The FIRM: The 500 Calorie Workout

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The FIRM: The 500 Calorie Workout

Manufacturer: Gaiam Americas, Inc.

Price Range: $13.48 - $14.98

Manufacturer Description

A total-body cardio and sculpting workout using light hand weights to build lean muscle, increase metabolism and burn calories.

Manufacturer Specifications

Closed-captioned, color DVD; 60 minutes; Released December 2, 2008

ACE Expert Review

Once the mainstay of most gyms’ aerobics class schedules, traditional high-impact aerobics classes have largely given way to things like Boot Camp, BOSU and power yoga classes, which tend to appeal to a broader range of exercisers.

And yet traditional aerobics still has its devoted followers who would prefer to grapevine, mambo, and pivot their way to fitness. The FIRM’s The 500 Calorie Workout was created just for them.

This high-intensity, high-impact interval workout combines traditional aerobics moves and combinations with high-repetition strength training. For novices, the cueing—which is generally given during the execution of the move rather than before—may not be sufficient to keep them from feeling lost.

At times, the tempo feels much too fast, which makes it difficult to maintain good form. And, while beginner modifications are demonstrated by other participants, they are not explained or even mentioned by the instructor. Additionally, the form demonstrated is often incorrect; for example, push-ups are executed by some participants with the glutes high and a non-neutral neck.

The choreography of The 500 Calorie Workout frequently feels more appropriate for the space afforded by an aerobics studio rather than the confines of most living rooms. While most of us have enough room to perform lateral lunges to either side, grapevines are nearly impossible without taking very small steps. Also, the high-impact moves combined with traveling could be difficult to execute on a carpeted surface and could pose an increased risk for injury.

As for the claim that exercisers will burn 500 calories, it is certainly possible depending on body size and how closely they follow the video. This video is not recommended for beginning exercisers or for those who would benefit from a lower-impact workout.

what we liked:

  • An advanced high-intensity, high-impact interval workout that will appeal to advanced exercisers.
  • A combination of traditional aerobics moves and high-repetition strength training offers exercisers a total-body workout.

What we didn't like:

  • Requires more floor space than most people have available at home
  • Fast tempo can make it difficult to maintain proper form
  • Complex choreography combined with poor cueing will make the workout difficult to follow for many exercisers.

September 20, 2010

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