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.


  1. Thanks for the honest review Merry! Well done!

  2. Maybe one day, I'll be asked to review something, now I ask them

  3. how funny! Well on the plus side, like you said, it's easy to follow....that is the biggest positive for me in a workout dvd. If it's too confusing, I get mad and give up.

  4. Well, I guess any buzz is good buzz. Thanks for the straight review. Even without it, that abs clip speaks for itself, really. I'm sitting here wondering "what were they thinking?"

  5. I am cracking up---thanks for the rush on this one, I was losing sleep! :)

  6. I've got to say that I don't want to look like them. Not by a long shot as they look like they're fighting the aging process with UV lights and hair dye. And losing. And their muscles don't look that good either. So I'll never do the SB lifestyle.

  7. lol.. I'm sure it's not what they bargained for, but this was a very amusing review. I wonder if your words would have softened some, had they treated you better.

  8. That was a funny review. I enjoyed it, enough so that I might get the DVD, keep the sound down and do the exercises. If one can be slow and keep up, this could be the dvd for me.

  9. Honest reviews are the only way to go :). Funny! What is with the sweat band above the elbow on that one girl? I wasn't aware that my upper elbow sweated much...

  10. I could /not/ figure out what that little arm sweat band was for. Maybe it's a fashion statement?

  11. And this is why I hate workout videos.

    As someone in PR, I take every opportunity to point out what they do WRONG when I'm pitched.

    I'm glad you do too. :)

  12. There are many lovely PR people out there who are very, very nice to work with.

  13. Great Review!! Thanks for being honest (and funny).

  14. Hilary? I'm not sure, but I think I would have felt the same about the DVD, just phrased it more along the lines of "I'm /sorry/ that I think this workout is lame."
    But with a brand name like Skinny Bitch, wouldn't you think they'd rather have a straightforward opinion even if it's unflattering?

  15. Sounds like one to avoid! Thanks for the warning. If I want to hear phrases like skinny bitch and kick ass - well I can't just record myself saying them and do my own bloomin workout.

  16. Love the honesty! I didn't know they had a dvd.

  17. I didn't know they had a DVD either. Thanks for your honesty. I won't be rushing out to find this at my local library. I found their books to be bias as they don't factor in for genetics at all, but some of the content was insightful.

  18. One of them is a former model, and one used to work at (or run) a modeling agency.
    I'm guessing that maybe models don't like to sweat? It messes with their hair and makeup, perhaps? I already know that models are discouraged from using weights (lest they actually get muscle tone).

    I've read the books. I'm not terribly impressed with these two. Skinny, yes. Bitches? Nah, they're just annoying.

  19. I picked this up at the store the other night and considered buying it, just because I wanted something different and the bootcamp aspect sounded good. Boy, am I glad I bypassed it!

    Thanks for the honest and hilarious review!

  20. I didn't even know about the Skinny Bitches until I picked up a book I happened to see as I was browsing.

    I am very rarely completely turned off by books, but dang. Definitely didn't buy it. I'm obviously not part of the demographic they're targeting.

  21. Eek! Sounds like a bore in that it definitely didn't meet the expectations set by advertising. I HATE that! Thanks for the honest review... still can't get over all of the chatter you described - crazy!!

  22. Hee! Great review Merry! I'm so glad you just gave us your honest opinion. Now I'll happily skip this one!!

  23. It's true; I would not have been so disappointed if the cover had proclaimed "A workout for people who don't think they exercise" or something like that.
    That chatter still would have driven me up the wall though.

  24. I actually thought for a second, hey this sounds like a workout I could do, but then I remember that I am driven insane by inconsequential patter. Oh well...

    Thanks for the heads-up! Not that I would have bought something with "skinny bitch" in the title because I'm too suave, but still.

  25. I workout to Dvds all the time, but I cannot stand instructors that are talking the entire time, especially if they sound fake and scripted the entire time. But I can't stand the Skinny Bitches brand.

  26. How hilarious...I'm doing this video TODAY for a future post. Now I know what to expect. :)

  27. I didn't realize you were talking about the same ones that did the book. No wonder it sucked! Unlike the smart sarahbb, I bought the book without giving it a good look through.
    It's never a good idea to spit in the face of someone that you want something from.

  28. I'm glad FBG are going to do a calm version of a review to counterbalance mine. It'll be interesting to read their take on the DVD :)

  29. I dont want to be skinny, nor a bitch. Nor covered in peroxide and heave leathery skin resembling an old saddle.

    Im totally rocking the arm band next time i go to the gym. What? I forget to shave my arm pits sometimes.

    Kelly Turner

  30. What kind of title is that, watch platoon and work out save the money.

  31. I think you'd be hard-pressed to not hate something presented, unabashedly, by "skinny bitches". The only thing worse than being put through a work-out by skinny bitches is being put through a LAME workout by skinny bitches. It's like having Paris Hilton as your math tutor.

  32. So, I just found your guys's website last night while I was at work, but I cracked up! I was looking up reviews on this workout dvd to decide between it and a different one. I'm so glad I read your review! Not only that, I started poking around your site, and I am pleased to say you guys are now bookmarked on my computer! Btw I went with the other non skinny bitch dvd. ;)

  33. I found this at a Moviestop for about $1. If you want something to roll your eyes at, but keep moving in the process, I found that the more annoying I felt they were (i'm a quiet person usually), the more motivated I felt to keep moving "...they're sweating? really? lets do it up harder than them...seriously" . I got my $1 worth!


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