Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Firm Express: Review of Cycle 1 - Ignite

(Video courtesy of YouTube: this is 10 minute "Pump it Up")

This past week I started The Firm Express: Get Thin in 30. I have used The Firm for YEARS as a great strength and cardio home workout (hello, fanny lifter!) but haven't really used them much since their newer stuff came out. I know this isn't a brand new workout, but I finally got around to buying it. I have dabbled with Zumba (super fun, but I don't think it would change my body that much, plus I'm just not a dancy-dance person). I've tried Insanity and quit after a week because it was just too dang hard at this point in my fitness and I really wasn't enjoying it. If there's one thing I've learned about myself since becoming a mom a year ago, it's that if I have 30 minutes to an hour of ME time, I better dang well be doing something I enjoy! Hence the reason I'm not running anymore either. I've always had a love/hate relationship with running, and right now it's more on the hate side. Not because it's hard, but because it's soooo....freaking....boring. Which is why I ultimately bought myself The Firm Express. Actually, hubby kinda convinced me when he said, "Why don't you do your Firm videos, those always worked for you?" So OF COURSE, I had to rush off and buy the new (short!) ones, which I'm loving. 

The Firm Express workout is based on a 30 day rotation of 12 videos (3 each week) for 4 weeks, plus an additional 10 minute Pump it Up video that has a cardio segment and an abs segment. So you really only work out 3 days per week on the beginner rotation (which I'm following to ease into it). The new workouts are based on HIIT with 8 seconds of "bursts" followed by 12 seconds of recovery. When I was doing my research on this, I was like, "8 seconds? Bah. That can't work." But then I watched some of their new workouts on YouTube and thought, "Wow, those 8 seconds look like a good workout." After trying the first few videos in the rotation, called the Ignite Cycle, which includes a Cycle 1 Sculpt, Cycle 1 Cardio, and Cycle 1 Cardio+Sculpt (all in 20 minutes!) I have been very impressed. As a longtime Firm user, I haven't had much trouble following the moves (super targeted cueing and efficient non-dancy moves, which I appreciate). However, I know some reviews have stated that if you're new to The Firm you might find the instructors move too quickly through the steps to get a grasp of them. But I love the fresh look of the set, the super fit instructors who cue well, and the combination of strength/cardio/plyometrics. I am not one to go to the gym to do weights on a machine or prance around in front of a bunch of sweaty dudes, so I've always liked The Firm's classic approach to weights and cardio. 

The 10-minute "Pump it Up" DVD is a great enhancement to add additional (hard!) minutes to your workout (check out the clip above). I got a VERY good workout by adding it the Sculpt DVD, and was sore for 2 days! 

My only concern with jumping into weights again while still having a few pounds (5-10) to lose is that I may build muscle before I burn the fat off, but we'll see what happens. I plan to upgrade to the Beginner 2 rotation I found on Facebook, or just add an extra day or two of the straight cardio DVD when I feel ready. 

Check back next week for my review of Cycle 2: Accelerate!

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