Sunday, June 15, 2008

Crunch Bikini Body

THE WORKOUT: Crunch Bikini Body ($12.99 at Amazon )


WHO CAN DO THIS: A confident beginner with some grounding in form (especially for squats and lunges) should be able to handle the physical demands of the fast-paced workouts. Anyone as fit as the babes demonstrating might find it too easy.

THE BREAKDOWN: I’m wearing an oversized Krispy Kreme t-shirt, baggy brown yoga pants and bright orange jazz shoes. Lena Pereira has a mane of blonde hair, a taut tummy, cleavage and painted-on clothes and wiggles provocatively through the intro. I hate her immediately, although she is less affected through the actual workout. The seven young women demonstrating all show impressive six-packs.

Maybe I’m not the target audience?

I’m well past my bikini years but I give this one a shot anyway because Crunch workouts are always solid and fun. This one is no exception, although I should have avoided the mirror. Things happened there I didn’t need to see. (The second time I did it, in shorts and tank top, the sight was no more reassuring.) Not everyone can pull off “sexy shoulders” and Beyonce steps. I did most of the sexy arm moves as instructed, but for some reason they didn’t look the same on me as on Lena and her friends. Go figure.

Three 10-minute workouts—belly, butt and thighs—are a little bit pole-dancey, with lots of rotating hips, but they are creative. The belly workout is my favorite. It starts with core-centric cardio then moves to the mat for uncommon crunchy things. For example, for the lower abs, she has you hold your legs up with knees bent at right angles then touch both toes to the floor on either side of the mat and lift and bring the knees together again. Crunches added to that feel great, in an “ouch” kind of way.

My knees hated the fast lunges in the butt segment. I need plenty of time to make sure everything is properly lined up before lunges feel comfortable. The fastest lunges were pretty much out of the question, and when she added shoulder wiggles (the aforementioned “sexy shoulders”), I lost it completely.

The thighs workout also didn’t work for me. Except for the standing leg lifts section, which I enjoyed, I never managed to get a handle on the steps enough to feel like I was actually working the target areas. In particular, my inner thighs barely felt the burn intended for them. I may have been too busy trying to channel my inner Britney or the moves might have gone too fast, but I ended up flailing instead of really working the muscles.

THE SWEAT FACTOR: Surprisingly, I worked up only a light sheen.

BUT IS IT FUN? Sort of, but it would be more fun if I felt like I were getting a better workout.

WHEN IT'S OVER: If you’re me, you’re considering a one-piece bathing suit with a knee-length skirt. And possibly long sleeves.

GEAR AND APPAREL: Nothing special. A room, a mat, a great body or an iron-clad ego.

FINAL WORD: Not terrible but not for me.

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