CF Reviews

Excruciatingly Honest Opinions About Health and Fitness Products.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mad Merry Goes to Skinny Bitch Boot Camp

A note to PR people:
Below are my official product review guidelines. They have not been reviewed by my esteemed co-blogger, as Ms. Crabby McSlacker is currently in re-crab, trying out for American Idol, in seclusion working on her next post driving hundreds of miles to eat at her favorite restaurant.

Yes, I will be glad to review products, under the following conditions:

1 - I like the product, or at least think it will make an interesting post.
2 - You understand that I will write about the positive and the negative aspects of the product.
3 - You tell me up front, before I agree to the review, if there are any urgent deadlines for a product review. Otherwise, my aim is to review the product within 3 weeks of receiving it.

Please keep condition #3 in mind.

In particular, avoid the following scenario:

Do not send me a DVD on a Friday afternoon, then on Monday morning send me an email saying you need me to review it within the week.
If I demur, do not send me an irate email claiming you sent the DVD "a long time ago."
Also, do not then try to nice-guilt me into doing the review asap when I've already explained to you that that would mean breaking my word to other PR people, i.e. people to whom I've already given a commitment.

Okay, are we clear? Good.

With that in mind, I would like to mention that my review of the Skinny Bitch Boot Camp DVD might have a wee bit of a negative bias...

...because right now I'm kind of pissed off.

At the start, all I knew about the Skinny Bitches was a guest post written by the fabulous Jamie back in April. So aside from my encounter with a certain PR person, I put the DVD into the player without knowing what to expect.

I hit Play All and waited. Looking back, that was where I made my mistake.

The DVD started out with a brief talk by the Skinny Bitches. I'm not sure what it was about, because I zoned out after the first 30 seconds, but I think it was supposed to be meaningful and uplifting.

Then after a brief pause there came another uplifting and meaningful talk. Again, I zoned out. It wasn't a repeat of the first talk, because they were wearing different outfits.

Then came the warm up, and damn me if they didn't start that out with more of the uplifting and meaningful crap. The mouths get quite the workout in this DVD.

The Skinny Bitches (Mouth) Warmup:

They did glib little exercises. And they never stopped talking.
Then they did superficial little stretches. And they never shut up.

Most exercise DVDs have an instructor who stands up front and talks a lot, but usually they give the impression they actually mean what they're saying. Listening to compliments about the Skinny Bitches' cute butts got old very quickly. Likewise, comments like "Whew! I'm sweatin'!" one minute into the warm up came across as completely insincere. I found myself wishing they would depart from the "you go girl!" persona and delve into a deeply convoluted dissertation on Wittgenstein's views on neo-Nazi cross-dressing. Something, anything different from this meaningless patter.

Honestly, it was like being at the gym and having a neighbor who's constantly on their cell phone yapping with their friends about absolutely nothing. (You can't turn off the yapping and just listen to the music. I tried.)

A brief interval wherein I praise snarky bitchery

You'd think with a name like 'Skinny Bitches' there would have been some attitude, but it was all platitude -- with a few repetitions of 'bitch' and 'ass' thrown in to show that they were hip and cool. Every would-be sharp comment came out pat and rehearsed, like they were reading it off the script prompter.

I mean, I admire snarky bitchery when it's done right. The Smart Bitches, Trashy Books website is the epitome of snarky b. (These women review romance novels. Here's a link to one classic example.) They can be mean, but they can also be edgy and unexpected and funny.

The two Skinny Bitches... well, no.

The Skinny Bitches Boot Camp (no sweat) workout:

Doesn't the phrase 'boot camp' suggest a workout that's supposed to be challenging? Make your heart beat faster, make you feel like you're asking your body to work a bit harder?

I'm certainly not the fittest bunny on the block, not even close. And yet I had no difficulty keeping up with these chicas. At the beginning, they solemnly warned the viewer that if the routines were too difficult, just keep moving. Do what you can. Then they provide the most lukewarm example of a workout I've yet to come across.

This wouldn't have been so irritating if the workout hadn't been hyped "A Fat-Blasting, Body-Altering, Butt-Kicking Workout!" I had expected to be sweating at the end of the workout, but I wasn't.

The Abs section of the workout was missing from the DVD I was given to review. (The SBs announced "Now we're doing Abs!" Then 2/3 of the screen went magenta. When it cleared, the title read "Cool Down.")

If you want to see what the Abs workout looks like, here's a sample. Mercifully, they don't talk so much in this clip:

Skinny Bitch: Boot Camp- Abs on Mats - The most popular videos are a click away


At the end of the DVD, the SBs included some 5-minute workouts. Five minutes isn't long enough to get much of a workout, but to be fair I tried the 5-minute arms workout. It felt very lightweight, and damn me if they didn't recycle the same @#$! jokes that they'd used in the boot camp section. These were really irritating to listen to the first time, the second time around was beyond irritating. I can't imagine listening to this DVD several times a week. Not without some extra-strong Prozac.

There were a couple of interviews on the DVD as well, but after sitting through all the introductions, I didn't think I could take any more.


On the positive side, this workout is not difficult to pick up. It's a little irritating when they change exercises while the camera is showing an above-the-waist closeup, which happened two or three times, but aside from that it is quite easy to do. And I did like the fact that they threw in some balance work. I can't find any other reasons to recommend this DVD.

I can respect that they want to make this workout something pretty much everyone can do, but they should have hyped this DVD as something other than a "butt-kicking" workout. [Note: I found a couple of other reviewers who agreed that this workout was too easy. On the other hand, this review of the same DVD claims that it's too hard for an absolute beginner.]

I was also sent a second Skinny Bitches DVD to review, but since this review was a rush/screaming emergency I don't feel guilty about putting the second review off for another day.

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