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After being served Instagram ads for FORM over several weeks, the “30 minutes or less” pitch convinced me to try it. I’m all about a short, efficient workout (and a free trial) so I started training with Sami Clarke. I’ve tried tons of exercise programs (online and in-person) not because I love working out but because I detest it. Like a hopeless romantic, I keep searching for The One and I’ve been starting to wonder if my criteria is too stringent.
My ideal workout is quick, different every day, and challenging (but not dread-worthy hard). I can do it in a small space and when I travel. It requires little to no equipment. The type of trainer I like is encouraging (but not cheesy), gives enough instruction (but not too much), offers modifications, and has a non-annoying voice. As you can see, it’s almost as if I’m looking for reasons to reject workouts. To my delight, I made it past the trial phase with FORM and happily paid $22 for a monthly subscription (yearly is $120).
- It’s not super intense
- Different schedules every week
- Daily workouts assigned
- Great music
We don't like
- No warm-up, cool down (for 30-minute videos)
- Can’t revisit previous schedules (but you can save the videos manually in your list)
- Not mirrored (when she says right side, it’s your left side)
The Weekly Schedule
I started with the seven-day trial to get my bearings and see what FORM was about. The program is a library of workouts that are arranged in new schedules each week. Each day has one 30-minute workout (or two videos that add up to roughly half an hour) designated. On Wednesday you might have a 30-minute fully body HIIT workout then on Thursday, a 20-minute booty burner and 10-minute ab workout.
I love that FORM takes the decision-making out of my hands so I just select the day and begin the workout. As someone who doesn’t exactly look forward to sweating, I prefer to be given an assignment rather than build my own program. I don’t have to scroll through a bunch of workouts (trying to find the easiest one) and hope that the random videos I choose over the course of the week are giving me a good balance of upper body/lower body/strength/cardio. FORM’s weekly schedules are designed to challenge every part of your body so if you follow the prescribed regimen, you can rest assured you’re getting a well-rounded program. FORM’s weekly schedules are the Soylent of exercise: maximum efficiency so you can minimize the amount of time spent thinking about (and doing) workouts.
Design Your Own Program
If you like picking and choosing a la carte, FORM also makes that easy. You can search by amount of time, type of workout (no equipment, injury-friendly), and body focus (abs vs booty vs full body). FORM’s programs (14 Day Reset, Pilates x Strength) are included in the monthly subscription so if you’re not into the weekly schedule, you can opt for one of Sami’s programs that is designed to flow together. I’ll keep singing the praises of the weekly schedule, though. It does not miss.
Whether you’re doing one of the core burners or Pilates workouts, you only need a mat and one weight (usually 10 lbs). The only weights I have are Bala bangles (which Sami often wears as ankle weights) and this has worked just fine for me.
FORM’s whole vibe is very aesthetic (please see: photoshoots at Erewhon), which can induce skepticism about whether it’s a Real Workout or an Instagram workout, but I can attest that it’s the real deal. The videos are super professional and don’t have that homemade sensibility you get with some influencer-cum-trainers (charming when it works but cringey when it’s amateurish), but more importantly, the workouts are effective. To give you an idea of a standard full body, it’s three rounds of eight exercises (45 seconds on, 15 seconds off) and a five-minute core burner to finish. There isn’t a warm-up or cool-down built into the workout, but you can do separate videos if you want guidance.
FORM isn’t the most intense workout I’ve done (I’ll do one of Heather Robertson’s HIIT workouts if I really want to sweat), but I rarely want that. Sami always uses the word “spicy” and I’d say that’s a good description of the level of intensity she provides. It’s definitely enough to get your heart pumping, but you won’t be drenched in sweat. The thirty-minute promise is genuine. You get a complete workout in half an hour and it doesn’t feel rushed. I hate the hyper-intense workouts that try to cram a 45-minute workout into thirty (ten seconds of rest is ridiculous) and force you to work at a crazy pace.
In one of the most memorable (in a bad way) Pilates classes I’ve taken, the instructor kept screaming, “Don’t you dare give up on me!” over and over. It was such a distraction (and an annoying refrain) that I never went back to that studio. An instructor can make or break a class and Sami’s demeanor is, for my tastes, pitch-perfect. My typical complaint is very Goldilocks-ish (too much talking/not enough talking), but Sami has mastered the perfect blend of motivation and explanation, and she’s just plain charismatic. She feels like the cool friend of a friend who’s easy to get along with. A lot of YouTube workouts I like are completely silent and I sometimes feel like I’m missing the point, but Sami tells you exactly where you should be feeling the burn. Favorite instructors are such a personal thing and it’s really just about a personality match, but Sami’s style has wide appeal.
Final Thoughts On FORM
I’ve never gotten a runner’s high, fitness is not my passion, and my idea of the perfect workout is one that can be easily compartmentalized. FORM is a dream for someone like me because it requires minimal self-galvanizing. Everything is laid out in the simplest terms and I just get dressed and click Tuesday. I can’t overthink it and it’s too short to dread, so I actually end up doing it, which is the most I can ask of a workout program. As Sami would say, Lehs get itttt!