REVIEW: The Master’s Hammer and Chisel


Here we are again and this time the Parrot has been drafted to review The Master’s Hammer and Chisel.  No, it’s not the cover of a steamy erotic novel, but rather a fitness series by Beachbody as hosted by Sagi Kalev ( aka. Hammer ) and Autumn Calabrese ( aka. Chisel ).

Fabio not included.


12 workouts on 6 DVD’s and a shaker cup rigged to explode if you taint it with anything other than Shakeology.  Also included is a meal plan, calendar and instructional guide.

The portion control containers should be handy for the kids storing their Lego.

What you’ll need:

I would recommend a decent bench as the $20 WalMart special probably isn’t going to cut it here.  It has to be solid and secure and will be used often in this program.  Skip the stability ball alternative. Using weights with stability balls are for people who have lost the will to live.  Also, sell your house and buy all the Shakeology you can afford.  Sorry, just kidding.  Just wanted to be sure you were paying attention.


Chisel Balance
Time: 40 minutes

All “Chisel” workouts will be done by Autumn so this is Day One.  The focus is working the core balance muscles so that means 8 rounds done on one side twice, then repeated on the other side twice.  Squats, jumps, push ups…and oh yeah, the Bulgarian jump squats.  Those hurt.

Hammer Plyometrics
Time: 25 minutes

For those familiar with Body Beast, say hello again to Sagi.  If Autumn counts every calorie in those plastic containers, Sagi looks like he eats trains for breakfast.    The man is solid muscle.

I was hesitant how someone of Sagi’s size would perform in a primarily cardiovascular workout.  Exceptionally well it seems.  This is very different from what you might expect from Shaun T so don’t expect your Max 30 to save you here.  Once again, you will need a good bench for some jumping around.  There are 9 moves which are repeated after the halfway point.

Sagi is the kind of guy I like to have as my trainer as I tend to prefer those who would kick my ass with a frozen boot should I decide to be a slacker.  My wife however, thinks he’s a bit corny and I can see why.  He’s got very “Schwarzenegger-ish” one liners such as “Ready to get hammered?”

Born ready.

Don’t ever change Sagi!

Iso Strength Chisel
Time: 34 minutes

Back to Autumn for what will prove to be an astonishingly painful half hour.

Ten resistance reps, then hold the position for ten seconds.  Repeat this for three cycles with no rest before moving on to the next move.  This was agonizing only three moves in as those iso holds hurt like hell, only to go right back into contracting the muscles again.  This is mostly a total body workout with emphasis on the legs.  The arms for the most part remain left alone.

Iso Speed Hammer
Time: 23 minutes

Ten moves.  You go down for a count of three then snap up.  Then you follow with 10 fast reps.  Push ups, squats, curls and rows are on the menu.

Might as well pause to say that I’m not a huge fan of the music track.  It’s not Turbofire awful, but I prefer to have few more guitar power chords in my workouts.  Instead it’s rather “tinny” techno crap.  I blame you kids out there.

10 Minute Minute Ab Chisel
Time: 10 minutes. Obviously.

Ten moves at 1 minute each.  This doesn’t exactly have a quick pace but it is nonetheless effective.  It’s all bench work but a modifier is on the floor if that’s what you need.

10 Minute Ab Hammer

So how does Sagi’s ab routine compare?  I was expecting some weights to be involved but alas, you’re down doing crunches with the same format of 1 minute moves.  It’s a good addition to my increasing collection of abdominal workouts, but neither is terribly unique in their approach.

Hammer Conditioning
Time: 30 minutes

Think of this as medium intensity resistance training.  Four rounds with 2 moves per round done twice.  It is mostly total body with rows, squats, push ups and presses and each move is 12 reps, which falls between building size or stamina.

Chisel Endurance
Time: 36 minutes

Seven moves repeated for 2 rounds.  Again, it’s mostly total body with a heavier emphasis on the legs.  There are some push ups, presses and rows but the arms still feel left out.  Thus far in this series there has been little in the way of bicep/triceps engagement.  The intended focus here is endurance and stamina but I’m not sure how that goal is met.  Stamina is being able to do consistent sets at the same rep/weight count.  I don’t see how this workout does that.

Master’s Cardio
Time: 17 minutes

Out of the whole works, this one is by far my least favorite.  It suffers from having too many cooks it kitchen and the mix of Sagi and Autumn’s individual ego’s really doesn’t gel.  Another problem is that should you be experienced with T25 or Max 30 cardio, this will be tragically easy.  For me I can’t see doing this twice.

Master's Cardio lacks the spark each trainer gives when tending to their own field.

Hammer Total Body
Time: 42 minutes

I have high expectations, so this is Sagi’s big opportunity to deliver.  And deliver he dopes with old school weightlifting in the format of 10/8/6 reps.  Three moves per round with 3 rounds.  Push ups, squats, delts, rows and blast it…biceps and tri’s get ignored again.

Chisel Total Body
Time: 35 minutes

Finally, the biceps and triceps get decent attention.  3 round with three moves ( 10 reps each ) per round.  Squats, rows, curls, dips, lunges…this is indeed a total body workout.

Chisel Agility
Time 38 minutes

This is best defined as cardio you have to think about.  1 minute moves of speed in motion.

Hammer Power
Time: 38 minutes

Ok, this one is pretty sweet.  The “power” stands for power lifting and hot momma if Sagi doesn’t deliver.  You will slowly move from basic moves such as squats and presses to full press and jerk presses.  If you have lower back issues, please go easy here or this will kill you.  However, it will also strengthen that weak sucker if you keep at it.

Chisel Cardio
Time: 38 minutes

Very little rapid movement, but rather cardio brought about by resistance.  Weights, push ups, pulls ups and various squats are in 7 moves per round repeated for 2 rounds.

Max Hammer Strength
Time: 35 minutes

You expect a lot with a name like this.  And were it 5 minutes longer with better arm focus, it would be almost perfect.  The format is doing one minute of low/no weight.  Then you grab the steel and go max for 8 reps.  For example, one minute of push ups moves right into 8 bench presses.

Beast Total Body
Time: 45 minutes

This is a pleasant little treat.  It’s Sagi redoing the exact same workout in his Body Beast series with a fresh cast. You can tell he’s a bit more at home in his world.  Like its Body Beast twin, BTB is the kitchen sink in 4 circuits of 4 moves done twice.

A foretaste of Body Beast 2 perhaps?


I was skeptical about what would happen if you put Sagi and Autumn together.  It can go either way: it can appeal to people who like both instructors or it can alienate because people dislike one or both.  Instead, Hammer and Chisel finds a way to appeal to fans of either trainer and insure the other is not such a radical change like a good cop/bad cop situation.  As amazed as I am to say it, Sagi and Autumn have a winner on their hands.

With the exception of one workout, the two are never on the screen together which is just as well.  It allows a nice break and gives the program a longer shelf life. Let’s face it, it’s easy to get trainer overload.  Shaun T with excessive double negatives in his speech, or Tony Horton’s impersonations day after day can be a little much.

The pterodactyl slays me every time.

So how are Sagi and Autumn to train with?  Let’s put it right out there folks: women have it hard when it comes to being trainers because they walk a fine line.  Become too much of a cheerleader and they risk becoming annoying beyond measure.  This is my personal gripe against Chalene.  Jillian Michael’s is what might come out the other end of a clone vat if mad scientists tried to create a female Tony Horton, proving that just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

Ok, please stop.

So it is with much delight that I can say Autumn rides the fine line and maintains her professional trainer persona without accidentally turning her workouts “girlish”.  If my twelve year old son can watch me doing a workout with her on the big screen and not think Dad has gone soft, that’s a good sign.

Sagi likewise has the inverse problem to contend with.  Some guys can be so “alpha” that women and even men might be put off.  One thing I noticed about Body Beast is how Sagi can sometimes be a bit of a prick to his cast.  Fortunately he’s more supportive here and his biggest critic, my wife, found him much more pleasant.  Mrs. Parrot ( who affectionately calls him “Butthead” ) commented that his wife must have had a talk with him.  Still, I live for his catch phrases such as “Need to puke? Get a bucket.”

Never leave home without it Sagi.

Hammer and Chisel is without a doubt, an impressive total body fitness package that does not merely imitate what has gone before. It does have some shortcomings though.  There feels to be not enough time between working major body parts for recovery and my legs had no problem reminding me of this.  A recovery workout would have been an ideal thing to add given the redundancy of some workouts such as Master’s Cardio which probably should have been shelved.

Beachbody production values are generally first rate, but I do wish some more attention was put towards a better music track.  I don’t necessarily want AC/DC corrupting my virgin neurons, but perhaps something with a bit more “oomph”.  Then again, it’s easy to be spoiled by Shaun T who has consistently exceptional backtracks.

To conclude, this is a package with unisex appeal and will absolutely work you hard.  It follows it’s own philosophy by going after complete fitness and not just cardio or bulk.  If you like Body Beast or 21 Day Fix, this is a natural next step for both programs.

4 FEATHERS out of 5

© 2016, Dysfunctional Parrot. All rights reserved. No reproduction of written material is permitted.

8.1 Excellent!

Great intermediate to advanced total body fitness program with unisex appeal. A natural addition to those who own Body beast or either 21 Day Fix package.

  • Trainer Ability 9
  • Cardio 8
  • Strength 8
  • Music 7
  • Price/Value 8
  • Production/Set 8.5

About Author

John Paul Parrot ( aka. The Dysfunctional Parrot ) is a disgruntled Systems Analyst who wanders the Canadian wastelands saving small villages with the power of Kung Fu.  His chair is also a little too close to the twenty year old microwave.  As you can well imagine, this has had certain side effects.

  • Nick Wood

    Parrot, will we ever get another awesome video review like P90X2? Oh btw great review.. I’m on day 7 now!

    • Yisrael

      I agree. More videos, perhaps this time with a little of the force awakens sprinkled in..

    • I made that video during a time when I had a night job as a systems analyst and could devote many hours to making it. I would like to make another one someday, so who knows!

  • freereel

    Another great review! You are the man!
    I am a long-time fan, and I have based my collection in large part on your relative rankings of various programs, to my great satisfaction. Thank you for the insights!
    Last year I made a request….for a review of Bodyshred by Jillian Michaels. And you delivered a great and very helpful review!
    I have one more suggestion for a possible review. I just saw some interesting online stuff about a program called 21-day Metashred by a trainer named B.J. Gaddour. It looks like something new and different. But I’m curious to know how it would survive your review gauntlet and how it would stand up to some of the programs that you have given strong reviews.
    What do you think?

    • okolo clarke

      Funny you mentioned Metashred. I’ve been wondering about it too. Have been following the trainers’ personal account along with the Metashred account on Instagram, and the workouts sure seem intense. In his personal workouts B.J does more than the most reps ever imagined possible.

      • manueldelreal

        I saw some of the videos on the instagram account and the exercises seem intense, no questions there. What I didn’t like was the speed that he puts on some (if not most) of them, it felt “crossfit-y” for lack of a better word, I don’t know how much emphasis he puts on safety and good form.

  • SEM

    Another great write up. Makes me want it even more now.

  • darnoc

    Hi Parrot, love all your reviews and have been waiting for this one. I’ve been looking for a strength and cardio workout and been trying a hybrid of Body Beast and Max 30. Would the Hammer and Chisel be similar to this? Also, is there a summary page that shows your reviews sorted by rank? Thank you.

    • The cardio in Max 30 is much more intense. I would say the cardio here is about on par with P90X3 or 21 Day Fix Extreme. It’s good, but few things ever get your heart up to Shaun T levels!

      As for the summary page, that’s actually a good idea. I’ll see if I can work on that so it is a little easier to find stuff.

      • Jeff

        I did p90x a few years back but felt it lacked in building muscle i was thinning to much so added weight lifting. Now I have just done basic gym style lifting like benches curl etc. I need to lose about 10-15 pound of fat but gain muscle in key areas like arms . What would you recommend Hammer and Chisel or Body Beast> Tia!

        • Probably not H&C because it actually has little arm work besides push ups. It’s more of a circuit training workout whereas Body Beast is more focused on muscle development. And while H&C has a few real gems in it such as Hammer Power, it might not suit your needs as a whole. Might want to do BB and mix in some cardio from elsewhere.

  • okolo clarke

    Thanks for this review. Have been curious about what this was like.

  • Jess

    Would there be anything of benefit from this program to incorporate into a hybrid p90x3/insanity max 30 routine?

    • If your cardio is particularly good, swaping out for Max 30 would be best. Also, some workouts in X3 such as Complex Upper are better at working the arms than a lot of workouts in this series, not to mention that the addition of a yoga workout is nice to mix in.

  • e_mortal

    Thank you Mr DP for another engaging summary. I’ve always enjoyed your writing and look forward to your write-ups for new fitness videos.
    I’ve just done week 1 and have glimpsed through all the videos, and I reiterate your mention about the lack of bi/tri work. I feel that all the results I have achieved recently in those areas will now waste away …
    But regardless of that, I’m feeling damn good at this stage with the lower body especially getting one heck of a beating! I’m going to incorporate a yoga session in there once a week as well to help with recovery, which as you have pointed out is perhaps a another shortcoming of the program.

  • John

    Great review, but I gotta put you on the spot.
    P90X3 vs. Masters Hammer and Chisel.
    If a person had to choose between these two which would give them the “most bang for their buck”?
    If, Master’s had a yoga or stretching day for recovering how would it stack up against X3?
    Thanks for your input!

    • That’s a tough call to make, but I’m going to lean on P90X3. The reason is that X3 has more functional fitness like core/yoga and better arm routines.

      It’s also a matter of taste for trainers. Autumn and Sagi are less comical, so if Tony’s antics grate on your nerves then I’d take Hammer and Chisel any day.

      As awesome as X3 is, there are some Hammer-Chisel workouts that are hard to beat such as Hammer Power. I think one could make a pretty sweet hybrid of the two. But if money was a concern and you could only buy one program, I would opt for X3. Just my opinion mind you.

  • Andrew Brown

    Long time Fitness Review reader 1st time commentator. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each review. Gives me something to focus on each workout I do. I’ve done Hammer and Chisel for 3 weeks now and I’ve really grown to like Sagi even moreso than Tony and Shaun T. The hair jokes, when he warms up, cracks me up. He has a sense of humor underneath that brickful of muscle. There’s a few Autumn workouts that had me cussin this side of Shaun T. She can get a little annoying at times (YA?) but not enough to get frustrated and quit. Chisel workouts are far and away the toughest (especially Balance). Quick question for you? Have you seen Tony Horton’s 22 minute hard corps preview video yet? It’s set to be released in March. Basically nonstop basic Army training. What’s your take?

    • Just saw the trailer for it yesterday. I’m very interested as I’m a big fan of military style workouts. It will be interesting to see how Tony takes his experience with the Forces and puts this all together. I did notice they had some kind of sandbag in the video so does this mean new equipment to purchase? Time will tell!

      Another thing I like is the price. The base package is apparently only $40. That makes life a lot easier for guys like me!

      • Andrew Brown

        The sandbag is optional from what I just read. It basically doubles the price. I could probably get a 24 pack of water for $3 and use that as a sandbag instead. It feels the same to me. I still plan to get the base kit next month but I’d like to keep Hammering up all March. The 30 Day Hammer Schedule is clutch. I’m so done with Autumn after next week. She gets more annoying by the day (no offense to her).

  • anthors

    Thanks for your review. Now, I am doing P90X (I have changed the cardio training since I completed Insanity (twice) and Asylum (once), the last year). Since I am at the end of phase two, I am thinking about next program which I will do. On the basis of reviews and of my desiderata (I want to work on strength), I had to choose between Masters Hammer and Chisel. and Body Beast. What do you suggest?

    • If you want more of a total body package that has roughly the same workouts the Hammer and Chisel would do. If you want specific muscle work the Body Beast comes out on top. Hard to beast BB in the strength department.

      • anthors

        Thanks for your considerations, now I am thinking that the next workout will be Body Beast

  • Jerrod

    While I’m liking this program so far – albeit I’m doing a hybrid program which entails doing both the 30-day programs at the same time – I agree with you that it’s lacking in certain areas. For those of us who do external cardio, that’s not a problem. The almost complete exclusion of arms is a bit disappointing. But my greatest criticism is that every routine seems to be a whole body routine. This means you end up working every body part, every day. The end result is that you’re both fatiguing the same groups every day and never truly maxing out anything. I’m using this program as a 30-day break from the others and more of a sport or total body block. I really, really like the work Autumn does on the bench. Some of the moves are completely unique to this program. Overall, I’d say this isn’t a complete workout system like a P90X3 or even Insanity Max: 30.

    • Garrett

      How would you compare it to 21DFX? I’ve found that program to be quite excellent, though it’s different than X3 and Max 30.

  • Christine Snyder

    What a great review and i agree with you on every point. I now turn off the music for the Hammer workouts and use my own which makes it so much better. I am also adding Cathe Friedrich’s biceps and triceps routines from her Ripped with HiiT program due to the lack of these muscle groups . I have the bonus DVD and although its not spectacular it gives you another 2 workouts . I also think many of the workouts are too short so i either combine two of them or add one of my other shorter routines . Hammer power is great with kettlebells which is how i use it . And i combine a short 30 min lauren brooks routine kettlebell routine with it. I also look forward Tony’s new one . I have 4 DVRT sandbags so was so excited to see the sandbag used!!!

  • Sharon Doe

    Thanks for the review! I am still trying to lose weight and am wondering if you would recommend this for weight loss. I have lost some weight on 21 day fix. I get the impression that this program is more for toning. What do you think? I’m almost 45 and have working out since April, but don’t want to hurt myself. Thanks!

    • I feel this is a great next step for anyone who has done 21 Day Fix. Another option would be 21 Day Fix Extreme if Autumn clicks with you. While this program is indeed more toning, it is very do-able by anyone who has completed 21DF. If you modify where you need to, I doubt you would get injured. I’m 44 and have a lower back made of wet paper, and if I’m careful I’m still able to do the power lifting in this program.

  • .45

    I’ve done this program for a couple weeks now and I have to say that I think the total body workouts every day are really hard on the body. I do really like some of them individually, but not the way it’s programmed. 8 workout days in a row with pull-ups is hardly my idea of a good time. My wife and I both find Autumn a little annoying, but I’m not thinking about it so much while my legs are on fire. Overall, I do like the program more than P90X3, which didn’t have nearly enough strength training in it for me, though I did enjoy the elite block in the 4th month. Speaking of deluxe workouts, it seems Beachbody holds the best back for this…kinda. Hammer Build Up is my second favorite workout in the program (after Hammer Power). There’s tons of arm work in it and the banter between them isn’t nearly as bad as it is in Master’s Cardio; it’s much more down to business. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for Power Chisel; the banter is so thick in this one that it doesn’t seem like they take the workout seriously. Sagi is goofing the whole time. Leg Hammer and Glute Chisel are both solid, but short add-ons.

  • enno108

    Always enjoy your reviews and was looking forward to hearing your opinion about Hammer & Chisel. I’ve used your BB and P90X3 reviews to decide which workout to buy (I ended up starting with X3). Then I’ve used your P90X1,2,3 & Insanity reviews to build an uber-hybrid. This sounds like a great option to sprinkle some fresh workouts into the P90X routine. Good stuff. Thank you.

  • Aaron

    Great review, as always, DP!

    Question: did you feel like Sagi was
    awkwardly acting and out of place at times? To me, it’s almost as if he
    was forced to do certain moves/sequences for the sake of what Beachbody
    wanted and he just wasn’t 100% comfortable. In one of the deluxe
    workouts that Autumn leads, he stops to sing “let’s go chisel” in the
    middle of the workout and I can’t help but think it’s because he can’t
    really keep up with that style of workout.

    Anyways, overall I
    think it’s pretty good, but as a devout Body Beast fan, it just didn’t
    live up to expectations 100%. I like the weighs in it, but most of the
    works are more just “conditioning” focused and the schedule for the
    series seems completely random other than to alternate a bunch of
    workouts all doing the total body in different ways. I’m still hoping
    for BB2 to bring it, so we’ll see!

    • Yes, there were times I thought both of them were coached in their lines. Sagi’s eyes seemed to sparkle more when he did a redo of BB Total Body. And the chemistry was flat as matzo bread when the two did Cardio together. Still, a good program despite my nitpicking!

      • Aaron

        So true about both of them. Like there was a weird requirement that Autumn say “This is how you get chiseled” at least 3 times per workout. But definitely agree that for home weightlifting this is head and shoulders above most other programs and lots of interesting new stuff.

        Also, really appreciate you sharing about Total Body. Until your review I hadn’t paid attention to it being a remade version. Excited to check it out.

  • c1vision

    I love this program but I seem to be in the minority!!

    I don’t understand why this program gets such a bad rap, (comparatively speaking that is). I refer to amazon for reviews often, I just find it’s a good place to get unbiased reviews from real consumers. And this program only scores 3.5 out of 5 stars, which isn’t really impressive for a workout program considering that virtually all of the workouts in both the Insanity and P90X series score nearly 5 out of 5 stars.

    First a little about myself, I’m an early forties male that’s completed Insanity, P90X3, T25, and 21 Day Fix. I try to eat mostly healthy but I do love a cold beer every now and then. I genuinely push myself in my workouts and have seen results to prove it, however I’ve never managed to get six-pack abs. I’m about 5’11” 183lbs, I can do 10 consecutive solid pull-ups with good form, 50 push-ups without stopping, and can run 3 consecutive 8 minute mile pretty easily (not sure how much faster I could go, I never really try). Realizing there are a lot of people more or less fit, I say all of this as to give you an idea of my fitness level so you can gauge where my perspective is coming from.

    I find these workouts plenty challenging. I don’t find any need to double them up or swap them out. Yes a couple of Segei’s workouts are shorter but I actually appreciate those days because the run time on many of the workouts is around 40 minutes. I also enjoy not hearing the same voice on consecutive days. I began this program immediately on the heels of completing a round of T25. 3 weeks in and the result is visibly noticeable. I suspect the change in pace and style of workout sparks change. I do think some of the moves could be challenging for people that don’t workout regularly. I also think this program really requires a bench and dumbbells. Sure you could follow the modifier, which may be necessary for some moves due to complexity or impact, but you’d miss out on some of the nuance that makes certain moves effective. I would even go so far to say if you didn’t have a bench that you really wouldn’t be doing ‘Hammer and Chisel.’ Just a few thought I thought I’d share.

    • Cristiano

      Agree 100%

    • I agree for the most part, but the bench, I don’t have one. I have and use a full club step with extra risers, I can even set it on incline, and I actually think it would be safer for certain exercises, just my 2 cents.

  • John

    Tony and Beach Body have gotten out of hand DP!
    40 bucks for their new military fitness workout is 35 bucks too much.
    Come on, how many ways are there to workout?
    It’s probably 22 fast paced minutes of calisthenics with some sandbag tossing.
    I can do the 9 week Navy Seal workout add some sandbag stuff and push the pace to finish it in under 25 minutes.
    I mean what will Tony and BB come up with next, a 15 minute workout or 20 minutes version called P90X4?
    Enough already.
    They can’t improve on the tried, true, and tested classic P90X.
    Just my penny’s worth of venting.

    • Kristy

      YES! I always wonder just how short are they really willing to take these workouts? I know it comes down to people wanting a fast and easy fix but seriously you need to be willing to put in the time for results.

      Other than any kind of Shaun T cardio vid (where it’s easy to transition from one move to the next in the routine), anything that has been marketed as 30 mins or less has been too rushed for me for the most part. There’s either not enough time explaining how to perform an upcoming move or just not enough time to transition over to from what you were doing previously. I always end up rewinding here and there, making it more than the marketed 25 or 30 mins!

      That being said I really like this program for the most part. I stick to the calendar but I have been adding in some P90X arm videos due to the obvious lack of attention H&C gives them where I can. I also make sure I get in yoga somewhere once a week. I have to say I think Chisel Agility is a joke. It’s what I imagine 6th grade gym class would have been like in 1965. I sub in Max Sweat or Friday Fight 2 whenever it comes up in the calendar. I think this program is going to be fantastic to hybrid with and it’s what I plan to do when I officially finish it next month.

    • Benjamin Mac Austnes

      Well, you don’t HAVE to buy it, you know. You could always stick with P90x/2/3, or make your own routines based on the plethora of information available on the internet. :)

    • .45

      I tend to agree with this. I thought most of the 1/2 hour workouts in P90X3 were pretty worthless and had to do Body Beast workouts afterwards to feel like I accomplished something. This makes me have even less interest in 22 minute workouts from Horton, except maybe as an add-on to a more adequate workout. Perhaps they recognize this and that’s why they’re only charging $40 for it. At that price point, I would probably buy it solely for that purpose. In that regard, the add-on workouts from the Hammer & Chisel Deluxe upgrade make for a decent workout block when adding an additional 15 mins to what are otherwise pretty short workouts; it’s just a shame that the bonus disc costs half of what the entire program costs.

      • KB

        I’m getting hardcore and considering it as a doubles workout. That should do the trick.

    • Garrett

      Not all of us want to give up 1 hr to 90 minutes of our day just for working out. That’s 30 minutes to 60 minutes too long. 22 minutes to 30 minutes is perfect. And BB has found that shorter workouts are often more effective than longer ones. Hence T25, 21 Day Fix/Extreme, Max 30.

      Longer is not always better. Ask women.

  • What equipment do you need? Also, would love to see you review some of the stuff put out by Men’s Health of late. For example, this new program. >>>

    • A solid bench and some weights in the 5-20lb range would be a good start.

      Coincidentally, I’m looking at some free online fitness videos from Livestrong. Very impressive. I will look at the link you mentioned as well.

    • Jason Iannone

      I highly suggest 21-Day Metashred, I picked it up to supplement insanity, insanity max, and p90x3. The workouts are challenging (with the right weights and pushing through) and he provides a beginner, intermediate, and advanced moves. Its definitely metabolic training due to the compound movements, and the variety in the movements and tempo is perfect. Not repeating the videos for 21 days is nice too, makes multiple rotations easier. I got it from rodalestore as you can find a 25% off coupon via google, they seem to ship mid week out of NY.

      • Agreed. Doing it now and it’s very good. Now, I do a workout in the “off” days as Metashred suggests. but BJ Gaddour is one of my favorite trainers. In fact, most of the Men’s Health stuff is very good!

  • Benjamin Mac Austnes

    Which ab routine is the best one out of all the beachbody workouts you’ve done?

    • The original P90X Ab Ripper is hard to beat. AB Core+ in P90X+ is probably the best, but only in my opinion.

  • Shy

    I never start a programme without your guru seal of approval DP!

    Umming and aahing about this one though…having done the whole Shaun T set (minus the dancey ones which I won’t EVER be doing), I always worry programmes like this wont give me the solid sweatfest workout I want. 21DF and 21DFX were challenging in their own way, but I don’t think I’ll ever do such a programme end to end without hybriding up with some more solid cardio.

    I’m looking for a something that will work me hard, without it being too high impact or similar to the Shaun T stuff (I have reached a plateau), and something that will help me shed these 2kg I can’t seem to shake off!

    So…do you think this fits the bill? And if I can’t invest in a bench/ medicine ball/ stability ball am I better of sticking with another programme? Is this more about building? I’m quite toned and defined and while more lean definition is good, getting big and bulky is a no-no!


    • It can yes, although the cardio here is not going to compare to Max 30 by any means. It’s more of a muscle/circuit style of cardio.

      Many moves are modifiable without a bench, but some not so much. Wouldn’t bother with any stability balls for this one and medicine balls are not used at all. If you feel like going the extra mile, P90X2 is one of my favorites as long as you hybrid in a good cardio like Max 30.

      If busting your butt with these programs plateaus, the next facet that might warrant a look is diet. Often eliminating wheat is a strong factor in that success. I’m not really an advocate of calories counting but it might be worth experimenting with for a week to try and spot any trends.

      • Shy

        Ooooh, P90x2, blimey, might have to check out your review for that again! Thanks for replying and for all your fab work

      • Shy

        Ps. Totally hear you on the diet/ wheat front. Guess I’ll have to give that a shot. Thanks again

      • Garrett

        That’s the point of the containers – no calorie counting. In the container food fits, then into the mouth it gits. :p

        And not a calorie was counted.

      • Mr. Parrot, the medicine balls are used on the Deluxe workouts.

  • StinaR

    Okay, I love your reviews, and frequently refer friends to them when they’re considering new programs. I’m currently halfway through MHC after dropping 35lbs in 4 rounds of 21DF, and I’m loving the muscle gains I’m getting and the shrinking measurements. That being said, I’m starting to consider what I’m going to do next. I love the lifting in MHC, but I do feel like my weight loss and sanity would potentially benefit from a bit more cardio. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a girl who loves strength training and understand that I can get smaller without the number on the scale shrinking, but I still have at least 80lbs to lose I’m pretty sure. How would you recommend incorporating more cardio into MHC? I’ve considered doing a second round but spacing the workouts more to allow 2-3 days a week for running and a good thorough stretching/recovery workout, but am also curious about the idea of incorporating one of the more cardio-centric BB programs into a hybrid with MHC. My knees and ankles don’t love a whole lot of jumping and high impact cardio (outside of running…my knees are weird), so I’m concerned about things like T25 or Insanity. What would you recommend, DP?

    • If you’re going after a lot of weight, start with incorporating a T25 hybrid. The jumping in it is very low intensity and nothing like Insanity. They even show a modifier so you can ease into it.

    • Jeremy Tanner

      As the program goes on, the intensity increases. The order and frequency of the different workouts plays a big part. If you’re 1/2 way, I’d give it a chance sticking to the schedule. I thought the same thing for the first month. The 2nd month picks it up. At least, that’s my opinion. Congrats so far, and good luck the rest of the way!

    • Nikki

      I am just three days away from finishing Mhc. I’ve lost about ten pounds in two months. I know I have gained quite a few pounds of muscle mass. I have lost by incorporating jogging for at least a mile or three after every workout to continue to get my heart rate up. Also a round of sprints with 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off for seven minutes really helps burn the calories. Even walking for an extended period of time will help you cut those extra calories.

  • KD

    Hi DP – I am struggling on this one. I’ve done rounds of 21dfx (I HATE Autumn) I’ve done a few rounds of body beast (I LOVE Sagi.) On top of it all I run and box, I’ve done several rounds of Insanity and I own max 30 – I’ve done a few weeks of that but nothing compares to the original insanity (IMO.) I bought a month of CSATT Fitness and was given a few months from a few of the girls in the group, although a good program – not comparable to beach body programs. I’ve lost 40 lbs in about 14 months. I am at my last 5 and I’m looking for some tone.
    What do you suggest?

    • Try Asylum. It mixes athletic endurance with some resistance. If Shaun T is your trainer of choice then it might be what you’re looking for.

      • KD

        I have tried asylum 1 – this was a few years ago. I tried to do one of the asylum 2 workouts today (through BOD) and wasn’t super impressed. My friend gave me her login to BOD so I tried one of the workouts today. There’s something about Autumn that I really dislike. I know everyone is different, but not my fave. My brother suggested I try doing body beast in reverse (so for chest and tris, start with tris and end with chest) he said it is much more challenging.
        Thanks for your help – and keep reviewing :)

        • Jeremy Tanner

          When you work chest, it also calls on your triceps as part of that process. If you first fatigue your tris, you will have a hard time working your chest. The weight required to lift to work your chest will not be able to be supported and stabilized by your arms.

          Asylum 1, Strength is an amazing workout, IMO. Maybe try revisiting that? Also, have you tried any of the P90X series of workouts?

          A lot of times, dropping that last 5 pounds comes down to what you’re putting in your body rather than what you’re doing with your body. Give those nutritional habits a review to see if you can tighten that up.

          Good Luck!

    • Matt

      CSATT Fitness by Cody Sattler? If that’s him, he’s a great guy, I’ve known him for years, worked out with when he first moved to IL

      • KD

        Hi Matt. That’s him. Great guy, very positive, but program has gone down hill the bigger he’s gotten. The success has gone to hid head (just check out his snap chat)
        There are a lot of mistakes with the plans that he sends out (wrong video for the workout etc)
        My friend in the group also worked out with him when he was training people and she said he has changed for the worse. I feel bad saying that, but some people can’t handle success.

  • Shy

    Oh dear God. So I tried the programme out of interest and I HAVE NO IDEA HOW PEOPLE CAN STAND SAGI. Caps in case you couldn’t read my passion there. What a chauvinist. Butthead indeed.

    • Kristy

      I kind of agree with you. I don’t outright hate the guy but for all the griping I see about Autumn, I like her a heck of a lot better than him. I don’t get why people love him so much. I’m just neutral I guess.

      • I like Autumn, and I actually don’t get why some people hate her. And, for Sagi… I love him, he just makes me laugh!

    • Brent Gath

      I guess I’m on the other end of the spectrum here, I thoroughly enjoy workouts with Sagi. Body Beast is my favorite BB program!

  • Anonymous


    I have a question about Hammer Power. Am I doing the workout right, because in the end I feel that I trained my core and lower back like a lot? Should I try to focus and lift with the legs? From other reviews I noticed that this workout focuses on legs and shoulders, but not for me.

  • Estabon mendez

    Its a great program but i suggest u hybrid it with t25 or max 30 every other day….i feel when each develped thier part they didnt confide with each other….cause u will do alot of same muscles and same mucles every workout…..i felt overtrained and not enough recoup time for each muscle workout to workout… due to an elbow had to modify alot….i only lost 5 lbs…its a great workout but the cardio needs to be added….so i recommend to hybrid then is a perfect workout and u wont have to hear sagi so many times quote the Rock lol

    • Christina

      I agree, I actually did the Cize workout along with this one. Love Sagi, once I got passed his gym talk, and love Shawn T!

  • Christina

    What is the best thing to do when you finish Hammer and Chisel? I have great muscle tone and want to keep going with that but I still need to lose body fat. Any suggestions

  • Miloš Lazić

    Mr. Parrot your reviews are entertaining as they are informative and I have enjoyed them very much. For that reason I got P90X2 and Insanity max 30 and those really deliver. I would like to request if possible a review of 21-day metashred as it seems to be an excellent program. Hope to see it soon on your page. Keep up the good work! Cheers.

    • I’d love a review of 21-Day Metashred as well!

  • Marg78

    Thanks for your review! I feel like the majority of people in the challenging groups I was participating in, didn’t get close to the results that BB promises at the end of the H&C program. I find BB workouts effective in terms of loosing weight, but I feel like I will never look like any of the trainers unless I really hit the Gym hard for a few hours and lift heavy… is kind of misleading… :-/

    • wahday

      you have to do doubles and eat 100% perfect to get the best results.

  • Jaime

    Things I can’t handle well:
    ~ Sagi and Autumn are night and day, which is fine until they combine efforts into a program. It just seems forced since she’s all about dropping weight as fast as possible and he’s all about building up. The fact that a Body Beast fanatic friend actually LOST muscle during MHC says it all.
    ~ I have to add in a few sets working biceps and triceps since they are almost completely ignored.
    ~ Why does Autumn spend so much time telling you that if you are lifting heavier for upper body and lighter on legs, you aren’t doing something right…yet in that workout, she keeps using her 25 lb weights THE ENTIRE TIME.

    One thing I CAN handle… In just a month, my ass has finally started to take on a shape other than ‘pancake’. First time in my life I’m actually seeing lift. All the constant leg and balance work is working.

    • Jaime

      That should have said Autumn is lifting her 15 lb weights, not 25.

  • Brent Gath

    I like this program but I think 60 days of ignoring arms almost entirely is too much. This is okay to change things up for a month and then head back and start pushing the iron with Body Beast or whatever. What I do, since ignoring the arms really bothered me, is do an arm routine on the “off day”. This program would have been fantastic if they had just let Sagi do what he does best, lift weights! They should have let him have a Chest, shoulders, and Arms day and in between have Autumn’s workouts. Then it would have gotten 5 stars from me. Instead it earns 3.5 stars. Come on Body Beast 2!!!!!!

  • Ron

    I just want to cycle ryu though the hammer workouts for 3 full body workouts per week.
    Any suggestions on how to map this out?
    Should I do one hammer workout x3 for a month then change for another hammer workout or do a different one each of the 3 weekly days?

    • Not sure if I have any special way to map it out other than trying to mix it up as best one can. My workouts are pretty random and I rarely use a written schedule anymore. The calendars these companies give you are nice, but they are not the only way to get the job done by a long shot.

  • Angie Calix

    I just read your review on 22 Minute Hard Corps and this one. If you had to choose between the 2, which would it be? I am currently on Week 3 of Insanity but would like more strength training after I am done to build some muscle. Which would be best for that? I have both Body Beast and 21DFX at home as well, but looking for something new.

    • If you want more strength training, Hammer and Chisel might be the better way to go as Sagi has some pretty sweet muscle workouts. 22 MHC is closer to circuit training which will give more stamina.

  • Elchupinazo

    I’m not totally sure what everyone’s beef is with the lack of arm workouts on this one. I mean, no, there’s not much in the way of FOCUSED arm work, but in almost every workout you’re doing moves for the chest, back and shoulders — if you can do pushups, pullups and presses without using your arms, you know something I don’t. I just don’t see the value in spending time and energy on my biceps when I can get the same benefit (and then some) by doing rows and pullups.

    I also have to disagree re: Hammer Power. I think olympic-style lifts are awesome and was a fan of them back when I had a gym membership, but I think trying to replicate them with dumbbells is a fool’s errand. It’s not the same, and if anything it feels like there’s a greater risk of injury. If I had room to stow an olympic bar, though, this would be a pretty innovative workout by Beachbody standards.

    Everyone’s right about it being leg-heavy, though. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the legs are your biggest calorie burners and the easiest (and most functionally useful) place to add muscle. But with limited equipment, there are only so many ways to work the legs without it becoming repetitive. Again, leg-heavy is ok, but it wouldn’t have killed them to fiddle with the splits a little.

    • I agree about Hammer Power, I’d have love they used a barbell, instead of dumbbells; it just make more sense; I’ll probably use mine.

      I wonder what you think about the rotation calendar, do you think there is a risk of over-training? There aren’t recovery workouts, and even the cardio, use weights.

      • Elchupinazo

        I guess there’s always a danger of overtraining for any program, and maybe this one more so for beginners because of the constant impact on the legs. But while the cardio uses weights, they aren’t heavy, and I feel like the mix of workouts is such that someone at a decent fitness level should be able to negotiate it if they know their weights. What Sagi considers a heavy weight isn’t the same as what Autumn calls for, for instance. That said, it’s incumbent upon everyone to know their own bodies. I have no qualms following the modifier in a workout whenever my legs are feeling taxed.

        I’ve started to notice what some Amazon reviewers meant when they said that the workouts themselves were good, but the program overall was weird. I think they maybe tried a little too hard to make it “new” when they could have stuck to both trainers’ strengths and created a good program. For instance…

        Sagi could have had: Chest, Back, Shoulders/Arms, Legs, Plyo and Total body.
        Autumn could have had: Upper body, Lower body, Total body, Agility, Cardio and Pilates.

        That’s the same number of workouts you get now, but without the overlap. If they wanted to focus on the “strength” aspects with Sagi, they could have dropped his sets from 15/12/8 to 10/8/5 (or something similar). It’s almost like the people designing the two halves of the program (and this falls little if at all on Autumn and Sagi, let’s be serious) weren’t communicating.

        That said, I’m going to keep with it, as I like that it combines heavy weights with Autumn’s high rep/low weight stuff. P90X3 (maybe) does this as well or better, but I need a break from that.

        • Hi Chupinazo, thanks so much for your reply, I couldn’t reply before as I was getting an error page. I agree with you, I also follow the modifier when needed, or take an extra rest if my body is asking for it, I also agree that Sagi heavy weight vs Autumn’s is totally different, I’m more on the line of Autumn weights :) although I sometimes lift heavier than her, specially for legs. I also like the workouts, I think they are fun and solid, but as you, I think they didn’t communicate that much or at all, I think it could have been more balanced for sure, I would have much appreciated an stretch routine added to the package as well. Btw, I like your suggested workouts, I think they would have worked great that way, and now you got me interested on P90X3, I haven’t try that one yet. Have a great day!

  • Corey

    I really like the workouts. But the schedule is not good. Way more potential for injury because they just hammer the same crap-ever-single-day. If you’re like me and you like to really push every workout. It just doesn’t work. There’s just no rest time for any body part….which would be fine if it was more about endurance and such. But with them asking you to lift heavy, and do powerlifting, etc……it just doesn’t work.

  • UOFT

    Recently found your site…I own a lot of DVD programs and 1 offs as well. H&C did 1 round of it as in Bbody terms. Tired of the product placement of their performance line and ShakeO. It used to be product placement before their workouts or during cool down but with H&C it is within the WO itself. I never use Bbody music as it doesn’t do anything for me. In fact, I am a no music option on everything except Max 30 and T25 along with Cathe workouts.

    I have to say that the Deluxe Package is really good. I am like you and really try to determine if it is worth mortgaging the house to buy the deluxe package which makes NO sense why they are soo expensive.

    Power Chisel (Autumn Trains Sagi) Hammer Build Up (Sagi trains Autumn) 15 min glute Chisel I use this as an add on a lot and 15 min Leg Hammer is solid as well.

    Sagi is a great trainer and very informative BUT I find him conceited :)

    Master’s Cardio is a joke. Complete waste of time. Chisel Agility did nothing for me (I have completed Insanity, Max 30, T25, ASYLUM vol 1 and 2 – Asylum are my fav or Shaun T) and the second time I put on a weighted vest to get anything out of it and Iso Speed Hammer I pause and repeat the whole cycle as it is too short. Total Body Chisel if you want to lift heavy the pace doesn’t allow you to so I did it at my own pace.

    Actually may not seem so but I enjoyed Chisel more and add a lot of those workouts in my own rotations (Balance, Endurance, Power Chisel, Iso Strength, 15 min Glute,

    I doubled H&C with Ruthless and then Cathe, Edge Booty Extreme 2 workouts (thats a tough program) and some JM BodyShred.

    Great reviews still chuckle when I think of your TurboFire review…try and try to like it but it sits on my shelf…I think the 15 minute on that you say seems like an hour b/c of the music is hilarious. Good old Canadian Humour :)

  • Bonnie

    Recently found your reviews. .. Fabulous you say it how it is….in your opinion…what program would you recommend to someone who is interm/advanced and wants to see some results sooner rather then later??

    • For full body fitness and reasonably fast results, I’m a fan of P90X2. If you just want HIIT training then Max 30. But pretty much all these workouts have short term goals in mind.

  • MrDarkside

    I wonder if it would be worth your while to review the new online membership portal?

    • I think my review of it would be “frustrating”. I tried to get a trial of it going and was not comfortable giving BB my credit information. Also, the additional costs for “premium” content was way, way too much. That combined with being restricted to video streaming, I fail to see why anyone would be drawn to this method of obtaining content from BB.

      • MrDarkside

        Actually you CAN download, just have to use an extension. I can see that, they need to open it up more make it cheaper for premium content.

  • Keith James

    I didn’t like h/c, I found the workouts were just okay, I would also agree that with beach body I am now getting fed up of products being mentioned on almost every DVD. Science has proven that it doesn’t go by the name on the product but how your diet is and how, when you take the product.