frequently asked questions

With more than 25 years of experience, we've been asked a few questions! The FIRM Master Instructors have compiled answers to the most frequently asked questions about our workout. We hope this information helps you on your fitness journey.

If you want more information, tips, support or expert coaching from the Master Instructors, join The FIRM Believers Club today!


How do I start The FIRM?
S-L-O-W-L-Y. The most common exercise mistake is to attempt to become super-fit right away, after months, or possibly years, of inactivity. This usually leads to excessive soreness, frustration, dropping out, and possibly even injury. Those who are new to exercise should not use weights their first few times and only until they can perform the exercises without "jerky" movements.

If you are a regular exerciser but new to The FIRM program, use less weight than you think you can handle and work up gradually. You can always increase next time, without excessive soreness.

The workouts in The TransFIRMation™ System feature simple but effective moves, a steady pace, and continuous instruction on proper form. They are recommended for both new and experienced exercisers, and the system includes everything you need to get started today!

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How is The FIRM different?
The FIRM method is a hybrid of cardio and weight training we call “Synergy Training”. It combines the benefits of both types of exercise by using more repetitions and lighter weights than the usual gym workout. Remember, weight training or body sculpting does not mean that you have to lift very heavy weights. You will see results by beginning with 3, 5 and 8 pound weights.

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I've always been afraid of weights -- don't they give women big, bulky muscles?
Even when training with weights much heavier than those used in The FIRM workouts, most women lack the hormones necessary to achieve large increases in muscle mass. The reality is that only weight training can boost metabolism around the clock. (The post-exercise after burn from cardio also boosts metabolism, but the effect is comparatively brief.) Incorporating weights in your workouts will give you a more youthful, slim and shapely appearance.

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I am a beginner. What weight should I use?
Because you have both large and small muscle groups, you need different weights for different exercises. Beginners should start with no weight and work up gradually. A good beginner weight set allows you to work with 3, 5 and 8 pounds. As you become stronger, continue to maximize your results by using heavier weights.

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When should I start adding weights to my workouts?
Beginners should not use weights their first 3-5 workout sessions. If you are a regular exerciser but new to The FIRM program, use less weight than you think you can handle. Add or increase weights only when you have become familiar with the movements and can perform the exercises smoothly with perfect form.

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Are there specific size weights for each exercise?
Yes. Size matters! The amount of weight to use for each exercise depends on several factors including:

(1) Muscle size
(2) The speed in which the exercise is performed
(3) Individual strength.

A good starter set of weights for women allows you to work with 3, 5 and 8 pounds. Use the lightest weights for small muscles like the anterior deltoids (shoulders) and the heaviest weights for large muscles like the latissimus dorsi (back). Use light weights when performing several repetitions quickly (during a cardio routine), and use heavier weights when working slowly.

Hint: Use a mirror to check your form. Increase your weights only when you can complete a set easily with proper form.

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When will I start to see results?
The time it takes to see results depends on several factors, including your current fitness level, consistency, diet and genetics.

The absolute fastest fitness results come from combining weights, cardio, and a healthy diet. Results can generally be seen after 10 of The FIRM workouts if you commit to challenging exercise at least 3 times per week. The results can be increased if you follow a nutritionally balanced eating plan and get adequate rest. Results will always vary from person to person because of genetic factors such as metabolic rate and body type.

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My clothes fit better, but my weight hasn’t changed. Why?
Because muscle takes up less space than fat! With The FIRM workouts, you change your body composition by adding muscle and subtracting fat! Even as you lose fat and look slimmer and more toned, you may weigh the same. However, this is only temporary. In the meantime, throw out your scale and measure yourself to gauge your progress. Or, find that perfect pair of jeans you want to fit into, and try them on regularly – that’s even better motivation to keep working out!

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How will I look when I get into shape?
The FIRM workouts will first give you muscle tone. Although you may not have lost weight, you will look slimmer because muscle is denser -- takes up less room -- than fat. When your muscles are toned and your fat layer is reduced, you will see sleek muscle definition! For motivation and inspiration, check out our Success Stories.

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How can I modify the exercises for my fitness level?
If you have any kind of current or previous injury, get your doctor’s permission before beginning or continuing The FIRM workouts. Make sure you are using proper form for all the exercises. Follow the instructor’s coaching during the workout. Shorten your range of motion and use lighter weights to take some of the stress off whatever joint or muscle bothers you. You’ll find more information regarding proper form and modifications in The FIRM Believers Club!

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What is the best way to maximize fat loss?
The best way to maximize fat loss is to alternate between heavy weight, high intensity workouts and light weight, moderate intensity workouts. The heavy weight workout increases muscle that will burn calories even when you are not exercising. The light weight workout burns a large number of calories while you are exercising.

The more muscle you have, the more fat you burn. Building muscle is the best way to burn more calories and lose more fat. Alternating intensity levels causes "muscle confusion," which will "shock" your body into new levels of success. By varying intensity levels you may experience more and faster results!

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Aren’t squats and lunges hard on your knees?
You can protect your knees by always using proper form: don’t let your knees extend beyond your toes, press through your heels, keep your chest lifted, and never use a weight that is too heavy. Any exercise can cause undue stress or possibly even injury if done incorrectly. Meanwhile, correct form gives you faster and better results; invest in a mirror for your workout space to monitor your form. You’ll find more information regarding proper form and modifications in The FIRM Believers Club!

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How important is my diet?
Very. The FIRM workout improves your cardiovascular fitness, burns fat and tones your body in addition to a myriad of other positive health outcomes. To totally get with The FIRM program, however, you need to make wise choices about another controllable factor in your life: diet. The key to success is not an on-and-off diet. Instead, it’s important to make lifestyle changes that will make you look and feel better.

Imagine that your body is a car that you need to fuel regularly so that it runs. Crucial to peak efficiency is the type of fuel you use. Instead of high-grade gasoline, you might save money and time by using low-grade kerosene. The car might run, but down the line, it will need substantial repairs. Gasoline is more expensive, but in the long run, your car "metabolizes" it more efficiently, runs smoother, requires less maintenance, and lasts longer. Your body is the same way!

Don’t cheat your body. Eat the right foods to boost your metabolism, lose weight, and achieve maximum health and fitness. The key to weight loss is consuming fewer empty calories, or low-grade fuel, and burning calories through exercise.

In addition to the Meal Plan included with your system, The FIRM Believers Club provides you access to several more meal plans, recipes, and tips for good eating habits. Join today!

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What fitness tools does The FIRM use?

The WAVE's breakthrough design allows you to anchor it or let it rock. The anchored side of the WAVE is the perfect height to tone your hips, thighs and butt. Plus, you can use this "step" side of the WAVE for cardio sequences that maximize calorie-burning with minimal impact. The rocking side of the WAVE is The FIRM's most exciting innovation yet! When using the WAVE as a rocker, your core muscles -- abs, lower back and hips -- are constantly engaged. You get amazing results through your mid-section while sculpting your upper and lower body.

CardioWeights are The FIRM’s specially-created female-friendly hand weights. The complete set allows you to make 2 pairs of weights. With a soft neoprene handle that is comfortable and secure to grip and a strap that makes holding two pair of weights easy and safe, you’ll be reaching for these weights every time you workout – and get fabulous results too. It’s only through weight training that you increase your calorie-burning muscle for round-the-clock fat burning. A total body TransFIRMation is within grasp with The FIRM CardioWeights™.

The TransFIRMer is The FIRM’s unique 5-in-1 fitness tool. It adds all new moves and effective variations to the tried and true exercises in The FIRM workout. TransFIRMer™ exercises target muscles you never knew you had to shape up your trouble zones like nothing else! The TransFIRMer™ has five different configurations to take each workout to the next level: a 6 and 8 inch platform, a combined 14 inch platform, an incline step and a side by side configuration. If you’re looking for something to shape up the areas most women want to change -- the backs of your thighs, hips, abs, and fanny – The TransFIRMer™ is the tool for you!

The Body Trainer or Fanny Lifter is the inspiration for The FIRM’s signature Leg Press exercise. This one move will tighten, tone and yes, lift your tush like no other. The Body Trainer has 3 configurations. You can use the 6 or 8 inch platform for step aerobics and lower body sculpting exercises, depending on your fitness level. But stack the 2 together and you have a 14 inch platform specifically designed to shape the glutes and hamstrings. It’s also the perfect height for seated exercises to sculpt the upper body and abs.


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