MTV's 'Grind' host pumps up heartbeats with hip hops

By Jason Fierstein

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Fifty-one-and-a-half minutes. That's how long it took me to realize that not only will I never become a professional dancer for MTV's "The Grind," but that I also need to resort to means other than hip-hop aerobics tapes to achieve physical fitness.

Eric Nies, former member of MTV's "Real World," is now the star of Sony Music Video/MTV's The Grind Workout! Hip Hop Aerobics home video. Eric kills two birds with one stone on this little marketing deal. Not only does he woo us with Palladium-quality dancing, but he makes sure the viewers understand that our funky chickens will never be as funky as his chicken.

First, I consulted my biorhythms to make sure that this would indeed be the day for a truly slave-driving home workout. Next, I popped a Centrum, slammed a Joe Weider Mega Mass 2000 shake and called my physician after having read the disclaimer at the beginning of the video.

The aerobics video is basically an extended version of "The Grind" program on MTV, except this time we get friendly little health tips from Nies himself. Surgeon General Nies reminds us that performing his workout even five times a day won't help without a balanced diet. I laughed. I could keep up with Eric and his entourage even after polishing off a box of Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch, six Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake bars and a carton of Marlboro Lights.

Our dance-a-long to the Sultan of Sweat and his backup Grinders was atrocious. How did Eric expect us to break a sweat when we couldn't even get the damn dance moves down? I stumbled through 30 minutes of Eric crowing "Aw, yeah!" and kicking dust into my face. But I was forced to give up when Coolio's "Fantastic Voyage" began - the humiliation of being turned into a Jazzercizing freak had finally bested me.

And then, from out of the blue, the Niester and the dreadlocked harem from "The Grind" bust off their shirts. Eric throws his Adidas wear into the camera, shouts another "Aw, yeah!" and glistening sweat magically appears on his chest. The water bottle sprayers on the side stage must have been busy since their was no way his entire body could have produced that much sweat in the course of 10 minutes. The female dancers expose their Jog Bras, get down with their bad selves, and proceed to get much more intimate with their frustrated viewers.

The Grind Workout! video was a sad twist of events. The cardiovascular workout I expected to get from the supercool studboy was minimal. I think it was more of a self-esteem awareness video. Nies and the dancers wanted to let me know how inferior I was to them and that I'll never be a Mambo King/Lou Ferrigno like Eric is. It is pitiful how the lines between Eric and apprentice are drawn.

"You May Survive" is a regular feature of Thursday's alterNation arts section, forwhich Wildcat reporters take a little risk and brave unusual situations or commit acts that Wildcat readers may or may not want to take part in themselves.

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