I love Nadia Sawalha ! She's so down-to-earth, makes really interesting TV programmes and has a great sense of humour. When I saw that she'd made a fitness video (and let's face it, it's the New Year so there will be zillions of celebs releasing them now !), my first reaction was oh no ! I hope she doesn't start taking herself really seriously and stop being so, well, normal now ! Well, rest assured, I've just watched it and she's still the same Nadia. She's lost an amazing 3 and a half stone but not an ounce of her personality in the process !
Right from the very beginning, Nadia puts you at ease. I love the way she makes herself laugh when she introduces her fitness video, saying that she'd never have believed in a million years that she'd make one ! She shares her unflattering photos with you - how brave is that ?! - and reassures you that she hated exercise, got puffed out within minutes of starting in the early days and never thought she'd get the fabulous body she now has. That's reassuring and motivating for her target audience (ie me !) and really does give you a boost when you really need one.
One of the reasons many women put on weight is through having kids, and one of the reason it's so hard to shift the baby-weight afterwards is that it's really hard to find time to yourself to actually get back in shape. It's easy to spend hours in the gym if you're a Hollywood star with a personal trainer on call 24/7 and a live-in nanny to keep the kids occupied ! In the real world, that's not so easy. Well, to get around this problem, I packed Pierre off for a nap (because although he thought it was really funny to watch Mummy jumping around, he then started trying to crawl under my feet and hug my ankles !) and lined up Sophie and Juliette to join in. I'm not sure if they were laughing at me or the DVD but they had a fabulous time and, as well as all three of us getting hot and sweaty, we also had hysterics on numerous occasions and they asked if we could do it again another day. Who needs a wii-fit ?!
The exercise moves themselves are quite easy to follow, except for the criss-cross hand-and-legs part which had the girls giggling so much they nearly wet themselves laughing because we were all so uncoordinated ! You don't need any complicated equipment, bags of room or superhuman stamina. You will get tired and sweaty but that's the whole point. You can feel your muscles burning and really know it's working. It's designed with busy people in mind as the exercise part is split into five sections - warm up, high energy fat burner, all over body blast, all over body toner and cool down - so you can either do the whole lot in one go (if you think you're hard enough !) or just do a warm up then a quick but effective 15-minute workout. The final cool down section is also great as a stress-buster after a busy day at work even if you haven't done the workout.
One thing I would have liked is a countdown timer on the high energy bits, so that you know how much is left to go, because sometimes that can help you hang in there for the last bit when you know there are only a few minutes to go. I'd have liked a few toys, shoes and random bits of kiddie-mess strewn around the pristine white fitness studio too, so that I felt a bit more at home, because apart from that, Nadia really is just like any of us and that is really inspiring !
Another thing I love about Nadia's approach is that she's a mum so she needs to cook real food instead of just munching on celery and carrot sticks. As we'd expect from a Masterchef winner, she has some great recipes tucked up her sleeve and there is a section at the end of the DVD where she shares seven of her low-fat recipes with us. This is real food that the whole family can enjoy, whether or not they're trying to lose weight, and they look really simple to make - I'll definitely be trying the rice and lentils one (although it might be a lethal combination with the squat thrusts on the DVD !)
I would love to say I've "done a Nadia" and lost three-and-a-half stone as well as four dress sizes, but unfortunately, I had to send the review copy back after a fortnight !! She has however managed to do it in 4 months so if you start now, you too can have an I'm-too-sexy-for-my-kaftan body in time for the summer !
There will surely be many new celeb fitness DVDs in the next few weeks but I have to say, this has to be one of the most down-to-earth and believable ones. Good on you Nadia, you're an inspiration !
You can watch a trailer here, to give you an idea of what you're letting yourself in for ! :
And if you want some extra motivation from like-minded people, you might like to join the DVD's facebook page : http://tinyurl.com/NadiaFacebook
Good luck !
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £19.99
for more information : http://amzn.to/ewnv1E
Other reviews you may be interested in :