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Old 03-25-02, 08:29 PM  
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Canada
Question the Allure of the FIRM?

Just curious - I've been reading about The Firm videos for quite some time. I know they've been around for years. At the risk of opening up a very long thread, can you tell me what is the allure of these videos. I'm intrigued!! I've never ever seen or done a Firm video but would love to order at least a couple to try. Are these videos ones you can do with limited floor space? THANKS ALL FIRMIES!!!!
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Old 03-25-02, 09:28 PM  
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Location: Upstate, NY
I'll give you my short answer . I've loved the Firm for many years mostly because they're so time efficient. They combine weights and cardio in a unique way--getting benefits from both in a relatively short period of time.

I've fallen in love with Cathe in recent history, but I still come back to my Firms pretty frequently too. You can't beat them if you're pressed for time.

And yes, they work well in small workout spaces. Beware though, they use a wide variety of equipment--a lot of it's not necessary though.

If you've never seen/tried a Firm. I would suggest renting a couple from your local Blockbuster or Hollywood video first. There are quite a lot of people that can't get into their quirky style.
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Old 03-25-02, 11:10 PM  
Jane P.
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Colorado Springs
Firm was innovative

The Firms were the first workout tapes on the market that gave you serious results without using gym style equipment. They introduced many women and some men to the concept of weight training.
The exercises raised your heartbeat, but toned your muscles at the same time.

This approach was unique and innovative at the time (there are now other tapes on the market that do this) but the Firm was the first. They also had a distinct style to their tapes that was very popular.

Along the way they built a loyal following of fans, who've had tremendous results using their tapes.
"The two most powerful warriors are patience and time." Leo Tolstoy
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Old 03-25-02, 11:33 PM  
Loretta S.
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One thing about the Firm that is pretty unique in exercise tapes, is that the cueing is scripted. I think that because there is no idle chatter or other comments from the instructor it makes it possible to do the same tapes over and over before they start to bug you. Does that make sense?

Also all of the weight training moves are done in time to the music and that somehow makes it more enjoyable to me.
"The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing, would suffice to solve most of the world's problems."- Gandhi
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Old 03-26-02, 12:44 AM  
Lenore Levine
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Location: San Jose, California
What do I like?

There are two things that make many FIRM videos appeal to me:

1) They have good pace and timing. Just when you're tired of doing something, it's time to switch to something completely different.

2) They're really silly in fun ways. The Fanny Lifter is a nice, silly toy. The mansion set and the jungle set and the library set are funny. The Charlie Chaplin clip at the beginning of many tapes is cute. The background exercisers with their white gloves, earrings and pastel leotards are funny.

Do they do anything for my body that other videos wouldn't do? I'm not sure. But they do get used. I just wish they would have more options for leg floorwork, instead of those endless dips.
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Old 03-26-02, 08:16 AM  
susan p
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The Firm definitely did NOT appeal to me at first. I am a sociable type and prefer chatty, friendly instructors. The Firm instructors seemed robotic to me and just didn't provide the SOCIAL stimulation I need when I'm working out at home alone! To this day I really don't care for Tracie Long as an instructor because she is so, well, clinical/professional in her approach. However, once I really gave the Firm a try, after a year of All-Cathe, All-the-time, the RESULTS hooked me. I got far better results in terms of fat loss and muscle gain than I had with doing gym-style lifting alone and cardio alone. So what sold me on the Firm was RESULTS RESULTS RESULTS!! And I eventually learned to appreciate and enjoy all the rest of the package that goes with the Firm (although I'll always and forever prefer the Cathes/Frannies/Mindys/Christis of the world to the scripted Firm instructors! --just my personality!).

The Firm is my favorite kind of weight training. It is varied, well-timed to music, with quick changes. . . no time to get bored. Occasionally I do prefer to "zen out" with the PS series or S&H. But I don't like it well enough to stay consistent with it, nor do I see the same results that way. So I use that for cross-training purposes, and let Firm tapes with some Cathe cardio thrown in make up the bulk of my workouts. And lastly, I like the pretty sets. I amd quilter and I LOVE color!! The only non-Firm sets that come close are Cathe's PS series with that wonderful bright blue-and-white theme. So many video sets are gloomy. Gray. Boring! Perhaps the Firm overdoes it just a tad, but thank goodness for COLOR and that light airy feel!

The best Firms to start with, IMHO, would be vol 4: the Time Crunch workout (Kai's cuing takes some getting used to, but her segments are worth it!), and Tough Tape II, which is a parts tape that will give you a good idea of what a bunch of other Firms look like, and is a great, well-balanced workout to boot.
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Old 03-26-02, 09:12 AM  
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another so-so view on the FIRM

I agree that the FIRM packs a wallop into 45 minutes of working out - I'm guaranteed to get a full body weight workout (well, or almost, some tapes skim on the abs, back and/or chest in my opinion) *and* stay in my aerobic training zone for 50-75% of that tape.

When I first previewed FIRM Parts Upper Body (edited from the Classics), I was appalled by the dated outfits, the come-hither looks, the setting, everything! I traded that away in less than a heartbeat. Please bear in mind that it doesn't take a lot to keep my attention either, and I only ask that there be minimal whooping and silly outfits in my workout videos This is coming from a person who really enjoys the low-key "PBS-like" production values of Francesca Gern's Weights III.

Then, a nice VFer convinced me that Tough Tape 2 was worth trying, so I took the plunge and even went out to my local hardware store to buy a Rubbermaid step-up box ($19.99, very sturdy, works great for household chores too). And amazingly, I *liked* it. I went on to collect a few more FIRMs - the ones I like are compact, newer, and focus on their version of "slow and heavy" lifting with some aerobic effects coming from all the standing legwork and short cardio bursts like Maximum Body Sculpting and Super Sculpting. I really like FIRM Strength too but it's an hour-long and I don't often have a full hour to work out on weekday mornings.

My beef with the FIRM is that you really can't have the best of both worlds with their tapes - I could never *safely* lift the amount of weight I do with Cathe while using a FIRM tape. There is no way I could ever hoist 25 lbs over my head in a military press at the FIRM's pace! Nor could I curl 30 lbs with the FIRM, but no problem-o with Cathe's Pure Strength series. And I can a way more intense, continuous cardio workout by jumping on my bike and popping in any spinning tape.

Recently, I began collecting some Classics and now that I've seen them in their full form (instead of an edited Parts tape), I am more keen on them. I haven't actually tried them though because I am rehabilitating my right knee and the lower body moves in Vol 1, Vol 2 and Vol 4 are way too fast or require kneeling... both no-nos in the short-term. I do think that Vol 2 looks like it will overwork the shoulder muscles, in particular the very sensitive rotator cuff (I have the same complaint with Karen Voight's Great Weighted Workout's upper body section). Ouch.
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Old 03-26-02, 10:08 AM  
Barb L
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Deanna's suggestion to rent a couple of these is a good one. Local video store or library should have them--or maybe you can get them through inter-library exchange.

Keep in mind that the FIRM workouts keep evolving, so the "Classics" will have a different appearance and appeal than later ones. You can't judge all by one or two. But you don't need forty of them to get a range of workouts that will add variety to your collection.

My personal view: I do not like the "aerobics" in the FIRM videos I've used, such as Volume One or Tough Aerobic Mix. They are too high impact and (to me) boring compared with choreographed workouts. So I stick with the FIRM videos that emphasize weight work.

My favorites: Maximum Body Sculpting (this has been issued with three different names!); Tough Tape; Time Crunch (I think this is Volume 4 of the Classics); and Cross-Trainer Strength (this and X-T Cardio are similar, I'm told). I also own 5-Day Abs to use occasionally as a supplement to other workouts.

All the workouts you read about on VF have their fans and detractors. That's a good reason to check out the VF reviews--and the exchange.

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Old 03-26-02, 10:13 AM  
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Location: Berlin, Germany
New to exercise and the Firm. Love it!

I learned about the Firm by accident. I got a copy of "20 Questions About Fitness" as a bonus to an eBay purchase of Jane Fonda's Low Impact Aerobics. I had never heard of the Firm and I certainly didn't know that there was a Video Fitness community of exercisers doing home workouts! Because of "20Q"
I was intrigued by what I interpreted as the "seriousness" of the Firm. I had taken a weight training class in college, so appreciated the benefits of that in an exercise program. I bought the Firm Basics series, got my butt whooped, and was hooked. I think most of my loyalty has come from seeing the results so quickly and from the everday energy gains. I know now how to do much of the weight routines on my own-- which is great because of my work travel-- and I have branched out to using tapes from other instructors (especially when I want to alternate pure cardio), but the Firm *kicked* a hole into my heart that keeps me a FirmBeliever.
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Old 03-26-02, 10:24 AM  
Debbie S.
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You get a lot done

in a short period of time! That's what my DD said to me after doing Cardio Sculpt the second time through. I won't tell you what she told me after the first time through.

DD is right. With a Firm workout you do get a lot done and there is no repetition. You flat out don't mess around. DD loves Tae Bo, but she gets tired of the repetition in Tae Bo. She really is enjoying Cardio Sculpt.
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