Total Body Lite (aka Cardio Sculpt Fusion)

Emily Welsh
Year Released: 2007

Categories: Athletic Stretch , Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Total Body Workouts

I recently purchased The Firm Ultimate Fat-Burning Collection, and this 46-minute workout was one of the four selections included on that DVD. Emily Welsh leads this workout with 4 background exercisers, including Sue-Mi showing modifications; they are exercising on the Firm's newer, airy white set. Emily describes this as a "muscle recovery workout," and she emphasizes that you don't want to fatigue your muscles during the workout. Given this, she uses light weights throughout--either a single 5# or 2 lighter weights (I used 3#). However, this is still a true AWT (aerobic weight training) workout in that you are constantly moving while using the weights, keeping your heart rate up the entire time.

Emily begins with a 5-minute warm-up. Rather than the Firm's traditional moves, there are some different exercises here, such as a spinal twist with a bit of a lunge (although Emily also does plie squats and lunge/glute lifts) as well as about 1 minute dynamic stretching. The first weights segment is 5 minutes long, and Emily has you pick up one dumbbell to start for a squat with balance and overhead tricep move. Next is a dip and scoop moving into a rear dip/side squat with arms. This is followed by the "butt and back burner," a deadlift with leg extensions and arms plus side leg extensions. Emily concludes with some brief back stretches.

Another 5-minute weight segment follows. This one starts with a lunge/knee lift/chest opener combination, adding a leg extension. Next come side plies with external rotation to work the rotator cuff (nice!) and then a more standard Firm move, pivots with alternating biceps/triceps. The last exercise is a 1-arm row, but Emily adds a knee raise to this familiar move, and she again concludes with some brief stretching. The first cardio segment is also about 5 minutes long, and it begins with a step tap forward, adding a knee up and a leg extension. This is followed by a cross step with glute extension in a single-single-double pattern (Emily uses this pattern often). The final two moves are a V-step which expands into a larger turn step and a side lunge with knee; the entire sequence is repeated several times.

The next weights series (also 5 minutes) starts with a side lunge and then adds arm scoops and center kicks. Additional exercises are tap squats with clean and press and pendulum (a side delt move) with toe taps; again, Emily concludes with stretching. For the second cardio section, Emily states "we're gonna get a little sassy!" The moves include side hips, triple step, sambo, and mambo. Although the moves themselves weren't all that complicated, it seemed like Emily tried to do a bit too much with changing the direction (L-R) and tempo. The final standing weights segment (5 minutes) begins with Figure 8 side lunges and then moves into lunges with knee lifts plus triceps/tummy toner. Without the weights, Emily cues chair pose to side squat to rear lunge, finishing with a twisting lunge (corkscrew). She finishes the segment with a moving warrior stretch.

The 5-minute floor work begins with "star," a side plank move. This is followed by "moving cat," which includes both a leg extension and a push-up. Next comes flying bug and only one slightly more traditional crunch move, circle abs. Emily begins the 5.5 minute stretch lying on the back for thread the needle, then switches over to the stomach for cobra and a thigh stretch. From a seated position, she moves through mermaid, a hamstring stretch, and a twist, and finally, she concludes the workout standing with inner thigh and neck stretches.

I really enjoyed this workout! I do like Emily, and I thought she did a nice job leading here. Those looking for a hard-core workout might be disappointed, but I think those who enjoy Ellen Barrett-style workouts are apt to enjoy this as well. (In fact, although the crew here wear shoes, the workout is entirely low-impact and could be done barefoot as with Ellen's workouts.) I consider myself to be a high intermediate exerciser, but I still got a lot of of this workout, and I will continue using it for recovery (or whenever I need a lighter day) as Emily recommends.

Instructor Comments:
I like Emily--she seems like a little dynamo (she is quite short) compared to some of the Firm Amazon women! ;) She does have a habit of saying "you look great" quite a bit; in this workout, she also references herself by saying things like "I love this!" quite a bit. Although Emily's personality isn't all that similar to Ellen Barrett, as mentioned above, I do think that this workout feels VERY much like an Ellen Barrett workout (you could even lose both the weights and the shoes!), so I would encourage Ellen fans to give it a try.

Beth C (aka toaster)