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Monday 20 February 2017

Keep Fit with Corrie: Week Two - Kym Ryder

Gemma and Michael over at Conversation Street, the Corrie podcast, have been keeping fit the Corrie way!  In week one, they did the Molly Dobbs work out and you can read all about that here.

Every week we’re chronicling our adventures with our Corrie fitness project, as we work our way through as many exercise DVDs as we can find featuring cast from the show. It’s been difficult to keep the weight loss up this week, especially with the Valentine’s Day temptation of choccies and meals out, but we’ve still managed to chip away a few pounds each. In addition to the Corrie DVDs, we’ve also given a Zumba one a try on a couple of evenings – this has fast become one of one of Gemma’s favourites, but with Michael having all the coordination and grace of Stan Ogden after a heavy drinking session in the Rovers, it’s not gone down quite as well with him!

For this week’s blog, we’re tackling Kym Marsh’s first workout DVD – Kym Ryder’s Burn & Firm Workout. She also has a second DVD called Kym Marsh Power Sculpt, which we’ll get to on another week!
Kym’s Burn & Firm Workout was released in 2006, and features her trainer, Paul Younane. Those who have followed Kym’s career from the very beginning will know she came to fame in the first series of a show called Popstars. The programme followed the formation of the group Hear’Say, and Kym was selected by the judges to join thanks to her talent at singing and dancing. Famously, she was told by her manager, Nigel, to lose weight, which caused a lot of controversy in the press. Kym mentions this in her introduction, setting the tone for the light-hearted and breezy manner that she maintains throughout. The DVD was released in the same year that Kym was hired to work in Coronation Street, so the approach to this is very much one of a dancing background, as she was obviously far more famous for this than her acting at this point in her career.

As with many of the DVDs that we’ve worked out with, the trainer is the main presenter, and Kym chimes in with various suggestions and comments throughout. She’s more hands on than some of the other celebs, though, telling you to watch out for your knees going over your toes, and the like.

Paul’s approach to fitness is a bit like what your mother used to tell you about making a face when the wind changes. The warmup hammers home his concept of posture-setting, where you engage your abs and pull your shoulders back when working out. He repeatedly suggests that the body you work out in is the body you’ll end up with, and whilst good form is essential to prevent injury during workouts, we’ve never heard anyone before or since suggest that setting your body in a certain position is going to set it to that posture when you’re finished. Intriguing…

The other gimmick in this workout is that it utilises household objects to help your fitness. Kym mentions that she and Paul did a lot of working out in the park, which they’ve adapted to the front room. The sofa is used for some exercises in the ‘sofa-tone’ section, and there’s even a ‘pillow-boxing’ segment. Our reactions to this varied. Gemma thought it was a bit unnecessary and over-complicated everything, because most of the exercises didn’t need equipment and were better off without (for example, press up and chest flies, both of which work just fine on the floor). Michael, however, enjoyed the novelty. Kym and Paul also suggest using cans of beans or water bottles instead of weights, but we’d both say that if you want to seriously get into getting fit, buying proper hand weights makes life so much easier – and you can increase the weights to improve your fitness as you go on.

As Kym’s background is in music, it was really surprising how mediocre the soundtrack was for this DVD. In fact, the uninspiring, naff music was a big part of how boring it could get. Combined with repetitive movements, there was little to stimulate your mind during the sessions, and they really dragged on. There are six main sections, plus a warm up and body set, and a cool down. On the whole, we found the ones in the first half of the DVD more enjoyable than those towards the end. Each segment lasts around ten minutes, and you can pick and choose your sections to customise your workout.

The fat busting workout comes straight on from the warm up, and consists mostly of holding weights whilst punching or moving your arms, and kicking or bouncing around. The sofa-tone is the aforementioned section where you do strength exercises using the sofa, or a chair. Box and burn is cardio boxing with squats and weights added in for good measure. Pillow boxing is a complete waste of time where they spent five minutes showing you different ways to kick and punch a pillow that someone else is holding. Not only do they not even make a sequence you can follow at home, as with every other section, but they assume you’ll have a helper who wants to work out with you whilst doing absolutely nothing for their own fitness. Really, this felt like it should have been an extra rather than thrown in during the workout session. It even ends with Kym and her fitness model attacking Paul and pushing him on the sofa (spoiler!) which would have been cute and funny if you only had to watch it once in a ‘here are some ideas for pillow boxing extra’, but not three or four times a week for a month!

Aero dance feels like Kym’s pet project as she takes control of the section, formulating a little dance that you follow along with to a weird Baby Elephant Walk-esque track. Paul, meanwhile, joins in and repeatedly comments that he’s adapting it for blokes, by doing things like punching instead of pushing. Kym’s po-faced look, occasionally breaking into grins, is adorable, and reminded us of the girls’ expressions in Corrie Funk and Fit. This dance is the same sequence repeated twice, and actually repeats some of the same footage the second time around, which is weird. The final section is just abs, with a couple of fun paired crunches thrown in, where you’re sitting opposite your partner, legs interlocked.

We didn’t really rate this DVD too highly, it was fairly dull and not very challenging. The trainer is quite serious, but we enjoyed the focus on Kym (and we’re sure that most guys giving it a go will appreciate the close up of the bum flexing in the warm-up section!) The claim is that you can do this workout and lose 12lbs in four weeks, but we’d imagine that you’d need to do the full six sets plus warmup and cooldown to lose that much, depending, of course, on your diet! Don’t forget that often-repeated truism, weight-loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise! There is a six-minute diet chat as an extra in which Kym speaks about her bulimia and her love of chocolate. Honestly, there’s nothing new in here and there’s definitely nothing specific enough to be useful. It really just boils down to ‘eat healthily and exercise’.

All in all, Burn & Firm is fairly dated (Kym’s latest DVD is far superior in terms of effectiveness and effort required), but if you’re a big fan, you might enjoy this as a blast from the past.

To find out more about our podcast, search for Conversation Street on iTunes, or go to If you want to follow Gemma’s blog, all about her fitness journey, and her love of food and fashion, head to

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