Cardio Striptease: Take It Off

Strip aerobics classes offer fun and fitness while you shed pounds

By Jean Lawrence
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic

Reviewed By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD

How many workout classes specify, 'Bring six-inch heels?' Cardio striptease, sometimes called strip aerobics, does -- at least in some of its forms.

Offered at the Crunch Fitness chain of health clubs and by some private teachers, this new (and yet so old) form of movement is "bumping," spinning, and step classes for women looking to lose inhibitions along with excess weight.

One of its proponents is actress, producer, and mother of two Sheila Kelley, author of a book called The S-Factor: Strip Workouts for Every Woman. Kelley, who says she despises working out, found out what a workout stripping could be while playing a stripper in the independent film Dancing at the Blue Iguana.

"This film took four months to shoot, and within a month and a half, my upper body had become incredibly strong and my abs were incredibly tight. I couldn't believe it." Her son was 4, and the pregnancy weight had finally melted off.

Then Kelley had a daughter and found herself once again with extra poundage. So she put a stripping pole in her husband's office and started doing a lot of movements with it, combining Pilates and yoga with the stripping moves. "This became my workout," she says.

During one of those sessions, she writes in her book, "I began moving and in that instant, something switched on in me. I was moving without a moment's forethought or self-consciousness. My body became like a river of sinew and muscle and raw energy. I allowed the music to curve and shape me with its wave."