Video Fitness

Firm Basics: Fat Burning

with Stacey Milner-Collins & Jennifer Carmon

This is a beginner-level FIRM tape. "Strong Heart" and "Strong Body" it is not--but how I wish it had been around when I began to exercise with the FIRM video series. This tape is an excellent introduction to The Firm. Seasoned exercisers will NOT like the tape because it is simply too easy. While it bills itself as an intermediate level workout, it is not even at the intensity of the "Prime Power" series.

The dowel is used for lower body work in tandem with the workout stool. Light weights are used for some floor aerobics and upper body work.

The end of the tape has an excellent tip and form section (not "20 Questions About Fitness--although it features excepts from this video).

In Summary: This tape is at a very basic, beginning level. It is an excellent choice for anyone new to The Firm. For seasoned FIRM users, it's simply too easy. Grade for the Tape: A. It is really fun and the music is nice too! Another Firm hit -- beginner level!

Instructor comments: Stacey was a participant in "The Tortoise" and "The Hair" and recently was the lead instructor in the Prime Parts: Fat Burning. She returns as an instructor in this video. Her co-instructor is Jennifer Carmon. Jennifer instruts the aerobic sessions and Stacey does the strength sequences.

Amy Steppe

I am a beginning exerciser and was excited to get a tape for "beginners". I was very surprised by this video. It was too easy for even me! I didn't break a sweat and my heart didn't even feel like it was beating hard, let alone getting into my target zone. The leg work was intense and I definately felt that, but the rest of the workout was way too easy for even this beginner. I want to try other Firm tapes for intermediates.

Instructor comments: There were two instructors in this video. Since I am new to The FIRM, I do not know the difference. The dark haired woman that lead the aerobic sections sounded almost mechanical. Her cuing got on my nerves. The blonde woman that did the strength work was much easier to listen to and sounded more natural.

Shawna Whitlow

FIRM Basics: Fat Burning

All three of the FIRM Basics are excellent beginner/intermediate level videos. The Fat Burning tape has more cardio than the other two tapes. All the cardio segments are low impact. If you are new to aerobics, the FIRM Basics series will make it very easy for you to learn common aerobics choreography. The instructors always spend time demonstrating good versus bad form. They also spend a good amount of time teaching the moves at a slower pace, before moving to a faster tempo.

The strength portions of the include squats, lunges, dips, pushups, curls... most of the standard stuff. The workout is followed by a nice stretch.

The FIRM has filmed their Basics series in their classic "mansion" set. The cast is made up of both men and women of all different age groups. The music is kind of strange (but in a good way). In fact, I think I like the music in the Basics series better than any music in prior FIRM tapes. I especially enjoyed the song played during the last segment of low-impact (the segement with the hip-presses and cha-chas)... it was kinda funky.

The FIRM Basics series uses a 14-17" stool, several sets of dumbells, and a dowel/mop handle.

Anyways, I really enjoyed this workout, and will recommend it to any and all beginning exercisers!

Instructor comments: Both instructors in the video are wonderful. They both give ample form pointers and cue well. Jennifer Carmen leads the cardio segments of the video, while Stacy Milner-Collins leads the strength and stretching portions. Jennifer is the more upbeat of the two, but Stacy comes across as very polished and classy. They both are in great shape.

Christine Letsky

I didn't read the box when I bought this tape so I didn't know it was a beginner level workout (it said Firm; I knew it had to be good!). I am an intermediate/advanced exerciser, so I found this video to be very easy. After the warmup and stretch, there are low-impact aerobic segments alternated with strength segments. The aerobics didn't raise my heart rate much at all, and I use heavy weights for the strength segments because there are so few repetitions (at least compared to other Firm workouts!) The one exception is the hover squats--my thigh muscles still burn when I do them! Since I like to challenge myself, this is not a video I do on a regular basis. However, since I do not like to miss a workout, I will do this on a day that I am too tired to push myself, or sore from a previous workout. I would lend this video to a friend beginning a workout program so she can become a "Firm Believer" too!

Instructor comments: Stacey was not my favorite. However, I really liked Jennifer. She was very personable and friendly. I hope to see her instructing future Firm workouts.


This is a beginner video. It has 2 instructors like Firm 4. Jennifer does the aerobics which are all low impact and very basic. Any beginner with 2 left feet can do it. You start off with Jennifer warming you up and then Stacey stretching you out. Then Jennifer does some 4 limb aerobics using light weights. Her other aerobics don't use any weights. Stacey leads the standing toning which are very easy. Squats, lunges, calf raises. She uses a dowel but you can use a ski pole, broom or mop. After the standing work, you do toning with a 14 inch stool but no tall box work( like the other Firms). You use tall box to sit down and do arm work with light weights. Then you go down to the floor for pushups and then you prop your legs up while you do abs and hamstring work. The music is excellent! So much variety( classical to jazz to a great tribal beat!) I am very happy that the Firm made beginner video's for people that are just starting out. I truly feel that this workout will help a beginner stay consistant which is the only way to see results. The set for this video is the same mansion setting as the classic Firms and has the painting that Firm 5 uses in the background. Of all the Firm Basics video's, this is my least favorite. I liked the Firm Basics Sculpting with weights the best. It is led by Traci Long.

Instructor comments: Jennifer Carmen has perfect form, nice smile and cues well. Unfortunately she irritates me with a passion that I can't stand it. She reminds me of Monica Lewinsky and talks like a baby. Or maybe she talks like a Valley Girl. She always has a pasted smile on her face. I was surprised the Firm used her for an instructor. She leads the aerobics.

Stacey Millner-Collins is the redeeming instructor for this video. She leads the toning sections. She has an incredibly toned body and does a great job teaching. She reminds me of a ballerina because she has an elegant quality about her. She leads the Firm Basics Abs Buns and Thighs video as well as the Prime Power Fat Burning. She looks a lot like Jayne Poteet.

Mandy Lee

This video is a great workout for beginners and people who are my age (I'm 15) because it teaches you steps that are in the main Firm videos and it starts out with light weights. I would recommend this video to anyone who wants to burn fat and see visible results in about ten workouts because unlike those cheesy Denise Austin workout they combined weights and aerobics-and you can't lose weight with one without the other. So I would give this video an A+ for people who are just beginnig the Firm.

Instructor comments: I like how the instructors start out slowly and work out up gradually so you can learn how to do the steps correctly. I think they need to act more natural and stop smiling so much and stop making their voices sound so fake. Overall the instructers are pretty good.

Ivory Steppe-Good

Firm Basics Fat Burning is a beginner level Firm video. It uses a tall box (or stool) for seated upper body, bridgework, table work, stretching and abs, and a dowel for stretches and standing leg work. It consists of several aerobic segments (one of them is 4-limb with light weights), short sets of squats, lunges, dips, seated upper body, table and bridgework, pushups and abs. This video has the most aerobics of any of the Firm Basics; the ratio of aerobic to toning minutes is 1:1.

I bought this video because I recently sprained my ankle, and I wanted a video with some cardio that I could do while my ankle finished healing. This one fit the bill because the choreography is simple, and there are no leg presses, tall box climbs, or aerobic stepping. I'll admit, the first time I did this video I was disappointed. I wore my heartrate monitor and I was in my target zone for 13 minutes. The next time I did this video I modified it a bit--I focused more on using my quads and making my movements bigger during the aerobic sections, and I used light weights during the standing leg work instead of a dowel. I also used ankle weights during the table work and dumbbells during the bridgework. I stayed in my target zone, albeit in the low end, for 27 minutes. This is a beginner video, but with some modifications it could be at the intermediate level. You can also increase the weight as you progress, since the reps are slow and controlled.

I will keep this video. I would recommend it to beginners to exercise and for those new to the Firm. I would also recommend it to those coming back to exercise after a break, and to those coming back from an illness or an injury. I'm glad I got this one.

Instructor comments: I like the team teaching approach in this video. Stacey is elegant and graceful, and Jennifer is cheerful and animated. Jennifer's style reminds me of Allie Strickland in All Cardio. To me, their styles compliment each other. Both cue well, and give some form pointers throughout (more pointers than in the classic Firms, but less than in Tracie Long's videos).

Kristin Aziz

Shame, shame shame that this isn't at least a FAVORITE! It's certainly one of my favorite tapes for a light day. For one, when Jen Carmon says lo-impact, that's exactly what she means (unlike Janet J-G, Allie Strickland...)! Second, the music is THE best I have ever heard on an aerobic tape (well, to be fair I only have 27! :+) It is motivating and I just love it love it love it! I am an Intermediate, and the first time I did this tape I was horribly frustrated at the low intensity level and the choreography, but the more I did the tape, the more it began to grow on me! I did the tape yesterday after I had done PS Legs & MIC Sect I the day before, and it was good to follow up the next day with a lower intensity workout.. The other thing I like about the tape is that most of the aerobic work is in the first half of the tape, and the toning intervals can also be slightly aerobic. Once the tape slows down and you go to the floor, I usually stop unless I didn't do another tape before this one. I add it to another low- impact tape or strength tape. The hover squats with the dowel are killers, but I've obviously been working hard because now they only burn slightly. The ab section is okay, I like the bridge work (which is kinda long compared to the rest of the sections), and the warm up is also pretty long (my VCR said about 6 minutes) compared to the FIRM's recent trend for 3 minute warm ups. I think a Beginner or Intermediate would be best suited for this work-out. As can be seen from the reviews, most Advanced exercisers were pretty upset. But hey, it is a "Basic" beginner level work-out!


This is my first introduction to the Firm, and it's a good choice for that. I wasn't sure if it would be strenuous enough for me, but my heart rate was in its target zone the whole time (after the warm up). This workout alternated low impact aerobics with light strength training. The aerobics moves were similar to step aerobics without the step. The tape can be done in a small space, which is important to those of us trapped in small apartments! I wasn't quite prepared for the number of props needed. I was able to scrounge up replacements for everything, but be warned. You need lots of stuff. I got a kick out of the music on this one. The cool-down music sounded like it would be more appropriate for the climax of an epic movie. Perhaps that is how the Firm sees their videos? Also, I found the little poses at the end of some of the sets a bit odd, but enjoyable. This tape has inspired me to try more Firms when I advance a bit more. Meanwhile, this one fits the bill quite nicely.

Laura in Madison

firm basics: fat burning; hips, buns and thighs, and sculpting with weights

I'm putting these together becuase they seem to be meant to be used as a group. Each one sort of fills in gaps the others leave. Fat burning has more cardio. Sculpting with weights offers the best instruction I've seen for resistance from the Firm. There's a lot of floorwork in Hips Buns etc. (I like it the least for that reason). I used these videos to get back into exercising after I was hit by a car while crossing the street. Sculpting has some impact in the aerobics, but it didn't bother me, and its very easy to modify, most is used as a connecting step. Personally, I thought these videos had too much floorwork when taken as a whole. The fat burning could've done without most of it and the series would've had a better balance. Over all, they are a great intro to the firm and a good series for beginners who want to learn about weight training. I have several firm videos besides these, and after watching/doing these, I kvetch with laughter when they give instructions. "Strike all your props."???!!! These are perhaps the most overscripted videos around. The instruction in these is better than in previous firms, but the instructors don't sound natural, you can almost see little dialogue bubbles coming out of their mouths. Despite this, they provide a good workout and a solid foundation to help you advance.

Instructor comments: All three are very good, use good form and have completely different personalities. Tracey is in great shape, uses perfect form and explains things so clearly. An ideal instructor. Jennifer is bubbly, with a fresh smile and an energetic presence. Stacy is very elegant and calm. She is reassuring and has a soothing voice.

lal vanbrock

Despite the virtues of this video, it was the one that really emphaiszed to me how cheezy Firm videos are. And the coach shpiel at the end really pissed me off. I haven't checked out reviews of this video yet, but I know someone always breaks down what you do so I'll just list what I like and what I don't. I like: the thorough instruction- can you believe the Firm has instructors who instruct!! great form- easy to follow. the wacky music. The digeridoos make me laugh. It seems somehow more entertaining than the gassy tubas of the original three Firms. great pacing for beginners. The moves are broken down and built upon very gradually. I really enjoyed both of these instructors. jennifer has good energy and vivacity for cardio and Stacy is calm and patient for weight training- a good bland. What I don't like: the video coach- will I really have more friends if I loose weight? the stilted cueing- strike all your props??? the instructors sound canned. more aerobics- for a fat burner, its not very cardio. Overall, good choice for beginners... well produced, and well instructed. I appreciate the emphasis on weights, not tubes (which do have their place) for beginners.

Instructor comments: I like both of these instructors. They seem friendly, capable and use good form. Their personalities are very complimentary. Jennifer is very bubbly and Stacy is soft and elegant.


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