Well… I did it! I completed 22-Minute Hard Corps! While I’ve been posting in here somewhat regularly regarding my progress and the workouts, I also wanted to do a final summary of thoughts on the program as a whole.
The Basics: For those who are just now reading my blog, 22-Minute Hard Corps is an eight-week military-style bootcamp at-home fitness program developed by celebrity trainer Tony Horton. Workouts are only 22 minutes, and they’re a mix of cardio and resistance training DVDs.
What did I love about this program? I loved that it was only 22 minutes long. This is one of the shortest workouts out there produced by Beachbody (with 10-Minute Trainer and Focus T25 being similarly short). Having done many at-home fitness programs, I believe that 22-Minute Hard Corps is easily the most efficient workouts you can get for the time you’re spending exercising. I also love Tony Horton. He’s an awesome trainer. I loved that the moves were not normally complicated. The branding is also awesome. It honors veterans and the military by using real military veterans in the workouts, it’s filmed in all sorts of military-themed locations, and the bootcamp-style seems pretty authentic.
What did I not like about the program? The workouts can get repetitive. With only three cardio and three resistance workouts over the course of eight weeks (nine weeks if you do the optional Hell Week), I was starting to get bored near the end of the 2 months. Plus, many of the moves are similar. For example, there is some variation of a burpee in every cardio workout AND some of the resistance ones as well. Going into this program, I LOVED burpees, really I did. But Hard Corps made me never want to see one again. 😛 There are also two core/abs workouts, but you do the same moves in both workouts, you’re just increasing the number of repetitions. You also do the core workout every other day, with your cardio workouts, so the core workouts got a little repetitive too.
Was it hard? Sometimes, yes. I’m a graduate of many of Beachbody’s toughest programs, like Insanity and P90X, and Hard Corps kicked my ass at times. Cardio 2 is one of THE hardest workouts out there, primarily due to the gorilla crawls and the way they’re incorporated into the larger workout. Your legs are toast at the end. I found all of the workouts doable, but challenging, and I got ridiculously sweaty in the mere 22 minutes. Here’s a peek at each of the moves from Cardio 2, which I contend is one of the hardest workouts Beachbody has made:
Can anyone do this program? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say no. I know that Beachbody probably likes for all of their programs to be workable for people of all fitness levels and there IS a modifier for all of the moves, but without totally modifying some of the moves into completely different moves, I don’t think Hard Corps is for everyone. Some of these moves are VERY hard on your joints. I consider myself to be a pretty fit person, and I woke up one day after Resistance 3 and my knees were in severe pain from mountain squats. There are many moves in this program that put a lot of strain on your knees, elbows, and joints. It is very important that you’re doing these moves on a comfortable, cushioned surface. Get a mat. So, if you have issues with those types of moves, there is something else out there for you. Let’s chat if you need some recommendations. Here are the mountain squats that messed with my knees:
I will also note that I experienced a bit of lower back pain during this program, which is NOT normal for me. I would randomly pull a lower back muscle and need to modify for a day or two until it improved. That had never happened to me during another workout program before. I think it was because I wasn’t warmed up enough before jumping into the workouts, as the warm-ups are very short. I found that the pain happened more during the resistance workouts, so I started warming up before all of the resistance workouts with the Cold Start (10-minute warm-up) and I never had back issues again. So, I would definitely recommend incorporating the Cold Start warm-up as much as possible. It’ll make your workouts 10 minutes longer, but it’s worth it.
What is Hell Week? Did you do it? Yes, I did. I didn’t come so far to crap out at the end! If you haven’t had enough after eight weeks of 22-Minute Hard Corps, you can choose to complete the optional Hell Week at the end. The Hell Week includes 2-3 workouts a day, so 44-54 minutes of workouts a day, rather than just 22 minutes. It is very hard, and you’re wasted at the end of each day, but it’s amazing. I felt very challenged during Hell Week. Here’s the Hell Week calendar:
Did you follow the nutrition plan? No. I’m generally pretty healthy with my diet. I drink Shakeology everyday. I’m also a weekday clean-eating vegan. On the weekends, I’ll do some calorie splurges and enjoy some cocktails, but no, I did not really change my diet at all for this program.
Did you use any supplements? Yes. I used Energize, which is a preworkout energy drink. It’s all natural – no artificial colors, sweeteners, or preservatives, and NO FILLERS. It’s vastly superior to every other preworkout drink on the market, including my old preworkout drink – Energy and Endurance. My cardiovascular endurance really improved during the program and I could push a lot harder and longer through my workouts, and I attribute some of that to Energize.
What kind of results did you get? Honestly, being in pretty decent shape already, I didn’t lose a ton of weight. I wasn’t really trying to lose weight, though, just trying to push my body to do something new and outside my comfort zone. I lost around 5 pounds, but I did improve drastically with my muscular endurance on some of the moves, like the gorilla crawls. The first time that I did Cardio 2, I could maybe do half of the gorilla crawls. By Hell Week, I could do all of them. I also could barely do pump jumpers (from Resistance 3) when I started, but could perform them no problem by the end.
Would you do it again? I’m a Team Beachbody coach, so I hate saying this, but I’m going to be honest here… No, probably not. I might do some of the workouts here and there, but I’m not really interested in doing the program start to finish again. It was a little too repetitive to me. BUT I’m very glad that I did it, as I feel like I did get a lot out of it, and that it did wonders for my muscular endurance and really helped chisel my abs, but there are other programs out there that I’d rather do first. Sorry, Tony! I still love you!
I’m interested in this or maybe some other program, but I need some support and accountability. Where can I get that? It just so happens that I am online health and fitness coach! I’d love to help hold you accountable with 22-Minute Hard Corps or some other program! I can plug you into one of my accountability groups, which are free when you purchase a program through me!
Where can I reach you? You can message me on Facebook or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What comes next for you? I’m on day 2 of the Master’s Hammer and Chisel! So far, it’s awesome! Check back here for more on that. 🙂