FRANCESCA VS. CHARLOTTE CROSBY'S THEE MINUTE BELLY BLITZ

The Monday blues have hit pretty hard this week (blame it on the weather) - the prospect of legging it home and over to the gym felt a little too daunting (sorry Em!)

However, since I promised my partner in crime that the workout lifestyle was to begin again (weekly cycles and the occasional gym session don’t really cut the mustard), a home workout was on the cards. Over the years I’ve tried my fair share of home workouts; Davina, dancing, pilates… you name it, I’ve had it in my Amazon basket. With good intentions always at the forefront, I’ve whacked out the laptop and got to work. To be honest, after one try I’ve usually been pretty uninspired and I’ve soon given up on them. 

This time, it was good-old Geordie lass Charlotte Crosby’s Three Minute Belly Blitz. The workout itself is inspired by HIIT training, with lots of kickboxing and lunges dotted around the place. To the laymen among us (i.e. yours truly), that means High Intensity Interval Training, AKA, hell on earth. Being a cocky little so-and-so, I decided to ignore the advice for beginners to take it slow, and decided I could quite easily do the whole hog first go. Feeling a little sceptical (there are far too many fad-workouts out there and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t feeling hopeful), I stuck it on whilst my flatmate got comfy with his supper, ready and waiting to laugh at my flailing attempts at exercise. Cheers Ross.

The Warmup

Nice and gentle with a few boxing moves made this warmup pretty easy. Getting the heart rate going, I was feeling positive and raring to go. The ‘main’ trainer Richard Callender and Charlotte were on my screen doing the ‘high intensity’ bits, whilst the other trainer David Scouter provided a slightly easier alternative. Considering I wasn’t using weighted gloves a la Rich and Miss Crosby, I joined in with the ‘high intensity’ moves, because again, I’m a cocky little so-and-so. So far, so good.

The Main Event

The work out is split into 12 rounds, each three minutes long. With moves to target every single muscle in your body (plus the ones you didn't know existed), the workouts aim to really bring up the heart rate and push your body to some pretty intense limits. The rounds varied from resistance work to boxing, cardio to floor work. I was up and down and very nearly fell over on several occasions and the girls, (read: boobs) were quite honestly ready to do a runner. For the first time in a while, there was sweat pouring from some truly horrendous places and I was very much feeling the burn. Unlike a lot of lovely ladies in lycra, my ‘exercise look’ mainly consists of terrifying facial expressions and a lot of groaning. Ticking both of those boxes, this continued, from start to finish, for 36 utterly gruelling minutes.

The Cool Down

Let’s be honest here, this is my FAVOURITE part of any workout. Whatever people tell me, I will not lie and say that I’m sad an exercise session is over. Despite the endorphins and that feeling of satisfaction exercise does give me, it has, and always will be, one hell of a chore. Richard takes you through some nice intense stretches, leaving you feel nice and loose and frankly, pretty damn chuffed with yourself. 

The Pros

Like I’ve mentioned earlier, this is the first home-workout DVD I’ve done where I really feel like I’ve accomplished something. The split into 12 rounds makes it much easier for clock-watchers like myself to focus on actually getting through the three minutes, rather than constantly checking how long I’ve got left. Every part of me feels like it’s done some work, and I’m pretty sure if I tried to pat myself on the back right now I may pull something. The moves are easy to follow, vary from round to round and didn’t bore me. I’ve always enjoyed boxing moves and the like (great anger management), and hate the whole trillions of crunches malarkey. It doesn’t work and your body doesn’t get nearly as good a workout. 

Obviously the fact that you needn’t leave the house to accomplish an intense workout is also pretty great. Despite the addition of some pretty snazzy gym and cycling kit to my wardrobe, sometimes it’s bliss sticking on my grottiest, moth-eaten old gym gear and getting down n’ dirty in the living room. Oo-er. 

Finally, unlike lots of these home workouts, you don’t need weights or bands or any other fripperies to do the workout, which again helps with motivation as I hate having to invent interesting solutions (usually a wine bottle). I am however going to invest in some weighted gloves - useful in both the gym and at home - win-win! 

The Cons

Not really much to say here! All I will say is that home workout DVDs can be great, IF, and only if, you have the motivation. Unlike the gym, there’s only a one time cost involved which can make it tricky to justify using it when you’re not worrying about the pounds dropping from your bank account. However, if you are willing to dedicate 45 minutes of your life 3-4 times a week, I am genuinely 100% behind this - Charlotte, you’ve done this sceptic proud!

In summary, I’m pretty darn impressed; a genuinely interesting, intensive workout that made me feel much less ashamed of not making it to the gym. Next time Em, I’m bringing ya down with me.