My celebrity fitness DVD hell

Tanya Gold roadtests four fitness DVDs but finds every one of them repellent

Celebrity exercise DVDs are, on the whole, poison to my soul. And Trudi Styler's new Warrior Yoga is no exception. It is for the sort of people who would rip their faces off and eat them if Trudie suggested it: "Trudie Styler says I should eat my own face SO I WILL!" She is neat and blonde and the wife of Sting. The special features include an interview with them, looking as smug as if they had swallowed Peter Jones.

They are wandering through lavender fields near their mansion in Tuscany, holding hands and talking about the plight of the poor and boasting about how they grow their own food. Trudie: "Man's dominion over the world has gone really wrong and it is time to go back to basics and really love the planet." Sting: "Ecuador, blah, rainforest, blah, fitness, blah, poverty, blah, me, blah, Trudie, blah."

And so to the yoga. What can I say? If I wanted to stand on one leg I would sell my other one. So I watch Trudie Styler meditating. What kind of person releases a DVD of themselves meditating? I turn off the DVD and cry. I cry because I am the same species as Trudie Styler.

My next treat is a box set by David Carradine, the actor and Kung Fu star who played Bill in the movie Kill Bill. He died in June, so I am doing a dead man's workout.

It is called Complete Mind and Body Workout and it begins with Carradine wearing what looks like a Star Trek costume. He gives a very boring exposition about the history of Kung Fu. "They were the most learned scholars, philosophers and teachers of their time," he says.

I follow him as he describes the moves, while people dressed in Star Trek costumes do them behind him, as if preparing for battle against The Borg by twisting their bodies into the shape of a herring. Basically, you have to impersonate animals. "They [the Kung Fu masters of yore] saw in nature the strength of the bear, the grace of the cat, the speed of the snake." "Bend your legs a little," he growls. "There is no reason to suffer. Don't fight yourself. Being upside down reverses the sagging effect of gravity on your body." Ah. This is how to beat sagging. Be upside down at all times.

Next I have Davina Fit from Big Brother's Davina McCall. "Hiya!" she screams at the camera, with that planet-munching grin. "I have a dream that everyone is going to get fit!" She is Martin Luther King as dressed by Sweaty Betty. (Why is no one who shops at Sweaty Betty ever sweaty?) "Get off the phone and burn some fat!" she shrieks. I am so frightened that I instantly lose three stone. I long for the simple pleasures of my favourite celebrity fitness video. It is by Zsa Zsa Gabor and called It's Simple, Darling. Zsa Zsa lies on the floor, stroked by two male personal trainers, looking very horny and very old at the same time.

Doing cardiovascular exercises is not Davina's metier. No, that is Big Brother-style cruelty. I bounce to the special features. What have we here? Aha! I knew it! Three former fatties, shrunk by Davina's previous DVDs, have been dragged off the street. Davina grabs their before-and-after photographs and pushes them into the camera's eye. "That is you on the left?" she says to one victim, indicating a photograph of a fat person. Victim (with big, bulging, heartbroken sigh): "I know."

Which brings me to Jessie Wallace's Look At Me Now workout. I award it a prize for the most self-loathing title; it easily could have been named I Was So Fat (But Now I Am a Human Being). Because Jessie, who used to be in EastEnders, was once slightly overweight. "Just a few months ago," she says, now taut and slim and wearing so much make-up her features are only a blur, "I looked like this." Cut to a plump, pretty Jessie in a bikini. "Ugh," she says, "What a state." I don't like this. I liked her fat. She was a one-woman primetime advert for the possession of breasts. Now she looks like Davina McCall.

She jumps up and down in front of a large neon sign which says "Me". "Enjoy it!" she gasps, and "Clench that bum!" Jessie has a way of staring at the camera as if she is going to punch it. I like this. I share it.


Tanya Gold

The GuardianTramp

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