. As I said, it looks like it’s set in a child’s bedroom. Trainer, Richard has a great line in cheery encouragement that I’m sure would endear him to middle aged women. Jordan, though, seems to think she’s making the softest of all softcore porn movies. It’s all low cut tops, bouncing, bending over and telling us how hot she’s feeling. For most of the workout she wears a pink miniskirt over a white leotard thus giving the impression of an upskirt panty shot every time she moves her legs.

Except that anyone with an amorous interest in Jordan wouldn’t be seeking gratification from a workout DVD surely? It would be a pretty rum state of affairs if this DVD were the only thing you could rustle up as a wanking aid. I believe they even have porn on the internet these days.

This is the first picture you get if you type 'porn' into a Google Image Safe Search. Wait, Is that a rubber band round his hand? What on earth is he planning to do with that?

Best Bit
Knowing that this workout allowed Jordan to look so lovely at her wedding to Peter Andre.

Worst Bit
Knowing that the marriage was doomed to failure. Poor sweet ignorant 2005 Jordan. What know you of life?

Difficulty Level
Easy peasy. Although I did leave out the “Hard Core” section. Which was a killer abs session, incidentally. I’m not returning to my previous pornography digression.

Would I do this workout again?
No. It wasn’t the worst workout I’ve done by a long way. However, watching the Jordan Workout once can be considered a duty. Watching the Jordan Workout twice looks like an indulgence. I do have to live with myself, you know.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Gabby Logan - Twin Results Workout

The reason for choosing Gabby Logan as this weeks CLCW review is a pretty exciting one. Last week in aid of Sports Relief, a whole bunch of celebrities participated in Twit Relief and us hoi polloi were invited to buy raffle tickets in order to win, for example, dinner with Emma Kennedy or a phone call from actress, Diane Vickers. A lot of the celeb prizes included – or consisted solely of – a Twitter Superfollow. This is very much like a regular follow but instead of being followed by an common or garden pleb, you are followed by a living, breathing actual celebrity! Yes it’s THAT exciting!

Your chance of winning has passed now, of course.

And wait, I haven’t even got to the truly exciting part yet! C-List Celebrity Workouts (@clcelebworkouts) have won BBC Sports Presenter, Clare Balding! She will be following the CLCW twitter account for a minimum of three months and has to retweet something I say at some point! I feel like Clare and I are best friends now. OK, I had to pay for it and she hasn’t actually started following me yet, but we’re like sisters, really we are.

Here’s one of Clare Balding’s tweets from earlier today:

“Having a fun day out at Ascot races with @antanddec Have advised their mates to back Desert Law in 3.20 at Doncaster so the pressure's on.”

Now if this doesn’t prove that Clare and I are soulmates, I don’t know what does.
Admittedly, I have never been to Ascot. Or met Ant or Dec. Or advised anyone regarding who to back in the 3.20 at Doncaster . But if I DID do any of these things, I’m pretty sure I would consider it “A fun day out”. It’s uncanny.

How Clare might look hanging out at my house.

Clare Balding hasn’t released a Workout DVD of her own yet. However, as I fully expect her to hightail it over to my blog any time now, I thought I’d do the next best thing and feature a Workout DVD from one of her celebrity mates.

Clare and Gabby are, no doubt, constantly hanging out together at BBC Sports Presenter barbecues, quiz nights and Tupperware parties - swapping anecdotes, sharing beauty tips and recommending obscure blogs to one another.

Gabby Logan : So pretty she should probably do yogurt adverts.

Gabby Logan’s “Twin Results Workout” is the workout she followed while she was pregnant and just after the birth of her twins. Happily, she tells us that being pregnant isn’t compulsory and the workout's fantastic “even if you haven’t had children and just want to feel and look fit and healthy”.

She probably realised that marketing a DVD purely at people expecting multiple births would have had a bit of a detrimental effect on her sales figures.

Gabby is the first celebrity we’ve had on this site who’s a sports professional and former international athlete. It shows. This is a proper no-nonsense work out. Her trainer, Colin Allan appears stern and intimidating, although the DVD extras would suggest that this is a bit of an act he puts on.

Do not mess with this man.

There are five sections and all are sensibly named: Warm-Up, Trunk, Upper Body, Lower Body and Cool Down.

In each section there are three different levels of difficulty depending on whether you follow Gabby, Mel or Jo. Mel and Jo being the other women doing the workout. They are both friends of Gabby’s and we’re given a bit of background about them - neither have kids. Mel plays hockey. It makes a nice contrast to the neglect of Helmut and Pedro on Nadia’s DVD the other week. (These are possibly not the right names. I can’t be bothered to go back and check. They’re old news.)

From top to bottom: Mel, Jo and Gabby. The gang's all here!

I don’t have a lot to say about this workout, to be honest. This is Gabby Logan's fault for making her workout sensible and useful rather than ridiculous and self-indulgent. Luckily I don’t foresee that being an issue with most of the workouts on my “to watch” pile.

The only time Gabby wanders off-topic at all is when she goes into more detail about Diastasis Recti than I felt I really wanted to know. (A defect caused by the stretching of the abdomen by a growing uterus, apparently).

Would I do this workout again?
Yes definitely. Apart from anything else I got to use my lime green dumbbells in the “Upper Body” section and that always makes me happy.

Difficulty Level
For most exercises there were three levels – easy, hard and Gabby-level. That woman likes to push everything just that little bit further. Still you don’t get amazing buttocks like hers without putting some effort in.

Aforementioned amazing buttocks.

I found I was able to keep up the easiest level of exercises. Particularly the ones where all I had to do was concentrate on my pelvis. I find I have quite the knack for that.

Best Bit.
The out-takes. Colin gets the giggles! I’m always a sucker for blooper reels at the end of films so I think this is a trend worth encouraging on fitness DVDs.

Worst Bit.

I thought there would be more mention of her twins considering they are part of the DVD title. The extra “Twin Story” turned out – a little disappointingly - to be the story of the Twin Results Workout. Not the actual twins.

Although thanks to this thing called the internet I found what appears to the one picture in existence of her son and daughter.

I’m not sure what I actually wanted her babies to contribute to the workout. It’s not as though I expected to see Gabby hurling them about “Baby Yoga” style.
(You really don’t want to click that link, by the way.)

Maybe I’m just spoilt after seeing Geri Halliwell’s dog the other week. Not that Gabby’s kids could have competed with him, no matter how lovely they are. In fact, until a celebrity releases a workout DVD incorporating kittens or a baby panda, Geri’s still winning.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

A Short Interlude

It is my birthday today so I have given myself the day off. Because, quite frankly, it gets pretty anarchic at CLCW Towers this time of year.

As I don't want you feel completely abandoned, I am including video instruction from some top fitness gurus. Watch and learn, my children. Watch and learn.

Stephen Fry - Dancercise

"The rather ingenious coupling of the word "dance" to the word "circumcise"

Victoria Wood - Fatitude

"Welcome to Fatitude! Let's funky it up a little bit"

Robert Webb - Flashdance

The prettiest legs on this site so far. A fine figure of a fellow and no mistake.

I will be back next week with a proper C-List Celebrity Workout review. No less than Hannah Waterman - daughter of Dennis and one of Ian "Eastenders" Beale's harem of onscreen wives.

Or it might be GMTV Spandex King, Mr Motivator. Or everyone's favourite female Welsh ex-gymnast football pundit, Gabby Logan. Or quite possibly someone else entirely.

Who can say? Not me, obviously, since I haven't decided yet. Rest assured it'll be awesome, though.

Now go rewatch that Flashdance clip. You know you want to.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Nadia – Latino Dance Workout

Wikipedia informs us that Nadia Almada was the first transsexual winner of Big Brother. I’m not sure how many transsexuals have won the show since 2004 (I stopped watching after Series 4) but it’s nice to know that Nadia got there first.

Originally born in Madeira, Nadia lived in my home town when she first came to England. I remember a lot of excitable coverage in the local paper during her time in the Big Brother house. (“Woman who used to live here may win Reality TV show” constitutes big news in Woking.)

She now lives in Brussels and works for a banking firm. Having watched this DVD and her pop video, I think she made the right decision to step away from the entertainment business.

Nadia fails to take the pop business by storm

The safety instructions at the beginning of the DVD tell us that it is advisable that you wear flat and appropriate footwear when doing this workout. Nadia throws caution to the wind and does the whole things in 4 inch heels. More worryingly, she’s not wearing a bra. This seems to be especially foolhardy on her part as she must have gone to some effort to get those breasts. It’s not like they just turned up uninvited like mine did.

Or, you know, don't bother.

Nadia doesn’t speak at all throughout any of the workouts. It’s led by choreographer and dancer Steven Grace who swivels around like 1970s pop sensation shouting “And hip. And hip. And hip. And hip.” and other encouraging things.

The only time Nadia speaks is in the introduction and even then I only understood one in every three words she said. At one point she seems to say: “Exercise is always fun that’s why I’ve struggled to keep off the weight” so I don’t think I got that right.

Nadia speaks. The Boys look enthusiastic.

The workout consists of a Rhythm and Spank Warm Up, a Low Impact Latin Section, a Salsa Shakedown and a Rumba Cool Down. Please be aware that the Rhythm and Spank section contains no actual spanking.

The whole thing is set in a bar which makes a change from faux-celebrity houses. Disappointingly, the bar tables and chairs are empty. I think the DVD would have been improved by having a bunch of random people sitting in the background sipping mojitos.

Best Bit
Nadia’s outfits. I don’t suppose any other workouts I review here are going to include the celebrity in question wearing the miniest of mini-dresses and killer heels. She has a different look for each of the sections. The warm-ups see her with sleeked back hair and green dress festooned with gift-wrapping ribbon. For the main workouts she’s wearing red and her hair’s sporting more of an up-do. My favourite outfit is the cool down one. She looks like a Bratz doll.

Worst Bit
The whole thing’s pretty terrible really. It looks like it’s been made for about a fiver and Nadia is obviously putting in the least amount of effort she can get away with and still expect to be paid at the end of the day. I think she might have a hangover. The DVD contains a “Behind the Scenes” segment which is ideal for anyone wanting to see a production crew all wearing expressions that clearly say “Ah well. It’s work”.

Weirdest Bit
The two male dancers get no recognition whatsoever. The IMDB page for Nadia’s DVD only credits Nadia in the cast list. I can see why Steven Grace would have wanted to remove all traces of this DVD from his CV. His IMDB entry shows not only the “Strictly Ballroom” and “Moulin Rouge” credits mentioned on Nadia’s DVD box, but also an ongoing involvement with the US show, “Dancing with the Stars.”
The credits tell us that the dancers are called Gunther and CJ. They have significantly more right to be on a dance DVD than Nadia does but that’s all we’ll ever know about them.

They’re dressed identically except that CJ wears a leather cuff on his right wrist and Gunther wears one on his left. Does this signify anything? I feel that it should signify something.

Difficulty Level
I couldn’t do this at all. You know the film “The Tall Guy” where Dexter King goes to the audition for “Elephant!” and fails to dance in time with the other actors? That was me trying to do this. I was vaguely moving my legs around but not necessarily at the right time or in the right directions. I have no natural sense of rhythm of course. I hate even being at an event where you have to clap along as it takes all my concentration to keep time with everyone else.

Would I do this workout again?
No. I didn’t even do it the first time. After bemusedly failing to follow Steve’s instructions for fifteen minutes or so, I gave up and made a cup of tea. Later, I did Michelle and Dax’s workout again. Life seemed so much simpler then.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Geri Halliwell – Geri Yoga

This is the first of two yoga workout DVDs by Geri Halliwell - pop sensation, novelist, UN ambassador and, most significantly, former ginger person.

Her yoga instructor is Katy Appleton who radiates calmness and serenity to such a concentrated degree that I suspect she’s hypnotising us all through the television screen. It is entirely possible that she made me deposit large sums of money into her bank account and I have no memory of it at all.

Do just as I tell you and everything will be fine.

They are also joined by Tina. Tina is Katy’s silent sidekick. I was going to include a Jay and Silent Bob reference here but after reading every Jay quote on IMDB, I’ve realised that there’s not one thing that’s repeatable. I’m trying to keep this blog PG or at least relatively free of sweary bestiality and incest references. Tina’s role, incidentally, is to show us the easier versions of the yoga moves. They mostly keep her hidden at the back.

Geri talks rubbish throughout, of course, telling us about her grandmother’s varicose veins, how she feels fizzy and fuzzy and that it’s OK to have love handles. I’ve decided there’s probably no point in complaining about celebrities wittering on in their workout DVDs. Presumably when people buy celeb workouts it’s because they want to hang out with that particular celebrity. (Unless like me they just plan to mock). People who follow Halliwell or Windsor or Humperdinck or whoever and read about them in “Heat” and watch them on “Daybreak’ would be pretty disappointed to buy a workout DVD where the celeb was entirely mute. The banter is part of what you pay for.

The whole thing for your delectation.

As far as the workout itself goes, yoga seems great and interesting and fun and everything. I’m not sure it’s something you can learn from a DVD, though. It’s certainly not something you can learn from this DVD. We are told that this workout is suitable for anyone and yet a certain amount of knowledge on our part seems to be assumed. We’re just glibly told to adopt “the child pose” for example. Obviously, we can see what it involves by watching Geri and Silent Tina but a bit of instruction wouldn’t have gone amiss.

A problem I’m going to have with reviewing a new Celebrity workout DVD each week is following the instructions on the television while trying to do the workout itself. Even Michelle and Dax’s patiently explained floor stretches last week almost resulted in a cricked neck while I tried to watch what they were doing while simultaneously keeping my back and shoulders straight.

This is an especial problem with Geri Yoga. So many of the moves seem to involve me facing down on the floor and/or having my eyes closed. This can make following instructions on a DVD that bit trickier. I kept finding myself with my face squished into the carpet hearing Katy tell me to “then move your arms back like so”.
“Back like what, Katy?” I’d ask. Or more accurately, “Bmmph lkmmmph wmmph Ktmmph?”

Difficulty Level.
4 out of 5.
Oh, this was insanely difficult. Or rather 70% of this was fine and easy and involved keeping still and breathing and being aware of your feet and stuff. The other 30% was hard. And this is based on what Silent Tina (our Follow-Her-If-You’re-A-Beginner lady) was doing. Geri was standing on her own head, sticking her feet behind her ears, yogic flying and, quite possibly, moving her left ear and right ear independently of one another. I didn’t attempt to go there.

Beginner Level Moves from Silent Tina

Weirdest Bit
Geri has a totally different idea of yoga dress code to Katy and Tina. While the others favour baggy trousers and vest tops, Geri goes for the “Looking like I left the house in my underwear” style of workout wear. I understand that Geri is proud of the way she looks. And sometimes, we’re told, “skin on skin” helps to maintain a pose. Geri’s showing an awful lot of skin though. I hate to be a prude about these things but there was rather more inner thigh on view than I was entirely comfortable with.

Just ignore the folded up woman behind me.

Worst Bit
The Music. Seriously, I’m 3 workouts in and every one of them has had the same sort of plinky-plonky lift music. You know in Sims 1, where if your Sim bought a radio they could choose to play “jazz” or “pop” or “easy listening” and they all sounded like “dee dee dum dum de der [repeat]”. That’s what all of these workout DVD have sounded like so far. Gyms and aquarobic classes in real life always play proper pop tunes. I appreciate that buying the rights to a bunch of pop songs for your DVD is probably prohibitively expensive compared to getting some guy to spend two hours composing kerplunketty keyboard sounds. Geri’s a pop singer though. I hope nobody bought this DVD hoping they were going to bend and stretch and pretend to be a tree to “Lift me Up” or “2 becomes 1”.

Best Bit
The Cool Down. On so many levels.

The first time I listened to it, straight after doing the exercise, I kept my eyes closed throughout. It was lovely. “My [insert body part] is relaxed” Katy would tell me to tell myself, and lo, it was so. She’s a witch, I tell you. Burn her.

Then I watched it again for the purposes of the blog – eyes open this time. It’s even more amazing with the visuals. And not just because everyone’s put a jumper on. I love Geri’s massive cream fleece paired with her pair of black pants and nothing else.

But that not even close to being the best bit...


How pretty is he? And how relaxed. The little dude’s on the back of the DVD but no other mention is made of him. I love how he’s chilling out with Geri (who I’m guessing is his live-in lady) and her crew. Look...


I haven’t been scoring the DVDs overall. Maybe I should. Geri would get top marks just because of Buster here.

Would I do this again?
Well no, probably not this yoga DVD. But I’ll probably do yoga of some sort again so that’s something.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Michelle McManus - The Lifeplan Workout

Michelle McManus won Pop Idol in 2003, released an album and enjoyed a couple of years of fame. In 2005 she appeared on “You are what you eat” (with desiccated lying diet-hag, Gillian McKeith). The following year she released this workout DVD. Unlike a lot of workout-touting celebrities, Michelle needed to lose weight. She was 23 stone before embarking on her fitness regime and had lost 10 stone by the time this DVD was made. This means she’s heavier in her ‘after’ photo than celebs like Jessie Wallace (from Eastenders) and Vicky Entwhistle (from Coronation Street) are in their ‘before’ ones. Michelle looks perfectly lovely of course.

See Jessie and Vicky, a nice red dress and a positive attitude do wonders.

She has since regained a lot of her original weight. This may mean that the workout isn’t very good. Or that rapid ascension to recognition, being subjected to vicious scrutiny by tabloids and then being dropped by her record company (due to the relentless search of the music business to replicate and replace disposable music acts for short-term monetary advantage) has sapped Michelle of her self-worth and
willpower. Or maybe she just likes eating. You can over-think these
things to be honest.

I have no experience of Pop Idol (or its bastard son, the X-Factor) and hadn’t come across McManus before. She seems lovely and genuine. She has a nice rapport with her trainer, Dax Moy. Unlike the Mad Lady/Terrified Pet thing that Barbara and Roy had going on last week, I’d say there was even a bit of sexual attraction between Michelle and Dax (or Max as I probably won’t refer to them ever again). Admittedly, Dax fancies himself far more than he could any mortal woman. Fitness instructors seem to be obsessed with groins and arses, have you noticed? Dax never seems happier than when he’s sticking out his bum and tilting his pelvis. He takes enormous professional pride in how well he can do it. “Don’t worry if you can’t manage this as well as I can. I am a professional fitness instructor. You are a mere mortal.”
Look on me with wonderment and awe.

There are six routines on the DVD – Integrated Movement Training, Power Circuit, Dumbbell Matrix and Core Circuits 1, 2 and 3. There is also a section describing the elimination diet that Michelle followed and a section called “Michelle’s Lifeplan Tips” which aren’t really tips at all, rather interviews with Michelle and Dax where they tell you how they feel about things. (Spoiler: Michelle is happy. Dax thinks he’s pretty special.)

The exercises are great and easy to follow. It is recommended that you do each exercise 6 times to start with and add one repetition each time you do the workout. As Dax frequently tells us – in what he clearly thinks is a stunning bit of wordplay – there’s no progress without progression. You can’t argue with that logic, to be fair.

Worryingly, there’s no mention of an upper limit. If you follow the Exercise Planner booklet included with the DVD, you would be doing each individual set of exercises three or four times a week. You’d reach 22 by the end of the month. By the end of the first year it would be over 150. If Michelle were still following this regime in 2012 she’d need to do each routine 1,200 times. And there are dozens of them. No wonder she seems to have abandoned the Lifeplan. There’s no way she could fit all that in AND present Scottish TV’s “The Hour”.

Best Bit

This beginners-level demonstration of how to do a push-up. Nothing funny to say about it. I just found it really helpful.

Weirdest Bit
Dax explaining the rationale behind devising his elimination diet.

“There were no fewer than 80 books [in the shop] relating to nutrition... I’d open one and it would say ‘high protein, low fat’ and I’d open another one and it would say ‘low protein, high fat’. Another one would say something else. Every single one ... had two or three celebrities saying “This is the way to go”. But they were all saying something completely different and that didn’t sit right with me.”

Woah there, Moy. You noticed that there were too many diet books with conflicting advice - many of which were endorsed by celebrities? And you thought the solution to this would be to devise a brand new diet and get a Pop Idol winner to support it? Have you really thought this through?

Also, a ‘low protein, high fat’ diet plan? Are you sure that’s a thing?

Difficulty Level
2 out of 5.
I was pretty stiff the next day but I don’t think this workout was particularly hard. What with the old lady workout last week and the big lady workout this week, I am trying to be kind to myself to begin with.

Would I do this Workout again?
Yes, I think I would. Michelle keeps the unnecessary chitchat to a minimum and the exercises are clearly good for your muscles and not difficult to follow. I have even invested in some dumbbells so that next time I don’t have to heave bottles of fruity water about the place like a deranged shelf-stacker. This is probably the closest thing you’ll get to a ringing endorsement round these parts.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Barbara Windsor - The Windsor Workout

As well as being soap royalty these days, Barbara Windsor has an impressive back catalogue which includes, of course, most of the Carry On films. She’s also been in Worzel Gummidge (the best television programme ever made) and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang ( as “Blonde at fair”). Lately, she’s been appearing in some bloody awful adverts for a Bingo website but I suppose a girl’s got to make a living. Maybe the workout DVD didn’t sell as well as she was hoping.

Barbara’s a fine looking woman, though. She was 67 when this DVD was made and looks fabulous. Although for some reason she seems to be channelling Ken Dodd on the front cover.

Tell me that's not eerie.

We’re invited to exercise with Babs in her lovely fake home - a tasteful looking chalet full of pine furniture, pot plants and walls full of Barbara Windsor memorabilia including old Radio Times covers and a faintly distracting portrait.

The DVD is divided into eight sections: Warm Up; Cardiovascular; Upper Body; Legs; Bum; Tummy; Cool Down and Fun Dance Routine. We’re promised this is the perfect workout for all over body conditioning.

It’s not really Windsor’s workout at all. It’s her trainer, Roy Gayle’s workout. Babs is playing the part of us, the trainee at home, following Roy’s instructions and more-or-less doing what’s she’s told. Is this the way things usually are in the world of celebrity workout DVDs? I think it’s a bit of a cheat. If I bought “Barbara’s Windsor’s Guide to Making Choux Pastry”, I’d be disappointed to find it was a professional chef doing all the baking and Babs’s only contribution was to eat it all.

Throughout the workout, Windsor literally never stops talking. She boasts about how many arm exercises she can manage in the morning. She tells us that she feels intimidated by attractive women in gyms. She sympathises with us girls about how we’re none of us as young as we used to be. Roy does his best to join in but he looks a bit baffled by most of it to be honest. The poor guy clearly has a script he’s trying to stick to and is unsure how to respond when Babs starts telling him how tiny her feet are or guffaws at something she’s just thought of. Generally he reacts by looking a bit scared and putting on a condescending voice. He sounds like someone being interviewed by a puppet on children’s television.

Best Bit
Barbara demonstrates her warm-up exercises while sitting in bed wearing a yellow negligee. After inviting us to imagine her having a wee, she waves her hands and arms around and tells us it’s “the most fun you can have in bed on your own”. Then Roy comes into her fake-bedroom in order to get in on the action. Unfortunately, Roy’s not in his pyjamas but there’s uncomfortable banter as Barbara feigns horror and shrieks “Ooh no, my tootsies. I forgot all about them!” and the pair focus on warming up her ankles.

A glamorous pensioner rotates her feet for our edification.

Difficulty Level
This is my first celebrity exercise DVD so I have no basis for comparison. I will have to establish The Official Barbara Windsor Measure of Celebrity Workouts. I admit that currently I have the physique of Bob from Monsters vs Aliens and that running for the train leaves me gasping like a fish on a sunbed so I thought the Windsor Workout would be a good place to start.

I look a bit like this. Not blue though.

It’s aimed at old ladies for goodness sake. This stuff’s not easy, though. The leg workout below was a struggle and I didn’t even have bottles of water strapped to my feet.

“I’m not going to be in one of those naughty movies, am I?”
“Don’t be silly. I’ve tied you up for a reason.”
The pair briefly discuss BDSM porn.

I’m going to award it 3 out of 5 and then compare all the subsequent workouts to it. If it turns out that it was the easiest workout in the world, then I may have to increase the highest score. We’ll see how it goes. I’m sure it’ll be fine. It’s like a special journey we’re all going on together.

Would I do this workout again?
Christ no. As I mentioned before, this woman talks all the time. If you stuck this DVD on regularly enough to make any difference to your fitness levels, you would have to listen to the same relentless chatter in exactly the same places three times a week minimum. Do you need to hear repeatedly how Babs was advised 15 years by a physiotherapist strengthen her knees with exercise and didn’t take a blind bit of notice and is now suffering from the medical condition known as “gyppy knees” . How would feel if you went to the gym, and a fellow member told the same pointless anecdote every single session? Even if they were a lovable old eccentric with a filthy chortle like Babs Windsor, you’d have to tell them to shut up eventually.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Welcome to C-List Celebrity Workouts.

Welcome to C-List Celebrity Workouts.

I plan to review a different celebrity fitness workout DVD (or video) each week. I will do every single exercise and watch all the extras. I’ll then make a bunch of stupid jokes about leotards or something.

For the last couple of months, I have been trying to be healthier. More exercising and less eating butter directly from the packet with a spoon - that sort of thing. Apparently, scientific research has shown that being fat and lazy is not necessarily the best lifestyle choice. I know, right? Who knew?

I was worried that this whole “Eating Less, Moving More” regime would cut into my watching television and being sarcastic about stuff time. But regularly watching a workout DVD fronted by a former Big Brother housemate or someone from Eastenders will allow me to do just that. And I plan to share it all with you, hypothetical reader. You lucky thing.

I make no promises that all featured celebrities will be C-List. In fact not every review might have a celebrity. They will probably all be workouts though. I can’t see this blog morphing into “C-List Celebrity Dog Grooming Tips” for at least a couple of years.

Please follow, comment, e-mail or otherwise make your presence felt.