2008, $3.00, at Oxford Odds & Ends, Oxford, PA

First Impression: Hmmm… sounds a little churchy.

Second Impression: It’s a cult, and exercise plan, and a Barbizon academy all rolled into one!

Our instructor, masquerading as “Emily Welsh,” calls the workout “Noontime Firm and Burn.”

I see you, Miley Cyrus.

Sidebar: Miley Cyrus’ personal Pilates instructor was Mari Winsor, whose DVDs I’ve reviewed here and here. I’m very aware of this connection because Mari puts it front and center on her website. Mari was proud to get Miley ready with a new body to go with her new album, new haircut, and apparently, new tongue that she just couldn’t stop showing off.

Coming in like a wrecking ball, our host suggests we “get ready to burn fat and tone your body, and still have time for a healthy lunch.” How much time does she think people have to eat lunch? I’m so used to gulping down my food, military-style, in a California State Labor Board-approved 30 minute window, that when I have a leisurely meal with friends I find it impossible to eat slowly. Such is the shame of the non-exempt employee.

We jump right into a fast paced warm up with lots of side step, knee lift, and arm pump variations. It’s confusing and hard to follow. As soon as you figure out the pattern they change it on you but, that’s the way of the FIRM. Never fear, our instructor’s perfectly smooth bob will guide us on our journey.

Let it be known that this is called the French Press:

Fun fact: in France it’s called the English Press. In England they call it Dutch Treat. In America it’s known as an Irish Goodbye.

“Step-kick-punch-hhyunngh!” That was a direct quote. It’s just Miley being Miley.

Now we’re supposed to jump like we’re auditioning for 42nd Street. The lady showing the beginner modification just gives her a look like, I’m not doing that.

If you were worried we weren’t going to have time to do abs, fret no longer, ‘cause here they are! And if you thought we would make it through this workout without even the slightest hint of body shaming, think again! “All you mamas out there. You like to work your tummies. We want that body back, don’t we?”  As if after giving birth, their body wandered off somewhere without them, had to be chased down, and ab-crunched into submission. Now that’s a horror movie. See you later, I’ve got to go write my way out of a screenplay.

Just one last moment to humble ourselves before our FIRM overlords:

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