Firm 90 Day Rotation

In an attempt to ride my motivation wave all the way to the shore, I did some research and wrote a Firm rotation calendar last night. That’s when you know you’re ready – you don’t make the excuse to wait another week until January 1st. Instead, I’m starting tomorrow. I even had to force myself to take a rest day after seven straight workouts.

The Firm is known for their 90 day rotation calendars. You got a rotation calendar with each system when they started making the BSS sets specifics to the workouts in that set. And although I didn’t know of The Firm in the 80s and 90s, I have seen rotation calendars from then that were more generic. Do this type of workout this day. So I pulled some information from a 90 day calendar, adjusted it slightly to let me do more tortoise-style workouts, and feel excited for the next 90 days! I setup my calendar with the same day off every week (Monday!), and did six days a week, with the option to take an additional day off. Hell, even if I workout 3-4 days a week, that’s leaps over last year.

If you want to write your own rotation calendar, first you want to categorize your workouts. If your workouts are listed in this compendium, it’s pretty easy to categorize. Or, you can make an educated guess. I think sculpt, cardio, hare and tortoise are easy. But the classics are a bit more confusing to separate from hare and tortoise.

Sculpting– These are the all weights-based workouts. They can be total body, or upper/lower split workouts.

Cardio– Though I don’t know if there’s a Firm workout that’s 100% weight-free, these are the workouts that just use the lightest weights, and are high step intensive.

Tortoise– These are slow and heavy workouts. 75% weights, 25% cardio. These workouts tend to let you go heavier, have less four-limb. And also seem to have less of those upper and lower combined lifts (squats and overheads combined, etc.). These are closest to Sculpt workouts.

Hare– These are fast and light. 75% cardio, 25% weights. You do more four limb in these workouts. More cardio based, more lighter weights with more, faster reps.

Classics– These are 50/50 weights and cardio. These are the first six Firm classics videos (volumes 1-6). This is how The Firm started. There are other workouts classified as Classics. For example, Complete Aerobics and Weight Training from BSS2 and Total Muscle Shaping from BSS3.

Then I created my calendar based off of information in the compendium linked above. Adjusting a bit to allow me to do more tortoise-style workouts, and to have some repetition among weeks to hopefully see improvement. 90 days is 12 weeks.

Week 1, 3 and 9

  1. Sculpt
  2. Cardio
  3. Classic (R)
  4. Sculpt
  5. Cardio
  6. Tortoise
  7. Rest

Week 2, 4 and 10

  1. Tortoise
  2. Hare (R)
  3. Sculpt split
  4. Cardio
  5. Tortoise
  6. Hare
  7. Rest

Week 5 ,7 and 11

  1. Sculpt split
  2. Cardio
  3. Tortoise
  4. Cardio (R)
  5. Tortoise
  6. Cardio
  7. Rest

Week 6 & 8

  1. Sculpt
  2. Hare
  3. Cardio
  4. Hare (R)
  5. Sculpt
  6. Cardio
  7. Rest

Week 12

  1. Tortoise
  2. Classic
  3. Hare (R)
  4. Tortoise
  5. Cardio
  6. Tortoise
  7. FINISH!

Unless listed as a sculpt split, anything listed as sculpt should be total body. If you prefer classics for some reason, you could easily swap some of the tortoise workouts for more classics. The (R) next to a workout means it’s an optional workout. I leaned toward skipping cardio and hares. Thought that’s again purely preference. If I do six workouts, I’ll stick to the program. If I want a break, that gives me a planned potential rest.

I’ve recorded my measurements, weight, etc., and I’ll check in with my progress. Hopefully I haven’t been too optimistic in what I can do!

Anyone out there seen great results with a rotation? I don’t think I’ve ever done a rotation all the way through. Partly because I didn’t have enough workouts in the past to follow the published ones. And with the BSS1 rotation that came with the set, I improved slowly at first, so I went slower. Then I went faster and wanted to do workouts more quickly. So I modified. But in my years in between, I try to alternate sculpt and cardio, or not do too many tortoises in a row. So I’ve been doing a modified calendar, except with a lot of, “What workout should I do?” leading up to workouts. This way, I’ll have a planned workout, or can easily shift to a similar workout.

We’ll see if I still love tortoise-style workouts after this! :) I got a ton of success with just Cardio Sculpt and Body Sculpt (heavy on Cardio Sculpt), so I feel hopeful!


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Laurel
    Jan 02, 2018 @ 12:29:44

    I’m soooo glad you did all the hard work for me in making this schedule :) Yes, I’ve completed a whole rotation on BSS 1 and lost around 20 pounds. This was about 14 yrs ago, though I’m hopeful for the same result on this go around. I start January 4 with a group challenge. Good luck!


    • stumbletowardhealth
      Jan 02, 2018 @ 19:15:50

      That’s awesome! I have made it through 90 days of The Firm before. In fact, I’ve probably done much longer. But I’ve never followed a rotation calendar. I suppose in that aspect,the actual calendar matters little. :) But it motivates me.

      I got BSS1 in late 2002, I believe. And I lost 20lbs quickly and easily. Now that I have a decent amount of muscle, weight comes off more slowly and changes are more gradual even though I still have 40-50lbs to lose.

      Here is to both of us!


    • stumbletowardhealth
      Jan 02, 2018 @ 19:16:21

      Is your group challenge a Firm challenge? If so, where are you doing it? Or if it’s a secret, no bid deal!


      • Laurel
        Jan 03, 2018 @ 12:04:51

        Just a local challenge for people in my area to drop weight, period. Biggest percentage lost wins the pot at the end of 8 weeks. It’s motivating because everyone has to post a picture of their scale weight while they’re standing on it. Very public – eeeek! But you get a glimpse into how others are doing.

        I picked my FIRM workouts because of the results I had experienced with them earlier in life. Post-kids (2) now, though, so I’m not sure what results I can expect. Like you, I have muscle bulk but I find that it aids in weight loss when I’m doing HIIT specific workouts. For that target, I thought of doing the express system because of the microbursts of HIIT in the video. I work with a metabolic physician and she suggested this style of workout because of my muscle bulk and propensity for HIIT to burn off visceral fat. I’m going all in!

        Also, I read some of your other posts where you experience lots of fatigue and you’re working on an eliminated diet. I wondered if you are focused specifically on maintaining your protein intake? Specifically, I’m roughly your same “stats” but I have to get in 60g of protein every day. I’m never ravenous or tired even if I eat refined sugar in the day. Just a thought :)

        CHEERS! I start tomorrow!

      • stumbletowardhealth
        Jan 03, 2018 @ 21:37:05

        Thanks for the advice! I’ve actually JUST changed my diet in the last 3ish weeks, based on a food intolerance blood test. They rank reactions as mild, moderate or high. I’ve strictly eliminated all moderate and high, and am staying away from milds when it’s not super inconvenient. (Vinegar is a mild, but occasionally ill have a vinegarette dressing vs eating a moderate or high food, if that makes sense). Anyway, since implementing those changes, my energy has gone WAY up, and my appetite feels like a normal person.

        Maybe related: I generally get in at least 60g of protein (but always have). Often closer to 100g. I think it was some of my moderate or high reactions causing both the fatigue and the hunger.

        Good luck on your challenge. I’ve been looking around at some more various cardio videos because those are the ones I have the least of and will repeat most often in this workout. I have a Cathe HIIT workout I’m going to do at least once. It’s a killer, so if I dread it, I might do more steady state stuff.

        I’ve been Firming again since my food stuff changed, and I’m beyond the 10 workouts. I think when I re-measured, I was down 6.6lbs and 3.5″ measuring just five spots. An inch off of my belly button point on my waist! So I do think you’ll see movement, especially in eight weeks! Good luck!

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