Sisters doing it for Themselves, Christine & Nicola Bleakley
Have just launched their new fitness DVD, which has been receiving rave reviews. We chat to them about this venture and what it’s like being in the media spotlight.
Christine Bleakley is no stranger to exercise since undertaking her gruelling Comic Relief waterskiing challenge back in March 2010 and having supported her sister, Nicola who lost an unbelievable seven stone ten years ago, she was determined to put Nicola’s story out there for others to gain inspiration from her own personal experience.
“The Workout” sees these two stunning NI beauties team up with personal fitness trainer, Maria Fenn, to produce their first fitness DVD, which it has to be said has been receiving rave reviews from those in the know.
As well as the publicity for the DVD, Christine is on our TV screens at the moment alongside Philip Schofield on ITV1’s “Dancing on Ice”, with reviews for her performance on this show flying around as well, we caught up with her and Nicola to find out the real story.
What prompted you both to make a fitness DVD?
Christine: From my own personal standpoint I knew from interviewing a number of other celebrities who had done their own fitness DVD that they had chefs preparing the food and up to three personal trainers coming to get them in shape and I felt that ours would offer something different as it was based on Nicola’s true story and indeed my own personal experience. Nicola was a size 24 and through a balanced diet and sensible fitness regime she not only lost seven stone ten years ago, but she has also kept it off, unlike others who get in shape for the DVD and then are back to their original weight after six months.
Nicola: I joined Unislim and with their help and encouragement, and that of Christine and my family, I lost seven stone in 12 months. For ten years I’ve managed to keep the weight off by changing my lifestyle through managing what I eat and regular exercise. I never take anything for granted, I always say there’s a fat person inside me waiting to get out! Christine has always been very proud of what I have achieved and felt that I could inspire others and had a real story to tell. Knowing how passionate I am about weight management we both felt this DVD would be an enjoyable and worthwhile project that we could work on together.
What makes “The Workout” different from other fitness DVDs?
Christine: It is all based on our personal experiences and exercises we know work for us, and working with personal trainer, Maria Fenn, we were able to expand these to put together routines that will work for all body shapes and levels of fitness. We also know how precious time is and the DVD can be done anywhere and can be tailored to fit in with your available time.
Nicola: We both clicked with Maria straight away. Sharing the same passions as ourselves she had so many ideas as well and the whole thing just started to come together. The exercises on the DVD work for all body shapes and levels of fitness targeting all those problems areas. Divided into two sections, section one routines include Arm Sculptor, Core Cruncher and Legs & Bum Transformer; section two features routines including the Bleakley Blaster and the Kick Butt Interval Training workout.
Do you do both the DVD yourselves?
Nicola: I do it daily for fat burning and toning. If everyday isn’t achievable you would see benefits from doing it two or three times a week.
Christine: I like the fact that it offers quick bursts and it’s great for my for toning and fitness. We spent two-days filming the DVD during the hottest weekend of the year! We had to do the routine a number of times to get the variety of angles needed and I could really see a difference in the shape of my legs afterwards!
Christine what’s it been like for you promoting this venture with Nicola?
Christine: It’s lovely for me promoting the DVD with Nicola. We were on the Alan Titchmarsh Show together recently and Nicola was really nervous, which makes me nervous, but I also know how passionate Nicola is about fitness and healthy eating and once she starts talking about it she can just wax lyrical, so I know she’ll be fine.
Nicola: This is all new to me and it was strange walking into the shops on Boxing Day and seeing my face on this DVD! But I love that I’ve got this opportunity because I am so passionate about it.
Are you pleased with the response so far?
Nicola: Friends who have just had babies have done it and say that they are really seeing results which makes me so proud of what we’ve done. It’s important to be consistent and persevere - so many people don’t see results in a week and lose interest - it’s about staying strong and motivated. I would advise people to do the DVD two or three times a week and perhaps seek out a class like I did. Unislim really helped me.
Christine: The reviews are beyond our expectations and those in the fitness world really rate it. It’s great to be able to say it really works and its not just a gimmick
So, can we expect more from you two?
Christine: To be honest we haven’t really thought about it, but yes there’s no reason why we couldn’t follow up with a credible variation on this first DVD.
Christine while your DVD has been getting good reviews, you’ve had a lot of negative publicity to put up with of late. How do you deal with this?
Daybreak was hyped so much in the beginning, which I didn’t really agree with and it felt like we were forcing people to watch us, which probably added fuel to the media fire, but the papers never report on the good stuff and the viewing figures were never as bad as they made out, so you have to keep everything in perspective and just ignore a lot of the nonsense that is printed. To be honest I don’t really know what all of the fuss was about with Daybreak. For me it was never going to be a long-term thing. I was exhausted. Getting up at 3am in the morning and surviving on three hours sleep a night is hard to sustain. With Holly moving to BBC to host “The Voice” it meant that the position became available on “Dancing on Ice” and I jumped at the chance to be part of such a fabulous show.
What’s it like being part of the “Dancing on Ice” team?
I was nervous on the first week of the show, who wouldn’t be? I couldn’t believe I was actually on stage beside TV legend, Philip Schofield, presenting a show I have enjoyed watching over the years. As the weeks go on though I am gaining confidence and I think viewers can see this. I just love being part of this fantastic show.
Nicola, how do you feel when you hear your sister paper slated in the press?
Christine is my big sister and I am so proud of all she has achieved, as are the rest of the family and we love sitting watching her on Sunday nights and think that she is doing a great job and it’s important to ignore all of the nonsense printed in the papers.
Christine can we ask if you have a favourite on “Dancing on Ice”?
I went along to a pre-show performance with everyone and couldn’t believe the difference and progression in all of the contestants when they came to their first performances in the first two shows. As Karen Barbour said Chicco is a dark horse - he has really progressed. Rosemary Conley is fabulous too, for a women of 65 she looks no older than 40 and she has a 25 inch waist!
Christine we have to ask about your pending nuptials. When is this much hyped wedding taking place?
Well firstly I’d like to set the record straight and say I won’t be getting married in the Glagorm and I certainly never paid another girl to change her wedding date for me to get married there! Frank and I haven’t set a date yet, but we do want to get married sooner rather than later, but with my filming schedules and his football season it’s hard finding the right time. I certainly don’t want to get married on a Thursday and be back to work on Friday! Honestly, the only thing I can confirm about the wedding is that when it does happen, Nicola will be a bridesmaid!
So what’s it like for Frank Lampard to be marrying TV personality Christine Bleakley?
Luckily we both understand each others worlds and get what comes with it. With someone who doesn’t understand it all, it can be harder.
Of late, you’ve also received your fair share of criticism relating to your relationship with Frank’s children. How do you deal with this?
My friends and family know the truth, which is all that matters. We had the girls for a month over Christmas and had a great time. I love Frank’s girls and we get on really well. I purposely didn’t meet them for the first 12 months until I knew our relationship was going somewhere. I didn’t want to be one of daddy’s friends that they wouldn’t see again, and from my own point of view I didn’t want to get attached to them either if things didn’t work. Frank and I have always done everything in the girls’ best interests.
Apart from “Dancing on Ice”, the DVD and a wedding what else is on the cards for the two of you?
Nicola: I worked in banking for 11 years, but weight management is what I’m truly passionate about and I’d like to do my fitness instructor exams this year as well as continuing in my role as an ambassador with Unislim.
Christine: I really want to concentrate on “Dancing on Ice” at the moment, but ITV have a few others things that they are pitching to me, so there’s plenty to come.
Interview: Margaret Connolly
Photography: David Venni
T: (020) 7275 2722 W: davidvenni.com