Rhiannon Harries: 'You should never judge a celebrity work-out DVD by its cover'

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The Independent Online

There's much enthusiastic talk of fitness regimes at this time of year, but thanks to the cold, only a hardy few have actually got started. After all, there's no point going for a jog when a slip on some ice could set your routine back weeks, is there? And being snowed in overnight at Fitness First is unlikely to be as cosy as suffering the same fate at John Lewis.

Unfortunately, we all secretly know that there are ways to attempt to get fit without leaving the house. How could we not, given the annual assault of ads exhorting us to sweat it out with Davina McCall, crunch those abs alongside Coleen Nolan or go for the burn with Jessie Wallace (you haven't forgotten who she is already, have you?), all from the comfort of our living-rooms.

I haven't succumbed to a celeb work-out for years, not least because it's mildly embarrassing explaining to the people in the flat below why their windows are rattling. Now, thanks to a post-break-up interview with Ricky Groves, ex-EastEnders, ex-Strictly and now ex of actress Hannah Waterman – who has just brought out her Body Blitz DVD (left) – I'm feeling smugger at having abstained than if I had bought one of the damn things, used it religiously and lost two stone.

Groves, publicly lamenting the breakdown of his marriage in a popular newspaper, reckons that Waterman's weight loss, and her obsession with achieving it, were primary factors. Two sides to every story, so who knows what went on, but his description of the machinations behind the scenes of celeb fitness DVDs is interesting.

Naively, I had assumed that the stars who do these things must have got a personal trainer, lost some weight and then been approached to make a DVD. But, according to Groves, it was Universal Pictures that suggested the project (sounds like a fun job: "Hello Ms Waterman, you're famously a bit fat; fancy dropping a few pounds and earning some cash?").

Groves says Waterman was put on an intensive training regime to shed three stone in five months and, suddenly all cheekbones and hollow thighs, she's a walking advert for her DVD. But it hardly sounds like a gruelling routine. No wonder fellow 'Enders veteran Natalie Cassidy piled it back on after her DVD makers disappeared.

Faddy diets and the associated snake oil usually get the derision they merit, but most of us believe we can't go wrong with exercise. The efforts of Waterman et al won't do anyone any harm, of course. But don't feel bad if they don't do you as much good (on an aesthetic level, if nothing else) as they appear to have done her.