DVD Dust-Off: Week 6 – 100% Bob Harper

“You love me, remember?” Bob grins into the camera, “I’m the Nice One!”

The Nice One from The Biggest Loser bought out a series of workouts in 2010 called Inside Out Method. I have three and gave them a spin for this 100% Bob episode of the Great DVD Dust-Off.

I reckon Bob must get sick of being called the Nice One all the time. Nice is one step away from dull and snoozy. I think Bob wanted us to know with these workouts that he’s actually cool and badass.

They’re very stylised compared to a Jillian DVD, for example. There are funky slow motion shots and occasional split screen bits, kind of like the opening credits of Law and Order. There’s edgy music throughout, even the yoga one. I thought they’d been filmed in a sepia tone at first, but then spied a stray fluro water bottle in the background. It’s just that the whole set is shades of brown – the carpet, the punching bag, the lockers and all their clothes! Très edgy.

As well as sexy styling and Bob hilariously growling, “you said you wanted me as a trainer, well now you’ve got me”, they’re great workouts. Bob explains the moves very clearly, starting with a more simple move then adding on stuff. He counts down the seconds like he does on the show too… threeeee tewwww wuhn! 

Yoga for the Warrior - Amazon link16. Yoga for the Warrior by Bob Harper (2010)

I didn’t like this one when first purchased – the guitar riffy bits don’t really get me in a zen mood. But I enjoyed it more this time around. I particularly like how he kinda picks on Robert, the only bloke. Are you okay back there Robert? Robert, you can do this modification if you need to.

It’s not a Om kind of yoga workout – it moves faster and is more about strength than relaxation. I couldn’t really keep up but enjoyed it anyway. It reminded me of how Bob does yoga with his Biggest Loser contestants. All I have to do is develop a creepy crush and expect him to rescue me from my emotional issues then it would be just like being on the Ranch.

Verdict: MAYBE


Body Rev Cardio Conditioning17. Body Rev Cardio Conditioning by Bob Harper (2010)

It’s called “Cardio Conditioning” but there’s a lot of resistance work here. There are some cardioish jump squats, jumping jacks, mountain climbers etc, but also compound moves with dumbbells. Since you don’t really stop moving you get the heart rate right up. I had to modify the jumps obviously, but overall it was a nice workout and you only need some dumbbells and a small amount of space.

Verdict: KEEP


Pure Burn Super Strength - Amazon link18. Pure Burn Super Strength by Bob Harper (2010)

I really like this one except for the Orgasmic Girl. She’s the one on Bob’s right and she never stops grunting and groaning and gurning throughout the whole bloody show.

It’s a great total body resistance workout using dumbells and simple moves. I liked the isolation ones, where you just hold a dumbbell out until you feel like your arm is going to fall off. We used to do that at kickboxing and it’s awful in the good way. Again I couldn’t really keep up with this workout, but it’s something to aspire too!

Verdict: KEEP

DVD Dust-Off: Week 5

I’m still huffing and puffing my way along in the Great DVD Dust-Off. This week took 8 days. Shhh!

Cathe Boot Camp and Muscle Endurance13. Muscle Endurance by Cathe Friedrich (2002)

This is a good old-fashioned 64 minute full-body resistance workout using a barbell and plates, dumbbells and a medicine ball. I did the 45 minute upper body premix. That sounds like a lot of equipment but you can adapt: I don’t have a medicine ball so used a dumbbell instead, nae bother. Also, if you didn’t have a barbell you could easily substitute with dumbbells.

The disc also contains an excellent 60-minute circuit workout called Boot Camp so it’s great value.

This is another goodun for Body Pump fans as it breaks up the moves into separate segments for chest, back, shoulders, triceps and abs. There’s a nice variety of moves and Cathe seems to be in particularly cheery mood so it feels like a gym class in your living room. More details and reviews here.

Verdict: KEEP

Cathe MMA Boxing14. MMA: Boxing by Cathe Friedrich (2009)

This is a good workout if you miss your kickboxing classes like mad but no longer have the knees to do them. I still get my RAH! KAPOW! fix without the soreness. Running for 49 minutes, it’s got shades of a Body Combat class where a sequence of moves are broken down slowly then put together. I’d call it an Intermediate workout by Cathe standards which suits me just fine!

The boxing combinations are simple but if you really put your all into them you’ll get a good workout. There are cardio intervals that involve some jumping so I just did my own low impact shuffle-around kind of thing. There’s a killer core section that uses a dumbbell and it’s pure torture. More details and reviews here.

There’s also a bonus 20-minute punching bag workout if you happen to have one of those. I wish I did!

Verdict: KEEP

Cathe Cardio Core Circuit15. Cardio Core Circuit by Cathe Friedrich (2009)

This advanced cardio interval circuit workout requires no equipment aside from big lungs and a good set of knees. It was way, way too much for me. It came as part of Cathe’s Shock Cardio System series (which also included MMA: Boxing above) and I love most of the others workouts in that series so don’t feel bad that this one has to go. More detail and reviews here.

Verdict: REHOME

DVD Dust-Off: Week 4, with bonus pointless stats

This is the 900th post on Dietgirl! The blog has been alive for 11 years and 11 months, or 143 months, or 621 weeks if you prefer. So that’s an average of 6.293 posts per month or 1.44 posts per week.

I also have an enormous spreadsheet that documents the weekly weigh-ins since it all began on 15 January 2001 (albeit with sizeable gaps due to travel, illness and/or denial). I could tell you my average weight loss over those 621 weeks but the number is so small you’d all have to go out and buy a microscope…

. . .

The Christmas HAM Plan is now 11 days strong and strangely enlightening! I lost weight in Week 1 while thoroughly enjoying cake-related festivities. I’m finding the HAM “rules” to be strangely freeing. I’m still blogging up a storm every day… swing by and say hello if you fancy?

. . .

Back to the Dust-Off. The Mothership emailed to “bagsy” the Tai-Chi video from last week. That’s one orphan with a new home.

Yogalates for Weight Loss10. Yogalates for Weight Loss with Louise Solomon (2008)

The instructor has a very odd way of saying the word “body” and she says it a lot in this workout. She elongates the bo then the dy fades away. Like BAHWdy. Bahhhhdy? Bohhhhdee. I was so busy trying to figure out just what she was doing to that word I wasn’t doing the moves properly and had to start over.

But once I got used to her voice I remembered that this is a fab workout; a hybrid of pilates and yoga as the name suggests. The first half is called Core Toning and features many classic Pilates moves and the second half is called Cardio Enhancer which is more lower body and ab stuff. It’s gruelling but her daughter does an modified version which I followed a lot. A worthy home substitute for a class.

Verdict: KEEP

Cathe Travel Fit11. Travel Fit by Cathe Friedrich (2009)

I always recommend this one if you don’t have a lot of space or dosh – a resistance band only costs a couple of quid. It’s 50 minutes of resistance band toning with short cardio intervals. Because it’s designed for hotel rooms, there’s no jumping around so it makes a great low impact workout. I bought a stronger resistance band to harden it up a bit.

There’s no repetition under the rules of the Dust-Off so I’m sad I won’t be doing this for awhile. It’s so good for when you can’t be arsed with equipment. It’s a good one to get in the download form for a laptop, phone or tablet for easy travels.

Verdict: KEEP

Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown (Amazon link)12. Yoga Meltdown by Jillian Michaels (2010)

This isn’t a traditional yoga workout – it’s more like yoga intervals. It’s fast paced and I was utterly knackered afterwards. It felt more like a body-weight resistance workout than yoga. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but if I’m in the mood for yoga I like it quiet and meditative. If I want something more intense I’d rather lift weights. Check out the Amazon trailer to see what you reckon.


DVD Dust-Off: Week 3

This is a slacker Week 3 DVD Dust-Off Update but I wanted to get caught up since I’m nearly finished with Week 4! I’m enjoying this project but I hope this is more helpful rather than batshit boring for you guys. I have non Dust-Off posts coming very soon so don’t worry!

Element: Tai Chi for Beginners7. Element: Tai Chi For Beginners with Samuel Barnes (2008)

This was an impulse buy because I loved other DVDs from Element and felt a mad compulsion to collect them all, like I once did Baby-Sitters Club books (even the Super Specials) or obscure Radiohead singles. It’s beautifully made with serene music but the verdict is unchanged from years ago: I find tai chi more a snooze than serenity now! I may revise my opinion when I’m 70 but for now it’s time to pass it on. Also, the bloke reminds me of that bloke in Star Trek whose name escapes me and it was kind of unsettling. Profound, I know!

Verdict: Total REHOME

Cathe Friedrich's Gym Harcore Series: Gym Style Legs DVD8. Hardcore Series: Gym Style Legs by Cathe Friedrich (2005)

Despite the cheery faces on the cover this is a serious lower body resistance workout – over an hour with barbells, dumbbells, resistance band and stability ball work. I thought this would be a definite Rehome as there’s so much squat and lunge work, but I’d forgotten there there’s a good 25 minutes of floor stuff using just a resistance band which was doable with my dodgy knee – great moves for the hips and glutes. There’s an evil calf raise section which I could do no worries. So a surprise keeper! There’s lots of info, reviews and a clip on Collage Video.

Verdict: KEEP

Cathe Friedrich's Low Impact Circuit9. Low Impact Circuit by Cathe Friedrich (2006)

This workout contains three circuit cycles, each with a step aerobics routine, a step interval blast, a compound strength exercise then an upper body move. Cathe is so creative with her workouts – there’s some great variety in the resistance moves, including some natty resistance band work.

While the step work is low impact on this one (Cathe has some seriously crazyass step DVDs out there), the movements did not feel good on my knee so I just the resisty bits. I only have this DVD as it came as part of set, so I’ll find someone who actually likes step work to make full use of it. If you’re after an efficient mix of cardio and resistance work and like a bit of step action, give this one a burl! More info here.

Verdict: REHOME

Back tomorrow with November Challenge wrap-ups and the lowdown on my big December Challenge!


DVD Dust-Off: Week 2

Another week of getting reacquainted with old friends for the DVD Dust-Off

Element: Ballet Conditioning (Amazon affiliate link)4. Element: Ballet Conditioning with Elise Gulan (2007)

  • Description: A lower body workout with ballet-inspired moves.
  • Duration: 49 mins
  • What I did: The full workout
  • Equipment: A chair to assist with balance and act as your barre.
  • Space required: Not too much – you’re standing in place. The biggest move is sticking your leg out behind you (I forget the Frenchy name), so it depends on how long your legs are!
  • Pros:
    • It’s fun pretending to be a ballerina. It’s also bloody exhausting!
    • I like the Element brand of DVDs – the productions are elegant and tranquil and as per last week’s Pilates DVD the instruction comes via voiceover.
    • It’s pitched as advanced, but I found it easy to dial it back to my level
    • This really worked my hips, glutes and outer thighs which are all areas that the osteopath says I need to strengthen – great way to make rehab exercises more interesting
  • Cons: Some of the moves are harder on the knees. But it’s straightforward to modify, e.g. doing a very very demi-plie rather than a grand one. Not that what I did would be remotely recognisable as a plie, hehe. I also skipped the jumping on the spot moves. It’s just a matter of using common sense.
  • Further reading: Watch a video snippet at Amazon.
  • Ideal for:
    • fans of yoga and Pilates – it’s a great core workout and knowing how to find those muscles will help you get more out of it
    • anyone who was ever told they were too fat for ballet 😉
  • Verdict: A definite KEEP

Zumba Fitness DVD Exercise Kit5. Zumba Fitness DVD Exercise Kit (2010)
You might remember I wrote a big review of this in 2010 – lots of detail there. As predicted the time I got bored with the tunes so it had been many months since I’d last touched them. This week I did the 20 Minute Express and the LIVE! one. Enjoyable, but it felt really old. It made me pine for sexy Sue and Samantha‘s brilliant class at Fitbloggin this year, sniff sniff. But this is a fab set of DVDs for someone new to Zumba or someone who can’t get to a class, so I’ll pass them on.

Verdict: REHOME

Cathe Muscle Max (Amazon affiliate link)6. Muscle Max by Cathe Friedrich (2005)

  • Description: A total body resistance training workout
  • Duration: 68 minutes
  • What I did: Upper Body Premix (about 45 minutes?)
  • Equipment: Barbell and plates, resistance band, dumbbells, step bench (for chest work)
  • Pros:
    • I reckon Cathe makes the best resistance workouts – so much variety in the moves and she fries your muscles from all angles.
    • Like BodyPump, you can never really outgrow this one – just up your weights.
    • The premixes are great too – there’s options to do an express version, upper body only or lower body only. Great value.
  • Cons: Quite a lot of equipment required. After favouring Jillian’s fast-paced one-set-of-dumbells workouts for so long it felt annoying to faff around with changing weight plates etc. But as the workout went on I enjoyed the She-Ra feeling of doing a proper grunty weights session.
  • Further reading: Watch a snippet on CatheDownloads.com.
  • Ideal for: BodyPump fans
  • Verdict: I can’t make full use of this one – the lower body stuff (which I used to love; it’s brutal) is too much for my knee, so I’m tempted to pass it on. But…  I have a soft spot for Muscle Max as it’s the first Cathe DVD I bought. It’s on the MAYBE pile!

DVD Dust-Off: Week 1

Arrgh! The first week of the DVD Dust-Off was eight days long. I was away for much of it and forgot to pack any discs. So I did a lot of walking then played catchup today.

Jillian Michaels Kickbox FastFix1. Kickbox FastFix by Jillian Michaels (2012)

  • Description: 3 twenty minute kickboxing-inspired workouts in a circuit style that will be familiar to fans of JM’s DVDs.
  • Duration: 20 mins per workout.
  • What I did: Workout 1, which has an upper body emphasis.
  • Equipment: one set of dumbells (I used 4kg)
  • Pros: Short but highly effective workout, brief intervals so you never have to do the same thing for long, minimal space and equipment required, easily modified for a dodgy knee, some resistance work thrown in. If you’re new to kickboxing watch Jillian’s tutorial first as she does not really pause to explain the moves in the actual workout.
  • Cons: Occasionally squeally background exercisers.
  • Further reading: Detailed breakdown of workouts on this Amazon review.
  • Ideal for: time-strapped BodyCombat fans.
  • Verdict: KEEP

 Stretch Max by Cathe Friedrich2. Stretch Max by Cathe Friedrich (2005)

  • Description: 3 twenty minute athletic and yoga-based stretch routines
  • Duration: 20 mins per workout
  • What I did: Workout 3, resistance band
  • Equipment: nothing for Workout 1, stability ball for Workout 2, resistance band for Workout 3
  • Pros: Short workouts providing a good solid stretch, poses held long enough to do the job, and it’s kinda fun wielding the resistance band.
  • Cons: If you’re hardcore about proper yoga terminology and moves you probably wouldn’t like this one.
  • Further reading: Lots of reviews on Collage Video.
  • Ideal for: popping on after a cardio session for an extended stretch/cool-down.
  • Verdict: KEEP

Element Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners3. Element: Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners by Brook Siler (2008)

  • Description: Pilates workout combining standing and mat work.
  • Duration: 48 mins divided into two chapters consisting of 15 mins standing and 33 minutes floor work.
  • What I did: The whole shebang.
  • Equipment: A yoga mat or friendly floor.
  • Pros: I bought this DVD because the lady has red hair and looks a bit like Julianne Moore. She is very elegant so you can let envy fuel your workout. Her clear, calm instructions are delivered via voiceover. I like the variety of classic moves like the Hundred and roll up. I got a thorough Pilates workout and my abs were talking the next day.
  • Cons: Stupid title. I hate when they stick “Weight Loss” on there to make people buy it. I also dispute the Beginners label. I’ve done lots of classes so I understood the concepts
  • Further reading: Watch a snippet on YouTube.
  • Ideal for: those who’ve done a bit of Pilates before and want a good home alternative.
  • Verdict: KEEP
The overall theme of Week 1: Why did ever stop doing these ones? They’re fab. I’ll be getting stuck into some weight training titles for Week 2.

November Challenge #2: The Great DVD Dust-Off

How many workout DVDs does one woman need? Not this bloody many…

Workout DVD collection

Workout DVD collection

These poor buggers sit lonely and colour-coordinated on my bookshelf in their cosy blanket of fine dust. The collection is pared down dramatically from a few years ago – e.g. the rarely-used Billy Blanks Tae Bo was banished to the charity shop!

There’s another half dozen or so piled beside the DVD player – they’re favourites that I use over and over again while ignoring the rest.

While it’s nice having this retrospective of Cathe Friedrich’s changing hairstyles, the wastefulness bugs me. So many reminders of my old impulse purchasing ways. I’m sure half the workouts are totally unsuitable now with my dodgy knee. It’s time to de-clutter and get some variety into the DVD diet!

The Challenge: To use a different DVD every time I work out at home.

Duration: Continue until I’ve tried every DVD in the collection. This could see me through until summer! 😉


  • Minimum of three DVD workouts per week.
  • No repeats.
  • Only one workout per DVD i.e. I can’t do all three levels of 30 Day Shred. One workout, then move on to a new disc.
  • Report each week en blog for accountability.
  • After each workout decide if the DVD winds up in the Stay or Go pile.
  • Thus we shall inch forward into a streamlined future!

Whatever ends up in the Go pile will go to the charity shop or I’ll give them away on the blog to happy new homes. If anyone is still using a DVD player by the time I’m done. I’m sure right now someone is working on the ability to download Jillian and Cathe directly to your eyeballs.

I started yesterday with Jillian Michaels’ Fast Fix Kickbox, a recent Favourite. Man, I’m going to miss that one. Only 20 minutes, just one set of dumbbells required, and there’s punching! Definitely in the Stay pile. Onwards!

Update: Here are the DVD Dust-Off Reviews:

  • Week 1: Kickbox FastFix by Jillian Michaels, Stretch Max by Cathe Friedrich and Element: Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners by Brook Siler
  • Week 2: Element: Ballet Conditioning with Elise Gulan, Zumba Fitness DVD Exercise Kit and Muscle Max by Cathe Friedrich
  • Week 3: Element: Tai Chi For Beginners with Samuel Barnes, Hardcore Series: Gym Style Legs by Cathe Friedrich and Low Impact Circuit by Cathe Friedrich
  • Week 4: Yogalates for Weight Loss with Louise Solomon, Travel Fit by Cathe Friedrich and Yoga Meltdown by Jillian Michaels.
  • Week 5: Cathe Friedrich Muscle Endurance, MMA: Boxing and Cardio Core Circuit
  • Week 6: Bob Harper Yoga for the Warrior, Body Rev Cardio Conditioning and Pure Burn Super Strength.

NB: Here’s the lowdown on November Challenge #1 if you missed it.

Don’t try this at home

Things learned today: while it has been previously established that an iPhone does not survive a 40°C/104°F wash cycle, it appears that a Fitbit pedometer thingy comes through fine and dandy.

This is a Fitbit

And the journey through the washing cycle is apparently equivalent to 2061 steps, or 1.53 kilometres.

Fitbit statsWhy did I not heed the wise words of The Mothership? Check your pockets first, Shauna. Now check them again!

UPDATE: I spoke too soon! It’s completely dead now. Oh dear. I tried the Bowl of Rice trick, too.

My Headstand Hero

I went to the gym this morning and it was a sea of silver hair. I've got a few days off work as Julia is visiting. She fancied a swim so I toddled off for some cardio. I guess it make sense that silver-hair ration was high at 8.30 on a Monday; most people would be busy thinking murderous thoughts about heading back to work after the weekend.

There were about a dozen older gentlemen and I had a great time observing their behaviour from my cross-trainer perch. Some puttered serenely on recumbent bikes or the hand-cycle thing; some zipped along on the treadmill; one bloke tsk-tsked as he tidied weight plates back into their correct spots as some infidel had messed up the system.

Then there was my new hero. He was in shorts and a vest top with manly hairy shoulders. He was kneeling with his head on the floor, a dumbell in each hand. At first I thought, he must be having a little breather. Then he started to move and I thought, cool, maybe he's going to do dumbell planks?

But no. He got into a FREAKING HEADSTAND. Full body, perfectly straight…

image from yogaida.com
then somebloodyhow he slowly pushed the dumbells in and out along the floor, in and out, in and out. Then he did one side at a time. He just stood there, on his head, working those dumbells, for about three minutes. 

I've Googled every combination of headstands + dumbells and can't find a picture or video to explain what he was doing, I am hoping my description makes sense. I can only conclude he made up the move himself; he was just sitting around one day and thought… no, wait… he was just standing around on his head one day and thought, how can I make this look even more astoundingly impressive in front of those old coots at the gym?

Mission accomplished, dude. Minutes later Headstand Hero was cranking out pull-ups like a champ. Jaws dropped around the room.

My workout had been lacklustre up to that point but he totally inspired me. I got on the rowing machine to finish my session with 2000m. I noticed the strapping young man beside me had just set his boat to do the same distance. I challenge thee to a duel! I said to him, in my head.

I rowed furiously through the imaginary sea. We were going at the same pace for ages which I felt mega smug about, but then at about 1500m, 2000m started to feel like an awfully long way, particularly having not been on a rowing machine for about four years. My face was beetroot and my whole body was fried. I glanced over at my rival; he was serene, unsweaty and unaware beneath his headphones. He also had the machine set four levels higher. He beat me by about 30 seconds, damnit. But still, full credit to my Headstand Hero for inspiring me to kick some Monday morning butt!

Jealousy is useful…

…it's like a big green arrow pointing you to what's missing, or what's not quite right, or what you desire.

Recently I was spewing with envy at Gareth and his fancypants Etape du Tour training schedule. I've no desire to pedal over an Alp or four; I just liked the idea of having a schedule in an important looking PDF file!

Then I was jealous of his new Garmin bike computer thingo. He's never been a Gadget Man – he's always mocked my Wankerphone obsession – but he is quite taken with the Garmin. The graphs, the numbers, the maps. He plugged it in to his computer after a 40 mile ride and looked at the route map, and by pure accident he'd ridden in the shape of a Golden Retriever!

Arf! You need to use your imagination a wee bit… it's sitting in the grass, having a rest!

Then I had a truly sad case of Post-It envy. At the start of the Up & Running 5K course we suggest our runners put 24 Post-it notes on the wall, so they can riiiip one off after completing each workout. It's a great visual way to see your progress. People get really creative and colourful with their countdowns and it's one of my favourite parts of the Course. This time? Aww man. I want Post-Its.

Digging a little deeper, what was really going on there? Beyond the surface gadget and stationery envy, I was jealous of everyone's sense of purpose. I was feeling kinda lardy, left out, left behind.

So… action was required to bust out of this green fog! I talked to Julia and asked her if she'd mind sorting me out with a Proper Training Plan for the Bologna 6km race. She already coaches ten trillon people but she had room at the inn to boss around one more! So now I have a plan, a spreadsheet, and  very my own Post-It countdown:


I am LOVING tearing off those little suckers! There's a teeny tiny little thhhffft sound which is very satisfying. I've also rediscovered the Walkmeter app for my map fix… much cheaper than a Garmin. My routes look more like a little dog turds than big Golden Retrievers, but hey ho!

I admit, sometimes I find it freaking hard to keep my eyes on my own work. Comparing; contrasting. Especially when surrounded by so many people performing great feats of sportiness every day. Sometimes it's also hard to drown out that voice saying wow you used to be so much fitter, why'd you screw that up? But this new training plan is helping me focus on the here and now. Combined with the yoga, Pilates and TRX, I'm full of endorphins right now… much better for the soul than envy!