December 21, 2014, 04:00:02 PM

Author Topic: TAR Canada 1 Contestants - Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod - Married Fitness Icons  (Read 2274 times)

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Offline walkingpneumonia

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TAR Canada Contestants - Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod
No Spoilers Please!
 
 
Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod Married Fitness Icons




Hal Johnson

Age: 57 (June 14, 1956)
Nickname: n/a
Occupation: TV Personality – Fitness Promotion
Hometown: Oakville, ON
Place of Birth: Newark, NJ
Couldn’t live without: Protein shake
Good luck charm: “I rub the number 23 on the side of my hat, my daughter’s hockey number, so she is always with me.”
Strengths: Health and fitness, athletics, salesmanship
Fears/Phobias: Heights, claustrophobia
Favourite travel destination: San Diego, CA
 
Joanne McLeod

Age: 54 (Sept. 18, 1958)
Nickname: Jo
Occupation: TV Personality – Fitness Promotion
Hometown: Oakville, ON
Place of Birth: Toronto, ON
Couldn’t live without: Ear plugs to sleep
Good luck charm: Hal
Strengths: Health and fitness, athletic, media production
Fears/Phobias: Unconventional foods, confined spaces
Favourite travel destination: Cruise ship to anywhere
 
TEAM BIO
Hal and Joanne are Canadian icons – for 25 years they have been on television in self-produced fitness interstitials that promote healthy and active living. Joanne notes that they are “huge fans” of THE AMAZING RACE, while Hal adds, “You might say that we’ve been training for this all these years.”
 
They are eager to show audiences another side of their partnership on THE AMAZING RACE CANADA, and  just like any couple they have moments of tension and moments of laughter.
 
Their energy is unquestionably infectious. They are also no strangers to competition; as amateur athletes, Hal played baseball for Team Canada, while Joanne represented Canada on the national track and field team.
 
“People tell us...that they’ve grown up with BodyBreak,” said Hal, “and that could be a big advantage, but it also could put targets on our backs.” Adds Joanne, “It could be a liability, but I think we can use it to our advantage.”
 
Hal and Joanne have seen so much of Canada, but hope to see parts they’ve never experienced on the Race, such as the Northwest Territories, Newfoundland, or reach the highest summit of Canada (Mount Logan, YK).
 
Motto: “Keep fit and have fun.”
 
How will they plan to win The Race: “Our strategy is to be as patient as possible, not get ahead of ourselves, allow for each other’s strengths to be utilized, listen, and be persistent.”
 
Number one roadblock as team: “The biggest challenge will be to keep the intensity and focus for the entire day and race.”

READ MORE: Hal and Joanne plan to use 'BodyBreak' experience to their advantage on 'Amazing Race Canada'
 
« Last Edit: April 17, 2014, 02:08:03 AM by georgiapeach »
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Offline walkingpneumonia

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Team photos
From there to here, and here to there,
funny things are everywhere

Offline georgiapeach

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Local Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

In conversation with... Hal Johnson
By: Oliver Sachgau

 
Amazing Race Canada competitors Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod.


Whether you were a couch potato or a fitness nut in the 1990s, you would be very familiar with Hal Johnson. Together with his wife, Joanne McLeod, the two were the stars of Body Break, 90-second vignettes that would air on Canadian television between shows, aimed at trying to get people moving. Johnson and McLeod have remained active in trying to get Canadians into shape through their website, BodyBreak.com. The two will also participate in the TV show The Amazing Race Canada, the first episode of which airs Monday.

 

FP: Why did you decide to enter The Amazing Race?

Johnson: We've been doing Body Break for 25 years and we thought it was a great way to celebrate. On Dec, 3 we were watching the last episode of the Amazing Race, and they announced there was going to be a Canadian Amazing Race, and we immediately both looked at each other and said "Let's enter," because we're big fans of the show, and we're big critics of the contestants, and we thought 'Oh, we could do a lot better than them.' Little did we know how tough it is even though we'd seen every episode of The Amazing Race.

 

FP: You're competing against younger people and age can play a role in these competitions. How will you beat them?

Johnson: Age does play a role, and it's called experience. I think the way of looking at is: How are they going to counter for the lack of experience? There are times when your physical ability is needed, but there are also many times where it's how you think, if you stay calm, if you stay focused.

 

FP: All the new pictures of you are sans-moustache. Is the iconic moustache gone?

Johnson: I got tired of grooming it, actually. I didn't think it was that big of a deal. It was just a moustache. But when I shaved it off, there was a reaction. I may grow it back and have people go to the website to vote whether they like me with moustache or without.

 

FP: You've been advocating for fitness for a long time. Do you think Canadians are fitter now than we were before?

Johnson: No, I actually think that Canada and all of North America has gone down, specifically our lifestyle has changed. We're not nearly as active. We don't walk around as much. We've got so many things that are automated for us, to get people up and get them going is difficult. But a huge factor is what we eat. The food that people are eating today, the junk foods, the Cokes, the Pepsis, the Gatorade kids are drinking, as much as we know more than we did before, they're consuming more because the sizes are getting bigger. It's an epidemic on any scale you look at it.Childhood diabetes has tripled in the last few years. Our work is not yet done.

What we're going to be doing is going after the companies that do misleading advertising. We have a whole section on misleading advertising that we're going to be shooting this summer. Obviously, we couldn't do that when we were on regular television but we can when we're on (our website).

 

FP: You have a lot more freedom getting your message out today. How does that change things?

Johnson: We're going to be a little bit more vocal and radical, I guess you could say. A little while ago, I sent out a little tweet saying that the $5-million ParticipACTION is getting from Coca-Cola isn't right. I don't think ParticipACTION should be taking that money from them. I think (they) have an excellent reputation and they're tarnishing it, giving their health halo to a company that's selling sugar water. It's very similar to the Lung Association taking money from the tobacco industry. The reason I tweeted it out, we're often known as the ParticipACTION people, and I wanted to distance myself from ParticipACTION and from their relationship with Coca-Cola.

 

FP: How do you find all this energy to do the things you do?

Johnson: I don't know. I just get up, get out and do it. It's a lot of fun. I'm enjoying it. We started in '88, and I said 'If we can do this for one year, that'd be great. If we could do it for two years, three years, and five years.' Every year we've said if we could only do this for one more year, wouldn't it be great? We've enjoyed what we do.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/in-conversation-with-hal-johnson-215349941.html
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These two on CP24 Breakfast today

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/eDpw9IcpxzM" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/eDpw9IcpxzM</a>


In the middle of the video there is scenes from episode 1!
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FROM CANADA.COM
http://o.canada.com/2013/08/13/team-bodybreak-brakes-down-in-shock-amazing-race-canada-elimination/

Team BodyBreak breaks down in shock Amazing Race Canada elimination.

Amazing Race Canada competitors Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod have been a relentlessly cheerful presence in Canadian homes through their brief BodyBreak fitness vignettes.
By Ruth Myles.

If viewers of The Amazing Race Canada placed bets on which competitor would tell another racer to eff off, we’re guessing there wouldn’t be a nickel wagered on Joanne McLeod.

But Team BodyBreak broke down on this week’s episode of the reality competition, and that not-so-nice phrase escaped the lips of Ms. McLeod when a fellow competitor wished her and her husband Hal Johnson good luck.

How did the country’s beloved first couple of fitness – they’ve been together for 25 years, ever since Hal spotted her lookin’ “great on the pec deck” – fall to such depths? Let’s rewind to the start of the episode. Six teams are still in the hunt for the grand prize of $250,000, two Corvette Stringrays and a year’s worth of executive first-class travel anywhere Air Canada flies.

Despite digging deep, Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod could find no trace of the clue in the lentil challenge on The Amazing Race Canada.

In Whitehorse, the Yukon, Jet Black and Dave Schram are the first out of the gate. Onboard the S.S. Klondike, they find the first clue on this leg of the race. It directs them to the airport to book a flight to Regina, Sask., and warns of an upcoming double U-Turn. This means that two teams could possibly have to complete both tasks in a Roadblock. Holly Agostino and Brett Burstein are at the boat at the same time, and the lads call for two taxis. The two lead teams snag the last seats on a flight that puts them in Regina 40 minutes earlier the rest of the field.

But don’t count out Hal and Joanne. Once they arrive in Calgary, where the rest of the teams are to overnight before flying on to Regina, they finagle their way onto the same flight out of Edmonton as the first two teams. This savvy game play comes up red flags on the other teams’ radars, and Team BodyBreak is officially the one to target with the upcoming U-Turn.

Any time advantage from the earlier flight falls by the wayside, though, at the first task in Regina. Teams must sift through a tractor trailer’s worth of lentils to find two small stuffed moose, which compose the next clue.

While Jet and Dave, the two Tims and sisters Celina Mziray and Vanessa Morgan find the stuffies and leave for the next challenge, Holly and Brett and Hal and Joanne search fruitlessly for two and a half hours. Holly and Brett decide to take a two-hour penalty and move on. Hal and Joanne see this, and follow suit. Brothers Jody and Cory Mitic, meanwhile, keep pawing through the sea of lentils.

At the next task, one team member has to assemble a cadet room, known as a “pit,” to the exacting standards of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police training academy. Despite Jet’s edge — dude is a police officer, y’know – it takes him five attempts to pass inspection. (And the commanding officer is none to happy with Jet’s delivery of “Sir,” which is more suited to the movie Stripes than the RCMP. All Jet hears, though, is “Bwah, bwah, bwah, bwah, bwah” a la an adult talking in a Charlie Brown cartoon, he says to the camera.)

Still, he and Dave maintain their lead, followed by Hal and Joanne, Holly and Brett, the two Tims, the sisters – “In the Mounted Police, we don’t cry!” Celina is told when her eyes start leaking during a stern talking-to — and Jody and Cory. (The brothers make up for lost time, though, with military man Jody passing inspection on his first try. It took others hours to get it done right.)

Jet and Dave showboat at a challenge held at Taylor Field in Regina during an episode of The Amazing Race Canada.

After receiving their next clue at City Hall, teams move on to the Roadblock at Taylor Field. They select either Brawn – a series of football training exercises under the watchful eye of Saskatchewan Roughriders’ quarterback coach Khari Jones, – or Beauty – performing a routine with the Riders’ cheerleaders.

While Jet and Dave power through their Brawn challenge with a minimum of fuss, Hal and Joanne are bogged down by the demanding choice. Holly and Brett, meanwhile, struggle with Beauty. The two Tims rocket past both teams. Second to the U-Turn, the father-and-son duo are the first to use it, singling out Hal and Joanne to perform the other half of the Roadblock. Team BodyBreak narrowly beats the doctors in reaching the U-Turn in the stadium, and target Holly and Brett.

The doctors manage to nail the Brawn challenge on the first go, but Hal and Joanne fumble the dance routine. As Holly and Brett leave the stadium, Brett wishes the pair good luck. In reply, Joanne drops the F-bomb, although I don’t think Brett will know what she said until he watches the episode.

At the Pit Stop, Jet and Dave are awarded two tickets anywhere Air Canada flies in Canada for their first place finish. They are followed by the two Tims, then Holly and Brett. The doctors, however, have that two-hour penalty to wait out, so they stand aside as other teams arrive. The sisters are next, then the brothers. Hal and Joanne pull in last, and are eliminated from the race.

Next week sees the teams in Quebec City, where Holly and Brett’s being from Montreal should come in handy, language-wise.
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Offline slayton

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http://www.calgaryherald.com/entertainment/Team+Bodybreak+blames+blood+jealousy+bones+Amazing+Race+exit/8784556/story.html

Team Bodybreak blames bad blood, jealousy and old bones for Amazing Race exit
 
By Eric Volmers, Calgary Herald August 13, 2013

There was no F-bomb.

According to fitness guru Joanne McLeod, it was selective editing and creative “bleeping” that made her less-than-sporting response to Brett Burstein sound more profane and out-of-the-blue than it actually was on this week’s Amazing Race Canada.

In a conference call after Team Bodybreak was eliminated in Monday’s Regina-based episode, McLeod directly addressed what appeared to her against-type outburst: telling Burstein to “eff off” after he wished her team good luck following a challenge at Taylor Field.

“I said, ‘get off,’” she insisted.

“But through the magic of editing, you can ‘beep’ it and then have ‘off’ and you can let your mind go to wherever it wants to go,” adds partner Hal Johnson.

According to the buzz on social media, most people’s minds went to the conclusion that an exhausted McLeod had reached her boiling point when it became increasingly clear that Team Bodybreak was in deep trouble.

They were eventually eliminated, thanks to a disastrous three hours spent in a pit of lentils, injuries that made the football challenge difficult and a “U-Turn” imposed by the Two Tims.

But McLeod insists she was merely telling Burstein to get off the field, a reflection of earlier conflict between the teams that never made it to air.

“The things you didn’t see is that Brett had really chastised Joanne and I had stepped in in Whitehorse,” Johnson explains.

“He verbally attacked me in Yellowknife,” McLeod adds. “He’s a loose cannon.”

Whatever the case, Team Bodybreak remained positive — perhaps even a little cocky — Tuesday morning when chatting about their elimination and time spent on Amazing Race Canada.

While Tim Hague Sr. claimed the decision to “U-Turn” Team Bodybreak, which forced the fitness icons to go back and do another challenge on Taylor Field, Johnson insists the move was personal.

“Tim Sr. didn’t feel that we should be on the race because of our celebrity status already, that we had been in the media for 25 years,” Johnson says.

“What he didn’t understand was that everybody had a story. We are all actors in a play and everybody played a role. He also felt that our getting on the early flights, several different times, he told one other team that he thinks the producers were actually helping us because the producers want us to go further. It was a real kind of jealously and envy. And I think if you were to watch the show again, and we watched it knowing what had occurred, it was, ‘I gotta get Hal.’”

Johnson and McLeod have been the public face of fitness for 25 years in Canada, producing those infectious fitness TV spots to promote healthy living.

It was Johnson’s ability to finagle an earlier flight from Calgary to Regina that seemed to give them an advantage early in Monday’s episode and perhaps put a bigger target on their backs.

Unfortunately, whatever advantage the earlier flight gave them faded once they hit Regina and were plunged into a truckload of lentils in search of two tiny stuffed moose that held the race’s next clues. They searched for three hours in the huge bin before taking a pass and a two-hour penalty.

The episode also included a challenge at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police training academy, where teams were required to put together a cadet room that met the standards of a discerning inspector. There was also some joyless Ukrainian dancing in front of Regina City Hall before the teams hit Taylor Field, where they could choose between an athletic football challenge or one that required cheerleading. Thanks to the U-Turn, Team Bodybreak had to perform both.

But there was little cheer in the cheerleading by the time Johnson and McLeod began their routine.

“We were physically exhausted, but we also started to lose it mentally,” Johnson says.

Still, Team Bodybreak said they were proud of their accomplishments during their time on the show, although disappointed they were not able to try out upcoming challenges. Considerably older than the other teams — and more prone to injuries — McLeod said the fact that they were still considered a such a threat to the other teams was telling.

They plan to build on the exposure they have gained throughout the show.

“We have a 14-year-old daughter and it’s now cool,” says Johnson.

“Bodybreak wasn’t necessarily cool, but the Amazing Race certainly is and mom and dad beat people who were literally half their age. Our combined age is 111 and I think the closest team to us was 80 or 75. We were able to beat some teams that were quite a bit younger than us and hopefully that can be an inspiration to people 40-plus to say, ‘Get out there and get active.’”

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FROM THE STAR.COM
http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/television/2013/08/13/bodybreak_duo_have_no_amazing_race_canada_regrets.html

BodyBreak duo have no Amazing Race Canada regrets.

Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod rooting for Jet Black and Dave Schram to win.
By Victoria Ahearn The Canadian Press, Published on Tue Aug 13 2013

BodyBreak duo Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod say they have no regrets about the way they played The Amazing Race Canada, noting it's "done a lot to revitalize" their famed fitness brand.

BodyBreak duo Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod say they have no regrets about the way they played The Amazing Race Canada, noting it’s “done a lot to revitalize” their famed fitness brand.

“It’s got our message out to people . . . that message of ‘keep fit,’” Johnson said Tuesday in an interview alongside McLeod (both were clad in matching grey BodyBreak track suits with neon green accents).

“And we showed it: ‘Keep fit and have fun.’ And I think what we really are most pleased with is that positive attitude. . . . And I think hopefully we can be an inspiration for young (people) but also a 40-plus, a 50-plus group to never stop.

“Because I’m 57, and if I can do it and you’re 35 and you go, ‘Ah, I’m too old, I’m not a kid again,’ well you know, we were beating kids that were more than half our age.”

The perpetually cheery married couple from Oakville, Ont., became the fourth team eliminated from the jet-setting CTV competition series Monday after gruelling challenges in Regina.

Their problems began when they and the other teams had to find two bull moose toys in a six-foot-deep bin filled with lentils. After an exhaustive search that came up empty, Johnson and McLeod decided to copy competitors Brett Burstein and Holly Agostino and quit the challenge, incurring a two-hour penalty.

Johnson said what viewers didn’t see was that they spent three hours working non-stop on the lentil task in 35-degree heat and only had “a little bit of water.” When they saw Burstein and teary-eyed Agostino abandon the challenge, Johnson and McLeod made a “strategic” decision to do the same, figuring Agostino was too “mentally and emotionally spent” to win.

But after completing their next task at a football field, they were set back again by a U-Turn (a strategy whereby teams can force opponents to face an extra challenge) and were ultimately last at the finish line.

“Overall, we think we played a really good game,” said McLeod, 54, who once represented Canada on the national track and field team.

“We raced hard, we raced smart, we used our experience. Hal with his travel experience, knowing what flights to get, doing things that other teams, some of them would say, ‘Oh, it’s sneaky.’ Well, it’s Travel 101 and that’s where our age was a benefit.”

McLeod said their strategy was to be flexible, never give up and stay calm. And they did just that in some “very difficult situations.”

“Hal, about 10 seconds into the race hurt his hamstring and that just mentally takes you out of the game. . . . But overall, we didn’t complain, we didn’t cry and we worked hard.”

They can’t escape reminders of what brought them down on the show, though.
“About a week ago I found a lentil on the rug at the cottage and it was like, ‘Where did this come from?’ So we’re still finding lentils,” said McLeod.

“Lentils were stuck all over our body,” added Johnson, a former Team Canada baseball player.

Johnson said they’ve had great feedback from couples who appreciated the positive support they gave each other.

He thinks they were portrayed as being “very vanilla” onscreen, even though Monday’s episode bleeped a word McLeod said and made it seem like she was swearing, which they insist she wasn’t.

“What people didn’t see is that I basically said, ‘Get off, get off the field,’” said McLeod.

Johnson said their high profiles made them targets during the race and as a joke for fans they’re now selling T-shirts with target signs on them on their website.

They also didn’t feel a camaraderie amongst the teams.

“We’re not one big family,” said Johnson. “You’ve got a whole whack of A-type personalities and so that’s going to be a tough family to mix together.”

On Twitter, fellow competitors Vanessa Morgan and Celina Mziray have criticized Johnson for making comments about their looks.

But he insists it was innocuous.

“I was asked a question about something, about their crying and so forth, and I made a comment about their eyelashes and they got very defensive about their eyelashes,” he said. “And I thought, ‘Well, if that’s the worst thing anybody ever says about you.’ I thought they cried so much that their eyelashes would fall off.”

McLeod said the eyelash comment stems from their time in Niagara Falls at the beginning of the show, when all the competitors were on a speedboat and Mziray “was having difficulty with her eyelashes.”

“We’re sitting behind going, ‘Oooh, well that could be a problem on the race.’ So it was not out of anything being malicious.”

McLeod says they now plan to continue doing what they’ve been doing for the last 25 years, which is to “Get out there, be active” and “make as many healthy choices as possible.”

And they’re rooting for friends Jet Black and Dave Schram — who called them after Monday’s episode to send their best wishes — to win the show.

“We want the BodyBreak support to go to Jet and Dave, because they’re the most entertaining, they’re the most supportive of one another and they’re good guys,” said Johnson.
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains--however improbable--must be the truth." --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Offline slayton

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http://www.bodybreak.com/i-would-like-to-clarify-the-issue-of-the-f-bomb.html/
Quote
I would like to clarify the issue of the F-bomb as there appears to be some misunderstanding.

In an effort to focus on the real purpose of our media interviews yesterday, we jokingly diffused and made light of any questions about it. It had been obvious that I had said it under my breath. It came after a very long, frustrating day as well as dealing with a painful hamstring injury, not having slept for 30 hours, being dehydrated and there had been a history of verbal attacks from Brett. The Producers opted to single out this under-the-breath comment in the show and I apologize to the news outlets and to anyone I have offended. – Joanne McLeod

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Amazing Race Canada: Hal and Joanne are happy — except for one edit

When the Amazing Race Canada finish line is revealed on Sept. 16, it won’t be BodyBreak stars Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod who triumphantly burst across it. But no matter who does take the crown, the aging BodyBreak brand is emerging as the show’s real winner. “We’re busier now, or as much now, as we’ve ever been,” Johnson says from the couple’s Oakville, Ont., home, where he’s sitting up straight with the aid of BackJoy—the latest product the couple are signing a contract to endorse. In time for Christmas, they’ll also roll out a new $1,500-BodyBreak treadmill at Costco.

Despite their mid-race elimination, keeping fit and having fun is a winning combo again. This fall, you’ll see Team BodyBreak pop up as grand marshals of the Oktoberfest parade in Kitchener-Waterloo; as guests at the Grey Cup festivities in Regina; and at speaking engagements across Canada talking about health and teamwork. But McLeod doesn’t think the race deserves all the credit. “It’s really 25 years of being a trusted source for healthy living that’s doing it more than anything else.”

That’s right—25 years. The couple founded BodyBreak in 1988, after meeting at a gym and starting to date. Trying to explain the cultural significance that “Hal and Joanne” have taken on since then is like trying to explain the cultural significance of Tim Hortons. Here’s a shot at it: Two decades since Johnson and McLeod catapulted to Canadian celebrity status with their peppy fitness tips, people still dress up as them for Halloween. (Yes, they know this—and will be giving away a prize on their website for best costume.)


McLeod chalks BodyBreak’s iconic status up to reminding people of their childhood. “Even people who are the same age as us say they’ve grown up with us. I think it’s the memories—as well as the music.” Oh, yes. That synth-heavy theme song. It’s Johnson’s ringtone, too, and he’ll tell you how to download it from the website before you even ask.

BodyBreak’s silver anniversary coinciding with the inaugural Amazing Race Canada was a perfect match for the couple, and for CTV. If you heard anything about the race, it’s probably the fact that Johnson and McLeod were on it. The debut episode attracted a record 3.5 million viewers. But while the show seemed a natural fit for the fitness icons, it was also a risk. What if they were the first team eliminated? Would the entire 1990s have been a lie?

No need to worry. Johnson and McLeod spent months preparing for the competition. They studied prime ministers and researched the provinces. They mastered the products of the show’s sponsors. Johnson drove every stick shift Chevrolet at the dealership. He memorized Air Canada routes.

The couple is satisfied with the show, except for one edit. That edit, of course, is the bleeped-out swear word McLeod mutters in Regina, after a competing team passed them and they knew they’d fallen into last place.

They’re still stung the producers used the footage, discussing why it was unfair and unfit for a family show, before remembering they didn’t mean to talk about it so much. “If you know Joanne—I never hear her say it!” Johnson says. “We hope to move on from it, but we know it’s going to come up.”

Now in their mid-50s, the pair are still intimidatingly active. McLeod is training for a marathon. Up at the cottage over Labour Day weekend, Johnson returned their motorboat to the marina and then simply kayaked the 90 minutes back.

The two will tune in for the Amazing Race finale, but Johnson admits watching the show can be an emotional experience since their elimination. Like any athlete watching game tape, he analyzes where they would have succeeded and where they would have stumbled. He’s convinced they could have finished first in Iqaluit, a leg of the race that was particularly physical. “I look at that and I go, we could have won that leg, and that’s . . .” Johnson trails off, then bounces back. “We already won,” he says. “We have a memory that we’ll always have, of doing this. Our daughter thinks we’re pretty cool now. And it has introduced BodyBreak to a new generation.”

Source:When the Amazing Race Canada finish line is revealed on Sept. 16, it won’t be BodyBreak stars Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod who triumphantly burst across it. But no matter who does take the crown, the aging BodyBreak brand is emerging as the show’s real winner. “We’re busier now, or as much now, as we’ve ever been,” Johnson says from the couple’s Oakville, Ont., home, where he’s sitting up straight with the aid of BackJoy—the latest product the couple are signing a contract to endorse. In time for Christmas, they’ll also roll out a new $1,500-BodyBreak treadmill at Costco.

Despite their mid-race elimination, keeping fit and having fun is a winning combo again. This fall, you’ll see Team BodyBreak pop up as grand marshals of the Oktoberfest parade in Kitchener-Waterloo; as guests at the Grey Cup festivities in Regina; and at speaking engagements across Canada talking about health and teamwork. But McLeod doesn’t think the race deserves all the credit. “It’s really 25 years of being a trusted source for healthy living that’s doing it more than anything else.”

That’s right—25 years. The couple founded BodyBreak in 1988, after meeting at a gym and starting to date. Trying to explain the cultural significance that “Hal and Joanne” have taken on since then is like trying to explain the cultural significance of Tim Hortons. Here’s a shot at it: Two decades since Johnson and McLeod catapulted to Canadian celebrity status with their peppy fitness tips, people still dress up as them for Halloween. (Yes, they know this—and will be giving away a prize on their website for best costume.)


McLeod chalks BodyBreak’s iconic status up to reminding people of their childhood. “Even people who are the same age as us say they’ve grown up with us. I think it’s the memories—as well as the music.” Oh, yes. That synth-heavy theme song. It’s Johnson’s ringtone, too, and he’ll tell you how to download it from the website before you even ask.

BodyBreak’s silver anniversary coinciding with the inaugural Amazing Race Canada was a perfect match for the couple, and for CTV. If you heard anything about the race, it’s probably the fact that Johnson and McLeod were on it. The debut episode attracted a record 3.5 million viewers. But while the show seemed a natural fit for the fitness icons, it was also a risk. What if they were the first team eliminated? Would the entire 1990s have been a lie?

No need to worry. Johnson and McLeod spent months preparing for the competition. They studied prime ministers and researched the provinces. They mastered the products of the show’s sponsors. Johnson drove every stick shift Chevrolet at the dealership. He memorized Air Canada routes.

The couple is satisfied with the show, except for one edit. That edit, of course, is the bleeped-out swear word McLeod mutters in Regina, after a competing team passed them and they knew they’d fallen into last place.

They’re still stung the producers used the footage, discussing why it was unfair and unfit for a family show, before remembering they didn’t mean to talk about it so much. “If you know Joanne—I never hear her say it!” Johnson says. “We hope to move on from it, but we know it’s going to come up.”

Now in their mid-50s, the pair are still intimidatingly active. McLeod is training for a marathon. Up at the cottage over Labour Day weekend, Johnson returned their motorboat to the marina and then simply kayaked the 90 minutes back.

The two will tune in for the Amazing Race finale, but Johnson admits watching the show can be an emotional experience since their elimination. Like any athlete watching game tape, he analyzes where they would have succeeded and where they would have stumbled. He’s convinced they could have finished first in Iqaluit, a leg of the race that was particularly physical. “I look at that and I go, we could have won that leg, and that’s . . .” Johnson trails off, then bounces back. “We already won,” he says. “We have a memory that we’ll always have, of doing this. Our daughter thinks we’re pretty cool now. And it has introduced BodyBreak to a new generation.”

Source:http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/09/14/lose-the-race-win-the-marathon/
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