Fitness DVD review: The FIRM Power Burn

As I mentioned in a previous post, my friends and I kept some semblance of training going over New Year, despite all being together on the type of holiday which centres around a daily evening ritual of a huge dinner, cheese, port and…oh….it pains me to think about it. I believe the word is over-indulgence.

Anyway, we really did do our best to off-set some of our intake (or at the very least to sweat some of the hangover out) by exercising once or twice a day. Some mountain biked. Others walked. My friend Jo (a PT) and I, along with our friend Penny on a few occasions, chose to train indoors. In this series of blog posts, I’ll review the bits of kit we used and the DVDs we tried out.

Jo, Penny and I convened in my bedroom to stomp our way through a couple of tracks on The FIRM: Power Burn DVD. We did them on separate days but I’ll review them both here, since they’re on the same DVD.

Before I tell you what we thought, here’s a quick cast list, so you can better understand on what basis we were approaching this DVD.

Jo: qualified personal trainer and devotee (back in the day) of proper old skool aerobics, Step classes and the like.
Me: can just about get through Body Attack in time with the music (after several years practise), prefers training by myself with earphones firmly wedged into earholes
Penny: doesn’t do a lot of training and recently broke foot (her own, not someone else’s)
Richard, Mark and Simon: downstairs in the room beneath us, no doubt wondering why all the thumping sounds weren’t in synch

OK, so The FIRM: Power Burn DVD consists of three different workouts. Here’s the blurb:

Work off those pounds and get in shape for the New Year with The FIRM: Power Burn DVD available from 27th December 2010

Featuring three effective fat burning routines, build a slimmer, trimmer body with the expert help of The FIRM’s Master Instructors and discover a leaner and more confident you with visible results in just 10 workouts.

The FIRM has combined sculpting and cardio in a unique way for over 25 years to help develop the body you have always longed for. The FIRM method enables you to burn up to three times more fat than cardio alone whilst making exercise fun.

Turn up the heat with Sue Mi Powell’s supercharged Cardio Inferno workout. This highly effective blend of cardio and light sculpting movements has been designed to sculpt your body slim.

Get your groove on and dance the weight off as Allie Del Rio Pointer leads you through Cardio Dance Slim Down, a dance-inspired, low-impact workout. Aimed towards women who love to dance and enjoy moving to the rhythm, this is a great workout which proves that getting fit can be fun.

For the Ultimate Fat Burning Workout join Alison Davis-McLain as she works the whole body. This session features cardio exercises to burn fat and strengthening movements to build perfectly toned muscles. Use this workout to tone your body with ultimate results.

So what are you waiting for? Grab the girls, put on that gym kit and work your way towards your dream body with The FIRM: Power Burn DVD

Grab the girls indeed! Here’s what those girls and I thought of the first track we tried: the terrifyingly-named Cardio Inferno.

Cardio Inferno is billed as a blend of cardio and light sculpting movements both of which would sculpt our bodies slim. Quite honestly, they had a job on their hands with the amount of cheese we’d eaten the night before. And the words “light” and “sculpting” kind of make me wince. But I’m sure this kind of thing would suit a lot of people and it wasn’t too bad really.

Instructor Su Mi Powell is impossibly perky in voice and body. But PT Jo felt there weren’t enough teaching points given (in terms of safety, form and posture). Su does at one point say “don’t break the wrists” which apparently means keep your wrists straight, but I had no idea what she was on about.

Penny and I gave up on Su at various points, opting to march on the spot rather than try to follow her fast moves (Jo was doing fine!) I think we both felt as if we wanted Su to break the routines down a bit more and build through them more slowly, so we could get our heads around them. We were encouraged to follow Robin (the poor woman who’d drawn the short straw of demonstrating the “dunderhead moves”), but Robin wasn’t always on the screen.

I’d say this workout is not for beginners (experience of Step classes or faster aerobics routines would help) but nor is it for very conditioned people (it isn’t challenging enough). Jo said she thinks anyone who likes Step would like it. “It’s like Step without a step,” she said. The cool down was more like a warm up, we all felt. You’d definitely want to take some time to do your own stretches afterwards. The workout was about 30 minutes long.

Another day, all three of us convened again to try another track on the DVD, this time the Ultimate Fat Burning Workout, led by Alison Davis-McLain. Described as a combo of cardio to burn fat and strengthening moves to build “perfectly toned” muscles (presumably S&C can’t burn fat?!), it promises ultimate results. Hm.

If we forget the hyperbole, this was really quite good. I think the cardio and weights bits probably burned equal amounts of “fat”, and I don’t think any of our muscles were perfectly anything after this 40-minute workout, but it did leave us all extremely hot and sweaty and we did enjoy it.

I really liked instructor Alison. She was lovely, kept telling us we were doing a “good job” (even when I wasn’t).

All in all, we preferred this to the other session, because each section was longer, so the routines were built up more slowly, giving Penny and I more of a chance of getting it. There’s a kick-boxing inspired section which I think most people would like. The instruction was good, with well-timed cueing and lots of clear commands (and plenty of encouragement). There weren’t any lower or higher options but somehow it seemed OK without.

All seemed well until the cool down section. Um…the cool down consisted of fairly dynamic moves, better suited to a warm up (we thought) and no stretching. And then – after the cool down – Alison saw fit to put in a few ab exercises (why oh why is there always the obligatory “abs section” at the end?). And then about 6 press ups. Yes, really. I don’t know why either. Fair enough, some people might not be able to do a press up, and working up to 6 might be a great achievement, I totally get that. But why put them in at the very end? Why not as part of the strength section? It just seemed like an after-thought.

Obligatory “abs section” and random press ups aside, we liked this workout and as I said before, it definitely got us hot and sweaty.

Give it a try, the whole DVD is less than a tenner!

Fitness DVD review: The FIRM Power Burn is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

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