hate them, too. I had just watched them and they looked so dumb. Someone loaned me a few of them, and now that I've actually done them, I really think they're great. They're different than any others, and I feel like I train my muscles in a different way. I like the Super Shapers (Super Cardio and Super Sculpting), and I also like Tough Tape. I'm not the expert, though, so you may want to check the videofitness website because they give reviews of the tapes on there. There are also a lot of die hard firmies over there. Good luck
I used to use all Firm Tapes until I learned about Cathe's tapes. The Firm Tapes are great if you want to sculpt your legs and butt, the tall box works great. The tapes are lacking when it comes to cardio. I learned how poor my cardio was when I did a Cathe Tape: ) My favorite tapes are Tough Tape 1, and a series of four tapes called the Cross Trainers. Give them a chance I think you might like them. Hope this helps!
It may just be your personal taste and nothing else. Nothing wrong with that. However, I love the Firm's videos and my present faves are: "Super Sculpting" "Cardio Burn" "Core Cardio 1" and "Tough Tape"
IMO, however, the Firm needs to get on the ball and make some new videos. All these compilations and mixes are getting rather boring.
I also hated the FIRM, and still do except for Tough Tape. I asked over at VF what others may be like Tough Tape that I could try because I like it so much. They suggested SuperSculpt, Total Body Shaping Mix, and Boot Camp. They are all strength only videos, except for a little cardio in TBSM. I haven't tried or ordered the others yet (Spent my money on Cathe!), but I the other tapes just don't let me lift heavy and the cardio doesn't do much for me. Feels like a waste of time.
If you lift heavy enough you will feel the Firm. Try Vol. 2 with 10 lb. plus weights -- it is killer. As for the cardio, I agree. The Firm has never been good at cardio -- the exception IMO are "Core Cardio 1" which is pretty advanced and "Tough Aerobics Mix" and "Cardio Burn" which are medium level aerobics.
But as for tough, yes, the Firm is super tough weight wise and to me the Firm's strength is way harder than Cathe's. Perhaps it's the difference in methodologies.
I have gone back and forth between Cathe's gym-style training and Firm style training. I agree that the Firm's focus is not cardio, although you do get a lot of secondary cardio work from all the leg presses and stuff. If I've been doing Cathe for a while, the Firm really kicks my rear, and if I've been doing the Firm for a while, Cathe really kicks my rear, so for me it is all about keeping my routine fresh and using my muscles in different ways. In general, the Firm is the best for lower body strength, Cathe for upper body. Some Firms I really like (that are generally liked over at VF as well) are
Total Body Shaping Mix
If you lift as heavy as you can, you WILL see results. In fact, despite my statement above that Cathe is queen of the upper body workout, when I returned this week to the PS series after doing a Firm rotation, I found that I had MORE shoulder strength! I had to lower my weights for chest, but INCREASED them for shoulders (and was the same for triceps). I didn't expect to see that kind of upper body progress with the Firm. But ultimately, if you don't like 'em, that's OK! But don't decide you don't like them based on preview, make sure you give them a good try for a couple of weeks, because they really grow on you (I didn't like the Firm initially either).
The FIRM tapes are very different from any other video I have tried. Every time I preview a FIRM for the first time, I laugh out loud at least once. I think the "fakeness" factor of many of the instructors is annoying. Especially if you are used to Cathe.
However, once you start ignoring the instructors and get used to the actual workout, they are wonderful. Nothing like them.
I get a great cardio workout from Volume 4 and volume 5 (you have to do part of the workout twice to get a long enough cardio section). The step downs (or ups) really get my heart going....especially with a tall box and heavy weights. I also like Tough Cardio Mix....but I think that volume 4 and 5 get me going better....just not as long.
The FIRM delivers its promise of sculpting beautiful muscles! Can't tell you much about the newer FIRMs because I have a lot of Classics and Parts tapes.
When I discovered Cathe, I realized my cardio needed some work. I also realized I can lift really heavy weights. I love PS Legs and MIS. The FIRM can't deliver a great chest workout like Cathe does. And I can't wait to get her new 6-pack rotation. I definitly need the extra cardio that the FIRM can't deliver.
Don't miss out on the FIRM though just because of the production.....
(Cathe....sorry to push the FIRM on your site....I love your tapes too!)
What didn't you like? The heavy makeup, the obvious breast implants, or the sex kitten voices & looks? Actually beneath the baggage are some great workouts but it's a totally different style from Cathe's workouts. The Firm really was innovative with their workout approach - aerobic weight training when the other video choices were Jane Fonda, Kathy Smith & Denise Austin. Lots of us find the workouts effective & fun. But the frequent changes between muscle groups does make it difficult to go to really challenging weights. It may be that the Firm just isn't for you. There are a variety of workouts so you might try a few more. Obviously there's no consensus because I love some of the recommendations that were posted & hate some of the others that were recommended. If you found one you liked, then people could recommend similar workouts. Also if you stated why you disliked a video then that could narrow it down.
Sorry for running on, but I also admire the Firm for using a diverse cast - ethnically, genderwise & more recently a range of body types.
On a friend's recommendation, the first several workout tapes I ever had were the all from the Firm. At the time, I had just left a job where I had access to a great gym, and I was just relieved to find that I really could get a decent strength workout at home. I didn't much notice the style, frankly, because I was just glad I'd found a way to sweat.
As soon as I started branching out, though, I started trading some of my Firms away because of all the same complaints everyone else has, including the make-up, the seductive voices, the horrible outfits, etc. I was so relieved to discover there are alternatives. When I do BodyMax (my only Cathe weight training so far, although I'm looking forward to the DVD 8-pack) I find her down-to-business approach to be an incredibly refreshing change of pace. I haven't yet experienced trader's regret with respect to any of the Firms I've gotten rid of.
But some of my Firm tapes are keepers -- I won't be parting with them in the forseeable future. I love love love Tough Tape, Firm Strength, and Firm Cardio. They're all great, tough workouts, with less of some of the horrible features than some of their older workouts. I'm going to keep Upper Body and Standing Legs for the time being, despite the fact that they do rub me the wrong way, because I don't have anything else that fits that same niche in my collection (45 minutes, upper or lower not both). (Lots of people think Standing Legs is the toughest leg workout in existence, but I will trade away Upper Body if I ever find an appropriate substitute however.) And I have been coveting Maximum Body Sculpting with Tracy Long for more than a year because I like her so much in Tough Tape, but I refuse to pay Firm Direct's full-price for it so I hope it goes retail someday.
Elizabeth, I love Maximum Body Sculpting. It's certainly the best of the Tri-Trainer group (though it's just Tracy). Can't understand why this one never went retail. It may not be as challenging as Tough Tape but it's a more balanced total body workout. As usual, Tracy Long's cueing & form tips are right on.
I think the problem with the early Firm videos (except for Susan Harris who is a real Firm instructor) was they recruited actresses like Sandahl Bergman and Janet Jones-Gretsky. Those instructors weren't not as good as the real Firm ones.
Tracie Long is a great instructor, as is Susan Harris. But Tracie's All Weights or whatever it is called is too easy and not for advanced exercisers, IMO.
As for breast implants, I could care less. And the makeup doesn't bother me either. The Firm has given me back more than I ever anticipated in fitness.
I was also turned off by the "look" of the early FIRM tapes and did not start buying any until recently (along with Cathe's videos). There's a few I like: Tough Tape#1 with Tracie Long (it's a more recent tape so the makeup emphasis isn't as strong), Sandahl Bergman's Aerobic Int. Training (I think it's Vol.3) - I do get a good aerobic workout with it. I am very impressed with Standing Legs - it looked not-so-tough when I previewed it but I am pushed to finish it. I do Cathe's PS Legs once a week and Standing Legs as my other leg workout and my lifelong persistently chubby thighs are actually shaping up! All of the FIRM tapes I have use the tall box and use weights and/or a barbell to work the upper body so I can't see using them everhday though. I also like Cathe's videos which are strictly aerobic - although I'm still working on learning the steps and have yet to make it all the way through MIC or Int. Max (but I will!).
I use both Cathe, Firm, and Tae Bo video's in my rotation. But being pregnant, now I am just using Cathe's strength training and the Firm too.
I love the Firm production video's and find the more recent ones have better music. But they don't cook my upper body like a Cathe weight tape.
The Firm has come out with alot of cardio tapes like Core Cardio 1 and 2, Max Cardio, Power Cardio, Cardio Burn and Super CArdio. So you can get more cardio if that is what you like. But the choreography is simple and not as fun as Cathe's choreography. Super Sculpt is the newest "non-parts" tape and it's fun for the lower body. The upper body though while great for the shoulder's doesn't seem to do much for my triceps. I just love the Pure Strength tricep work. So I just do alot of Firm video's for lower body(Lower Body Split, Standing Legs, Super Sculpt) and then do Cathe's tapes for upper body(BodyMax upper body, MIS upper body, PS upper body tapes).
I heard that most of the Firm instructors don't even use the Firm tapes! It's nice to know Cathe gives us true tough workouts that push her to the limit! You know you are getting top advanced workouts with Cathe!
I think the reason the Firm instructors don't use the Firm tapes is because they teach Firm classes! I know some of them run, and they probably work out on machines as well, I don't really know. But they all teach AWT classes. I doubt if Cathe does her own tapes either. . . But she teaches classes LIKE her tapes! And she probably runs and uses machines too. . . So I wouldn't put too much stock in the "some Firm instructors don't even do Firm tapes" controversy. What instructor WOULD do their own tapes?? I doubt if many do. But their tapes are as similar as possible in video format to what they teach on a daily basis, so I still think that for the most part "what you see is what you get" with most instructor's workouts.
the first firm tape i purchased was Vol. 3 with sandahl bergman (sp?). i hated it. i realized the classics, a.k.a. vol.1 through 6, were not for me. the only classics parts tape i have is standing legs, and after one year of ownership, i still haven't tried it. i really like firm strength, firm cardio, any tapes with tracie long as the instructor, cardio split 1, and super sculpt. i say you try the newer tapes to see if they are to your liking. they really are effective sculpting tapes, but if you want cardio, go with cathe and CIA tapes.
Hi Jane! - My workout schedule varies a little each week but this is how it worked this last week: Mon. - PS Legs/Abs, Tues.: Energy Sprint (just the aerobic section) & 1st 1/2 Ab Attack, Weds. - Both PS upperbody tapes, Thurs.- Reebok Intense Moves & 2nd 1/2 Ab Attack, Fri. - Standing Legs (and I played racquetball in the afternoon with a friend - I was vegged out last nite & it was my 14th anniversary. Today I did MIC and it was the first time I made it all the way through! Tomorrow it's nothing or a stretching tape.
I live in the mountains of central Idaho and when the weather is better (spring is WET here) I'll change some of my aerobics to outside. This last winter I learned to skate ski and it became my aerobic workout - it was what convinced me that I needed harder workouts than my Kathy Smith. When I was skate skiing I pretty much just did strength workouts. I found Cathe ( & Karen Voight & Gin Miller) through Video Fitness - it's like a whole new world & I love this forum! Anyway - this is more info than you asked for but it was nice chatting!