The Firm: Burn & Shape

Burn & Shape is a pink Firm workout led by trainer Emily Welsh. This is another total body cardio + strength workout. I didn’t think I remembered the workout before I did it, but once I did it this morning, I remembered why I didn’t like this workout. I have no problem with compound exercises that incorporate upper and lower body but when it starts to get awkward, that’s when you lose me. I did not like this workout when I did it many years ago and I still did not care for it this morning.

First let me say it is a good total body strength workout. Emily did hit all the major muscle groups. And not every move is awkward but a large percentage of them were awkward to me and I did not enjoy this workout. The awkwardness started from the very beginning. The warm up had moves I had trouble following! Granted, that could be due to the fact I am working out at 4:30am and very tired. But that also applies to every workout I do–I get up every morning Monday through Friday at 4:20am so that I start working out at 4:30am. That is why warm ups are so important for me. They need to actually get me warmed up (and awake) without making me think too hard. Usually by the time a workout actually starts (after the warm up is over) I am awake and ready to work hard. Cathe has always been the best (for me) at warming me up properly with nothing complicated and slowly building the intensity. But not in this workout. I was getting confused right from the beginning.

In short, it is an effective total body cardio + strength workout but I didn’t enjoy it at all due to awkward combos of both strength and even some of the cardio combos (and the warm up). I will not be returning to this one.

Burn & Shape is 43 minutes; 50 second intro, 7 minute warm up and 2:30 minute stretch. Equipment: dumbbells. I do not know what weight Emily and crew’s dumbbells were. The weights listed below are what I used. There is a beginner modifier.

Circuit 1:

  1. Squats; add overhead press; add raising straight legs to side, alternate legs (11# DBs)
  2. Lunge step forward then lunge step back; add back rows; add a glute lift after lunge step forward (13# DBs)
  3. Bicep curls; changes to partial bicep curls; changes back to full bicep curls (13# DBs)
  4. Repeat #2 on other side of body
  5. Wide plie squats holding one DB in front of you and the other behind you; add a front raise w/ front arm and side raise w/ back arm, hold them at top and rotate, lowering arms so their position is swapped (5# DBs)
  6. Bent over rear delt flys; changes to lifting one arm to the side and raising it to ceiling to a slow count (also rotating torso as you raise the DB) (5# DBs)

Circuit 2: step front, back, front + 2 hops to change lead; bob and weave; shuffle side to side; hamstring + knee pull; alternating front lunges (there are arm movements with all of these lower body combos)

Circuit 3:

  1. Alternating 4 count rear lunge holding one DB in both hands; add overhead tricep extension (one 15# DB)
  2. Push ups while holding one DB (one 18# DB)
  3. Kneeling lunge w/ one foot and one knee on the ground, do one arm row (one 18# DB)
  4. Wide squats; add wide bicep curls; add a pivot to the side at top of squat, alternate sides (11# DBs)
  5. Repeat #3 on other arm
  6. Repeat #2 w/ DB in other hand

Circuit 4: side to side step tap; add knee lift; squat side to side; add a kick after the squat; add a reverse lunge after the kick; squat jump + 2 hops (there are arm movements with all of these lower body combos)

Circuit 5:

  1. Side lunges; add a leg sweep across after lunge (15# DBs)
  2. Deadlift + row; add 2 tricep kickbacks after row; changes to just tricep kickbacks; add isometric hold at top of kickback (10# DBs)
  3. Walking lunges, 2 forward and 2 back; add hammer curl to overhead press (10# DBs)
  4. Hold one DB in both hands and balance on one leg, raising and lowering other knee, tapping toe to floor when lowering; add leaning torso back when tapping toe; add twisting torso/DB toward knee when raising it (one 10# DB)
  5. Repeat #4 on other side of body

Circuit 6:

  1. Straight arm plank hold; drop to knees and do tricep push ups; raise back to toes for another plank hold
  2. Lay on back, knees bent and feet raised off floor, do chest flys; add alternating leg extensions (10# DBs)
  3. Still on back, knees bent and feet on floor, hands behind head, do basic crunches; hold at top of crunch, extend arms, bring arms back behind head then lower
  4. Reverse crunches; add hip swivels to each crunch; add upper body crunch that angles toward the side that hips are swiveling
  5. Full crunch; add extending legs; add wrapping arms under bottom at top of crunch and overhead  when legs are extended
  6. Place feet back on floor and do half circle crunches, alternate sides
  7. Still on back, hands behind head, knees bent and feet on floor, alternate bringing knees to chest; add upper body crunch, pulling elbows down from overhead to floor with each crunch

6 thoughts on “The Firm: Burn & Shape

  1. OMG that you wake up at 4:20 am so you can be working out by 4:30 am. In those 10 minutes between getting out of bed and dressed into workout clothes do you eat a small snack or any kind of beverage/shake before working out? I work out in the mornings too but I eat breakfast first and then wait 20 – 30 minutes before working out.

    P.S. I came to this post because the TFDVD site has this DVD as one of their $2 discs and my curiosity finally got the better of me — I was hoping it was an old school/original Firm DVD rather than one of the pinks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Currently I am not getting up that early but that is only because I telework. Not sure when that will end but I am getting more sleep, which is nice. Now I set my alarm for 5:30am.

      Anyway, I do not eat or drink anything before I exercise. I never have. I guess I could if I was doing low intensity workouts but the workouts I’ve always done have been intense enough that they make queasy if I eat anything beforehand. Plus, there is the time thing. When I was going into the office I was on a schedule and eating before I exercised did not fit into my schedule. I needed my workout to be done, out of the shower, dressed with make up on before a certain time so I could get to work on time. I used to eat breakfast before work (after all of the afore mentioned activities were done). But I have been intermittent fasting for the past 2 years so I don’t eat anything until 10am. But I do have coffee–after my workout and shower.


      1. You are a workout rockstar and I know you do more strenuous/advanced workouts than I do, but I would just up and completely pass out if I tried to workout without having had breakfast. Especially doing NMTZ by Jillain. I have Cheerios with half a sliced banana and rice milk and then wait 20 – 30 minutes to workout. I generally do not drink any water before I work out but, when needed, I will take sips of water when I need to during a workout. But I don’t always like to drink water during a workout, although of course I do because I listen to my body and how I’m feeling, because sometimes depending on the moves, I can feel it sloshing (even a small amount, I’m not glugging) around in my stomach and the sound alone makes me feel queasy.

        I’ve gotten a few excellent deal-of-the-days at TFDVD recently….. Have you recently purchased anything while you’ve been rehabbing? I actually “window shop” workout videos more than browsing books online now which I never thought would happen but I think that’s because I’m looking to change the types of workouts I do. I love Jillian but lately I feel more tired (and sometimes sore) after doing her workouts rather than feeling energized and accomplished. I might just be pushing myself too hard, sometimes I tack on an extra 10 – 20 minutes of an add-on, even after doing NMTZ for an hour already.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s probably exactly what is going on. If you are feeling more fatigued, I would take an extra rest day each week and/or do some easier workouts. We do need recovery days and recovery weeks. If you’ve been pushing hard for 6-8 weeks then do a week of more gentle exercise–low impact and yoga/flexibility/mobility. That will reset you so you come back stronger.

        A lot of it is habit. I’ve been working out like this for 20 years–I’ve never eaten before my early morning workouts due to my schedule/routine but I found out early on when I had the day off of work and I worked out later–after eating–that it just makes me feel sick. I rarely get lightheaded during workouts. There are a lot of schools of thought on it and you will find some study that supports whatever viewpoint you choose to believe. Intermittent fasters will swear you don’t need to eat before you workout nor do you need to consume protein within the hour afterward and present studies to prove it. People on the opposite end of the spectrum who feel you need to eat something before hand to give you energy and you need protein immediately afterward to rebuild muscle will present you with their studies backing it up. I just do what works for me.

        And yes! I have actually purchased A LOT of Barlates workouts. A LOT. So stupid because I am so far behind on her workouts. I have also purchased more Cathe Live downloads. I have something like 9 to do when I am able. And I have a huge list of YouTube workouts I want to do when I am able. So yes! I am constantly browsing workouts!


      3. I have been pushing myself harder recently when working out — I’m kind of fixated on my triceps and how not toned they are.

        As for an easier workout……… Our library system is still closed but they are permitting patrons to put holds on materials (only from our library system only and not from other libraries in our state) and then pick them up during designated hours. (All no-contact, the materials are outside and you have to call first to arrange pick-up.) Anyway, I borrowed Kathy Smith’s Staying Strong from her Ageless Collection thinking I’d really like it. I did not. I made it about 10 minutes into the 60 minute workout and popped out the DVD and ended up doing Workout 3 from 30DS. Kathy chattered the whole time (which is a good thing for me as I like the trainers/instructors to be chatty during the workout) but she rarely, if ever, gave any form or technique tips and I did not like that. I also did not like working the shoulders (and biceps) for 10 minutes of the 15 minute segment. The same move again and again and again just different slightly different tempos. Boring. I was sadface. I wanted to love it and then buy it from Wal-Mart which currently has the DVD for just $8.99 with free in-store pick-up. Oh well.

        I also tried one of Jackie Warner’s workouts (another from the library) and didn’t like it — way too much emphasis on shoulders, another DVD I popped out and then turned to a Jillian one. (And then also I realized that while Jackie has an awesome body she likely did not get it from doing that particular workout and that was a big turn of for me too.)

        I think Linda from Barlates is someone whose workouts I would really like but as I’ve said before, her catalog of DVDs is overwhelming and it feels like a tedious chore to sift through her stuff to figure out what might be a good fit for me.

        If it wasn’t a million degrees outside, I’d go on some nice long brisk walks…….

        P.S. Sorry for being whiny…..


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