Thursday, March 25, 2010

Video Review: “Cardio Striptease” (giveaway and perhaps some TMI inside)

My daughter Cassie wrote the first half of this review. My comments follow (along with a question about sexuality). If you want to win this video, leave a comment or send an email to lynnbering@verizon.net and I’ll draw a winner on Saturday!

Cassie’s Review:

When I first sat down to write this review of “Dance Off The Inches: Cardio Striptease” featuring Megan Armand, I had only completed the workout once and wasn’t really pleased. I sucked it up and did it a second time and was in a better place. I don’t know if I will continue with it, but it was a nice change of pace.

“Cardio Striptease” isn’t really about performing strippers’ moves as much as dance club moves. Workout wise, it was different from all of my other DVDs. It was fun, humorous, and had me laughing out loud. That in and of itself was worth the time put in to complete the workout. It wasn’t difficult by any means, and only a few times did I feel my heart rate elevate.

A move that I did enjoy was the one in which I’d squat fast and then slap my inner knees before slowly rise to standing. It made me feel hot and in charge.

When Megan would tell me to move sexy it would make me giggle and I’d feel both silly and glad that no one was watching me. Then I would get into it, and then I was really glad no one was watching, but I was having fun!

On a beginner level, this DVD is perfect for shaking it up. I would imagine that if I was having a fat/bloated/taking-on-water day this would be great to make me feel empowered again. It takes the same, mundane lower body exercises and makes them fun and full of energy. It’s good for anyone of any age and any fitness level.

I’d also recommend you do this DVD on either a weight training day or on a break day because it may not pump up the heart rate enough to be counted as a full cardio workout.

My overall impression “Cardio Striptease” is fun and flirty, but just not enough “oomph” to get me excited to do it again.

Lynn’s Two-Cents

The only thing I’d add to Cassie’s review is that I recommend you do this exercise on a hard surface and not carpet. It was a little hard on my knees and I couldn’t perform all the moves completely, but if your knees are in overall good condition, you’re in for a nice lower body and core workout.

Having said that, I got way more out of this video on an emotional level than a physical one. I know that sounds out there – I mean, it’s an exercise video for goodness sake. But maybe a few of you might understand where I’m coming from.

I grew up Lutheran in Minnesota. Not that that’s a bad thing, but it made me a bit anal retentive. I’ve also never been very graceful, and I get less coordinated the worse my knees get. Anal retentive plus graceless uncoordination plus overall body issues equals one very self-conscious woman.

I’ve been embarrassed by my body all my life, regardless of what I weigh. And while I’m comfortable talking about sex and have (obviously) had sex, I’ve never been comfortable with my body on a sexual level. Sexy has never been an adjective I’ve used to describe myself. That’s why “Cardio Striptease” took me WAY out of my comfort zone and despite my knees was difficult to get through.

The DVD features 10 moves, including the Booty Sit and Press and Swerve. The names alone made me blush. Megan encourages viewers to “work the hair” and “imagine you’re in stilettos,” but all the time I kept thinking how unsexy I am – and not just because I was wearing a grungy old t-shirt. And if feeling unsexy wasn’t enough, I had to watch unsexy in the mirror.

I’ve blogged many times about skin and other related self-conscious body topics, but when I tried to pretend I was taking my clothes off all sexy like, I felt all kinds of stupid and ugly and I realized I had yet another body issue frontier to conquer.

I’m very glad my daughter doesn’t have these same hangups. She felt “hot and in charge” when she did this video. I didn’t pass on my anal retentive anti-sexy genes! Woohoo!

I’d like to say I’ve made great strides in feeling sexy since I did this video last month, but I still feel as awkward and unsexy as before. I don’t tell you this to elicit sympathy. I’m hoping this starts a conversation about body acceptance in terms of sexuality, specifically in terms of being or having been overweight or obese.

How has weight affected the way you feel about yourself sexually? I understand if you don’t want to comment. This is pretty personal stuff. But I think it’s important we all think about this. We all deserve to be sexually happy in the body we have.

16 comments:

  1. All I kept thinking while reading both your and Cassie's reviews was "Oh no. No no no." I am very comfortable here in my sexually-repressed comfort zone, thank you very much!

    (But your comment about doing it on a hard surface made me giggle, Lynn...which shows how immature I am, lol!)

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  2. I have to admit that the extra loose skin around my belly area makes me feel less sexy, but when I weighed almost 140 pounds more, I felt completely non-sexy. At least, I feel more sexy now when my clothes are on!

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  3. I think you were very brave to even do the video - I wouldn't have even attempted it as I know the outcome would have been self loathing and criticism. I suffer from body image dismorphia as a sa survivor and although I am in therapy and have good doctors I am not sure I will ever feel comfortable in my own skin.

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  4. If I stand and stare at my saggy belly, I definitely feel un-sexy. A camisole takes care of the immediate problem, until I come to my senses and remember that sexiness is internal, not external.

    I love that women of every size are embracing their sexiness and exploring DVDs like these. There's even a popular exercise class here in town on pole dancing. No men are allowed and I've heard that the women who attend are not likely to ever to land employment as exotic dancers, but they laugh and they move and they feel sexy. That's awesome!

    I may try that squat-knee slap thing at the gym tomorrow and see if I have any takers. :) (Great, now I'm going to get the giggles whenever I do squats tomorrow and people will think I'm crazy.)

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  5. @Cammy: I'm serious, that squat slap made me feel like I was the WOAH-MAN if you know what I mean.

    I don't want people to get the wrong idea of what I wrote. I thought it was a great way to shake up your routine and get to know yourself better as a woman. Like Cammy said, being sexy is internal. And this DVD TOTALLY brings that out. I had a lot of fun the second time around when I changed my mentality to have fun and not look for a real sweat-induced work out. Instead it was just fun to be silly and raw and in tune with myself. Stilettos and all!

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  6. Lynn:
    I also grew up in Minnesota and could readily identify with many of your observations. I just turned 50, my kids are grown and getting married, and I am working hard on finally getting to put ME first. That is a very tough thing to do, and that includes learning how to express what I want sexually.
    Thanks for all that you do!

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  7. I'm 24 years old, have never been on a date, and I don't think there's ever been a single second in my life during which I felt sexy. I don't know if that's due solely to my weight issues or if that's only part of it. But as I said--I'm 24 years old, and I'm on my way. Hope is not lost. :-)

    That said, I wouldn't mind winning that video. :-P

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  8. My new zumba study instructor teaches us to 'put our sexy on'. She is very into hip movements. The same way that once upon a time I had to find my abs for pilates - I had to find my hips and make them move. Very empowering.

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  9. It looks like a great video to do on strength days or when you're sick and shouldn't be totally overexhausting yourself. I'd love to try it!

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  10. Lynn, I just wanted to thank you so much for being so open and honest on this subject - unfortunately, I identified way too much with what you had to say.

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  11. lovelovelove the joint post lynn!
    and email is coming your way...when I get it together.
    mid2011 perhaps?:)

    Carla

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  12. I am going to buy it an try it.. This was a great post and I am looking forward to doing the squats. Thanks..

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  13. Luckily my husband thinks I'm sexy no matter what. (He really and truly does.) But sometimes, if you're having an off day and feel bloated and splotchy and gross, no amount of compliments can help you.

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  14. i have recently lost about 50 pounds (going from something like size 18-20 to 10-12)... and the only time i used to feel sexy was when i was dancing. i grew up doing dance, and even when i was really big i saw myself as very sexy when i danced... even if nobody else did.

    now when i dance at clubs i think: hey, i think i look to everyone else the way i did to myself before.

    ... i think gym classes in like zumba where we get encouraged to put on our sexy, and as well as videos like this one, can really empower us. now that i am teaching some aerobics classes i try really hard to encourage everyone to flaunt it a little, whatever 'it' is... because i know that as much self-loathing as i had before i lost, i still had way less than i would have if i hadn't seen myself as sexy. and everybody deserves some of that.

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  15. When I am taking care of myself by practing all the things that I know work to maintain a healthy way of life, the loose skin and other fallout don't bother near as much. I can accept the "schtuff" and sometimes I can even look at it as a badge of honor...but when I let my head get twisted, I don't feel good about anything I see in the mirror - and forget feeling sexy.

    If the video helps take me out of the comfort zone, count me in!

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  16. Nobody ever tells you WHERE you get loose skin! I'm so much smaller than I used to be and I would LOVE to have a little....*ahem* attention but at the same tim I'm terrified. I joke that I look like Jabba the Hut naked because of all the skin and fat left. I lie down and my hip bones protrude and my ribs stick out but my good girl has about as much elasticity as my grandmothers in the skin department and it's just horrifying. I joke that the next time I actually trick a boy into coming home with me I'm going to have to cut a hole in the necessary areas and then that way I don't have to get naked.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one that feels that way about my body. There are times that I feel great- with clothes on. But other times, I can't imagine sharing my body with another person, even if I'm not as big as I used to be.

    It's scary.

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