Friday, July 30, 2010

Pump and Lift, Episode 14: At Last, Another Video Review

I really wanted to hate The Firm. Really.

The Firm: Ultimate Fat-Burning CollectionI blame the DVD you see on the left for my angst about The Firm. Yes, it's only one DVD - and the only one that we have in the Hacienda - but I honestly chose the wrong workout, and I ended up with knee pain and a list of complaints.

Too-fast pacing? Check. Annoyingly bland set? Check. (It's not for nothing that the Collage Video catalog always comments on videos with "The Firm-style" sets and workouts.) Inaccurate representation of difficult, higher-impact workouts as "easy"? Definite check.

Unrealistic-looking worker-outer extras in the video? Che-... wait a minute, nobody told me that the other girls in this video were actual Firm instructors themselves! All righty, then. If there's any comfort, though, I think I prefer the leggings-and-shorts aesthetic in The Firm to Kathy Smith's tiny workout leotards, which always distract me.

(Shallow note: As much as I enjoy Kathy Smith, I can't help but wonder if she and Madonna are neck-and-neck in the race to become the most intimidatingly fit cougar of all time.)

That said: This last month, I started noticing that I was losing muscle tone all over. My butt had deflated. My bra cups were not filling up the way they used to. I felt like a skinny person with fatty skin hanging over my bones.

It was about time, I thought, that I shook up my regular workout - but typhoon season had just set in, which meant that power-walking (and, therefore, my opportunity to work on my running) was not in the cards. I needed something that slayed two birds with one deathly efficient stone - something that gave me the stress-busting benefits of cardio with the "damn, that burns" efficiency of strength training.

Long story short, I dug up The Firm again, and found something that caught my attention: The Firm - Cardio Sculpt Fusion.

And I was hooked. 

The things I didn't like about the other Firm workouts were still there, but unlike the other workout I tried, the Cardio Sculpt one was much more fluid, which meant that I was more likely to catch up on the pacing with every workout. There was still a bit of knee pain, too, but it came and went and was more like a tiny pinch than a full hurt. It also helped that I only used weights on the exercises that needed more of a challenge from me, though that's more of my modification than their recommendation.

Does it work? Well, I've only done the workout twice, but I noticed that my butt is significantly less pancake-like, and my chest is showing signs of pectoral muscle development. Plus, my abs always feel the effects right away... and I'm the type of person who thinks that no prescribed core exercise will ever be able to help my floppy ab muscles (not even crunches, which are way too easy for me), so this is saying a lot.

I'm not going to hold The Firm at their word that I'll see results in 10 workouts, because I don't need that guarantee from them. The point is that I'm getting hooked on the burn, and having fun in the process - and that, dear friends, is a sure-fire recipe for Awesome.

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