The Firm: Cardio Burn

Tamela Hastie
Year Released: 1999

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

I am pleasantly surprised at how intense this tape is and how much I like it. To give some background, I'm an advanced exerciser and a Firm fan who hasn't been completely thrilled with their offerings in the past few years. I have the Blast tapes and really like CC1 because it's intense. CC2 is okay, but I couldn't stand Bust and Butt and traded it at the first opportunity.

Cardio Burn started out with a short warm up with the ball (which I don't have) and a stretch with 3lb weights. I actually enjoyed this and don't think it compromised safety at all. It then dives right into two short box sections, the second one being the tough one from CC1 with all the over-the-tops. Then it's on to several higher-impact and 4-limb aerobics sections. One of the 4-limb sections reminds me of Volume 2 - fun! Next are all the sections with plyo, which was pretty tough. After this is tall box climbs - I like how long this section is. Then we move into the weight work, which I really thought was great. A full set of lunges, a full set of dips, two sets of hover squats, a short set of bunny lunges that incorporates some brutal bicep work, a set of triceps kickbacks sandwiched between some French presses, two sets of pushups, and some great ab work that was straightforward and effective. IMO the weight work was reminiscent of the Classic Firms, which I think is a plus. It doesn't cover all the major muscle groups (shoulders, back, etc), but since I don't consider this a weights tape it didn't really bother me. It ended with an okay stretch. I stretch on my own, so I never care what the stretches are like.

Overall, this tape scored high in all the categories that matter to me - motivating music, fun routines, good instructor, good quality production, solid weight work, and most importantly, intensity!! I was dripping with sweat by the end. I'd rate it a notch less intense than CC1, but I like it better because it's not so disjointed and the transitions aren't at such a dizzying pace. If you use heavy weights for the weight work I would rate it about as intense as Tough Aerobics Mix. Grade - A

Instructor Comments:
I thought Tamela did a great job. She's upbeat and pleasant, and I think she does a fine job instructing. Her "this is funs" aren't as apparent in this tape as in the Blasts, and when she says it I kind of agree with her! The cast is more natural looking than in past Firm tapes - not as stiff, and a lot of them seem to be really sweating!

Elizabeth Graves