Work It! Review of TheFIRM Power Half Hour

If you were an avid user of the exercise videos that were available through Netflix streaming like I was, you probably already know that as of last week, they were all removed.

Every. Last. One.

The only thing available when I searched for "exercise" on Netflix was something involving scantily clad girls in a wrestling pit. Bleh.

I was sad. I have been doing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred, but I get bored easily and like a variety. I had some really great ones I liked on Netflix, but no more. Now I have to find new favorites.

The following day, after browsing around on Amazon and not wanting to pay $10-15 for DVDs I haven't tried...I remembered that the library usually offers exercise DVDs for rent! Problem solved.
I proceeded to request pretty much every single exercise video available through the public library system. Excessive? Maybe, but I was desperate. And they all looked fun.

I picked up the first 6 yeseterday. I've been getting emails from the library every day telling me that more and more of my DVDs have come in. This will truly be a test of my responsibility and keeping-track-of-my-calendar abilities!

I figured since I am going to be doing all these DVDs and trying to figure out which ones are my favorite, I might as well share it on the blog! And since I'll pretty much have a never-ending stream of them over the next month or so, I decided to make it a little blog series called Work It! I'll do a little overview, and then rank the dvds on a scale from 1-10 in the following categories:

1. Instructor 
1 = the worst trainer ever, 10 = the easiest, nicest, least annoying ever.
2. Intensity 
1 =no sweat or strain at all, 10 =I didn't even finish because I was throwing up
3. Difficulty
1 = every move was extremely simple and easy, 10 = all the moves were hard to accomplish
4. Overall
1 = awful, 10 = excellent

ALSO - PLEASE NOTE - I am not a certified fitness anything, so please take these posts as my personal thoughts on these videos ONLY. I want to be helpful, but I do not offer ANY kind of medical advice or personal training expertise.

So, here we go! Today I did The FIRM Power Half Hour with Emily Welsh as the instructor. As you can see from the cover, it really is a complete workout that runs just over 30 minutes. I'll call it kind of a "loose" circuit training workout - not always very clear where the circuits start and end and sometimes you repeat moves and sometimes it's one and done. It's a good mix of aerobics, strength moves with light handweights, and plyometrics (jumping).

Instructor - 3 

I'm sure there are worse instructors out there, but this girl was SO hard for me to follow. I got lost even in the warm-up. I'm not a veteran aerobics class attendee, so maybe it was just me, but she definitely got caught up in doing her routine, not teaching her routine. It felt like she assumed that I knew exactly what we were doing and what was coming up, so there were minimal explanations and pretty bad cues. Every time I looked at the screen she seemed to be doing something different (often without telling us), which is frustrating when I'm trying to keep up. If I did this routine every day for a week or so, I'm sure it would get easier, but as a newbie I sometimes just started making up my own moves so I could keep moving and not just stare at the TV trying to figure out what she was doing!

Intensity - 5
I was pretty sweaty after completing this workout, even with all the instructional confusion. It started fast-paced and she went through all the moves really quick, so my heart rate stayed up through the entire 30 minutes - even through the stretches at the end! However, I recovered pretty quickly afterwards, so I could tell I didn't work to the point of fatigue. The plyometrics/cardio segments (once I got the hang of them) were the most intense, but they went so quick that it was actually really fun. Also, I think once I'm more familiar with the routine, the intensity might increase slightly because I'll know what I'm doing.

Difficulty - 4

Really nothing too fancy in this video. Lots of squats, lunges, and rows paired with pretty much constant movement. The most difficult is getting the sequence and combinations right. Emily likes to add components on to each move, which is great, but again she moves really fast so it's hard to keep up at first. Also, the cardio circuits include some kick-boxing moves, which can be tricky if you aren't used to kicks and punches in combo.

Overall - 4

Ultimately, I just don't think I'm a fan of this one. Emily is just way too hard to follow, and I hate having to concentrate so hard on the TV screen that I can't focus on the moves I need to be doing. I've heard really good things about The FIRM, and I have a bunch of their other DVDs to try out, so hopefully some of their others are easier to follow along!

If you have any other specific questions about this DVD, leave me a comment and I'd be happy to answer!