Cardio Stripping: Clubplanet Goes Undercover

Cardio Stripping: Clubplanet Goes Undercover

by Clubplanet
02.16.2006

The logic is simple: To get in the club, you have to get in shape. To get in shape, you need some trendy, gimmicky, get-hot-now workout regiment. Cardio Stripping, which has quietly been gaining steam in L.A., is now entrenched on the East Coast. Does it work? Is it for real? A joke? To give you the skinny, we sent a fearless writer undercover.

Steam slowly peels away from the glass. Teams of chiseled, weary women throw their mats in a pile, backs turned away from the Sculpting Class instructor. Seeing these faces glow and brows drip, I thought, That’s the kind of workout I want.

With its circulation of stale sweat, winding staircases, and awkward glances, Crunch Gym is not unlike others in Manhattan, apart from the tacky splashes of purple and pink across the walls. After checking in at the front desk, I found myself waiting outside the aerobics room where most of Crunch's infamously bizarre classes take place.

The most unusual of these classes being Cardio Striptease. Conceived by Jeff Costa of Crunch Gym in Hollywood, this thigh-spreading, hair-tossing course promises to, "Take it off...the weight we mean," through a series of cock-teasing kicks and poses that would make Nomi Malone blush.

While a gimmicky class created by a flaming Los Angeles native is more than enough to send this writer running, I was feeling particularly receptive and inquisitive. Not to mention I was having a fat day.

Enter the instructor, a spunky, muscle-bound cheerleader swathed in spandex and a neon pink feather boa. She throws on, “Don’t Cha” by The Pussycat Dolls and positions herself for launch. My gut starts to twitch, but I’m too far from the door to make a quick exit.

I know you like me,” Swing ass left, swing ass right. “I know you do,” Thrust forward, thrust back. “That’s why whenever I come around she’s all over you,” Gyrate, gyrate, squat, pose. Not so bad. In fact, the whole warm-up is relatively familiar apart from the gratuitous bend-overs and crotch shots.

Cardio Stripping 1.jpg

She then herds us to one side of the room in preparation for across-the-floor exercises. “Now I want to see you walk sexy,” She orders. “Do whatever you think is sexy.” From all sides, seemingly modest women let loose. One grey-haired figure slinks past me, hips undulating like a rat is escaping from her pants. Another ripely shaped student vamps it up, fondling her double-Ds as she sashays in pretend stilettos. I've never beared witness to a Haitian voodoo ceremony, but I imagine it wouldn't be too far from this.

The next exercise combines the mastered “sexy walk” with a provocative bent-over pose and a loud ass smack. Most proceed without trepidation, spreading their glistening gams across the room. How the hell do actual striptease classes get taught, I wonder. Rather than ballet’s “Plié, plié, rélèvé,” is the didactic lexicon, “Spread eagle, spank it, second base, lick?”

By this point, the entire weightlifting room of men has taken front row seats outside the glass walls, grinning wide at our sad parody of a Christina Aguilera video. Half the room is tastelessly groping themselves, administering obstetric examinations. While, the other scuttle along like Japanese schoolgirls. One woman even does the full splits every time she takes a step forward, resembling a polio-ridden beggar with her ass hovering above her head. And there I am adding to the mayhem: hand on crotch, tongue out, air-fu#king imaginary sugardaddies.

Relief is shortlived when we came back to the floor center in preparation for the dance routine du jour. Rather than a routine, the combination is a series of poses, linked together by the ubiquitous “sexy walk.” Walk, walk, Spreeead. Walk, walk, bounce up and down. Walk in a circle, move your ass around. I’m not sure where we’re going with this until, Walk, walk, bend over, stand up, crotch grab, peeeel off your shirt. There we go, the first “stripping” I’ve managed to do at all. Does this mean we’ll actually get to do some “cardio” next??

cardio stripping 2.jpg

No. Actually, we get down and dirty. As in the dirty, disgusting floor. The instructor bends over and begins to writhe rhythmically along the ground, spreading her legs whenever the urge hits her. The class follows suit, piling on the ground like possessed, pudgy earthworms trying to burrow into soil. Like a small child walking in on her parents having sex, I can’t look away, but want to tear my eyes out. Yet, I go along in hopes that the movement will at least spike my heartbeat. Stand up, walk. Squat, spread, slide. Walk, walk, bend over, shake them titties, pose!

“Thanks a lot class,” belts the instructor as she pulls her tank top back on. “I’ll see you all next week!” I couldn’t believe it. An hour has passed and my armpits are dryer than the Mugabi desert. I bend down to feel my limbs, which are cold and probably atrophying with the lack of activity. The only warmth is found in my cheeks, thoroughly flushed full of shame. What the hell, I wonder. No workout. No satisfaction. And no sexy moves to take home with me. Why does this class even exist?

Turning around to the glass walls, my eyes meet my answer on the other side. With their faces glowing and lips wide, I saw who this class was really meant for: men. Is it a coincidence that the classroom is placed right alongside the weight room with only a thin pane of glass between them? If Crunch was to stay alive and maintain its reputation, it has to keep drawing back its number one attendees. Coincidentally, they're the same ones who keep the striptease industry alive.

As for the women? They just enjoy the attention.
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