New workout wants you to pretend you're Beyonce
Before the music begins, members of the women-only exercise class, dressed in shredded tank tops, full makeup and wedged sneakers, pose seductively before studio mirrors and chant, "Yes, I'm sexy. Yes, I'm fierce. Yes, I've got this."
Empowerment is a big part of the Vixen workout, a hip-hop dance class with a night club feel that fitness experts say offers a cardio girls' night out to women who may be keen to channel their inner Beyonce, Ciara or Rihanna, but wouldn't be caught dead in a gym.
"It's all about wearing your sexiest leggings, putting on your brightest red lipstick and taking your hair down so you can bend over and shake it," said Jolie Bedini, 40, a single mother who takes a Miami Vixen class up to five times a week.
Screengrab: ABC News
Fueled by the songs from rap stars Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and Pitbull, the workout mixes sultry dance moves such as booty battles, kitten stretches and twerks with body lunges and squats.
"A bit of sexy dancing and you're into the zone," said Bedini, noting that the workout helped her lose weight.
Up to 100 women attend the party-lit, hour-long, mostly evening classes, which began in Miami and have spread to New Jersey, Los Angeles and Chicago.
'Every woman can be a vixen'
The workout is the brainchild of Janet Jones, a former Miami Heat basketball team dancer and hip-hop performer.
Jones said the concept emerged from the invisibility she felt after her pregnancy and taking a nine-to-five job, a time she refers to as her black hole.
"Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, they're all vixens. Beyonce is the ultimate vixen but I think every woman has a vixen inside her," Jones said.
Screengrabs: Vixen Workout/Youtube
She said encouraging clients to dress for a girls' night out gets them into the performance spirit.
"Most of them have never experienced themselves as performers. All of a sudden they're focusing on getting the movement, picking up the choreography. They work harder and lose weight," she explained. "If I have no makeup and I'm in sweats, I don’t feel like a vixen."
Shirley Archer, a spokeswoman for the American Council on Exercise, said the Vixen workout is effective because:
- Your heart rate is up and moving continuously throughout the workout.
- Learning dance moves is great brain exercise as it challenges the mind-body connection by improving coordination and memorisation.
- Making your workout fun will motivate you to keep on training as you enjoy it, thus producing better results.
- Women of any age can do it, even if you're 70.