Why workout DVD's should not be on your Christmas List

December 18, 2014

We are hitting that time of year where workout DVD’s will start to make an appearance on the shelves. And whilst they have their place in the fitness market, and certainly make it more convenient for people who cannot get out and about, here are my 3 reasons why they should not be on your Christmas list this year:


1. Clever Marketing

It’s no coincidence that the bestselling DVD around Christmas and New Year will always be a fitness one.  The clever marketing gurus and agents will be busy getting the various celebrities and their trainers primed and ready for their photo shoots just in time to hit the shelves for when you are feeling at your worse physically.  Then we are adorned with images of tanned, toned beautifully made up celebrities.


What they fail to tell you is that these celebrities have been on a heavily restricted diet and exercise regime for weeks/months prior to the photo-shoot.  The “diet” they were on was heavily calorie restrictive and the exercise regime was probably a million miles away from what you see them doing on the DVD.  Yet throughout the DVD there will be reference to “to get these killer abs do this, to get arms like a super star do that” etc. 


The “before” photo will be the worst shot ever (that will no doubt have been set up by a publicist knowing that the celeb will be embarking on a fitness journey for the sole purpose of selling the DVD.  Think Claire Richards, Jennifer Ellison, Clare Nasir, Natalie Cassidy.  Most classic yoyo dieters with a string of workout DVD’s to their name. I am sure you can google quite a few images of them in unflattering beach shots, or eating fast food….), and this will be for the sole purpose of putting next to the nice shiny tanned image you see on the front of the DVD cover.



I have lost count of the times that I have been stood in front of a work out DVD being instructed to get in a certain position, or jump around in a certain way.  Aside from the obvious safety issue (ensure you have plenty of room and don’t kick the dog in the face!) there are certain techniques that require more generic instruction.  Think of the basic lunge.  You can be talked through how to get yourself in the position but unless you have someone checking your form they can be very unsafe. Especially when encouraged to use weights.  Bare in mind that these DVD’s are aimed at the overweight/obese market and here you have a whole new set of problems.  Pressure on your joints through exercise is bad enough, but couple that with bad form and no instruction, this can lead to serious injury.


The other aspect is heart rate. I have never seen a DVD (believe me, I have tried A LOT!) that has asked you to check your basic heart rate before you work out. This is the basis of ensuring you have the right cardiovascular workout for you without putting yourself at risk.  Nor will the instructor get a good view of how you are looking during the workout.  As a fitness instructor it is key that I am constantly looking for signs that a client is over exerted - either by looking at them or checking their response (I annoy a lot of my clients by asking them random questions in order to assess their breathing!).



I have no doubt that the motivation factor will be staring at you from the cover of the DVD.  But how long will that last?  If you have 2 stone to lose and within 2 weeks you still look nothing like the celebrity or their trainer how motivated will you be to continue?  Again I refer to the marketing ploy in the first point)  Besides, they are telling you its “easy”, giving you that quick fix and perfect route to killer abs and nice toned arms.  So why are you still getting nowhere?  It’s at this stage where the motivation starts to wane. The DVD that you have been motivated to put on twice a week now suddenly becomes once a week, or when you “have time”. It’s not given you the results that you have been sold so it can’t be working right? You will now seek out another DVD that WILL give you results, or it will be sent to the back of the cupboard where it will gather dust with the ones you got last year.


I don’t mean to be negative with my points.  I have been obese and I have bought MANY DVD’s in the past, all of which had their place at a certain time in my life but I know that long term they are not the solution.  In the past 10 years I have bought into the following workout DVD’s:


Davina McCall (x 3)

Nell MCAndrew

Jennifer Ellison

Clare Richards

10 Minute Workout

Gillian Michaels

Geri Halliwell

Body Bootcamp


All of them have now found a nice home in the charity shop.


If you really want to embark on a new health and fitness lifestyle in the New Year I would highly recommend making small changes. Invest your money in good pair of trainers and make walking a daily routine. If you want to take it a step further invest in a gym membership and book in to see their trainer once a month (normally as part of a good gym membership) and this will keep you accountable. Watch your diet, make an effort to be more physical and the changes will come. PROMISE!   Keep it simple and enjoy what you do.  That is the only way you will sustain it.


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