I went to New York not too long ago and took along Marisa Tomei. I'm not lying - okay, maybe stretching - insofar as I brought her new workout DVD on my trip and not the actual actress.
The timing was perfect. I was invited to try Marisa Tomei: Core & Curves - the program she uses to maintain her smoking hot body - at the same time that I was invited to stay at a friend's apartment in Soho. With no access to a gym, it seemed an ideal way to balance out a weekend of gustatory excess.
The DVD opens with an explanation from Ms. Tomei and Key Son, her New York trainer. The routine "moulds and sculpts the body, improves the cardiovascular system, decreases body fat and strengthens the core," Mr. Son says. Best of all, she joins in: "No weights!" Instead, they use a resistance loop to add challenge to the circuit training.
Ms. Tomei comes across as the anti-Jane Fonda. Instead of spandex and legwarmers, she wears slouchy sweatshirts, basic tanks and drawstring shorts. The music is lively and Latin-inflected, while the faux New York loft backdrop is as good as it gets for a windowless L.A. studio.
The workout itself is divided into three parts: body definition, best legs and 10 moves in 10. But the most appealing aspect is that they're not talking to us but doing their own thing. The viewer is like a voyeur to Ms. Tomei's personal training session.
"I certainly know I'm not a trainer," the Oscar-winning actress says later in a phone interview from L.A. "I'm not the one with the knowledge and so thought I would be the guinea pig and ask questions."
With the band around her ankles, she side-steps and does twists. She also performs balancing and alignment exercises, such as forward reaches on her tiptoes and one-leg punches.
Speaking of toes, she's barefoot the entire time. "I always have my shoes off in the house anyway," she tells me. "But then Key mentioned it's good for balance and the muscles in the feet and it burns more calories."
Core & Curves is not called Lean & Mean for a reason. The workout is not high-octane. Cheeky, maybe. "I've had enough of that in my life!" is her reply when Mr. Son talks about how the band "controls an unstable environment."
Still, the workout is deceiving. There are enough crunches, planks and pushups to explain Ms. Tomei's toned bod in The Wrestler. She's also exceedingly flexible, and can execute a leg raise/lower ab crunch on her back that is torturous at best. Although she is also an avid hula hoopist, the former dancer swears this is pretty much all she does.
When asked whether she expects guys to get on board, it's Ms. Tomei's charm that proves in finest form of all. "I think mostly it's for women. Maybe men will want to watch it!"
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