Monday Motivation: Week Two of My 30 Day Exercise Challenge

Week Two of My 30 Day Exercise Challenge!

Hi! So this was the second week of my 30 Day Exercise Challenge. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t any easier than the first week! In fact, my motivation had a slight dip I think. Sophomore slump? It’s not helped by the fact that my knees really do not enjoy dancing, jumping, etc., and tend to ache for two days afterwards. 

But STILL I did manage three full workouts and a few small Pilates sessions on my off days. So I’m not quite making the four day target I set for myself, but I am learning how to be more patient and respectful of my current body’s ability. When I first started doing most of my home exercise dvd’s I was around 10 years younger and still relatively injury free, and I admit I am finding it more of a struggle to do some things I used to find easy. Ah, age, gotta love it! So I am trying my best to keep myself as fit as possible so I don't get injured again.

Slow and steady wins the race? We shall see. I think it is more realistic for me to aim for a four days a week working out as something I build to. But we’ll see how this week goes. So ANYWAY, here’s how I got on!

Davina, Power of Three: This is the longer workout in my Davina: The Box Set. It consists of:

Warm Up: Standard warm up action.

Legs& Bums: Holy squats Batman! Full disclosure, I did about ¾ of the squats and lunges in this section because omg it’s crazy. Also as with most Davina dvd’s there are “fat burning intervals” of around a minute in between the weight bearing exercises where you jump around in various dorky looking manoeuvres.

Upper Body: Consists of hand weights combined with yet more squats and lunges. I mean HONESTLY! Also chair dips and press ups. The chair dips were a lot easier when I weighed two stone less, let me tell you what.

Abdominal: I don’t even remember, it’s a painful blur! I think Davina/her trainers do go for Pilates type moves on a lot of the ab work, it’s not your usual boring sit ups.

Cool Down: Davina’s dvd’s have really good cool down and stretch sections generally: you feel properly stretched out and relaxed at the end.

Charlie Brooks Before & After Workout: I had not done this one in yonks/forever. But it was once on regular rotation so I remembered most of it pretty well. This dvd consists of:

Warm Up: Most of the disco moves are introduced here which is handy. The setting for this workout is a studio decorated to look like a sort of life size Barbie dream house(!), all fuschia and white and mirrors. I always wonder what thought process goes into set design for these things. I think if I ever did a workout dvd my set theme would be "Boxing ring meets Vegas magic show" I don't know, it's amusing to me anyway the way they set these things up! ;-0

Disco: Slightly cheesy but Charlie (America: she is/was (?!) on a soap opera here called Eastenders) is likeable enough to counteract her rather manically cheerful trainer and make it fun.

Combat: My favourite, again I just love punching the air, apparently! I get super sweaty doing this.

Hi-Intensity: I can do about ¾ of this, but the box jumps are not for me/my knees. I do wish more exercise dvd’s would take into account that serious heavy jumping/repetitive pounding action on the knees is not for everyone.

Pilates Cool Down: Do-able but good Pilates type ab work, and stretching. The Plank is a bit advanced I think for most people starting out though. I think the leg stretches are a bit light  here and did some more myself after this was finished.

Also, just a side note on celebrity workout dvd’s. I was reminded of one thing I do not like about some of them. It’s the way they handle the “Before & After”. Of course, seeing results is a great selling tactic/motivator, but I really do not like the way they have the obligatory “fat shaming” weigh in at the start, where the actress/pop star etc. climbs onto the scale unwillingly and recoils in horror “Ugh I’m so gross!” and then the “after” weigh in where they are all bubbly, “Yay, I’m so thin!” Because this is an exercise dvd, not a diet plan (though some provide one, this one does not). And for some people, the celebrity’s “fat weight” might be a goal weight, and I find it sort of discouraging.

Not everyone can lose a stone in six weeks (and really, let’s be honest, many of the celebs who put these out re-gain the weight, anyway), so I don’t think the implicit crash diet weight loss goals these things often promote are healthy. 

I also wish they would show the person doing the exercises BEFORE they've lost all the weight (this one has a brief screen capture of Charlie before & after doing the moves before each section), but I don’t see why they couldn’t show a mildly overweight person working out in at least one of the sections. If nothing else other than to show it’s physically possible, and not as easy as they make it look by the end, two stone lighter and several shades of slimming fake tan darker! To be fair, these weigh in sections are usually just in the intro and you can ignore them altogether, which I do, but I just wanted to say I don’t find them particularly motivating or helpful.

What I like/will say about Davina McCall, by contrast, is that in my experience anyway she has never done one of these before and afters/ I’m so fat and gross things – to be fair she has been putting out dvd’s for over a decade and maintains a certain amazing level of fitness, and she does have sections with vague nutritional advice, but the tone of her dvd’s is more “This is a marathon, not a sprint”.
Ok sorry, little rant over!

My last workout this week was , shocker, another Davina, this time “Body Buff”.

Davina, Body Buff: This one dvd contains the option of two 30 minute cardio/aerobic sections, Buff Cardio or Buff Boxing, as well as targeted twenty minute sections for Legs & Core, Arms, and a 10 minute Abs section, along with the requisite Warm Up & Stretch sections. It’s a very piecemeal sort of dvd where you can mix & match, but if you attempted to do the whole thing it would probably take near enough two hours, yikes!
I chose…

Buff Boxing (!): I know, I’m so predictable with the boxing. It’s a lot to do with the fact it’s easier on my knees than some other workouts.  I am not as familiar with this dvd as some others as it’s one of my more recent ones, and I’ve only done it a few times. I don’t love aspects of this one. Davina has a husband and wife trainer team, Mark & Jackie, and generally I prefer Jackie for clarity, but in this workout she doesn’t give very clear instructions on left and right, my instinct is to switch legs on each movement but she tends towards repetition on each side, without saying that is what they are doing and I often find I’ve been switching legs when I should have been just doing one. 

Hopefully it’s something  I will get the hang of. Other than that, this is a really good boxing workout, with plenty of kicking too, did I mention I also enjoy the kicking?! Grr, I’m so full of rage! ;-0 There are fewer and shorter high intensity intervals in this one than my other box set, but the workouts themselves are ten minutes longer, so I guess it’s all balanced out.

The other bugbear I have with this dvd is that you have to select warm up, your work out, and the cool down separately each time. Which involves PRESSING A BUTTON! SO haaard! I know it’s silly and lazy, but it does interrupt the flow. The Cool Down  section has the option of a shorter or longer version, to be honest I didn’t think the shorter version was sufficient for the workout I had just done so I did the longer 14 minute one, which was really good.

Lycra(!) bottoms: Primark, Top: Matalan, Bra: Primark (fine for most things except jogging!)
Can I just say I am having a lot more laundry and having to wash my hair twice as much, so this exercise lark is definitely a bit more high maintenance than I am used to! I need more exercise gear, big time.

And that’s that. Sorry this came out a bit long, as I go on I won’t go into quite so much detail but I figured I might as well review/share my experience of these dvd’s if anyone was interested in them.

I continued with MyFitnessPal this week, which I am finding simultaneously encouraging and discouraging. For obvious reasons. Some days I am well under my calorie goal, others I am well, over! Two days this week I was over, the rest I was at or under. I would like to think the good days make up for the bad, but I don’t know if that’s how it works. I think I might invest in a bargain type Fitbit thing though, because MyFitnessPal is kind of guesswork when it comes to calories burned for some things.

I’m not weighing myself this week, I am going to try to stay motivated by the fact I feel more energetic and positive doing exercise, and am even beginning to feel a tiny bit more toned underneath all my aches and pains! How I feel is more important to me at this stage than numbers on a scale, which for me is in itself is a baby step of an achievement.


  1. Well done Steff, absolutely amazing work! Go you!

    1. Aw, thanks Elinor, I need all the encouragement I can get! xx

  2. You should blog with Emily, she is also trying to remain on track. It's me , but I can only comment as anon

  3. ive never experienced any celebrity exercise videos, its a shame that they have to put such an emphasis on the weight part.

    you seem like you are really committed to this! i think i would be lost trying to follow the videos, i really don't know how to do squats and lunges and what not.

    1. It's weird, I guess they're not as much of a thing in America? The whole "I got sorta fat and lost it all fast now do my dvd!" thing? What I will say is most of them have decent trainers leading them, I just went through a phase of buying them because I get bored fast.