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 15

Today, I enter the final week of the Beachbody Ultimate Reset – the Restore phase.  During this phase, I’ll be eating mostly fruits and vegetables that are easily absorbed by the body for optimal nutritional value.  I think grains are completely cut out of the diet.  This phase comes after the detox phase, and it helps bring healthy bacteria back into your “freshly scrubbed” digestive tract by introducing pre- and probiotics to help restore the metabolism to maximum efficiency.  This is accomplished through the final supplement – Revitalize.  Revitalize comes in a capsule form, and its consumed three times a day.

While I am on the topic of supplements, I ran out of Mineralize yesterday.  Since Mineralize is only pink Himalayan salt, I just went out to the grocery store and bought some.  But, for those of you who don’t have the luxury of an organic supermarket in the neighorhood and need to send away for these things, make sure to have some extra pink salt on standby in case you run out.

This morning, I decided to try something new.  My usual morning routine outside of the Reset is a 30-60 minutes workout, usually something intense, like Insanity, to help wake me up and get my blood flowing in the morning.  I’ve never been a morning person, so, to me, this is essential to be minimally pleasant before noon.  On the Reset, you are not permitted to workout because your body is receiving such an intense inner body workout.  Plus, I don’t think you’re really consuming enough calories to really support your body during intense training.  Exercises like yoga, tai chi, stretching, and brisk walking are fine, but no Insanity, unfortunately.  This was one of the big adjustments for me, and I was skeptical whether I would be able to survive mornings without the jolt of adrenaline first thing in the morning.  Somehow, I’ve been surviving.  I’ve been doing free yoga videos that come on Xfinity On Demand.  They’ve been great, but I really missed Shaun T.  Today, I remembered that there are Recovery workouts that come with Insanity that I could do.  It would probably be a step up intensity-wise from the yoga I’ve been doing, but I was willing to try it.  Well, when I do Insanity, I normally substitute Core Cardio and Balance for the Recovery workout, because the Recovery workout is just too easy, doesn’t make me sweat, and isn’t enough to get my blood pumping in the morning.  Well, this morning, it got the blood pumping, and I was even sweating.  My muscles were literally shaking during some of the moves.  My legs are already feeling sore from this morning.  This makes me nervous about starting Focus T25 after the Reset is complete, but I’m going to jump on it anyway.

Also, this morning, I weighed myself for the second time of the Reset.  I’m down 2.4 pounds since day 8.  That means I’m down 4.4 pounds in only 15 days!  Not bad for a 5’2” tall chick.

During the final week of the Reset, breakfast is fruit only.  You’re supposed to choose low glycemic fruits, like berries, and avoid tropical fruits like bananas and pineapples.  I’m skeptical of the ability of fruit to keep me satisfied until lunch, but I guess it worked today.  One of my raspberries was shaped like a heart, which made this first day of the Restore phase extra special.

Day 15 Breakfast

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Last night, I prepared lunch for today – an Asian “cabbage” salad, 1/4 sliced avocado, and miso soup.  I put cabbage in scare quotes because I didn’t have cabbage.  Unfortunately, the labels in the grocery store produce aisle weren’t accurate, and my husband picked up mustard greens instead of napa cabbage.  It’s okay.  We’ll make do.  We had some extra Romaine lettuce, so instead of cabbage, I chopped up some Romaine and used that instead.  This lunch had a lot of onions in it.  The Asian salad had both raw red and green onions, and the miso soup had green onions.  I had to run to back-to-back meetings in the afternoon, and was so tempted to grab some gum or a hard candy to get the taste/smell of the onions out of my mouth.  Well, none of that is allowed on the Reset!  I chewed on some herbal tea leaves (it was all that I had in the office), and that helped a little, but I still felt bad for all who I came in contact with this afternoon.

Day 15 Lunch

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Dinner was awesome!  And by “awesome,” I mean baked sweet potato awesome!  Against my better judgement, I’m a huge fan of carbohydrates.  I was very happy to see a baked sweet potato on the menu for dinner.  I’ve actually never baked a sweet potato before.  It was heaven.  I’ll definitely be doing that again.  The sweet potato was accompanied by garlic veggies – broccoli, carrots, zucchini, and red bell pepper sauteed with garlic, lemon, olive oil, and Bragg’s Liquid Aminos.  They were fine.  The sweet potato stole the show.

Day 15 Dinner

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Day 8 – Let the Detox Begin!

And thus begins week 2!

I weighed myself this morning.  I lost 2 pounds during the first week of the Beachbody Ultimate Reset.  While 2 lbs. may not seem like much, I am celebrating this for a couple of reasons.  First, the healthy recommended safe weight loss per week is 2 lbs., so that puts me right where I should be.  Second, I am only 5 foot 2 inches.  I’m short.  If I can lose 2 lbs. per week on the Reset, that’s 6 lbs. total, and I would be happy to take that.  Third, the Reset, to me at least, is not all about losing weight.  While losing weight is certainly a side effect of living a healthy life, my main focus is to feel better – better mood, increased energy, more productive sleep – and I am beginning to experience those benefits.  Finally, losing those 2 lbs. finally brought me into a “normal” BMI (24.8!).  I had technically been considered to be “overweight.”  Now, I know, the BMI is criticized a lot for not taking many factors into account (including muscle mass), and that outside of the BMI number, I am a very healthy and active person.  Nevertheless, it really means a lot to me that I was able to break past a weight loss plateau and finally get to a healthy and normal BMI.  I haven’t been there in years.

Week 2 of the Beachbody Ultimate Reset introduces a new supplement into the day – Detox.  Detox, similar to alkalinize, is a powder that you mix into water.  You drink it three times a day – before breakfast, before lunch, and before dinner.  A lot of people find the taste repulsive, but I actually didn’t mind it at all.  It tastes kind of like lemons, though the texture is a little strange (it is grainy).  The detox powder has got a number of ingredients, like chia seed, milk thistle, a camu-camu, that helps remove toxins and waste in the colon.  In the Reset instructional video, it is described as a gentle colon cleanse that won’t leave you parked by the bathroom.  TMI maybe?  Well, get over it.  You’re reading a blog about a detox program – what did you expect?!  While one obvious way to get rid of toxic waste is via the digestive tract, one other way that people experience detox is through our largest organ, the skin, so I am really hoping not to experience breakouts during this week.

Detox Supplement

Detox

In week 2, you completely cut out animal proteins, including dairy.  This isn’t really a drastic change from week 1 if you followed the scheduled meals in the guidebook.  Unless you doubled up on certain recipes, you only have chicken and salmon once in week 1.  You do have yogurt several times for breakfast.  I feel like I’ve been transitioning gradually to this point, and it shouldn’t be too much of a shock.

Breakfast for day 8 was a fresh fruit plate.  One of many fruit plates in store for me in the next 2 weeks (week 3’s breakfasts entirely comprise fruit).  Though I considered my diet pretty healthy before the Reset, I was definitely guilty of not incorporating enough fruit into my diet.  So, the Reset is really helping me get into the habit of eating more fruit.

Day 8 Breakfast

Day 8 Breakfast

Lunch was my old friend, the microgreen salad, but with avocado added to it.

Day 8 Lunch

Day 8 Lunch

Finally, dinner included pinto beans and brown rice, steamed zucchini, and string beans with lemon and olive oil.  It was a lot of food.  Pretty good, though nothing miraculous.  Though I definitely enjoyed how quick and easy this one was to make (relative to other dinners at least).

Day 9 Dinner

Day 8 Dinner

First day of the “Release” phase – Done!