A pair of pink, wrinkled socks and 15-pound weights lay in the room�s right corner as OutKast’s �I’m Sorry Mrs. Jackson� blasts from the stereo. The steady squeak of a mini trampoline competes with the deafening music.
When the song fades, seven University of Wisconsin students sigh in relief, their rosy red faces returning to their normal shade. Welcome to Studio Melt�s Bikini Boot Camp � an eight-week cardio and weight training course that promises to leave girls looking their best for spring break.
�I think people could have all the money in the world, but if their body isn�t healthy, they can�t do what they want. You know, you�ve only got one body,� said Dustin Maher, the class instructor. �My passion is [seeing] each person succeed and [teaching] them skills they can take with them the rest of their lives, not just in college.�
According to Maher, the class began simply. He thought of a catchy name and proposed it to Mona Melms, Melt�s owner. Melms had no objection to Maher�s vision, and the two promoted the class on Langdon Street through flyers and word of mouth.
In contrast to classes he has instructed at the SERF, Maher said Bikini Boot Camp is designed for personal attention, group strength and motivation.
The hourlong class begins with a 15-minute warm up, moves through 35-minute circuit training and ends with a 10-minute abdominal and lower back workout. Circuits, as Maher calls them, consist of eight to 15 stations where the girls individually use the equipment to tone different areas of their bodies.
The stations vary in complexity and difficulty. Some look like retro gladiator training devices � one girl moves a medicine ball from side to side while balancing on something resembling a jellyfish. Another girl holds herself in the plank position, scooting her arms up and down on plastic purple discs � an exercise Maher deemed the day�s most challenging.
�There�s this one machine that is still difficult and I still can�t do it,� UW sophomore Casey Gilbert said. �You lay on your back and use these � it�s really weird to describe � bungee cord things to pull your body up evenly with your arms. I did my first one today, so I feel pretty good about that.�
The girls make multiple rounds during circuit training, using each machine for about 45 seconds.
�If you have two minutes at each station, you�re going to get tired, so I try to make the time [at each station] fairly short,� Maher said. �My philosophy is that you need weights to build muscle and get lean, so if you have too much of that at one time it kind of defeats the purpose.�
Other than keeping circuits brief, Maher credits the class� success to its group nature. If one girl sees another girl who is more experienced, she�ll use her as motivation, Maher said.
However, the class is not without cost. For the full twice-a-week experience, participants pay $225, or $199 if they are students. To come just once each week, the price is $115.
UW sophomores Abbey Otteson and Lindsay Hughes said they chose Bikini Boot Camp over SERF classes because of its intimacy, despite the cost.
�Because I�m paying for this, it makes me more motivated to go. It�s almost like you have to,� Otteson said. �With the SERF, I feel like you have to drag yourself there. This makes it worth every penny. I feel like I�m getting stronger.�
At a quarter to four, Maher signals it�s time for core workout. Each girl grabs one white, transparent exercise ball and lays on her back. The ball is kept between their legs, moving from side to side. Maher calls this �pendulums.�
But the workout goes beyond physical activity. Maher handed out personalized magnets with food suggestions and talked about healthy carbohydrates. He also sends the girls weekly e-mails with �homework assignments.�
Two weeks ago, the assignment was drinking as much water as possible, and last week�s was eating five meals a day. This week�s challenge is to not drink alcohol until spring break.
�Well, that�s the challenge; they don�t have to do it,� Maher said.
After eight weeks, the girls leave with more than a fit body. According to Maher, Bop, a clothing store on State Street, offers the girls 20 percent off any bikini.
�People think we work out in bikinis, but it�s really just the name of the class,� Otteson said. �Most of us just do it to get in shape for ourselves. The time and effort is totally worth it.�