Shift Shop Strength :25 Review

So far, so good!

I’m on Day 2 of 21 of Shift Shop!  Day 1 was a 25-minute cardio workout, which I’ll review later in this week.  Today was Strength :25, which was an easy-to-learn workout with 1-minute intervals of 15 resistance movements.

Equipment:  Weights.  It’s recommended that women use 5-10 lb. weights, and men use 10-20 lb. weights.  I used 12 lbs. for all exercise but the bicep curls because, let’s face it, one minute of bicep curbs with 12 lbs. is still pretty rough for me!  Next time I do this workout, I’ll probably increase the weights for most moves.

Length:  29 minutes.  It’s a little deceptive because it’s called “Strength :25” so the “25” makes you think it’s only going to be 25 minutes.  But it’s really 25 minutes of WORK, and it ends with a 4-minute cooldown.  The workout FLIES BY though!

Music:  Meh.  I don’t need the music.  Honestly, I’d rather play my own playlist.  However, I stream my Shift Shop workouts on Beachbody on Demand, and there’s no music-free option for these workouts yet.  If you’re not familiar with Beachbody on Demand, you need to GET familiar with it.  It’s like the Netflix of fitness.  I pay $99.95 for a full YEAR of access to every single Beachbody program ever created and that WILL be released within the year I’m a member, so it’s a pretty insane deal.  I mean, you could buy the Shift Shop DVDs for $60 PLUS shipping PLUS tax…. OR you could get EVERYTHING for only around $40 more.  Pretty easy choice if you ask me!  Anyway…

Format of Strength :25:  The workout starts with a short warm-up, as all workouts should!  Then you move into 15 resistance moves, each performed for one minute.  The warm-up + 15 moves = 25 minutes.  Finally, you end with a short (4 minute) cool down.  Here are the 15 moves, followed by a short video of each performed for a couple of seconds, time-lapsed and with NO music and fun transitions!

  1. Squat
  2. Shoulder press
  3. Reverse lunge
  4. Plank walk
  5. Bicep curls
  6. Side lunges (alternating sides)
  7. Push-up
  8. Shift lunge – for some reason, I always lose my balance on these a little!
  9. Renegade row
  10. Bridge – with a weight resting on your hips, you can REALLY feel this one!
  11. Upright row raise
  12. Piston plank
  13. Kickbacks (alternating sides)
  14. Bear kicks
  15. Sumo squat

Here’s a short video of this broken down:

The verdict?!

Well, the moves are all simple and easy to learn.  So, that’s a plus because it’s great for beginners.  Chris also showed modifications for every move, so you can take out some of the impact for your joints or decrease the range of motion.  You can also use lighter, or even no, weights to modify the moves.

I will need to increase the weights next time I do this.  At 12 lbs., I could have done heavier, especially for the legs moves.  I appreciated the no-nonsense approach – no complicated, difficult moves, just tried-and-true, effective resistance training.  I was worried that I’d get bored, as one minute seems like a long time to do some of these moves, but Chris keeps it interesting by utilizing isometric holds and playing with the tempo and range of motion.

Interested in Shift Shop? You have a couple of options to buy it. You can get a discounted bundle that comes with Shakeology and the Shift Shop DVDs, or you can get it as part of Beachbody on Demand, so you can access not just Shift Shop but hundreds of other workouts too! You can also check out the base kit or deluxe kit.

Need support? It just so happens that I coach people through at-home fitness programs, like Shift Shop! So, if you order the program through one of the links on this site, I’ll be happy to work with you to help you stay on track and plug you into one of my online accountability groups!

Have questions? Comment below or send me an email at distilledjill@gmail.com!

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Core De Force Power Sculpt Review!

Power Sculpt is one of two strength training workouts in Core De Force – the mixed martial arts program developed by Beachbody.  It contains more cardio moves than Dynamic Strength, so you really get your heart rate up throughout the workout.

Power Sculpt

  • Length:  37 minutes.
  • Number of Rounds: 9.
  • Equipment:  None.
  • Description:  A total-body burner designed to sculpt lean muscle and build next-level endurance with explosive power and interval training.

Format:  There are 9 rounds.  With all Core De Force workouts, a “round” is 3 minutes long, like a boxing round.  However, unlike the workouts that start with “MMA,” the format for a round is a little different for Power Sculpt, as it is more similar to the format of Dynamic Strength.  There are three moves in each round – the first move is considered to be the easiest and performed for 1 minute; the second move is a little more difficult and performed for 45 seconds; and the final move is considered to be the hardest and performed for only 30 seconds.  You will typically see one variation of a push-up, one leg move, and one move that focuses on the core and/or balance.  There are 4 original rounds; after you do them, you start from the top.  There is a final 9th burnout round with no breaks.

Warm Up:  A short warm-up of the following moves:  pulse side-to-side with a chest opener, pulse side-to-side with shoulder rolls, jumping jacks, alternating windmills to warm up the hamstrings, hip rolls, and a torso rotation.

Round 1 and 5:

1. Hip Drive Throughs.  I need to do a video to describe this one sometime.  Basically, you start in a seated position, then roll onto your back, raising your legs and hips into the sky, then rolling forward into a kneeling fight stance.  This one’s fun, and a great first move to get the blood flowing!

2.  Jumping Firefly.  Crouching push-ups with an oblique knee.  ROUGH!

3.  Half Monkey to Guard.  These are similar to gorilla crawls from 22-Minute Hard Corps, but a little easier, as you’re only doing one rep from side to side, and you stay a little higher in the squat.

Round 2 and 6:

1.  Switch Roundhouse Kick.

2.  Ground-to-Fighter Stance.  One of my favorite moves!  Start from a fight stance.  Drop to the ground into a plank, then let your entire chest hit the floor, then spring back up into fighter stance.  Here’s a short video to demonstrate this one:

3.  Low Stance Switch.  Start in a squat position.  Jump your feet so that you’re twisting through your core, and one foot alternates being slightly forward. Return to squat position.  Alternate.

Round 3 and 7:

1.  Ginga Hop.  Ginga lunge, then jump laterally into a lunge on the other side.

2.  Alternating Clinch Knee.  This is one of the big cardio moves of the workout, performed for 45 seconds!  Lean forward to grab your imaginary opponent’s head, then lean back as you knee it!  Go as fast as you can while maintaining good form.  Here’s a short video to show you the move:

3.  Triple Alligator Push-ups.  This one is strength and cardio combined!  Start in a low spider lunge, do three push-ups, then do a plyometric switch to change positions. Brutal!

Round 4 and 8:

1.  Roll Jumps.  Roll back, jump; roll front, jump.  Easy?  Jump higher!

2.  Plank Skaters.  Start in a bear stance.  Move your right leg over your left so that it’s diagonally behind your body.  Return to bear stance.  Switch sides.  I like to add a hop in between to make it a little harder.

3.  Superman Push-ups.  Push-up with an alternating arms and leg raise at the top of the move.  Here’s a short video to show you the move:

Round 9:

1.  Reverse Lunge, Clinch Knees.  Basically lunges with alternating knees.  30 seconds on each side.  Jericho modifies the move to make it more difficult by adding a hop with the clinch knee.

2. Push-up, Leg Check.  Push-up with an alternating leg check.  One minute. OMG.

3.  Guarded Squat to Squat Jump.  Squat to a jump.  Demonstrated in this video:

Cooldown:  There’s a short cooldown (around 2 minutes) with the following moves:  Hip flexor to calf stretch with a shoulder stretch, quad stretch, hamstring stretch, upper back stretch, chest opener stretch.


The verdict?  This is one of two strength training exercises from the program, and it’s definitely a bit harder than Dynamic Strength.  The bursts of cardio between some of the lower impact strength moves keeps your heart rate up throughout the duration of the workout.  A lot of the moves in this workout are just, quite simply, FUN.  The hip drive throughs, for example, just make me feel like I’m a kid rolling around!

Interested in Core De Force?  You have a couple of options to buy it.  You can get a challenge pack that comes with Shakeology, or a performance pack that comes with two of my favorite performance supplements – Energize and Recover.  You can also check out the base kit or deluxe kit.

Need support?  It just so happens that I coach people through at-home fitness programs, like Core De Force!  So, if you order the program through one of the links on this site, I’ll be happy to work with you to help you stay on track and plug you into one of my online accountability groups!

Have questions?  Comment below or send me an email at distilledjill@gmail.com!

My Review: 22-Minute Hard Corps

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.

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A happy girl finished with 22-Minute Hard Corps!

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:

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Hell Week Challenge

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 distilledjill@gmail.com.

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.  🙂

 

Day 22/Week 4 of 22-Minute/Hard Corps!

I started week four of 22-Minute Hard Corps today!  For those of you who haven’t been following me, I am doing the new exercise program from celebrity trainer Tony Horton.  It’s an 8-week military bootcamp-style workout.  Workouts are only 22 minutes long (hence the name of the program) and range from cardio to resistance to core.

Week 4 introduces a new workout into the mix – Resistance 3.  Up to this point, the workout calendar alternated between Cardio 1 and 2, Resistance 1 and 2, and Core 1.  Resistance 3 is the third of three strength-training workouts in the program.
Here’s the format.  You do a very short warm up.  Then you jump into the workout.  There are five moves in the circuit:
1.  Pump Jumpers – These are plyometric push ups!  They’re crazy!  I could not do the full number of repetitions.  You start in a plank with your hands in a tricep push up position, legs spread apart.  You do a push up, then jump your hands into a wide push-up position and your legs jump together… at the same time!  Then you do another push up with your hands in the wide position.  You’re alternating tricep push ups and traditional push ups with a plyometrical switch in between.  I can do these, but NOT nearly as many repetitions as what Tony was counting out in the video.  Neverthless, I’m proud I can do them and will try to record them for you so you can see what I’m talking about!  This is the only move that I could not complete in full for Resistance 3.
2.  Split Lunge Thrusts – Another plyometric move.  With dumbbells or a sandbag in hand, start in a lunge position… say, for example, left in front.  Jump to switch your stance, so now your right foot is in front.  As you jump, do a shoulder press.  This move happens fast, and it really gets your heart rate up and sweaty.  This move definitely works your legs and shoulders, but it also works your heart for cardio.  This move makes the workout.  Here’s a clip of me doing these Split Lunge Thrusts.  Be nice… this was my first time doing them!
3.  Arm Balance Rows – Holding your dumbbells in hand, start in a plank position with legs wide.  Twist through your core and lift one arm in the air in the direction you twist.  Bring your arms that’s in the air back to the ground and switch sides.
4.  Mountain Squats – These are rough!  Grab one dumbbell or your sandbag, holding it in one hand.  Start in a standing position, dumbbell close to your chest.  Sit down, then lay onto your back, then stand up, using your legs to push you up into standing through a squat.  It’s hard to describe, so I’ll do a video once I master it.  But you’re basically going from standing to sitting, to laying to standing.
5.  Scissor Clappers – This is your abdominal move.  In a sitting position, scissor your legs, clapping under the raised legs.  Here’s a clip:
You end with a cool down, which is actually the longest of any of the cool downs that I’ve done in 22-Minute Hard Corps yet.  I think it was around 3 minutes long.
I’m actually really enjoying these resistance workouts!  And I loved that there were no pull-ups in this one!  😉
Need some motivation, support, and accountability to reach your health, fitness, and wellness goals?  Email me at distilledjill@gmail.com or send me a message on Facebook!  I’m always running an online challenge group, and participation in the group is free with your purchase of one of our awesome challenge packs!

Day 8 of 22-Minute Hard Corps

I completed my first full week of 22-Minute Hard Corps, and today marked the beginning of week 2 of 8!

Week 2 starts with a new workout:  Resistance 2.  There are basically three types of workouts included in the 22-Minute Hard Corps program:  (1) cardio, (2) resistance (or strength/weight exercises), and (3) core (ab/core routine).

I liked Resistance 2 a LOT more than Resistance 1, which was heavy on two of my least favorite moves – push-ups and pull-ups.  The format for Resistance 2 is similar to Resistance 1.  A VERY short warm-up, three rounds of five exercises, and then a very short cooldown.  The five moves that we do are the following:

1.  A burpee press – with your dumbbells in hand, shoot out into a plank, then come back to a standing position, doing a shoulder press as you come to standing.  It’s essentially a burpee with a shoulder press at the top rather than a jump.  Just be careful with the dumbbells you use.  I use Power Blocks on carpet, so they’re not going to roll on me, but some other rounded dumbbells could make this move dangerous.  Be careful!  This move is challenging, especially at the pace that its done in the video, and with the weights, your shoulders will BURN at the end!

2.  Squat jump – with a weight!  This is a plyometric move that really got my heart rate up.  It’s simple – with one weight in hand (or a sandbag), you do a squat and jump at the top, then drop back into the squat.

3.  Chip-Up L-Crunch – a chin-up with a leg raise at the bottom.  Honestly, I am so lazy and my pull-up bar is STILL not set up, so I could not to this move.  I did not notice a modifier either, which was unusual and not cool.  So, instead, I did a bent-over dumbbell row with alternating kicks.  I really got to get my pull-up bar set up this week!

4.  Punch pull – I LOVED this one!  With a dumbbell in hand, punch downward in a lunge, then pivot on your feet to do an elbow up top.  Here’s a short video of this move, which is very MMX-inspired and makes me feel like a total bad ass!

5.  Corkscrew twist – Put the wine bottle away… it’s not THAT type of corkscrew move!  This is your abdominal move.  Laying on your back, raise both legs together straight, then twist your hips as they raise off the floor in a crunch.

Repeat 1-5 three times!

I actually really loved Resistance 2, but I will be singing a different tune when I’m doing the pull-ups, which I always find challenging.

Can you believe if you had started 22-Minute Hard Corps with me you’d already be into your second week?! Time flies when you’re getting some!  😉  If you’d like to learn more about 22-Minute Hard Corps or join me for my next online accountability group, send me an email at distilledjill@gmail.com or message me on Facebook.  Click here to get your copy of 22-Minute Hard Corps!

Hard Corps Recovery

I completed Day 4 of 22-Minute Hard Corps (hey, that rhymes!) today.  Since I didn’t post yesterday, I’ll just mention that Days 3 and 4 are repeats of Days 1 and 2.  The one thing that I want to talk about that I did differently today, however, was I drank a postworkout recovery shake after my workout.  Today’s workout was Resistance 1, which is a strength-training workout with lots of push-ups and weighted exercises with dumbbells. So, my muscles were WEAK after this workout, especially since I upped the weights for some of the moves. So, a recovery shake was definitely in order.

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Enjoying my postworkout recovery shake!

The protein shake that I tried is considered to be the most sophisticated postworkout recovery protein shake on the planet.  It’s called Recover, and it’s part of the Beachbody Performance Line of supplements.  It’s what Tony Horton uses.  And if it’s good enough for Tony, it’s good enough for me!

Here’s my review:

Pros:

  • Nothing artificial is in it!  It’s all natural ingredients – no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or anything!
  • There are no fillers in it. There are only a couple of ingredients in it that are scientifically shown to help with muscle recovery. If they’re not backed by science, then they don’t make it into the shake.
  • Includes three kinds of protein (fast, intermediate, and slow) and key phytonutrients to help reduce exercise-induced soreness.
  • No high risk or unproven ingredients.
  • Certified by the NSF.
  • Mixed together pretty well.  I just dumped a scoop of Recover into some water and stirred it up with a spoon.  I’d say 95% of the powder dissolved that way.  I didn’t even have to shake it or use a blender.  It wasn’t chunky and went down smooth.
  • The chocolate flavor tastes great!  It would probably be even better blended with some ice and a little milk.  I did it with lukewarm water, and it was fine that way.
  • It’s soy-free!  Soy is so common in other protein shakes because it’s a cheap filler, but it actually loses a lot of its nutritional value after it is so thoroughly processed.

Cons:

  • It’s not vegan.  I try to be a weekday vegan, and this product contains whey protein.  Not a big deal, but I know that some people are sensitive to whey, and I technically violated my weekday veganism pledge.  😉
  • Slight aftertaste, but I think that’s associated more with the whey.  So, if you’re used to consuming whey, then not a big deal.

I know consistent use is best, and that I’m not going to see or probably even feel results after just using this product once, but I’m glad that I tried it!  I’ll definitely be supplementing  with this for some of the more physically demanding workouts in the program!

Interested in trying Recover?  Check out your purchasing options or email me at distilledjill@gmail.com with your questions!

 

Day 2 of 22-Minute Hard Corps

Today, I completed Day 2 of the new 22-Minute Hard Corps program. Day 2 includes only one workout – Resistance 1.

The format of Resistance 1: A short warm-up, followed by three rounds of the following five moves: Push-Ups, Squat Thrusts, Pull-ups, Chopper Lunges, Sit-up Punches. The workout ends with a Bonus Round of Sprint-Burpee-Push-ups, where you do a football run in place, then drop to the ground for push-ups, and then pop back up and repeat.

The moves are pretty self-explanatory. Push-ups are push-ups, plain and simple. Squat thrusts are demonstrated in my video below. They’re basically a squat with a shoulder press. Pull-ups… self-explanatory. Chopper lunges are alternating lunges with an oblique twist with a dumbbell or sandbag. Sit-up punches are sit-ups with two alternating punches at the top.

You will need a pair of dumbbells at a minimum. I used a pair of 9-pound weights for my first time doing this workout, though I may do heavier weights for some of the moves in the future. You also need a pull-up bar, but if you don’t have a pull-up bar, you can use a resistance band with a door attachment. I have a pull-up bar, but it wasn’t set up for the workout, and I don’t have a door attachment for my resistance band, so instead, I did bent-over rows with the band. So, you can get creative if you don’t have the necessary equipment.

I haven’t done weight training in awhile, but I do consider myself to be a pretty fit person. Having done Body Beast and P90X in the past, I wasn’t expecting this to challenge me too much. I also do not normally bust out into a sweat from weight training. Well, I SWEAT doing Resistance 1. My cardio was up, even though I was just doing strength training. Sticking with Tony’s bootcamp cadence was definitely challenging for some of the moves (like the Sit-Up Punches especially), and I needed to slow it down a little bit and fall behind his pace. My goal is to keep pace with Tony for all moves as I progress through the program.