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Bethenny's Skinnygirl WorkoutReview - Bethenny's Skinnygirl Workout
DVD
by Bethenny Frankel with Mike McArdle
Acacia, 2011
Review by Pratima Sampat-Mar
May 8th 2012 (Volume 16, Issue 19)

This DVD sounded promising to me, a full-time working mother of two, because according to Bethenny, this is how she got and stayed in shape after having her baby. I have read magazine interviews with Bethenny but have never watched either of her TV shows. I find her perspective and comments down-to-earth and her perspective therefore appealing. The DVD is appealing because it contains 3 yoga workouts--two are 15 minutes each and the third is 25 minutes. There is also a bonus 12-minute stretch segment. This allows for a lot of flexibility in the length and intensity of your workout. In addition, the DVD comes with a booklet that contains some recipes by Bethenny.

I generally do workout DVDs at least twice before writing reviews, to give myself a chance to really try out everything in them and take detailed notes. That just wasn't possible with this one. I tried the first segment once, and started the second one, and that was it. This review is based on those experiences and I will explain why I was not able to make it all the way through.

The workouts are set in what I assume is meant to resemble a living room. The room has hardwood floors, white walls, and some seating against the walls. A set of stairs goes up to a small raised area behind Bethenny and Mike, who work out on the hardwood floor on yoga mats. There are lots of neutral colors and the effect is relatively soothing without being boring. It gives you the feeling that you could easily do this in your own living room.

The reasons I had a hard time getting through these short yoga segments are Bethenny and Mike's chattiness, the difficulty level of the workout, and the overall sequencing. Bethenny and Mike talk almost constantly through each segment, and many of the remarks are somewhat suggestive or vulgar, such as in segment two, Mike says something about a pose making you look like you're peeing on a fire hydrant, and Bethenny retorts by saying something like, “What's with you and the fire hydrant?” I'm not familiar with Bethenny, but it seems her comments are very much her. If you're a fan of hers, you might enjoy her comments and general outlook on the workout. I found her comments and the constant conversation distracting.

This DVD is not for the beginner, and definitely not for someone (like me) getting back in shape after her third c-section. There are several advanced poses, and the second workout went right into them without any warmup. Specifically, the second segment begins with deep knee squats done on the toes--you raise up on your toes, and squat all the way down, bending your knees, then go back up. This is repeated several times, and I suppose could be considered a warmup, but considering how much balance, strength, and flexibility it requires, I'm surprised it's included here. Another advanced pose in this segment is reverse down dog, which is basically a type of backbend. Mike offers few form pointers or modifications, so I would recommend this DVD to someone who is in relatively good shape and has significant experience with yoga and would therefore be able to use correct form without instruction.

The sequencing of the segments had me scratching my head. There isn't a logical progression from standing to sitting, or from easier to more difficult. As described above, the second segment begins with deep squats requiring significant strength and balance. The unconventional sequencing might appeal to those who are tired of repeatedly doing sun salutations. Keep in mind, however, that lack of repetition also means that a lot of instruction is required, which means Mike talks throughout the workout.

In the end, this does not seem to be a workout designed for those new to yoga, or those looking to get and stay in shape. I would recommend it to someone with significant experience with yoga, who is relatively fit, and a fan of Bethenny's. There are numerous other yoga DVDs available that would fit those with other needs.

 

© 2012 Pratima Sampat-Mar

 

Pratima Sampat-Mar is the Online Education Coordinator for an allied health school in Arizona. She holds an Association Montessori International Primary Diploma, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oberlin College, and Master of Education degree from Loyola University Maryland.


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