Heavy Breathing Guaranteed in This Stripped-Down Workout

If dancing is like having sex with your clothes on, as Mick Jagger once said, then working out in an L.A. gym is practically the thing itself. One local sweat house is no longer pretending otherwise. Last Wednesday, Crunch Los Angeles on Sunset Boulevard debuted a one-hour course called Cardio Strip Tease, which sets the heart thumping with "erotic, yet athletic" exercise, along with instruction in "making an entrance . . . gyrating . . . flirting . . . and throwing attitude."

Oh, and there's a strip tease, down to almost nothing, led by aerobics and dance instructor Jeff Costa, 31, and his assistant, known only as Blayne. "We're gonna play it up," says Costa, "shake our booties, do some bumping and grinding, create a sense of the burlesque, so that people say, 'I can do this, too.' " The most likely class members, he says: working actors, struggling actors and perhaps some normal people.

The show comes complete with smoke machine and a few props. Costa opens in a feather boa and fishnet pants, and Blayne's got legs up to here, Vegas-style high-rise heels and a cataract of blond hair falling here, there and everywhere. The Strip Tease workout has been certified as aerobic by the National Board of, oh, never mind. You'll get your heart rate up; you'll burn some calories. You can keep your shorts on if you like (no pressure, says Costa.) And most important, the Crunch press releases remind, each class builds . . . self-esteem.

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