Since the start of the year I have been working very hard to lose weight as I found that I had ballooned to being nearly 3 stone overweight through gradual and sustained weight gain over the last couple of years. The first stone came off quite easily due to me increasing my exercise activity by walking to and from work, making some adjustments to my diet and unfortunately also due to stress as it appeared that I may have been on the verge of losing my job. However, my weight loss then plateaued which I understand happens quite a bit when you have following the same routine for a significant period of time.
I was looking for something that I could do at home cheaply and easily that would be effective and decided that a new exercise DVD would be the way forward. After doing some research via reviews on DooYoo and Amazon I thought that the Hannah Waterman would be best. There are a number of celebrity based exercise DVDs around which similarly follow the 'interval training' method (I will explain more about this shortly) including ones featuring Jennifer Ellison and Claire Nasir . I purchased mine earlier this year for £6 from Amazon; I now see that this has gone down to £4.49
The DVD is based around the principle of interval training. This is that the exercises feature gradually increase in intensity until a pint at which you are working your heart rate as hard as you can for a short period and then you bring the heart rate down by doing some resistance work. This mix of approaches is apparently more effective than standard aerobic exercise because the variation in heart rate means that you burn more fat and the resistance work enables you to build muscle, the increase in which also makes you burn fat.
As with all new exercise routines it is recommended that you consult your doctor to see that is ok for you to do health wise. However, I will admit that I did not do this as I have no real health concerns other than I could do with being a bit fitter and obviously being overweight.
Equipment-wise you will need a exercise mat and some sort of weights 1-1.5kg per weight. I use York Vinyl Fitbell Kit in a Case - 10 kg which consists of 3 different sets of dumbbells and which I purchase some time ago. They come in a case and currently retail for just under £25 on Amazon. They also suggest you could use water bottles or cans but I think you would struggle to find these for the appropriate weight that you could easily grasp in your hands
When you get the DVD up and running you have four options
1) Play all - which has a 5 minute introduction where Waterman talks about some of the theory behind interval training and her own weight loss/ fitness journey. In all honesty she does look great, maybe a little bit too much on the skinny side of what I would like to achieve but certainly very toned There is a short interview with a leading sports scientist at Loughborough University. You are told that she has lost 3 stone in total and that the whole work out (1 hr 20 minutes) burns the equivalent of 4 hours of jogging.
Then we come to the 4 workout sessions
1) Cardio blitz - This begins with a 5 minute warm up and 15 minute workout. These increase in intensity until you get to 4 short bursts of running on the spot as fast as you can and then dropping down and doing a few floor exercises which target the arms mainly such as push-ups. This circuit is repeated twice
2) Box blitz - 20 minutes - This section is primarily aimed around boxing moves such as kicking and a LOT of punches and a few high intensity boxing and running on the spot exercises before doing some floor work aimed at your core. This cycle is also repeated twice.
3) Tone blitz - 18 minutes. This section starts with high intensity floor work such as burpees (ouch) before moving into squats and some work with weights both standing up and on the floor.
4) Belly blitz & cool down - 16 minutes (including about 5 mins of stretching). This starts with a lot of floorwork and various crunches (some with 1 dumbbell) and then 5 minutes worth of stretching (which feels wonderful!!!!!!!!!)
2) Workout Only - Plays the entire workout through as above without the introduction
3) Workout sections - Takes you to a menu where you can pick out individual sections
4) Diet - The basic principle of this diet is that you have 5 meals a day ie you add in a healthy mid morning and mid-afternoon snack. It works on the principle that you consume 1400 calories a day and therefore should lose 1-4lbs a week.
You basically have to flick through the screen to get to all of the options. I get the impression that when the DVD came out (rather than the repackaged cheaper fit club version that I have) it may have come as a booklet.
There are generally around 7 options for each meal - I have given a couple of examples of each below
Breakfast¬¬ examples: 2 Weetabix + milk + 100g fruit yoghurt/Poached egg, 2 grilled bacon rashers, tomato and mushroom
Mid morning: 15 cashew nuts and 1 apple/Tuna, lettuce and cucumber sandwich
Lunch: 1 chicken breast stripped, red pepper, celery sticks and 2tsp houmous/Wholemeal pasta + tuna + sweetcorn
Mid afternoon: 2 ryvita + 50g mozzarella/ 15 red grapes
Dinner: 3 egg omelette with onion and mushroom /Grilled salmon with lemon basil and veg
The workout itself is filmed in a studio which is made to look like a disused warehouse. Doing the workout along with Hannah are two trainers - Elia who leads the whole workout (and who I believe is a bit of a well known celebrity personal trainer) and Adam (who seems to have a bit of rapport with Hannah so I assume he must have been one of the guys training her throughout the whole process). Hannah and Elia do the more advanced moves, whereas Adam does some 'easier' adaptations.
Well you probably want to know the most important thing straight up - does it work? And after 7 weeks of committing to the whole routine 3 times a week I lost a grand total of 1 stone 2 lbs - on average 2 to 3 lbs a week - this included a couple of indulgent weeks food wise. Whilst I was focussed on a healthy diet - the fact that I lost this weight so consistently where I had reached a plateau before means I feel I can safely say that it was largely due to this DVD and its mix of high intensity work and weight training.
I will admit that whilst I did not follow the ideas for the recommended diet (I don't really get on that well with calorie counting), I did adopt the principle of 5 meals (ie mid morning/mid afternoon snacks). This I feel has worked particularly well as I have previously found that I tend to get peckish between meals, particularly at work where there are frequently loads of lovely cakes and chocolates around.
As stated above I did do the whole 4 sections 3 times a week - each session taking 1 hr 20 minutes. I do recognise that this is quite a long time so would not be suitable for some lifestyles. I managed to squeeze it in after work which of course delayed my evening meal. Luckily, my husband was very supportive and didn't mind cooking dinner a bit later to accommodate this. Typically I would leave it at least 48 hours between workouts, mainly because I was using weights and it is generally advised that you give your muscles a break of this length to allow them to repair, however I would not leave it longer than 3 days between any workout.
I have a reasonable sized living room so did not struggle with space. By my workings you need a room wide enough to be able to do 3 side steps and a sideways kick in order to have enough room. I would also advise that you do it in a room which is well ventilated as you will sweat buckets and if you get too hot I find that you don't put your best effort into your workout. Also you need plenty of water to hand - I find I get through 2-3 pints of water per session. Also, there are a number of jumping-style squats so you would not want to do this in a flat with someone living below you!
I have to admit that I did find it quite tough to begin with as you would expect but it did not put me off persevering with it - something that I did not feel with another popular workout Jillian Michaels 30 day shred.
In essence I did enjoy the workout, and despite the frequency that I did the workout, I somehow managed to not get bored with it. I cannot put my finger on how I kept motivated this time round when I had failed with previous regimes, however I think that a big part of it was the great results I have seen in both my weight loss ( I tried to leave a week between each weigh-in) from the start and how consistent this has been.
Whilst I definitely saw an improvement in my ability to carry out the exercises during the 7 week period, as well as in my overall fitness, I still find some of them quite tough - in particular the first 3 exercises in the Tone Blitz section which require a great deal of strength and stamina in your arms and legs.
Whilst in the early days I found the boxing section a bit boring and repetitive, I am glad that I stuck with it as I think this and the exercises with the dumbbells have definitely increased the definition in my arms - also I can definitely throw a better punch than when I first started (lol!). I have lost a noticeable amount of weight all over to the point where even people who see me every day have noticed. I hold a lot of my excess weight in my lower stomach and particularly around my 'muffin top' but I am now fitting into size 12 jeans which hasn't happened for AGES! I had questioned what good the core work in last section would do whilst I was still holding excess weight around my stomach but there is definitely increased definition in my upper stomach; the lower stomach is always going to require more weight loss I think.
My criticisms are quite mild really. Firstly, and I have noticed other reviewers say this, Hannah can be a bit annoying - she's a bit sarcastic and most of what comes out of her mouth is not really useful. If you're like me, you will find this most annoying at the 4-6 week mark. Now though I barely notice her and just focus on the exercises. Also, there is a fair bit of chat at the start of each section, so it's useful to remember to keep yourself moving until you are told what exercises to do in order to stop your body get too cold.
The music is quite loud in the background to the point where I now play the DVD through my husband's X-box rather than through our DVD player, but actually it does fit well with the exercises and adds as an extra incentive to work hard.
What has also really impressed me is that even in the early days when I found the exercises the toughest; I did not ache and throb the next day like I have done with some exercise DVDs which can sometimes delay you being able to work on the DVD again. Obviously it means that the stretching section at the end does its job and has prevented the possibility of me injuring myself.
The fact that it is split into 20 minute sections means that it is quite easy to break it down into shorter periods according to how much time you have. That said, I would always recommend doing the warm-up first and the stretching at the very end of the workout to ensure that you do not injure yourself.
In conclusion - this is by far the best exercise DVD I have ever done as regards enjoyment and sustained results and I would not hesitate to recommend it especially at its current price. Whilst I no longer do it with the frequency that I was to avoid my body getting used to the exercises, I am still using the DVD once or twice a week alongside other workouts and am still consistently losing and maintaining my weight. I can also confidently say that it will probably form part of my exercise routine in some form for the foreseeable future.
Hannah Waterman was born in 1975, the daughter of Minder star Dennis Waterman. She joined EastEnders in 2000, and subsequently married her co-star, Ricky Groves in 2006. At only 5'2 Waterman reached 10st 4lbs and was advised to lose weight by her doctor for health reasons. She was also spurred on by seeing pictures of her on the beach and feeling 'mortified'. In 2009 she released her fitness DVD 'Hannah Waterman's Body Blitz', too much controversy. Other fitness DVD 'stars' including Coleen Nolan and Natalie Cassidy criticized her for losing too much weight saying it was unhealthy and difficult to maintain. Waterman denied these claims, defending her weight loss on long term health grounds. Waterman had gone down to 7st 8lb and had apparently became obsessed with her diet and fitness, going from a size 16 to a size 6! This apparently led to the breakdown of her marriage and she split with Groves in 2010. Such a controversial start was bound to be good for publicity!
I brought Hannah Waterman's body blitz after being recommended it by a friend. I was fairly dubious to start with - she did start looking a bit like a lollipop and I felt the need to feed her up a bit! But, It was meant to be good so I gave it a go. I think I am fairly fit, I can run for an hour (not fast - I am certainly not built for speed) and enjoy walking a lot. But I hate doing weights or any toning exercises at the gym - I find it is a very male dominated area where they strut around competing for who has the biggest muscles and who can lift the heaviest weights and I feel intimidated! So I decided to invest in Hannah Waterman's DVD.
It is very cleverly done. Advised by Sports Scientist Martin MacDonald from Loughborough University Waterman advocates interval training in her DVD, short bursts of intense exercise followed by a rest. The claim in that 10 minutes of this work out is equal to 1hr of normal aerobics! There are 4 twenty minute routines, Cardio Blitz, Box Blitz, Tone Blitz and Extra Abs and Cool Down. Waterman is accompanied by 2 fit looking men, Elia and Adam to guide you through! Each of these has an easy and a more difficult routine to follow.
When I first did these DVD, I was convinces it couldn't be that difficult, so I would go with the hard bit all the way through. Big mistake - it is hard! Regardless of how fit you are, start off slowly! I live in a flat with wooden floors so did find some of the exercises difficult as I seemed to slip and slide all over the place on my mat, and you do need quite a bit of room to do the exercises.
Each section of the DVD is good for different parts of the body, but all have the same ultimate goal - fat loss!
From Waterman's own website - Cardio Blitz - easy moves to burn fat; Box Blitz - punch and kick your way to fat loss; Tone Blitz - an all over fat burner and toner; and Extra Abs and Cool Down - Tighten your belly then chill out.
The variety of the DVD is great, and it is great when you have limited time. You can chose a routine to do, and don't have to do all 4. I tend to try to do a different one every day, with a bit of a warm up and then the warm down afterwards. They are all good fun too, and by choosing a different one, they don't get as boring as doing one routine continuously every time you do the exercise DVD.
The results have been great, and I am getting better at doing the hard version all the way through. There were times when I first started doing the DVD that I just stood there and looked at the screen in amazement, thinking 'I cannot carry on right now'!
The only down side I have, is that she gets very annoying! I have absolutely no problems with her whatsoever - I think this is probably the same with all fitness DVD's. How many times in a row would you watch you own favourite before it got boring?! One of the benefits to doing it more and more - you know what's coming up so you can mute her and put your own music on instead!!
Pricewise, you can currently get it for £1.84 plus postage from Amazon.
I would give her 4 stars - losing one for the annoying chat in the background!
Also published on Ciao by MrsW2011
Hannah Waterman's Body Blitz took me a bit by suprise at how good and tough it was. I was expecting it to be like some of the other celebrity dvds where they promise you miracles but when you do it you hardly break a sweat.
This dvd is broken down into four sections -
Cardio Blitz which really gets you moving mixing in quick bursts of intense exercise to raise your heart beat with what hannah calls 'active rest' periods which you really need. It involves moves such as grapevines, squats, jumps, the useual aerobic exercise moves but combined into a fun routine. You run through the routine twice and once you hit the speed section jogging fast on the spot and 'active rest' which is basically toning exercises your half way there so keep going.
Box Blitz which is a fun boxercise style section with lots of moves really fun to do and easy to follow it. It uses punching moves and kick and a can can kicking style move which always has me gasping for breathe. Again as in previous section once you hit speed section this time speed ball punches and running on the spot punching the air and active rest your half way there. I like this section the best the boxing moves are fun and the cross punches make me feel like I am toning my waist.
Tone Blitz involves more toning exercises and weight exercises to really help you tone up with some intervals of high energy moves in to keep you burning fat. The toning exercises on this really take it out of you jumping and squating after the first 2 sections definatley finishes me off for the day.
Belly Blitz is an extra section for the area most of us want to target the abdominals!!! this is followed by stretching and a cool down.
The dvd is challenging and definatley makes you sweat you can do the whole thing through which takes just over an hour or you can just do sections i find this good because sometimes i dont have time to complete the whole thing but just doing one or 2 sections still leaves you feeling like you have had a good workout. Hannah is joined by two men from
Loughborough University who talk you through the moves one doing high intensity and one low so you also have options to follow. The moves I found were mostly easy to follow and enjoyable. Overall a very good dvd that definatley will make you sweat. The soundtrack is not songs you will probably know the music to me seemed a similar sound to the Vicky Binns workout dvd not sure if its same people but if you have done that one you will know what I mean. Its basically dance style tracks which are quite catchey and you end up humming or singing along to them as you workout.
A great workout make sure you have some water handy though you will need it
Great, effective and the best I ever done. I am losing 2lb a week doing this workout every day and controlling my eating with no more than 1400 calories a day. so far 8lb lost- result !
I bought this DVD as part of my new years resolution to get fit and after doing my old Claire Sweeney with weight watchers DVD so many times I could do it in my sleep. I saw a lot of the publicity around Hannah's quite radical weight loss and decided that this was the one for me for 2010.
So, just to give you some context, I do work out fairly regularly and most weeks I do a combination of working out at home to this kind of DVD and running a 2 mile circuit round my village. It has taken me a while to get my fitness improving but I can now manage to complete the 2 miles jogging for 90% and walking for 10%. I am not completely unfit.
However....this DVD is HARDCORE. It makes the Clare Sweeney one look like a walk in the palk and the burn you will feel from it is very intense. Having now done all sections at least 3 times I am still struggling to keep up with it in parts. It is very clear why she now looks so skinny. I am certain that sticking to this workout will most definitely shift the pounds - you just might not have the dedication to stick with it!
The DVD consists of 3 20 minute workouts, the Cardio Blitz, Box Blitz, Tone Blitz and then the final section is the Belly Blitz & Cool Down.
The Cardio Blitz section includes the warm up section for about 5 minutes and then a high intensity section of aerobic cardio moves. On my first attempt at doing this routine I felt completely confused and out of time, its pretty quick and you need to concentrate while being co-ordinated which I found difficult. The high intensity sections are broken with periods of "active rest" where you get on the floor and do press ups and the like.
I have since found it easier to follow, you do get used to it and find it easier after the first time but you need to stick with it. I have now completed this section about 4 times and whilst it still gets me completely hot and sweaty it is now doable and a lot easier to follow without flailing round.
The Box Blitz section is probably my favourite and I found it slightly easier to follow although again its pretty full on in terms of pace and intensity, having done some boxercise before I was familiar with some of the moves, which helped, it does push you though.
The Tone Blitz, I really dont like this section, a lot of it is based on the floor and involves a level of fitness which I simply do not have yet. I think this is a section I will have to return to at a later date because for now it leaves me in agony if I try to keep up with it!
Belly Blitz and Cool Down starts with a good 10 minute section of pretty intense and focussed abs work. I have completed this around 8 times now and still cannot keep up with the level of intensity. I find this quite puzzling because it is obviously not as aerobic as the other sections, but it is very difficult if your stomach muscles have not been properly worked out for years. I end up skipping some at this stage but I can see that if I do stick with it these exercises will most certainly give me the definition I want.
So, what of the presenters? Well Hannah is flanked by two trainers from University of Loughborough, one of them does a scaled down version of some of the more intense moves (which I am currently finding invaluable).
Hannah is very bright, alert and encouraging, but I do find some of her 'come on!' shouts a bit annoying, she makes the whole thing look completely effortless which I have to say is quite motivating given what she used to look capable of. I like the fact that they do talk about why particular moves work well - and the science behind it seems to be a key thing, the whole interval training angle is central to this DVD - but if its true that 20 minutes of this is equal to an hour of jogging then I am all for it!
Personally I really like the music soundtrack to this DVD which is very upbeat and modern sounding dance music. After doing the weight watchers work outs with virtually no music or very uninspiring at most, this does make it easier to stay motivated and keep up with them. It is not intrusive, just loud enough.
I will definitely keep trying with this DVD and I do believe it will really make a difference to my dieting, this week I managed to completely keep up with the Cardio and Belly Blitz sections without pausing or skipping once and for the first time I got that nice, post exercise buzz. It has taken some dedication to get to this stage though and I do think many people will simply never get to it.
I would say this is a good choice for anyone of a decent fitness level already who wants to push themselves, it would have totally intimidated and lost me if this was my first ever encounter with working out so I do not think its a good choice for any people new to the concept of working out at home.
You can get this online for around £12 and its a flexible product which you can tailor to what you feel like doing, in this respect it is very good value for money. Fairplay to Hannah for obviously working very hard to get the figure she has now, I (and my aching limbs) totally understand that she has earned it!
As someone who has quite the collection of workout DVDs (all of Davina and Nell McAndrew being favourites) I bought this as a New Year's present to myself after being really impressed by Hannah's massive weight loss (although I can't help feeling that another half stone back on would do her the world of good and banish the slight lollipop head syndrome!) It's based on interval training which the latest scientific research indicates is the most effective way to lose weight, raising the heart rate high for short periods of time and then following with a period of 'active rest', rather than steady state cardio. According to the blurb on the back of the DVD just 20 minutes of this DVD is as effective as a whole hour of jogging (forgive me if I'm not quite convinced on that one)
However, there is no denying that this workout is tough! It's led by two young guys who lead Hannah through the workout and is split into four sections, roughly 20 minutes each - Cardio Blitz (an aerobics style workout which incorporates the warmup so you really need to do this one every time), Box Blitz (upper body boxing and kick boxing moves), Tone Blitz (burpees and other such resistance moves), all of which are interspersed with some 10 second high energy intervals to get the heart rate up, followed by a final abs section and cool down. If you sat down and watched the DVD there's not really anything in there that makes it look that tough, but I like to think I'm fairly fit and believe me, working through the whole DVD I found this workout far harder than any Nell McAndrew one I'd done and it really left me feeling the effects the next day! The abs section in particular is really tough, and the toning section is a real killer (I absolutely detest burpees with a passion and the jump to standing position that they tack onto the end of them really makes you feel it!) I did enjoy the Box Blitz section which came as some welcome respite after the intensity that is the Cardio section!
What this DVD lacks for me however is the fun factor - with Davina you find that with every move she'll be telling you how much she loves it and it's clear from the big grin on Nell's face that she enjoys working out, but with Hannah, more often than not, she'll tell you she hates this move and I'm inclined to agree with her most of the time!I find that this type of interval training doesn't give me the buzz that I get with something like Nell McAndrew which is intense but more steady state cardio and despite the fact that there's no denying you can feel the effectiveness, I think beginners would find this a tough routine to stick with as I just don't find it a very enjoyable workout - there are far too many moves, particularly in the toning section, that I just dread! It comes down to the fact that I've realised that I really dislike floor workouts unless they are specifically targeting the abs, so if this rings a bell with you then avoid - if you don't mind floor workouts then no doubt you'll find this more enjoyable than I did.
The presenting is well thought out with lots of information on the science behind weight loss and there are different options to follow depending on your level of fitness. Despite the options, I do think that this is a tough workout for anyone whose fitness level is low and you would have to be pretty motivated to embark on this from 'couch potato' level, so to speak. That said, the moves are simple, easy to follow and well explained and there is a nice relationship between the three presenters. Hannah is inspiring to watch as her change in body shape is so drastic and she really does look fabulous now. However, she isn't someone like Nell or Davina who really seem to love working out and her exclamations of hatred for moves I do find can be a bit demotivating and she does have a tendency to shout at times.
In terms of effectiveness I find it hard to see anyone with a bit of excess weight to lose (lets face it, who doesn't?!) who did even just 20 minutes of this workout 3 times a week failing to lose weight, the problem is the motivation to dig it out again as it is tough and just not much fun! I've owned it 3 weeks now and despite working out every day, I've only managed to get the motivation to dig this out 4 times - I'd much rather reach for Davina for fun or Nell if I'm feeling up for some intensity!