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?

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Tracy Anderson – The Tracy Anderson Method Mat Workout

Tracy Anderson is a fitness instructor to the stars.  And I’m not talking British Lawnmower Museum “Lawnmowers of the Rich and Famous” levels of stardom here.
Vanessa Feltz, Alan Titchmarsh, Some bloke with brown hair...

Tracy trains Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow. Gwyneth even appears on the DVD extras for this workout.  Gwyneth clearly believes the best way of promoting a fitness DVD is to tell us that after doing it, she “literally couldn’t walk for three days!” and that doing the Standing Arms section of this workout meant that she couldn’t pick up her children the next day.
“Sorry I’m going to have to put you down now, honey. Mummy’s just too fit for this sort of thing.”

Eh? Is that a good thing? Because while I understand that feeling some stiffness after a workout might be encouraged, being literally incapacitated sounds like a bad thing. I’m not convinced you should be recommending that.
“Can’t ... move. Too ... stiff ... ”

When she’s not incapacitating A-listers, Tracy likes to share her fitness methods with us common people. In her introduction, she tells us that we are all shaped differently: “The good news is that it is completely possible to re-engineer your muscular structure any way you want.”

I can re-engineer my muscular structure any way I want? Fantastic. Can I be an ichthyocentaur? That would be cool.
Part man. Part horse. Part fish. All awesome.

Her main mission is to make us all teeny tiny. It’s a strangely specific ambition that she keeps repeating throughout the workout. Like she doesn’t just want to slim us down, she wants to actually shrink us. Maybe Tracy was 6’8” when she started this.

When she first started teaching this method in her exercise classes “everybody’s arms became teeny tiny and cute.” Which could be a worrying development if you weren’t expecting it.
It’s what happened to this guy.

Tracy’s certainly teeny tiny all over now. It’s a bit like receiving fitness instruction from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
When Gwynnie’s not using Tracy, she just pops her in her handbag.

I am a bit puzzled why this is called the “Mat Workout” as only 2 of the 9 sections actually take place on a mat. That’s only 22% per cent of the workout. I’m sure most workouts achieve a higher percentage than that and don’t even feature “mat” in the title.

No matter. It’s actually a great workout. You know, if you enjoy pain and suffering. And you’re clearly in great company if you do.

“Christ, Madge is about to start one of her tedious Qabala anecdotes.  Pretend to be busy.”

Worst Bit
There’s a distractingly high level of pouting on show throughout this DVD. It’s like doing a workout with a teenager's Facebook page.

Best Bit
I actually rather loved this. Or at least the small amounts that I could manage before keeling over in pain and lying on the floor twitching in pain like a walrus with its flipper stuck in a toaster.

There was a lot of stretching and bending and a generally Pilates-esque feel to the whole thing. I enjoyed the sedate, controlled feel to the excruciating agony. No one was making me charge about like a mad thing.

Difficulty Level
This is a crazy difficult workout. Not least because there’s no “Follow Geoff if you want the easy moves” option here. You can’t bend over, place your hands on the floor and then walk your arms forward three paces? Well, screw you lightweight. You better sort yourself out.

The arm workout looks like a few airy fairy floaty arm moves and is actually insanely painful. It better have done me some good because, you know, I don’t think I am going to be able to pick Gwyneth Paltrow’s children up tomorrow, either.

Hey Gwyneth, you were totally right about the arms. 
Me and Paltrow agree on so much.

Would I do this Workout Again?
I think I will. Not the “at least 6 times a week” that Tracy recommends because I am not a crazy. But at some point in the future, almost probably. And with that kind of killer attitude, I expect to look like this in no time:

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Danielle Lloyd – Keep Fit Look Fit

Danielle Lloyd was one of the Celebrity Big Brother contestants responsible for the show’s racism controversy several years ago. Danielle,  Jo O’Meara and Jade Goody (described by Charlie Brooker as “The World’s Thickest Coven” ) ganged up on beautiful, polite and successful Indian actress Shilpa Shetty sparking  44,500 complaints to Ofcom, withdrawal of sponsorship deals and an investigation by the police.
British television at its finest

It’s probably a bit unfair to still be banging on about it. Poor Danielle. You spend the first years of the your career doing good works like winning Miss Great Britain or dating footballers  or posing nude for Playboy and all anybody ever remembers is that time you said that the Indian lady should “fuck off home.” in front of 5 million people.

They're best of friends now, of course.

This workout DVD “Keep Fit, Look Fit” was released the same year so perhaps it was intended as recompense for her previous actions. Her gift to the nation to say “sorry”.

If so, it’s a terrible gift. She would have been better off producing the Danielle Lloyd “Not-A-Racist” Perfume instead. Although she probably did that as well.

Buy it for the non-racist in your life

The workout DVD is an uninspiring collection of dance workouts led by trainer Steve Rich. If I was feeling charitable I might assume that the makers of the DVD were aiming for it to be as natural as possible which is why they decided to keep in all the bits where Danielle flubs her lines, messes up the moves or looks generally awkward. They cleverly managed to prevent the thing looking over-rehearsed by not doing any rehearsals.

Several years after releasing the workout, Danielle moved into acting and appeared in Dominic Burns’ 2010 film “Cut” - the world's first single continuous-shot horror movie.  Danielle’s character sets up the movie by providing the pre-credits sequence. Sort of like Drew Barrymore in Scream.

I know Halloween’s over but huddle round anyway and enjoy this terrifying dialogue. Remember this is from an actual film that some poor sods paid money to see.  Danielle plays Annette, a babysitter, who phones the mum of the kid she’s looking after .

Try to imagine that the lines are being said by someone with the acting skills of a late night soft porn advert and someone who sounds like she’s on that supposedly “hidden camera” Kindle advert.

Mrs Burton: Is Sandy OK? 
Annette:  Well, she’s not hurt or anything... 
Mrs Burton: But?  
Annette:  She keeps on getting herself worked up about this clown. 
Mrs Burton: Clown? 

Annette: She keeps saying that it is talking to her. That it’s going to hurt her. 
Mrs Burton: What are you talking about, Annette? What clown? 
Annette: The life size clown at the end of her bed. 
Mrs Burton: Annette, listen to me very carefully. Get Sandy out of the house right now! Run to the neighbours and call the police! 
Annette: I don’t understand. What? 
Mrs Burton:  Sandy doesn’t have a toy clown!

Da da daaaa!

To be fair, although the acting improves slightly for the rest of the film, the storyline doesn’t. The rest of film takes place at a different time and could be summarised as follows: “There are some people. And then they hear some scary noises. And then scary clowns want to kill them dead.” Frankly, if you told that as a spooky story at Brownie camp eight year old girls would mock you for being lame. And rightly so.

I’m not sure whether Danielle really has a future in acting but having watched both “Keep Fit Look Fit” and “Cut” today, I know which one I preferred.  Only one of those DVDs features a Rufus Hound doppelganger with an axe embedded in his midriff. That’s one hell of a fitness workout.

Best Bit
Danielle is sporting a comprehensive selection of Danielle Lloyd 'Designed4Love' workout wear. At the time of the DVD’s release, this clothing was available for purchase by the likes of you and me. Sadly the Designed4Love website has now closed as has that avenue of potential dream fulfilment.

Happily you get to see what must amount to the entire collection here. There are short sleeved tops, long sleeved tops, hoodies, sweat pants and a lovely velour tracksuit. Everything you could ever dream of.

Feel the quality.

Weirdest Bit
Danielle has her own logo. Clearly she recognised that she was a brand and needed to be marketed as such. As well as featuring on her designer workwear it’s also displayed on the set which along with the shiny gold decorations radiates an air of a market stall selling fake designer handbags.

The logo is a sort of backwards D dash L thing that weirdly looks more like it says ‘CH’. It looks like it’s trying to copy someone else’s brand but I can’t work out whose. Chanel? Chantelle? Chessington World of Adventures? I have no idea.

Worst Bit
It’s hard to choose what with the shitty production values, the terrible extras and the plinky plonky fucking music, but I think, on balance, my least favourite parts are any bit where Danielle is required to speak. Particularly the bits where she does a bit of unconvincing banter with Steve.  Talking like a believable human being isn’t really her strong point.
"Where are you feeling it, Danielle?”
“In my ... muscles?”
Danielle tries to sound like she knows what she’s talking about.

Difficulty Level.
Oh, you know, it’s fine. Not especially hard. Not especially easy. It’s like a great big dollop of meh.

In her introduction, Danielle says that she likes her exercise to be fun and that the best kind of exercise is where you’re having so much fun, you don’t even realise you’re working out.

Yeah, that sounds good. You should have tried that here, Danielle.

Could I do this if I was a racist? Could I?

Would I do this workout again?
Well no. Because of it being shit and everything. Tell you what though, if they make Cut 2 : Cut Harder and Danielle scores another role then I’m right there. This time I think they should start with that story where the girl hears a tapping on the roof of the car and the policeman tells her not to turn around because  it turns out to be blood dripping from her boyfriend’s severed head. That one’s a classic.