TORONTO — For 25 years, Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod have been a relentlessly cheerful presence in Canadian homes through their brief Body Break fitness vignettes — chipper little missives designed to get Canucks sweating with a smile.
Well, now that the couple has signed up to be contestants on the intense cross-country competition The Amazing Race Canada, things might change. Viewers will now likely see Johnson and McLeod when they’re exhausted. And when they’re stressed. And perhaps even when they’re — gasp — fighting?
“It’s funny with social media because there’s been so many people tweeting and putting on Facebook and that sort of thing: ‘Are Hal and Jo going to fight? I don’t want to see them fight!’” said Johnson with a laugh in a recent interview prior to taping the reality series, seated next to a smiling McLeod. “You know, I think the biggest thing is we respect one another first.”
“We don’t do that in our real life,” agreed McLeod.
“So what you see in Body Break is certainly a part of us. It’s not all of us,” added Johnson. “You’re going to see us tired. You’re going to see us in different situations that we’ve never done before. But I don’t perceive that we would fly off the handle — because I just never do that.”
Indeed, the couple is speaking several weeks ago, prior to taping of the race-around-the-country competition (the show premieres July 15 on CTV).
Johnson and McLeod said taking this challenge on seemed like fortuitous timing, given that they’re celebrating a quarter-century of Body Break. Similarly, Johnson and McLeod have spent their lives trying to inspire Canadians to activity — and now they see an opportunity to prove what’s possible at an, ahem, advanced age. Johnson is 57 and McLeod 54, and they have something to prove.
“There are some teams in this race that their cumulative age does not add up to mine,” laughed Johnson, who played college baseball for the University of Colorado. “Really, it’s about showing that it doesn’t matter how old you are. You can go out and do anything.”