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.  🙂

 

Hard Corps ENERGY!

I completed Day 15 of 22-Minute Hard Corps today!  I’ve been powering through these workouts with a new preworkout energy drinks called Energize.  I used to drink Beachbody’s Energy and Endurance formula, but I’ve switched to the new Energize drink, which is part of Beachbody’s new streamlined performance supplements.

Here I am with my Energize.
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Energize. Looks pretty nuclear, doesn’t it? That’s the Quercetin!
I drink Energize about 15 minutes before my workout to help give me the energy to make it through.  Because, let’s face it, I am NOT a morning person AT ALL.  If my workouts are going to happen in the mornings (as they must for me, otherwise I’m a zombie all day), then something’s got to give me a boost.
Here’s my review of Energize in terms of pros and cons:
Pros:
  • It tastes a lot better than Energy and Endurance.  The flavor is a lot smoother.
  • It doesn’t make me feel super jittery, nervous, or like my heart is going to explode.  This isn’t such a big deal for me when I take Energy and Endurance formula, but I’ve tried a LOT of preworkout supplements, and I remember MANY of them just made me feel like I was on speed.  Not comfortable at ALL.  Energize gives you energy for sure, but it’s a lot less irritating.  I think that’s due to it having low-dose caffeine, which is equally as effective as higher doses without the jitteriness or inability to focus that accompanies other preworkout drinks.
  • It’s scientifically tested and developed by Harvard-trained scientists using the latest peer-reviewed research and athletic input.
  • It is certified by the NSF, who certifies that there are no banned ingredients/safe for athletes.
  • All natural.  No artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives, or fillers.
  • It contains quercetin, which is the most researched phytonutrient in sports performance today.  It gives the drink that nuclear-looking color, but it also helps improve exercise performance and VO2 max capacity.
  • No gastrointestinal upset.  I don’t know.  When I took Energy and Endurance, it was not uncommon for it to upset my stomach almost immediately after drinking it.
Cons:
  • Contains beta alanine.  This is kind of a pro AND con.  Beta alanine is a natural amino acid, reduces lactic acid, and delays time to fatigue.  So, it’s great, right?!  Yeah, well, for women or people with lower body weights, beta alanine is often accompanied by a weird tingling or itching feeling.  My husband doesn’t feel it, but I totally did the first time that I drank Energize, and it was really uncomfortable, but it’s gone away with repeated usage.  Energize also contains a lot less beta alanine than many other preworkout drinks (starting at only 800 mg), so if you know what I’m talking about with that tingling/itching, then Energize might be a good alternative for you.  Apparently, the feeling is totally normal, it signifies the beta alanine getting into your system, and it goes away once you start working out, so all the more incentive for you to press play! Beta alanine is wonderful performance enhancing supplement, but I list it as a “con” here due to that weird feeling, which can be a little disturbing if you’re not used to it!
  • It’s a little bit more expensive than Energy and Endurance formula, and likely more expensive than the preworkout that you’re drinking right now.  But there’s a reason for that… it’s BETTER.  (If you want my to prepare a side-by-side comparison of your current preworkout drink with Energize, email me at distilledjill@gmail.com.)  Anyway, back to the costs.  It doesn’t cost THAT much more per serving, though.  Energize is a 40-serving tub, and Energy and Endurance is a 30-serving tub. So, when you break it down, it’s 18-25 cents more expensive per serving.  Here’s a breakdown:Energize v E+E

Yes, by the way, as a coach, I get 25% off all Beachbody products, including Energize and Shakeology!  If you want to learn more about coaching, check out the various ways that you can join my team.  You can totally just sign up for the discount and never do any coaching if that’s your preference.  Email me at distilledjill@gmail or message me on Facebook to chat about it!

Well, that’s Energize!  Questions?

Day 7 – Reclaimed!

This was my last day of the first week of the Beachbody Ultimate Reset.  I made it 7 days of the 21-day program!  One-third of the way there!  The Reset has been quite a journey so far, and I’m looking forward to the completing the rest of the 21 days!  The Reset hasn’t been as difficult as I expected it to be (so far).

There are a couple of things that I have really come to enjoy during the first 7 days of the Reset.  For one, my love of tempeh.  The tempeh recipes that I’ve learned will be incorporated into my life post-Reset, and I cannot wait to make the nori rolls with smokey tempeh again.  I’ve come to really enjoy pumpkin seeds, and I had no idea that I could purchase them year-round.  The pumpkin seeds are the highlight of the microgreen salad that I make almost every day.  I also love the fact that I’m not wasting produce.  Before the Reset, it seemed that I would always end up wasting so much of the produce that I bought.  On the Reset, I am buying so much produce, and I’m eating it quickly and nothing is going bad.  My husband has enjoyed all of the salt that he gets to consume on the diet, albeit pink Himalayan salt, which is full of minerals that normal salts, not even sea salt, contain.

The past week, we’ve both been sleeping better, which I did not think could actually happen for me.  Pre-Reset, I slept pretty well – nice, long deep sleeps.  My first week of the Reset, I have been sleeping even deeper, and more importantly, I feel more well-rested on less sleep.  Pre-Reset, I would sleep 12 hours (sometimes more) on the weekends to catch up on sleep and even then wake up feeling tired.  The first weekend of the Reset, I didn’t sleep nearly that long.  I’ve never been a morning person.  And while I definitely still not a morning person, on weekdays during the Reset, I am still groggy and annoyed when I wake up, but I feel like I snap out of it a lot faster, and I feel more rested after 6-7 hours of sleep than I used to.  I have also struggled with mental fuzziness  for awhile and lack of energy.  On the Reset, my mental clarity and focus and energy have improved.  I’ve learned that I do not, in fact, need coffee to make it through the day, which for a former Starbucks barista, is a hard truth to swallow.  Finally, I broke a cycle of weekend indulgences, in glorious things like alcohol and brunch and fancy meals.  While I fully expect to indulge post-Reset, I can perhaps do so a bit more consciously and know that I don’t have to every weekend.

Last day of week 1, I bid farewell to animal proteins.  Believe it or not, it wasn’t that bittersweet of a farewell.  I’ve really enjoyed the vegan recipes that I have been eating, and I know there are more good recipes in store for me as I cut out fish, chicken, and yogurt.  I’m looking to the next 2 weeks with optimism.

Breakfast for day 7 was oatmeal with apples and flax seeds with yogurt.  What I’ve come to really appreciate about the breakfasts is that they are all pretty quick and easy (unlike some lunches and dinners).

Day 7 Breakfast

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Lunch was zucchini-cashew soup and microgreens salad.  I made a double batch of zucchini-cashew soup the night before luckily.  Between lunch and dinner, I had a snack.  Snacks are optional during the Reset, and you should only have them if you feel like you cannot make it to dinner.  I was fortunate enough to have a West Wing tour of the White House (how freakin’ cool is that?!) scheduled for this evening, so in an attempt to hold me over until dinner, and as a way to kiss goodbye to animal proteins, I sunk my teeth into a nice hard-boiled egg.

Finally, dinner was one of my new favorites:  tempeh!  The baked tempeh was marinated in Bragg’s, sesame oil, garlic, honey, and apple cider vinegar, served with steamed broccoli and brown rice.  Great way to end week 1.

Day 7 Dinner

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