Sunday, 29 December 2013

Letitia Dean - Lean Routine

So Christmas is over and it’s back to the humdrum routine that is normal life.

And you don’t get more humdrum than Letitia Dean’s workout featuring C-List Celeb’s favourite trainer, Dee Thresher. Dee is something of an expert at whipping Eastenders actresses into shape having previously worked her magic on Natalie Cassidy and Charlie Brooks.

As you know if you regularly consult your Workout-Releasing Eastenders Actors Knowledge Sheet. Which I'm sure you do.

And this is just more of the same really. Same skippety-hop dance moves, same celeb weigh-in, same stupid pointless diet plan. It’s fine. It does what you expect it to. It just seems like Dee found a formula that works and is careful not to deviate one tiny inch from it.

Pictured: skippety-hop dance moves

The only exciting variation on the previous workouts is the unusual decision to stage the whole thing in a hall somewhere which is apparently already furnished for a wedding reception taking place later that day.

"We need to lay the tables now but don't worry, we'll work around you."

Letitia Dean doesn’t have much to say during the workout although she sounds chirpy and disarmingly posh when she does say something. Safe to say that Letitia Dean is rather posher than Sharon Watts. Although, we’re not talking June Brown/Dot Cotton variation. They’re at opposite ends of the poshness scale, those two accents.

Posher than the Queen in real life.

Eastenders’ Sharon has been on the show since the very beginning so obviously the character has been through more than her fair share of drama, heartache and misery. Because Albert Square is positively drenched in gloom and suffering. It oozes out the cracks in the pavements. They have some terrible luck those residents - maybe the square was built on the site of an unconsecrated Pearly King graveyard. There’s definitely something up.

One of her most famous storylines was when her husband, Grant, found out she’d shagged his brother, Phil. Because you can’t just stop at one Mitchell brother, you know? They’re like Pringles. The affair was referred to as “Sharongate”, obviously. Odd to think that if Watergate happened now, we’d call it Watergategate.

Sharongate wasn’t the best Sharon-based storyline, though. You have to go way, way back for that. In 1986, the show’s producers decided what Eastenders really needed was a long drawn-out storyline featuring a battle of the bands competition and every single teenager in the cast creating a pop act in order to strive for music stardom.

You just don't get teens like this any more. I'm not sure you ever did.

It was a stupid decision, obviously. It’s a wonder that Eastenders ever managed to have itself taken seriously when entire chunks of episodes were given over to Letitia Dean and Paul Medford (Kelvin) singing the whole of their teen-tastic pop tune “Something outa Nothing”

You’d have thought they’d be a shoe-in with that number under their belts but artistic differences meant that Simon Wickes left the band (cunningly named “The Banned” – do you see what they did there?) and sang his own number “Every Loser Wins” which became an actual real-life hit for actor Nick Berry. He didn’t have all the glory, though. Berry may have reached the showy heights of Number 1 but Letitia Dean managed to reach a very creditable No.12 with “Something outa Nothing.”

Another example of a big chunk of a prime-time BBC show being used to showcase a pop release. 
Simon Cowell is clearly missing a trick, here.

So Letitia Dean’s not just an actress and former Strictly Come Dancing contestant, you know. She’s also a One Hit Wonder.

She has very square knees.

I suppose I should return to talking about the workout DVD in question but I’m really not sure I can be bothered. Maybe it’s a post-Christmas thing. Life has been too damn exciting lately. The decorations are still up. There are Quality Streets in little festive bowls. I am now the owner of a FREAKING LED JELLYFISH MOOD LAMP.

Behold the amazingness!

I have been spoiled by awesomeness. Perhaps next week, when the dull drudgery of real life has fully kicked back in, I will appreciate the craftsmanship of a DVD in which two women jump around a bit. But today is not that day. Sorry, Letitia. Blame those Cockney Ghosts.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Hey you, CLCW reader, Have a super fantastic amazing Christmas*! Whatever you do and whoever you do it with, may it be full of cheer and goodwill and refreshingly free of exercise workouts unless, you know, you're actually into that stuff.

*If you don't celebrate Christmas, please feel free to bank my good wishes and redeem against the next relevant festival of your choosing.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Festive Workouts

Wait, there are two Santas? How is that even possible?

You can hardly have failed to notice by now a little smattering of something festive in the air. 

Shops are playing Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas is you" on a continuous loop, John Lewis are playing your heart strings like a fiddle and money is cascading out of your bank account with a will seemingly all of its own.

Christmas is coming! Don't try and fight it!

Christmas is the perfect opportunity to drop any kind of pretence about giving a fuck about exercise and slip into a comfortable fug of Quality Streets and TV compilation shows.

Not so for some crazy fools on the internet, however. For some people, apparently, Christmas is just synonymous with fitness workout.

First off, there’s John Chase Bolingbrook’s “12 Days of Christmas” where a man in comedy antlers takes us through a festive themed workout where the likes of Lords-a-leaping and Swans-a-swimming are replaced with Prisoner Squats and Medicine Ball Goalies.

How Rudolph prepares for the big night.

He doesn’t sing it which is a missed opportunity, I feel.

Next we have Ms. Lynn's “Shape It Up Christmas Workout!!” And yes, those exclamation marks are all her own.

Ms Lynn clearly likes to add a little drama to the proceedings by having her crew walk off on her resulting in a frantic cry of “Where ya going? Wait for me!” that’s not quite Oscar-worthy.

It moves swiftly onto a dance workout to “Jungle Bell Rock” taking place in what is presumably Ms Lynn’s back garden which is liberally festooned with inflatable snow globes, polar bears and a life-size effigy of Father Christmas sitting on a  chair.

Except it turns out it’s not an effigy after all! After remaining motionless for the entire workout, Santa then gets up and wishes us a happy Christmas. It’s just like “Saw”. Or that horror movie with Danielle Lloyd and the life-size Clown doll.

Santa puts in another appearance in Home Physique’s Christmas workout. At first I was a bit sceptical that it was the real Santa what with all the weight-lifting and shouting “Ho ho ho Motherfuckers!” and all but then at the video, Santa tells us to “Have a laugh and be grateful that you’re here, know what I mean?” and to be fair, that sounds like exactly what the big guy would say.

The ‘Christmas Winter Workout’ consists of a bunch of young men doing pull-ups in a snowy landscape – all with no shirts. I have no idea why they do this, but I for one am not about to judge them.

Well at least his head won't get chilly.

Not least because this was the only one of these videos where there didn’t seem to be any expectation of me joining in.

Which, at this time of year, is about as sporty as I plan to get.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

A Fame Dance Workout

I was particularly excited about reviewing ‘A Fame Workout’ for you guys because in a departure from CLCW’s usual practise of procuring its workouts from bargain bins, charity shops and roadside hedges, I am in possession of a preview copy of this DVD due to be released on 9thDecember. CLCW is going up in the world.

Or so I thought. To be fair, if I had a more inquiring nature, I may have wondered why a ‘Fame’ themed workout was hitting the shops now when it’s been over 4 years since even the shitty remake was released.
Shitty remake.

Turns out that the DVD has been released before in 2009 which is a little disappointing although it does take the pressure off me having to avoid spoilers.

The 2013 edition comes with a companion book though which sets it apart from its predecessor. It’s incomprehensibly called “Little Book of Fame Dance Workout” because fuck the rules of sense and grammar.

The workout is fronted by one “K Knight”. That’s clearly all the name he needs as the dancers refer to him only as ‘K’. Any brief theories  I may have had that K here was modelling himself on Will Smith in Men In Black were squashed when I checked and found out Will was J. K is the other one. This dude is apparently modelling himself on Tommy Lee Jones.

Quite Right too.

K is joined by six dancers: Michelle, Tisha, Janine, Lauren, Rie and Nellie and a whole host of other lovely ladies who watch from the sidelines. Wait, why is K the only guy there? I know Fame, I watched the 80s series and if I remember rightly, there was more than one guy in it. It wasn’t just about Leroy Johnson running a harem.

Although I would have watched that, too.

I discovered from watching the “Making of” featurette on the DVD (and seriously, who else apart from me and possible some of the performer’s family, are ever watch those?) that the director is Steve Kemsley. It turns out that Kemsley has directed millions of celeb workouts. Geri Halliwell, Ann Diamond, Jade Goody, Beverley Callard, Nell McAndrew, you bloody name it.

Steve is, apparently 'wacky'.

The Fame Workout  doesn’t seem to warrant a mention on his IMDB page which is odd because he admits involvement in Nadia’s Latino Dance Workout which may be the shoddiest piece of shit ever cobbled together and flogged to people as fitness instruction.

If it weren’t for Steve, we’d probably all be twiddling out thumbs here at CLCW Towers. I’m not sure how I’d occupy my time. I ought to send him a muffin basket or something to say thank you.
C-List Celebrity Workouts: Past Present and Future.

The DVD cover is at pains to point out that this DVD is an unofficial product “inspired but not endorsed by either movie”.
It doesn’t matter, really. I don’t feel the same sense of disappointment as when I found that CD:UK or Pussycat Dolls workouts were only tangentially linked to their titles.

Frankly, if I’m watching a Fame Fitness DVD there’s only one question that I need answering...

Does it have the Irene Cara ‘Fame’ song in it?

And if the answer is “Of course it does! What kind of cretins you take us for?” then I’m happy. Thankfully, in this crucial regard, the Fame Dance Workout delivers


I'm gonna live forever
I'm gonna learn how to fly


I feel it coming together
People will see me and cry

Best Bit
The best thing about watching the workout, is keeping your eyes on the performing arts “students” lolling around on the benches. 

They’re clearly under instructions to look as though they are having the most fun ever. Watching the dancers doing the workouts, whooping, nodding along, occasionally pretending to chat to one another. They have a much harder job than the main dancers, to be honest but they make an excellent job of it. Especially the girl in the orange cardigan and green socks. She’s displaying in some expert sprawling skills, right there.

It seems a little unfair that the dancers don’t get shuffled around at all. After doing the warm-up, I expected to see some different dancers showing us the moves for the dance sections. But no, it’s the same six dancers (and K) every time. I bet they were all hoping that someone would twist an ankle or something.

Still, you needn’t fret too much. Sure, they’ve probably all got pins and needles from artfully lounging about the set for an hour and a half but then near the end of the “Fame Freestyle” segment something amazing happens. K invites them to come join him and his A-Listers on the dancefloor. 

It’s beautiful, man. Seeing those all those wannabes twisting and twirling their little hearts out in a desperate attempt to catch the eye of the cameraman by any means possible.

You go, orange cardigan girl. I believe in you.

Difficulty Level
This was incredibly difficult not least because nothing was explained properly. Although that’s obviously why you get the book now. If I’d done my research properly beforehand I probably would have been OK.

Would I do this workout again?
You know, I’m not going to live forever; I’m unlikely to ever learn how to fly (High!). Some people are meant to catch the moon in the hands and light up the sky like a flame (Fame!), and some are just supposed to loll around on benches pretending to be vaguely interested in stuff.

I consider myself very much part of the second group. I can’t see myself ever revisiting this workout.

Obviously I recommend each and every one of you rush out and buy it of course. It’s the perfect Christmas present – being as it is very easy to wrap.

Of course, if any of you were planning to purchase this for your very own, I do now have a copy going spare. Barely used at all. I’ve watched the DVD and thumbed through the book but it’s not I’ve drawn moustaches on any of the dancers or anything. Tell you what; send an email to with your address in it and the first one I receive will be sent a copy of this DVD and book set*. Don’t say I never do anything for you.
You know you want it.

* UK only, I’m afraid. I’m not made of money.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Pace & Go – 15 Minute Fast Fitness

Pace & Go is the soubriquet used by Jenny PACEy and Wayne GOrdon. Do you see what they did there? With their names and some sporty sounding words? Genius.

The pair introduce themselves as "world-class athletes, celebrity trainers and one of the UK’s leading fitness celebrity couples".

You know leading fitness celebrity couples? 
This pair are literally one of those! Along with, erm ...

Quite frankly, you’d think that would be enough for anyone but Jenny and Wayne are actually holding out on us. Their real claim to fame is that they are two of television’s Gladiators. From Gladiators.

Not the original LWT series from the 1990s but the more recent Sky 1 reboot, admittedly. But even so, who doesn’t want to be given fitness instruction by Enigma and Doom?

If you check out the official Gladiators website (and you should, its great), you’ll see that Enigma’s official profile describes her as follows: “Mysterious and beautiful, contradictory and unpredictable, Enigma is impossible to capture.” Which rather sound like it belongs on a Japanese t-shirt.

Foamy Kitten, dwarf bravery will always shine on you.
I think we can all take something from that.

Doom’s profile hits us with this: “Mere mortals beware, there's a dark cloud that looms, judgment day is afoot and Doom is your worst nightmare.”
Whoa. Heavy. So it’s rubbish weather AND it’s Judgment Day is and this guy is still my worst nightmare. That’s some pretty doom-laden doom, right there. Well done, sir.


I am a bit fuzzy as to what exactly used to happen on Gladiators. I know members of the public would come on to take on the elite forces of the in-house experts. I may have it confused with Robot Wars which had basically the same premise. The competitor would come in, they’d face one another in the arena armed with only a giant cotton bud, a flamethrower and a circular saw. Sometimes somebody got turned upside down.

Gladiators. Possibly.

Enigma and Doom were joined by a whole host of other ridiculously names and dressed Gladiators including Atlas, Oblivion, Goliath, Spartan, Cyclone and Battleaxe. Wait, Battleaxe? Seriously?

I assume Gladiators get assigned their names in much the same way that the gang were assigned theirs in Reservoir Dogs:

Gladiators Producer: Here are your names... Enigma, Doom, Inferno, Destroyer, Predator and Battleaxe.

Battleaxe: Hey, why am I Battleaxe? Battleaxe sounds like “Old Bag”. How 'bout if I'm Vanquisher? That sounds good to me. I'll be Vanquisher.

Gladiators Producer: You're not Vanquisher. Some guy on some other job is Vanquisher. You’re Battleaxe.

Enigma: Who cares what your name is?

Battleaxe: Yeah, that's easy for you to say, you're Enigma. You have a cool-sounding name. Alright look, if it's no big deal to be Battleaxe, you wanna trade?

Gladiators Producer: Hey! NOBODY'S trading with ANYBODY. Now listen up, Battleaxe. There's two ways you can go on this job: my way or the highway. Let's go to work.

“I’m not sure about the outfit either.” 
Battleaxe really drew the short straw on Gladiators.

The series ended in 2009. After which Jenny and Wayne hung up their shiny PVC hotpants and concentrated on their twin careers of competitive bobsleigh and celebrity workouts.

They’re part of a superior race of people, these celebrity fitness couples. They know it too. “Being fit and healthy is part of who we are. We love being fit, healthy, toned and full of energy.” Yeah, yeah we get it. You're totes amazing.

 Their website tells us that Jenny Pacey is “definition of being fit”. You hear that? She’s the actual definition. You look up ‘fit’ in the dictionary and this is what you see:
Twice. Once for each meaning of ‘fit’.

The workout contains three fifteen minute workouts : Sofa Circuit, Bodyweight Blast and Buddy-Up Training, each with its own warm-up and cool-down session.  The Bodyweight Blast is great but the other two are slightly more awkward.

The sofa session seems to assume that you have one hefty bit of furniture of exactly the right height that will withstand any amount of pressure and has several feet of clear space on each side. If your living room doesn’t resemble Jenny and Wayne’s below, you may struggle a bit.

The Buddy-Up workout, on the other hand, is designed for two people to do together. Lovely as it is to see Pace ‘n’ Go working as a team, I can’t help feeling that they may have misjudged their audience a bit. Surely most people do exercise DVDs on their own.

“You don’t need any equipment,” Wayne tells us. “Just a training friend, lots of enthusiasm and a sense of humour!”

Sorry Wayne, I don’t seem to have any of those things to hand.

Best Bit
Wayne is a source of fascinating information. “If you think about it,” he says at one point, “Athletes are some of the fittest people in the world.”
You know, Wayne, I hadn’t thought about it but now that you mention it, I think you may be onto something. People should be told.

Athletes. Apparently fitter than other kinds of people. Who knew?
Worst Bit
You know that Buddy Workout is really just  Pace ‘n’ Go rubbing our noses in their privileged celebrity fitness lifestyle. Look at us! Bending and stretching together in perfect harmony. Leaning our weight on one another in order to make each other stronger like a tortured analogy for something-or-other.
It’s like they are looking out of the screen at every poor sod trying to struggle through the workout alone and laughing in our sad single faces.

You wish you were us, don't you?

Difficulty Level
Sometimes the day after I’ve done one of these workout DVDs, bits of me feel sore and I know that it must have been doing me good.
That’s certainly the case here because following this workout, my right thumb is absolutely killing me. The rest of me is fine which I assume is because, despite all appearances to the contrary, I am in tip-top physical shape. Apart from that thumb, which was clearly weak, underworked and letting the rest of the team down.

Thankfully now that I’ve kickstarted those tardy thumb muscles into action, I am well on my way to looking like the definition of fitness, myself.

Work those thumbs!

Would I do this Workout Again?
I’ll keep an eye on the thumb. The moment that seems to be slipping back into its previous flabby state, I’ll be straight on it.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Mel B – Totally Fit

Who remembers the mid to late 1990s? What a crazy heady time that was. Post classical neo-feminist empowerment was in the air and the world embraced Girl Power. Not to mention spicing up our lives and really, really wanting to zigazig ha.
Hi Ci Ya, hold tight, sisters.

The Spice Girls ruled supreme in every corner of our lives. We ate Spice Girls crisps, drank Spice Girls Pepsi, laughed, cried and grew damn near hysterical watching the Spiceworld movie.
Weird thing is, this is just what all of them threw on that morning. The Pepsi photoshoot was pure coincidence.

Quite frankly, if you weren’t decked out in a Union Jack minidress, doing backflips and persuading your dad to cover your bedroom walls in Spice Girls wallpaper then you were doing the 1990s wrong.

It didn’t last of course. It couldn’t. Something that beautiful couldn’t exist in this world forever. Geri Halliwell left the group 1998 and the rest of the girls went their separate ways in 2000. But the universe remained a better place for having once having had the Spice Girls in it.

Afterwards, the Queen was like “Oh my god, they actually spoke to me! It was so cool.”

The girls went on to their new solo lives and mostly released songs that nobody  really remembers.

Mel B here (Scary Spice as was) seems to have devoted herself to appearing  as a judge on all the significant TV talent shows – Dancing with the stars, Australia’s  X-Factor, America’s Got Talent. If it’s got one of those fancy judges desks and isn’t in the UK then apparently, she’s all over it.

She released this workout DVD in 2008. You know how celebs usually get their trainer to do all the work? Not our Mel. She doesn’t need some professional bellowing out instructions. She’s more than capable of doing her own bellowing. That’s girl power for you. The Spice Girls made that sort of thing possible, of course. Women weren’t allowed to host their own fitness DVDs before “Viva Forever” was released. Or vote, probably.

Just look at the empowerment on display.

Mel does her workout in front of some very pretty in LA, accompanied by four backing exercisers. I don’t really know what purpose they serve as they are all doing exactly the same moves as Mel. Still, I’m sure Mel was happy to have them there. They probably all re-enacted the ‘Wannabe’ music video during their downtime.
"If you wanna be my lover, you better get with my friends."

Speaking of ‘Wannabe’, I looked up the lyrics to Mel and Geri’s rapping bit earlier because it occurred to me that I don’t really know what they’re saying. I think it’s fair to say that I have considerably less idea what they’re going on about now I’ve read the lyrics.

What? I mean seriously, what?

Mel provides a lot of helpful instruction and advice throughout the workout. You may well miss it though because it’s interspersed with Mel just shouting out any old rubbish which pops into her head. “Suck it in! Suck it in, brothers and sisters! This is crazy stuff! The sweat’s dripping down my back! Working OUT!”
On and on and on it goes. It’s quite impressive really. If Mel’s heavy breathing is anything to go by, then she’s seriously puffed out for most of this workout and yet she still manages to give us a word-by-word update of her stream of consciousness.

That’s just the Spice Girls all over, though. Going the extra mile. You wouldn’t get that sort of commitment from B*witched.

Best Bit
Ah Melanie, Melanie, Melanie. It’s like you heard you heard my frequent complaints in the last few weeks about the rubbish diet plans that get included in Celeb workouts and decided to remedy this by nipping back in time and presenting a properly put together nutrition segment five years ago. Thanks mate. I appreciate it.

That's egg white mashed with turkey on the plate. Mmm.

Worst Bit.
This isn’t Mel’s fault but I have realised that with Mel B’s Totally Fit and Geri Halliwell’s yoga stuff, I have exhausted the supply of Spice Girls who have released Celebrity Workout DVDs.  This is the band who set new benchmarks in product promotion, advertising deals and shameless over-exposure. Why have only two fifths of them exploited the most obvious celebrity cash-in opportunity available? Pull your fingers out, Sporty, Baby and Posh. I want to see workout DVDs in the shops from each of you by Christmas 2014.

Pictured: Impressive levels of shamelessness

This was relentless and exhausting. And pretty much impossible as far as I was concerned.  Mel clearly likes to push herself to the limit. My limits are so much lower.
I found this one easier if you just kept your whole body on the ground.

She’d be a terrifying personal trainer. “On the floor! No stopping! No resting! Don’t even think about what’s going on! Just do it!” she barks.

Because clearly she hates me and she wants me to suffer.

Would I do this workout again?
Given that I probably managed about 10% of the exercises included in the ten million sections on this DVD, I suppose I probably ought to. I would hate for Mel B to find out that I didn’t. I have a feeling she might hunt me down and I am not sure I could handle the relentless bellowing.

You do not mess with this woman. She's ... ooh, what's the word?