The Firm: Calorie Killer

Nancy Tucker
Year Released: 2003

Categories: Step Aerobics

I bought myself this video a few months ago, thinking I could use another short, all cardio video to use on days when I can barely convince myself to exercise, and with those demands, it fits quite nicely. It's filmed on the BSS2 set, with matching orange walls and uniforms. Two of the cast members, however, are new (at least I've never seen them in a FIRM before, nor since) and the cardio itself is a little unique for the FIRM, so overall I had a distinctly "unfamiliar" feeling at the outset of this workout, no friendly, predictable environment.

The workout is about 40 minutes long and, as I said, has quite a few moves I have never seen in FIRM cardio before. Whether this is good or not, I'm not sure; I personally didn't like the "athletic drills," as she called them, though the stepping across the sculpting stick was decent. As far as effectiveness goes, I know some people have complained this video isn't intense enough, but I have to disagree! I'm definitely not advanced in cardio, probably solidly intermediate, and I tired quite quickly. My heart rate was almost dead in the center of my target range for the majority of the workout, and I had to catch my breath a few times on the low impact sections. The step aerobics were pretty enjoyable, especially the last section once I got the moves down. I wasn't a huge fan of the "cool down" section with the dips, but I was using heavier weights instead of the stick throughout the workout, so it wasn't much of a cooling for me.

In addition to the cardio, there are a couple "toning" sections, more like four-limbed aerobics, including the cool down I mentioned above and a tall box climb with integrated arms. Again, using the heavier weights for these sections made them quite challenging by the end.

Overall, this workout does what I wanted it to: it's a short, cardio workout that goes by pretty fast. I wouldn't say it's fun enough to make me want to work out, but I don't in any way dread it like I do Super Cardio! It's a THR workout without the exhaustion factor of longer, more intense aerobics.

Instructor Comments:
This was my first led entirely by Nancy as well (who seems to have gone down in mass a bit since her Super Sculpting days). She's pleasant enough, but her step cueing could have been a bit faster in the final segment. Her accent isn't intrusive, she's not overly enthusiastic, and otherwise my opinion of her hasn't changed since she led Super Sculpting and Fat Blaster. Her diminished size is a little troubling, as I often had to wonder if she'd be able to make it through the entire workout without collapsing. . . needless to say, the fact that I was the only one looking tired by the end has convinced me to back off her a bit.