Sunday, 3 October 2010

DVD #8 - Elle MacPherson's The Body

lovefilm seem to be intent on sending me all the old bestsellers first.

Elle's workout is largely considered to be one of the highest grossing fitness videos of all time, and one of the triggers to kickstarting the whole 'fitness vid' industry.

And, quite frankly, you can see why. Who wouldn't want a body like 'The Body'? She stands there, all ten feet of her, with her lovely bronzed skin and beautifully arranged hair, and try as you might, you can't help but hate her a little bit for having 'good genes' as she calls it. I'm not normally a hatefilled person, but the minute she says 'I'll never have a body like my Personal Trainer, and she'll never have one like mine, even if we try as hard as possible' makes you want to give up hope and head to the nearest chippy.

So anyway, Elle splits the workout into three aerobic sections, punctuated by two toning and conditioning sections. It gets harder and harder, BELIEVE ME. The aerobics was fairly ok going, left you a bit breathless, but mixed with the toning section I felt everything. The other half reckoned (from his cosy spot on the sofa) that 'it doesn't look too hard'. And yeah, he's right. Elle makes it look easy. The cow.

By the time we got to the abs section at the end (why do they put abs at the end? Why? It hurts so bad!), I could barely lift my arms over my head. It's now two days later, and I still can't lift my arms over my head, But I can feel the result. My arms feel a lot more toned, probably due to the use of weights that Elle suggests you use during the workout.

She also suggests using a chair or bench but our dining chairs are too high for this workout, and they are normal size, so I reckon that you can do without for some excercises, and use the edge of your sofa for others.

There are no extras with the DVD due to the age of it, although there is a great outtake at the end when Elle and her trainer Karen Voight (who leads the whole thing) get soaked during their cool down excercise.

Made me feel better about the fact that I'll never look like Elle MacPherson. Now, back to the biscuits.

Score: 3.5. If you can deal with the pain for the first couple of weeks, you could get pretty toned. Lost a point due to the cardio being a bit weak, and because Elle occasionally comes out with a comment that makes you want to push through your telly.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

DVD #7 - The Hip Hop Workout

When I saw what Lovefilm was sending me this week, a little part of me died inside. I am not the world's biggest hiphop fan. I find Snoop Dog, P Diddy (or whatever he's called nowadays) and the rest of them really annoying. Actually, I find the female rappers even more annoying.

My worst fears were confirmed in the opening credits when 'the crew' were introduced. I won't divulge what their names were but I'm sure you can imagine that they were most definitely from the infamous block. To be honest, most of the girls looked like they could do with a whole new wardrobe, as their clothes seemed very torn and full of inappropriate holes.

My worst fears were cemented by the fact that the workout was to be demonstrated in a garage full of blingy cars, and a lot of tyres.

My worst fears were buried six feet under as they announced the 'e z warm up' 'Kool Down' and the 'hardcore workout'.

So I did the warm up, feeling slightly more achy this morning than I generally do. It was the usual stretches and a few cardio bits and pieces, although it seemed pretty quick for a warm up.

Then onwards to the hardcore workout. And I'll tell you something; I have never heard my bones make such horrible noises. This DVD needs to come with a better health warning. Now, I don't consider myself to have any injuries or be any different fron the next person, but this video was awful. These are trained professionals, and the moves they are doing are way too fast and far too complicated. You need to have a serious level of fitness behind you already to attempt to do this video. And if you are low in self confidence then this is NOT the video for you. I've done it and I feel even worse now than I did before.

The guy who leads this video keeps telling you to smile. Whilst I just want to tell him to bugger off. He says at the start that he has split the sections into 9 minute chunks. I didn't get that. For me, it was an hour of pain. He kept saying 'We're at the top!' but I don't really understand what he meant by that.

The dancers? They whooped throughout the whole thing. It was more annoying than the looped hiphop track that passes for music these days. And whoever put the girl in bright blue trousers next to the guy in bright orange trousers needs their eyes testing. Badly.

At the end they put all the moves together and made like a hiphop music video. By this point I was so fed up of not acheiving anything and my bones cracking every two seconds that I stood there like a loser at a disco and swayed from side to side.

Don't do this video guys, you will only injure yourself. Good cardio, bad for bones.

I still maintain the Martine's Dancebody is the best dance video.

Score: 1/5. It's for professional dancers only. And I'm guessing that professional dancers don't need fitness videos.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

DVD #6 - Rosemary Conley's Fat Attack

You will need a pole. Seriously.

Rosemary reckons that the best way to attack fat is through aerobic exercise and muscle toning exercises. Which is fairly obvious to me, though we may have been a more clueless nation in the early 90's.

But this workout: it's hard. There is a countdown clock in each section so you know how much longer you've got left. Tell you what, when I saw almost 12 minutes pop up on screen at the start of the abs section, and 'when you're in love with a beautiful woman' kick in on the stereo, I wanted to kill Rosemary. I had toyed with these feeling during the first toning section when she had cracked out a pole and was squatting around it*.

The sections are tough going but not necessarily fast. I'm used to the Martine McCutcheon abs section which is an awful lot faster than this. Rosemary does explain each stretch or movement very clearly, so you won't get lost.

I did feel that Rosemary wasn't working as hard as her class. Maybe that's just me, but she did look like she was blagging it. There is an easy version demonstrated, as in most fitness DVD's, but Rosemary seemed to be doing something somewhere in between.

Also, she was always pushing. Even in the cool down routine, she was saying 'if you want a better stretch do blah.' Which is normally OK but I'm not sure that in a cool down you want to be pushing it further.

In the first of it's kind, Rosemary has included a circuit for men, but 'its also suitable for women'. She acquires four, probably unwilling, men and one of her ladies. She says all you need is 'a couple bottles of water and a rope', possibly and unwanted insight into Rosemary's almost healthy sex life...

Anyway, the cicuit has the usual warm up which is uncannily familiar to the normal warm up at the beginning, just with a couple more squats and marches.

And the circuit stations were absolutely hilarious. They had jumping jacks, sit ups, press ups, weight lifting, all to the sultry sound of Hot Chocolates 'You Sexy Thing'. Rosemary then explains the use of the rope, or basically, a line across the ground that you have to jump over. And because the guys go at their own pace, I was falling about laughing for most the time and couldn't join in. Especially when David, her chap doing the high impact stuff, obviously thought he wasn't on film and was clearly not working as hard as he should.

Rosemary then suggests 'rewinding' to repeat the circuit, before launching into the cooldown.

In summary: It's pretty decent, but I can't see the men folk taking it seriously.

Score: 3/5 - I suspect you could get pretty fit with this one, but Rosemary needs a new haircut.

*Some of her dancers were of course using chairs, demonstrating that the workout could be done whether or not you had a pole in close proximity.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

5 DVD's down, 95 to go...

I am still the same weight I was before.


I do feel like my little pot belly is a bit littler. I feel more muscly in my legs, and I'm still eating exactly what I want. Which is ace.

So maybe there is hope after all!!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

DVD #5 - Egyptian Belly Dancing For Beginners





Belly Dancing. Yeah.

This DVD is possibly one of the worst quality transfer-to-DVD-from-VHS I've ever come across. It looks like it's been filmed on a crappy 80's camcorder.

It's presented by a nice lady called Hilary, who according to her website: is a professional. I'm sure she is, however due to the rubbish quality and the fact that Hilary was wearing black and dancing in front of a black curtain, meant I could only see her arms and her belly.

I tried to take this DVD seriously, as Hilary is obviously dedicated to her cause, and yes, as a total newbie to the whole bellydancing scene she did have some easy moves to follow, but her timing was off and sometimes she'd only remember to excercise one side. As a result my left hip is aching like hell!

Also, Hilary explains how do to a move fairly clearly but then she swooshes off around, leaving you stood there looking like a plonker wondering whether of not you should make an attempt to follow her. Not impressive, Hils.

It is definitely for beginners, and easy for everyone, so if you are after something a bit more... exhausting and fat burning then this isn't for you. This is NOT a fitness DVD, its more a technique-learning experience.

Hilary says at the beginning 'All you need is bare feet and a belly'. Not to worry Hilary, I still have all of my belly after this.

Score: 1/5. Poor quality recording, and not aimed at fitness fans, just belly flashers.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Coming Up Soon...

Apologies for the lack of recent posting, but I've been on holiday!

Stay tuned for more DVD reviews, including 'Egyptian Belly Dancing for Beginners' and Rosemary Conley's Fat Attack'!!

Monday, 2 August 2010

DVD #4 - Jade Goody's Dance Workout

I have two ways to approach this video. I could tread carefully, or I could not.

So, in the words of one of the other half's mates who happened to be talking to him whilst I was mid stretch 'Dead people don't know fitness. Cos they are dead.'

I'll make it clear now - I never liked Jade, however what she went through towards the end of her short life was truly awful and I would never wish that on anybody. But this video - I wouldn't wish this on anybody either. She doesn't look fit and healthy and her contemporary body shape (circa five months after leaving the infamous BB house)is not something that you would necessarily aspire to.

This workout will get your heart rate up, and if you are into your 'urban dancing' then yeah, you might like this. The moves are fast and she's not a natural presenter, so you've gotta have dancer's coordination to match her.

And I'll tell you now, with those moves, you are not going to get fit. It won't happen. I barely broke a sweat doing this, I only got slightly warm. I'll sweat more eating the chili I made for lunch. It's that pathetic.

It's clear from Jade's attitude that she is only doing this for the monetary reward. Her opening word is 'Alright?' Clearly, the poor girl was left to write her own script.

There is a lot of jumping involved in the 'workout' so if you live above your neighbours like me then I wouldn't get this. To be honest, I wouldn't get this anyway, it's rubbish.

The hidden extras include a 'behind the scenes' and an 'interview with Jade' - apparently we see her as a sex symbol. Never heard that before...

Score: 0/5. I can't even bring myself to give her 1 star.