It was unlikely Men’s Health magazine would remain silent during a time of unprecedented interest in home fitness videos. Hell, every month they discover the secret to six pack abs all over again like rouge archaeologists, so obviously it was only a matter of time before they raided the cookie jar. Indeed they have answered the call with their own offering, 21 Day Metashred with trainer BJ Gaddour.
What you get:
Nine workouts on 9 DVD’s, fitness guide/calendar, and a water bottle sure to wind up in a second hand store near you.
What you don’t get is BJ with a beard like the cover shows. Oh well.
Six Pack Superset
BJ’s text messages must be all in CAPS as the man seems to have swallowed a megaphone. But despite BJ giving the good natured cast a wicked case of tinnitus, they do their best to play along.
Six Pack Superset is a cardio/abs core workout where you will alternate between 60 seconds of standing and 30 seconds of ground work. Each super-set of moves gets increasingly more complex and difficult as you progress. I should mention this will work the glutes very hard and my legs were shaking at the end. A good first impression.
Wait, are we breaking out the plyo boxes?
This seems to be lots of chest and legs with some rows in there for back work.
A word of caution with the Piston Pulls for you dudes out there…mind your aim. BJ tells us to churn it fast to make butter, but if you’re aim is off then I can assure you the only butter you’ll be making is home grown nut butter.
The names of a lot of these workouts really have no meaning so knowing what you’re in for is a complete surprise most days. Thus we arrive at Shrednado which is increasing levels of intensity from F1 to F6. Get it?
This is a cardio/plyo workout that demands full core engagement and has a very Insanity Asylum feel to it. You go 10 seconds on and 10 seconds off. Each move alternates from floor to standing.
No fancy name like Muscle Funhouse ( kind of like that actually ), but rather one that implies what you will actually be doing. Rows, curls, presses, and squats are the order of the day. There are six cycles of 20 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest. This is total body cardio core with a little weight added to the mix. The reps are plenty so most guys can get away with 8-10lbs whereas the ladies may wish to go after 2-5lbs. The weights switch hands a lot so consider some workout gloves to help if grip becomes an issue.
Another full body circuit that switches to push ups, curls, rows, abs and some stretching. The emphasis here appears to be on mobility. 45 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest. The work goes up by 5 seconds and the rest goes down by the same each round.
Again, the plyo box is in play here but it seems to be used more often for modifying, not for going balls to the wall.
Calorie Crushing Combo
You’ll require a low to mid set of weights again due to high reps. It begins with a better stretch and goes right into 2 minute complexes for ten combos. The plyo box is back and gets better action with one-legged plyo jumps for example. The use of lighter weight adds some extra kick to the cardio. From head to toe, this works it all.
Thermogenic Tempo Training
Weights will be on the heavier side and movements will be slow in keeping with today’s motto: time under tension. Moves switch from standing to floor work and are 50 seconds long. Of all the workouts, I’d advise maybe not skipping the rest day after this one.
We go easier on the legs, but the core and top get the works. Biceps, triceps, chest, back, shoulder in 6 cycles with 5 moves per cycle. You can probably add about 5lbs to your standard weights used up to this point.
5 Minute Death Sets
Whereas BodyBuilder Burnouts focused on the top, today it is waist down with marches/crawls/lunges/gorilla/squats. If some of those moves sound a little off the wall it is because BJ is aiming to use primal positions for this workout. Thus this gives a side benefit of a nice stretch.
BJ Gaddour has created a solid program with 21 Day Metashred which is sure to have broad appeal to those seeking to expand their 30 minute workout collection.
There are some issues that concern me however. The format of the program is very much cardio/circuit that uses weights to help burn fat. That means this might be better suited for women as men might desire less reps and bigger weight to suit the more common male desire of trying to pack on slabs of free-range beef. There are also some lost opportunities as the plyo box is not used as a means of cranking it up, but rather as a modifier. I built a plyo box some months ago and I can assure you, it will kick your ass if used right.
The trainer, BJ Gaddour is quite the character. He starts with his volume turned up to eleven and does not stop for an instant. Kind of like my thirteen year old son when he accidentally mistakes a bag of espresso beans for peanuts ( Dad is watching…I’m onto you junior ). Still, it works for BJ as he’s never mean but rather very eager to keep the motivation going. Good thing to as it distracts from a mediocre audio track.
The cast too, are very human. Gideon, Dallas and Kelsey give off a positive vibe without entering “Hip Hop Abs” levels of unbridled happiness and Colgate smiles. It might seem minor, but happy people who have time to show off their freshly whitened teeth instead of getting to work irritate me to no end.
While the workouts are indeed excellent and at times even grueling, the schedule is way…way to easy. Three days of workouts a week are simply inadequate to get decent results. Should you get this program, turn the dial up a bit and try to fit in at least 5-6 days of training. I was going 6 days a week and had no trouble recovering enough for the next day.
The cost of the standard package is around $90, so I’m a little on the fence for whether this is worth that amount given the influx of other similar programs, some of which are even free. But then again, I have to replace my furnace soon so maybe BJ is catching me at a time when I’m feeling cheap.
Final score is a solid 4 Feathers out of 5. 21 Day Metashred is a solid program with some minor issues, many of which can be overcome by rearranging the schedule. As far a mixing this with a hybrid, it feels like it would blend nice with 22 Minute Hard Corps or T25.