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Friday, July 20, 2001
Updated: July 23, 3:06 PM ET
Sweatin' with Anna

By Jim Caple
Page 2

Europe is home to many of the world's masterpieces. Michelangelo's "David" at Galleria Dell' Accademia in Florence. Monet's water lilies at L'Orangerie in Paris. Van Gogh's "Wheatfields at Cypress" at Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum.

And now, there is one additional masterwork viewable only in Europe: the Anna Kournikova workout tape, playing in VCRs throughout the continent.

"Basic Elements: My Complete Fitness Guide -- The Workout" is guaranteed to increase your heart rate, burn calories and reduce you to a gasping, whimpering puddle of sweat. And the effects are even greater if you actually work out while watching it.

Unfortunately, for now this important contribution to cardiovascular fitness is available only in Europe. Why?

Perhaps the FDA is still busy reviewing the video to make sure it is safe for males older than 18. ("I'm still a little concerned about the health risks, Hal. Rewind the segment where she does the squat thrusts.")

Perhaps Europeans need a jump start, given that they smoke more than the factories in the Ruhr valley. (By the way, did you see that a Philip Morris "study" recently showed the Czech Republic "saved" about $30 million in 1999, because it didn't have to pay for the care and housing of dead smokers? Funny, you never saw that mentioned on the Joe Camel billboards.)

Anna Kournikova
On the tape, Anna discusses the importance of wearing the right sports bra for proper support.
Or perhaps it is cruel retribution for the United States exporting all those Sylvester Stallone movies over the past decade.

Whatever the reasons behind the delay, a U.S. distributor finally has acquired the right to the video, and Americans eventually will gain the many health benefits Europeans are already enjoying.

Working out regularly to Anna's video improves your stamina and lung capacity, trims inches from your waistline, tones your muscles and increases your body's efficiency. And more importantly, it reduces eyestrain and anxiety from searching for all those photos of her on the Internet.

On the other hand, it increases the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome from pausing and rewinding the VCR remote.

Until the video's arrival on U.S. shores, however, American fans must settle for this breakdown of the workout highlights:

THE ANNA WORKOUT: MINUTE BY MINUTE
Time   Video
10 seconds   Anna introduces herself and discusses the importance a healthy workout played in all of her tournament victories.
50 seconds   Anna describes the health benefits of a regular fitness routine, such as increased resistance to germs. "You wouldn't want to pick up any nasty viruses, would you?" she coos.
5 minutes   "The most important part of any workout is dressing properly first," Anna says in this segment, as she models various sports bras and shorts. "Make sure you have proper support."
1 minute   "Time to start," Anna says as the camera shows her from behind bending over and touching her toes. "This should get you panting." (Note: You might need somewhat less time to complete your bends, owing to the fact that for some odd reason this segment is shown in slow motion.)
1 minute   "Always make sure you stretch properly," Anna says as she reaches back and pulls a tennis ball from her shorts. "Do you feel the burn yet?"
20 minutes   "We're now ready for the intense part of the workout," Anna says, as she lies on the couch, places her injured left foot on a pillow and leafs through a fashion magazine. At the end of the segment, she rings a bell. "Sergei! Bring me my water bottle, I need spritzing."
2 minutes   Cool down. Anna showers. You smoke a cigarette.

Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.