2008, $.99 (in the original shrink wrapper!), at Goodwill on Colorado in Eagle Rock

First Impression: I can tie my shoes!

Second Impression: Whee!

The back of this DVD ends two sentences in a row with the phrase “burn calories faster than ever before.” Now that is some skilled copywriting, because no one except me actually reads the back of a workout video. The FIRM wants to make sure they get their point across. 

I find that the description on the back cover and the script of the program are equally unsubtle. Our Master Instructor, Kelsie Daniels, blurts out, “Are you ready to watch the fat melt away?” Oh, like that scene in Raiders where the guy looks into the Ark and his face falls off? That wouldn’t be horrifying at all. Coolcoolcool.

The FIRM achieves this melting fat phenomenon with some confusing cardio routines alternated with choreographed dumbbell waving. 

The warmup features a capricious mix of knee pumps, heel digs, ham lifts, and grapevines. The pattern of the steps keeps changing, and I’m not picking it up very easily. Maybe all this mental effort is part of what burns calories faster than ever before.

We grab our weights and drop to do a knee pushup with a row. I am not enthused. Holding hand weights while doing a pushup means that your knuckles are in direct contact with the floor. Have you ever balanced on your knuckles? It’s not what they are meant to do. Or, perhaps I’m just not ready to burn calories faster than ever before.

Perhaps sensing my reluctance, the instructor doubles down on her enthusiasm:

“It’s time to party, girls, are you ready? Grapevine!” No, no… If someone starts up a grapevine, it’s not a party, it’s a polka festival. Grab a pierogi and get the hell out of there.

The Diva Gremlin Princess knows my attention is waning, and jumps in front of the TV to keep me entertained. Good kitty.

We alternate between more confusing cardio and semaphore with weights. I mean, there’s nothing inherently wrong with this workout. I am just bored out of my mind. Now the wind picks up, signaling the start of the forecasted week of rain in Los Angeles. I pause the video to look out the window because wind is so interesting to look at. Then I look at pictures of cats on the internet, because my own cats need to know what their competition is. Then… whoops… perhaps my finger advances through the next few chapters of the DVD and it’s the cooldown already. Ooopsy.

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