The Firm: Calorie Killer

Nancy Tucker
Year Released: 2003

Categories: Step Aerobics

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This is one of the Goodtimes Firmís BSS2 add on workouts which is a mixed cardio routine. Nancy leads with four background instructors and she incorporates the Fanny Lifter (she uses the 8Ē blue portion and the fully assembled 14Ē step) and the Sculpting Stick. I donít have the stick and easily sub dumbbells or a dowel for the movements. The workout clocks in at 40 minutes.

I am surprised this got such mixed reviews, I thought it was one of the best Firm cardio workouts (BBH, BSS, or Pink) that I have seen. It has a wide variety of moves including traditional floor work (step touches, plyo squat jumps, etc.), kickboxing (both kicking and punching), sports drills (football runs and the like), tall box climbs (two LONG sets), and of course Firm classic 4-limb cardio (using the stick and ďtwigsĒ) and step aerobics. I am choreographically impaired but found each tune easy to follow (like Lindsey said, the last step routine is just a tiny bit confusing but I think being fatigued probably didnít help). I liked how she kept up the pace but didnít make it too complex, and I just loved the variety of movements. The variety also helped to keep the workout time flying. I found that my heart rate got up and stayed up high throughout the workout.

The music was good and the Firm set is open and bright. In general I really liked the BSS2 series and Nancy is my favorite BSS1/2 instructor. Out of the Firm cardio routines that I use and enjoy the most, I would rate them in intensity from easiest to hardest: Firm Fat Blaster (tri-trainers), Maximum Cardio (Carissa Foster), and Cardio Killer (Nancy). So as you can see I will use it for a more intense day, for me. I would rate this high intermediate, assuming you use the 8Ē step, make it high intensity, and put some energy into all the movements. Overall grade A+!

Instructor Comments:
Nancy Tucker is a great instructor. She mirror cues, provides form pointers, sheís enthusiastic and encouraging without being chatty. I would be ecstatic if she came out with her own videos, like Stephanie Huckabee has done.

Emily B.


This is a 35ish minute cardio w/o led by Nancy w/ 4 backgrounders, Alicia shows beginner mods. The set is the BSS2 set-white w/ color background & white walls. You will need a fanny lifter (or step) and the Sculpting Stick (or a set of light dumbbells) for the 4-limb work in this.

This is one of the few all cardio w/o's from the Firm-while you do use the stick or the twigs, its for 4 limb or a few light lunges & dips so I def do not consider any of it real toning. Some of the moves are typical Firm cardio moves but most are pretty unique and she combines the cardio into fun little routines that keep you interested and moving. The 1st routine is not as challenging as the remainder and this w/o seems to sneak up on me intensity wise.

Some of the moves include a punch and kick series, shuffle, a basketball-esque routine, step touching around your stick, some fun step routines, and some tall box climbs. She transitions from floor cardio, 4 limb cardio, step aerobics, and tall box climbs to keep things fun and I never get bored.

I like Nancy as a lead and she does a good job cueing in this one. There is one step section where I got confused for a second but all the moves are pretty straightforward to I dont think most would have a problem catching on the 1st time around. This is a fun little cardio w/o and I would rate it an intermediate w/o that would be easy to modify up or down to suit your needs.



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.



I have, and like, the cardio workouts from the Firm 6-pack. In fact, I like the two that Nancy leads better than the one that Lisa Kay leads. However, I received Calorie Killer in a trade, tried it once, and traded it away despite the fact that itís led by Nancy.

Iíve been an ďadvancedĒ exerciser (doing high-impact, high intensity workouts) for several years, but recent problems with my joints have led me to seek different types of workouts than usual. I still want something that gets my heart rate up and includes some complex choreography, but I have to keep my moves relatively low-impact.

This workout uses both the Firm Fanny Lifter and the sculpting stick. I used my high step and 5 lb. dumbbells. The workout starts off with a warm-up that includes some kickbox-type punches. Nancy has horrible form on these, which made me cringe. But I ignored it and kept going. The rest of the workout felt really choppy. It intermixes floor and step aerobics. There are some plyometric jumps and other moves that can be done high-impact. One participant shows low-impact modifications.

The aerobics were relatively simple and easy to follow. They reminded me a lot of some of the choreography in the old Firm Cardio Split video. Floor moves are dancier and include grapevines, shuffles, jumping jacks, and mambos. Step moves are more athletic and include step-ups, repeaters, and tapping on and off the box.

The workout just never seemed to flow, which is the case with many of the newer Firm workouts, in my opinion. It wasnít fun for me, and didnít give me a particularly good workout. I canít do plyos, and even if I did, they are only one small part of the workout, and not enough to keep my heart rate up the entire time. The step-ups with arm movements such as bicep curls, delt lifts, etc. made me breathe heavier, but only took up about 5 minutes of the whole workout.

I think this workout would be a good introduction to step. Itís also good if you donít have or donít want to use a ton of equipment. However, I would recommend Super Cardio Sculpt or Body Sculpt Blaster over Calorie Killer.

Instructor Comments:
Nancy is a pleasant lead, and while she does occasionally refer to the Fanny Lifter and sculpting stick, itís not so overdone that you want to scream. Nancy Tucker and the other participants wear orange tops and black pants. I like her manner, and her cuing.



Calorie Killer is a thirty minute cardio tape with step aerobics, floor aerobics and work on the tall box. The body bar is also incorporated for some light weight work, but no other weights are used. Like the other "new" Firm workouts, this one is not as challenging or innovative as the Firm Classics. Having said that, it's short, fun and a decent way to break a sweat if you only have 30 minutes to work out.

Instructor Comments:
Nancy is great - she's enthusiastic without being annoying and her cueing is right on target.



I am on the fence on whether or not I like this workout. I thought it was good in terms of variety heart rate was just way too low. I did what I could to try to get my heart rate higher but still no luck. Now, mind you....I really, really like the workouts from the Firm's 6-pack and although some people complained they were too easy, I was able to really get my heart rate higher by adding higher weights and full range of motion, using higher levels of the fannie lifter, etc. I still think it's a keeper for the fun factor and could be a good add-on to another workout. I like the music in it although I recognized a portion of the music is the same as Minna's Emergency workout and the 7 Day Solution workout.

Instructor Comments:
I've always liked Nancy in all her Firm videos. She is personable and a great instructor. I can only nitpick one cue she missed during this workout that messed me up, otherwise good job.