Taking it off: Strip aerobics is a hot new trend

Fitness Q & A

March 30, 2003|By Gailor Large | Gailor Large,Special to the Sun

I've heard a lot of buzz about something called striptease aerobics. I know the classes are really popular in Los Angeles and New York. Are they offered in Baltimore or Washington?

This fusion of striptease and aerobics is known as Cardio Striptease. Launched by the upscale Crunch Health Club in Los Angeles in 2001, this high-energy, low-impact workout is now making a splash nationwide. One Crunch insider tells us the classes are hotter than they've ever been.

The class itself combines risque striptease techniques with classic aerobic moves. Walk in on a Cardio Striptease session and you'll see everything from body rolling to shimmying with feather boas. And the training is surprisingly authentic. Some instructors are even former strippers. Actually stripping down to your underwear is optional, but most do. If you're shy, you're probably in the wrong class.

Unfortunately, you may have to wait awhile before joining a class close to home. Crunch has exclusive rights to the concept, so it's the only gym to offer these classes. The gym has locations in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, Atlanta and Mission Viejo, Calif., with plans to open a handful of new centers in Chicago. There are no immediate plans to open in the Baltimore-Washington area. The good news: Crunch is in the process of developing a home video.

I have never been particularly shapely, but in the past 5 years I've noticed I'm losing even those few curves I did have. What can I do to maintain my figure as I age?

Just because your figure doesn't hold a curve as it once did is no reason to throw in the towel. While we can't all look like Halle Berry, with a little work your body can be as toned as it once was -- or maybe even better.

As we get older our bodies deposit fat in areas where we used to be curvy -- like the hips, upper arms and waist. To reverse this, you need to commit to regular exercise.

Light weight-training and cardiovascular exercise are the two keys to regaining your figure. Faith Kromer of Quest Fitness, in Ellicott City, says weight training should be your No. 1 priority. She suggests working with a trainer to develop a plan that caters to your body. After you have a routine, you can start working out on your own.

Group fitness is a great way to get in your cardio quota. Elliptical or cycling workouts or mat fitness like yoga or Pilates will do wonders for your figure. Whatever cardiovascular exercise you choose, make it something you take pleasure in. It's important that you find a routine that's fun for you. Says Kromer, "You have to enjoy it."

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