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Self Firm Flat Abs, Fast!

Although I’m a frequent reader of Self magazine, I’d never done one of its workout DVDs. After Jenn’s success with Abs of Steel, I thought I’d dedicate a rental to tummy toning, so I checked out Self’s Firm Flat Abs, Fast! The beach scenery was beautiful, and the instructor, Violet Zaki,was as cool as her name. I loved her Aussie accent and her shoes (I looked—Reebok, according to the credits.) Plus, she gave excellent cues and tips on proper form.Just shy of half an hour, the DVD is split up into four segments that you can do in a row or pick and choose between.  I think even less-advanced exercisers could get away with doing the entire video in one sitting. While it doesn’t require tons of equipment (or soap on a rope like some DVDs), I did need a weight and a stability ball. My stability ball doesn’t fit in my tiny living quarters, so I didn’t use it, and unfortunately, the Aussie didn’t show any modifications. I instead switched up the moves on my own using my own brain power and a much smaller ball that I stole from my dog for some of the overhead lifts.

The first segment involved the warmup and some standing ab moves, including lunges with weights and twists to work the obliques. I never feel anything from standing ab moves, so I wasn’t particularly “moved” by this portion, nor was I at all sore the next day. The stability ball portion involved typical stability ball moves, and I learned not to use dog toys for workout equipment when the pug kept attacking the ball while I was twisting side to side with lunges.

I didn’t feel especially challenged until the Pilates-inspired section, when some pulse-and-holds, bicycles and leg circles finally kicked my abs in gear. The last yoga-centered section was also more challenging, with planks and side planks that were some of the most challenging moves on the DVD. The video also included a bonus cardio section, which was a bonus, but unfortunately it was the most basic of basic and was only about 5 minutes long. I did it twice because Violet said I could.

FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Instruction: ★★★★
Long-Term Likeability: ★★
Music: ★★
Fun Factor: ★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★
Overall: ★★★

Fit Bottom line: The variety, instructor and stretches after each segment are great, but the video left both me and my abs wanting more. —Erin

Photo grabbed from http://www.photobucket.com.

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!


  1. c says:

    Thanks for the review, I am really looking to increase my strength training and toning exercise so reviews like these are really helpful

  2. tfh says:

    I’ve wondered about the Self videos, especially since I noticed Netflix has them. It’s pretty cool that this one sounds accessible to all levels, but since spaces on my queue are precious, I’m going to save my abs for a video that will have ’em screaming in agony.

  3. Missicat says:

    Thanks – ab exercises are my least favorite, so it’s nice to hear of a new DVD to try!

  4. MizFit says:


    I need you to come over.


  5. Erica says:

    Hahahah- I can just imagine your dog attacking you while you were trying to workout 🙂 Frank often tries to lay right in front of me while I’m prepping for teaching (its like they’re saying ok mom…enough with whatever it is you’re trying to do- lets hang out/play toys haha).

    I love the reviews!

  6. Girl on Top says:

    Thanks for the review!

  7. Sagan says:

    Thanks for reviewing this! I was wondering what it was like.

  8. Mark Salinas says:

    I read this and posted earlier my post disappeared….thanks for the review and Pilates is on my short list! 🙂

  9. Munchkins and Music says:

    Good review. Thanks!

  10. Mike says:

    Thanks for the honest review on how to get Firm Flat Abs Fast! As I am not much interested in fun or music, but more on the results, I think I will go for this one.

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