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Review: DAILYBURN – LIVE to FAIL

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I’ve resisted streaming services for workouts for probably the same reason I clung to my CD’s during the iTunes music onslaught.  In the end though, this is probably the normal evolution of the industry given the diminishing desire for DVD’s.  This brings us to DAILYBURN, an online streaming service for workout videos.  While they have a multitude of programs to choose from ranging in difficulty, I decided to let ego, testosterone, and good old Canadian grit opt for the advanced program: LIVE TO FAIL.

What to expect:

Live to Fail has a 90 day schedule and is listed as one of the advanced workouts available at Dailyburn.  The focus is to add nice lean muscle with the help of trainer Ben Booker.  The program has 14 individual workouts that range in time from 15 to 50 minutes.  Equipment needed will be a lighter to medium set of weights and a small plyo box.  I found the plyo box to be somewhat optional and can easily be substituted with existing dumbbells/push up stands or simple modifications.

The price is a monthly subscription fee of $14.95 which enables access to a host of other workout programs.  This gives the options to mix things up to an almost endless degree.

Chest and Back

Time: 35 minutes

The format is extremely basic yet effective.  Four moves, 4 rounds. Each move is done to failure.  For example, you will do push ups, rest, then do them again four times.  The entire program will follow this format.

Push ups, single arm rows, peck fly-bridges and bent over rows are the only moves on the list today.  No one-leg arm curls with a back-flip…nice and simple.  This allows for the beginner to get up to speed without feeling like a fifth wheel.

Armforge 1 / 2

Time: 37 / 54 minutes

It’s all biceps and triceps.  Five moves in 4 sets with a bonus set.

It’s simple curls and kickbacks.  The agenda is alternating curls, tricep kickbacks, hammer curls, tricep extension, bent over curls and a bonus box-dips.

The cast is lively, especially “Chopper” ( Your Mom did NOT name you that ) who is only too eager to do the post workout pose-down.  It’s all in good humor, although it comes dangerously close to seeming a little over the top.

ltf_arms
No happy smiles here. The cast is getting their butts kicked too.

Armforge 2 occurs in month 2 and significantly increases the difficulty by doing supersets ( 2 moves per round ).  This is where Live to Fail truly pulls ahead of the pack.

Back and Chest

Time: 52 minutes

This is a month 2 workout and NOW things are starting to heat up.  Instead of single moves done back to back, now it is 2 moves in a set ( ie. superset ).  B&C consists of 4 moves plus a finisher.

backchest
This one is all about push-ups, rows, and flyes.

Live to Fail does not use a chin up bar but don’t think you’re getting off easy.  This one could easily surpass Chest & Back from P90X, making it one of my new favorites.

LB Metcon 7 / 14 / 21

Time: 17 / 27 / 36 minutes

Might sound like a starbase, but it’s actually short for metabolic-conditioning.  There are 3 workouts in the LB Metcon lineup, each progressively more excruciating.

Metcon 7 times in at a quick 17 minutes and to be honest, with only 3 moves plus a bonus it would make a good Insanity warmup at best.  Given the easiness of 7,  I would easily say that 14 and 21 are far more worthy of the advanced level rating of this workout.

lbmetcon21
For those in average shape, Metcon14 and 21 are substantially more worthwhile.

Shoulders and Shield 1 / 2

Time: 40 / 50 minutes

5 round done 4 times consecutively.  It alternates between relatively basic shoulder presses and various ab crunches.  What you get is a very respectable shoulder attack.

For some reason I keep calling Chopper’s name “Booker T” instead.  I think that means I need to look deep inside myself and I dunno…repent or something.  The cast is quite fun and…wait, what is Mike wearing…?

goinswimmin
Uh, going swimming?

Phase 2 is naturally harder with more moves added to the mix in the form of supersets.  Throughout the program gives the option to lower the reps and up the weight, easily making this a superior strength program to boot.

Pillars of Strength 1 / 2

Time: 38 / 46 minutes

It’s all legs kids.  Stage one consists of squats, lunges, calf raises, reverse lunges, and box squats.  This is something that can go toe to toe with a solid Body Beast leg routine.  The legs were brutalized after this and I have to give it credit as being a 5-star workout.  Which means Stage 2 is going to be like smashing your legs with a hammer.

pillars_st2
Pillars of Strength will put your legs in their place in no time.

Stage two is roughly 10 minutes longer and like all phase 2 workouts, adds supersets.  This takes the workout beyond intermediate and can easily place it into Body Beast territory if you play your cards right.

UB Metcon 7 / 14 / 21

Time: 17 / 26 / 35

Like LB Metcon, we have 3 workouts that get progressively more difficult as you move through your 90 days.

Push ups and rows: 3 moves plus a finisher.  The emphasis is on a total upper body shakeup, and not necessarily killing any one body part.  The Metcon 7 workouts are more of a morning warm up than a real workout.  That makes it all the more amusing when the cast is commenting on the “burn” after doing what can only be described as casual lifting.  Granted, I’m not exactly covered in slabs of muscle.  But given that I was lifting the same as they were and not getting much of a burn, I was starting to feel like Thor.

Hemsworth-Thor
I swear it's like looking in the mirror.

That having been said, you won’t get that kind of sweet treatment for Metcon 14 and 21 where multiple superset rounds occur.

CONCLUSION

Before you run out and drop down your hard earned shekels for Beachbody on Demand, maybe take a look at DAILYBURN.  Honestly, I’m almost speechless with how good Live to Fail is put together.  While I can’t judge the other programs offered at Dailyburn just yet, if LTF is any indication there might just be a new kid on the home fitness block.

The moves in Live to Fail are above all, simple.   Curls, rows, squats, etc…nothing that requires gifted genetics via an ancestral line of Romanian acrobats to accomplish.  That means the need to modify is very limited so all one has to truly consider is the weight they bring to the game.

The attention to the whole body is dang near flawless.  Legs get as good of attention as the upper body and there is an ideal mix of plyo, resistance, core.  If there was any muscle group that got missed in LTF, be darned if I could find it.

While the streaming option might have posed some challenges not that long ago, I think most have jumped on board with some form of streaming device.  I just used the phone app and AirPlayed it to my AppleTV no problem.   I imagine the same could be said for Chromecast or Roku.  The Dailyburn app itself is dead simple to navigate.  Simply choose your workout program from a list and it takes care of your schedule.  Should you desire a change, simply load up another workout and give it a go.  The only glitch I encountered was having trouble getting the timer bar to show up when Airplaying ( worked with mirroring though ).  Eventually I stopped trying to figure it out so maybe your mileage will vary.

dailyburn_app
The app is clean, allowing easy scrolling to view dozens of programs. You can also download a workout if you need to go on the road. Might have to give that Spartan workout a look...

There are downsides though, in particular the nature of Dailyburn‘s business model.  You can’t actually own the workouts which means when you cancel your service, your access likewise goes poof.  Therefore consider this a rental service.

The overall difficulty of Live to Fail varies from intermediate to advanced.  For advanced users or P90X grads, the first month might seem easy until you move into the Metcon 14/21 and Level 2 stages.  For beginners however, the pace might be just about perfect.  I think that was likely the mission behind this program and I would say Live to Fail succeeds brilliantly.  If you’re a P90X3 fan, you’re going to freaking love Live to Fail.

While the music track is obviously canned ( as are they all ), it doesn’t sound “cheap” like so many others I’ve come across.  It still feels appropriate with a rock-ish tone.  To be honest, after living through Country Heat I would prefer a drunk Scotsman playing discount bagpipes while stepping on a cats tail than having to endure that music nightmare again.

Finally, how is Ben Booker as a trainer?  It is here where the program shines as a trainer makes or breaks the whole system.  He’s fun, but not goofy.  Encouraging, but not cheerleader-ish.  He speaks with articulation and easily can stand next to his more popular peers in the fitness video industry.  Look for him to be in future programs for sure because he absolutely has the talent.

In all, the positives vastly outweigh any criticisms I have and thus I give Live to Fail a well earned 5 Feathers out of 5.  It’s hard to say anything negative about this program so I’m simply going to let the rating speak for itself.  I am more than impressed and as such will devote my next few reviews to further offerings from Dailyburn.

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.

51 Comments

51 Comments

  1. Peter

    December 13, 2017 at

    Not to sound a note of dissent, but I think parts of this program are very poorly designed. For instance, for the first six weeks, you’ll do eight sets of chest exercises and eight sets of back exercises per week. By contrast, you’ll be doing twelve sets of bicep exercises and twelve sets of shoulder exercises per week (and eight sets for the triceps). That’s badly imbalanced. These imbalances carry over into Phase 2 for the final seven weeks, albeit in a less pronounced way. Additionally, there’s no deload week, so you’ll be doing thirteen straight weeks of pretty strenuous resistance. Finally, the amount of cardio in this program is something of a joke, especially for the first eight weeks. In weeks 1-4, for instance, you’re doing only about twenty minutes total of cardio the entire week as about half of the MetCon 7 programs are devoted to warm up and cool down. I think that there are much better options out there.

    • Damien Mackey

      January 11, 2018 at

      I’m now doing a second round of LtF because it has given me the best results of any program I have tried in 10 years (P90X 1,2 and 3, Body Beast, Masters H&C). It does seem a bit light on chest exercises at first, but you need to work how to get the most of it by making the reps as eccentric as possible. I also do pull ups instead of bent over rows.

      As for cardio, best not to bother with metcom7 and if you already have good cardiovascular fitness you’d be best off going straight to the metcom21 stage, which is hard going as long as you’re doing it properly. The 2nd stage leg work out also gets your heart rate up, but only if you use the appropriate weights for you and you’re doing the max reps. So that’s 3 good cardio workouts a week.

  2. Gina

    November 13, 2017 at

    Hi, I am interested in trying Live to Fail. I am an active heavier woman and finished Insanity in three months.It was the toughest thing ever, but I’ve grown so much stronger through it. I’d also like to get into weight training. I don’t have a Plyo box and won’t be able to invest in one for some time, so I’ve thought of using a chair and push up grips for LTF. However some of the exercises in the legs workouts require the box (stepping on the box with dumbbells). Would you have any plyo box alternatives or exercise alternatives, for these moves, in mind for LTF leg days?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      November 13, 2017 at

      You can absolutely get by without a plyo box in LTF. They have a modifier to show how but even then, most times you could get away with using a chair. For step ups I would just do regular lunges and up the weight to compensate.

  3. Jason Freeman

    October 26, 2017 at

    Great review. I’m only a couple days into P90X3 (after reading your review), then came across this… wondering if I made a mistake :) … I’m not overweight, just looking to get a little more cut and would like to add a little bulk as well. In your opinion, will both programs (P90X3 and LTF) help me accomplish this?

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      October 27, 2017 at

      No mistake; I think X3 is one of the best programs out there. LTF is awesome, but it does miss a few marks with functional fitness. I almost liken it more to Body Beast than P90X-ish workouts. Truth be told, either program will accomplish your goal and I doubt you would see a dramatic difference between the two.

  4. Michael

    August 15, 2017 at

    I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this before but you can go to Groupon and get 3 months free of Daily Burn and then it will go to the regular price at the end if not cancelled. Great programs on there, doing LTF now… had enough of Tony’s dumb jokes. Good Health

  5. Min Park

    August 2, 2017 at

    Hi
    I am a huge fan of your reviews.
    Im about to finish my first round of x3 and looking into this program as my next fitness plan.
    Quick question,
    What were two sets of weights you used? I can bench around 205lvs and knock out 30-40 push ups. Should I get 30-35lbs dumbbells?
    Is there any workout sheets?

  6. Stephen Smith

    June 22, 2017 at

    Can we assume that there is no cardio in Live to Fail?

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      June 22, 2017 at

      While the heart rate will go up for sure due to circuit-style reps, it’s not HIIT or max-heart rate type training at all. More of a functional fitness weight program than anything else.

      • Stephen Smith

        June 23, 2017 at

        Functional fitness as in P90X3?

        • Dysfunctional Parrot

          June 23, 2017 at

          Yup. Pretty much on the same page with both programs. I think Tony would dig LTF.

  7. AGL

    June 20, 2017 at

    Hi! First off I read your reviews before starting any program and they are always spot on! Thank you! I am a petite female (5’3″) and I’ve had success loosing weight and gaining muscle using p90x (1, 2, 3), BB, HC. Through all of those I’ve been running 2 miles per day as well and was eating 1300 calories. Now I’m at the point where I think I’m starting to look underweight and am considering dropping all cardio and doing only strength to add mass (some fat is fine but definitely muscle). Do you think this would be a good choice? Also, I’m not clear on how many calories I should bump up to or just leave it at 1300 since I won’t have the cardio calorie burn. Thank you so much for your time!

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      June 21, 2017 at

      I’m not really all that good at calorie counting as I sort of have a Tony Horton philosophy when it comes to what’s on my plate ( keep it healthy ). But if you’re looking to put on some mass then Max Hammer-Chisel might be a good way to start. Stronger by Nicky Hollander would also be a good free workout too. And yes, Live to Fail would also be an excellent way to go. This program really nails it when it comes to functional weight training.

      • AGL

        September 12, 2017 at

        Update: finishing up LTF and absolutely loved it! Trying to decide what to do next. But I’m wondering is Max Hammer-Chisel (from your previous reply) the same as Master’s Hammer-Chisel? Thanks for all the superb reviews and suggestions!

        • Dysfunctional Parrot

          September 15, 2017 at

          There’s only one Hammer/Chisel workout. It’s a very good system but I have to be honest, I only get half the value from it as I prefer Sagi and just about never do Autumn’s. Not that she’s bad…just preference.

          Max 30 might be the other one you’re thinking of. I’d get that as you can mix the cardio with the resistance from LTF. Be a kickass hybrid.

  8. Dysfunctional Parrot

    June 8, 2017 at

    I can certainly add it to my list. Trying to get through a bunch of DailyBurn workouts and maybe try out BOD next.

  9. Nihongin Mouad

    June 1, 2017 at

    hi , i just finished stronger workout and i’m thinking about building some muscules and burning some fat either , should i try live to fail ? ,any suggestion for building muscles and burning fat !!!
    thank you very much .

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      June 5, 2017 at

      I think LTF would be an excellent next step. It would have more resistance training which is always a plus.

  10. Zuki

    May 31, 2017 at

    on my 4th week of this workout! agree with everything you say. it is simple and tough! my arms and chest are growing!

  11. Mikey

    May 28, 2017 at

    Thanks for the review! I have done all the Insanity’s and p90’s over the years and am a BoD member. I skipped to the second half of this program and I am very impressed. I did his leg workout today and I was begging for it to end. This is a legit program! On another note, I joined Daily Burn for the free trial and I have to say, Inferno is a amazing program also. Anja Garcia deserves major props for her programs – Inferno is as hard as the Insanity’s. These new trainers and programs have really put a new spark in my workouts. However, even as much as I love Inferno and LTF I don’t know if I’ll stay with Daily Burn after the 30 day trial. They seem to be more focused on beginner/ intermediate. Beachbody on demand has many more programs to cycle through. Again, thanks for the review.

    • Mikey

      June 5, 2017 at

      I just wanted to update this post – I may stay a member of Daily Burn for a while. I really like LTF and the Inferno programs (Inferno, HR, and WTF). I may cycle them in with my P90x’s, T25’s, Insanity’s etc.

  12. Steve

    May 26, 2017 at

    I love the audio choices on P90X, X2, X3. Does LTF have those?

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      May 29, 2017 at

      Does not seem so. It’s streaming video so the options are much more limited than a DVD. You have the option to download for later ( iOS ) but not much else.

  13. JimS

    May 26, 2017 at

    Just finishing up P90 here after a multi-year break. P90 was a good way to get back into things as a 40yo and losing 25ish pounds. Thanks for the reviews. Looking for ideas on what to do next to stay lean but build strength and muscle. Thinking maybe this LTF, P90x3, or MH&C, or maybe even Bodybeast. Any recommendations or thoughts on order?

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      May 29, 2017 at

      I think X3 would be a natural progression from P90. MH&C can feel a little random at times. LTF is another excellent option if you want to switch trainers up. Maybe try that one first and see what other things Dailyburn has that you can try out as well. I’m finishing up a review of their BlackFire series and I have to say they seem to run a pretty good ship over there.

  14. Damien Mackey

    May 14, 2017 at

    Daily burn have a 30 day free trial at the moment.

  15. Damien Mackey

    May 14, 2017 at

    What would you suggest as an alternative to the plyo box, for example with Chest and back? My guess is standard pushups but using those narrowly spaced grips on the box makes it practically a military pushup.

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      May 14, 2017 at

      With chest workouts, I subbed in the push up stands in a pinch. The show a modifier who will give options without the box. I have plyo box but it’s covered in home reno tools!

      • Dagwood

        June 1, 2017 at

        “Real” plyo boxes were around $100+ so I picked up one of those underground irrigation boxes (13″ tall) for $40 at Lowe’s and it works just fine. Only downside? Can’t flip it on its end.

        • Dysfunctional Parrot

          June 1, 2017 at

          Another alternative is 3/4″ plywood. Just have the measurements predetermined and the Lowes/Home Depot guys will cut it for you at no charge.

  16. holyguy7

    May 12, 2017 at

    My internet is very slow so I can’t really stream anything. Is there any way to download these workouts for use “offline.” I was trying another streaming workout service FitFusion.com and they are streaming only and since my internet is too slow, I can’t stream and had to cancel.

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      May 12, 2017 at

      They just added the download feature, so you should be good to go.

      • Damien Mackey

        May 15, 2017 at

        Only for iOS

  17. Tony C.

    May 8, 2017 at

    Since you are doing streaming things lately and you have reviewed yoga type things in the past, have you ever considered looking at YogaGlo?

  18. Stacy Elliott

    April 21, 2017 at

    Beachbody on Demand is 99.00 a year or 8.25 per month. DailyBurn is 14.95 per month after the 30 day free trial. BOD gives you more than enough workouts to do at home! And when they add more you get them too!

    • Elchupinazo

      May 31, 2017 at

      Agreed, I don’t see how anyone considers both and then goes with DB. I did a DB trial a while back, and while it’s perfectly competent, it doesn’t have much on the BOD programs. I find them to be better put together, and there are more of them.

  19. kelclaw

    April 19, 2017 at

    I love how this requires less equipment and cheaper compare to P90x3. I’ve been doing some strength training for 8 weeks now even I’ve toned quite a bit, I can’t seem to get rid of the belly flab(after having two kids). I also would like to drop about 5 to 10lbs. Do you think this program will be get me there?

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      April 19, 2017 at

      It can, yes. But LTF is best for building muscle and leaning out, not necessarily for getting shredded. You will need to watch diet strictly of course ( I always recommend ditching wheat ) and consider throwing in some HIIT on alternate days. Looks like Dailyburn has a lot to choose from and I plan on reviewing some of them soon.

      • kelclaw

        April 19, 2017 at

        Thanks!! I guess if that’s the case I better go with P90x3 first as it infused with different types of workout, then move on to this one. Am I on the right page?

        I’m so glad I’ve come across your website!

        • Dysfunctional Parrot

          April 19, 2017 at

          Can’t go wrong with X3. X3’s philosophy is more functional fitness related than LTF, but the two would make an absolutely fantastic hybrid workout.

          • Stephen Smith

            September 5, 2017 at

            What about a LTF hybrid with a more cardio based program such as T25.

          • Dysfunctional Parrot

            September 7, 2017 at

            That would fill a cardio hole. Maybe 3xLTF and 2xT25 per week would be a good mix?

  20. SEM

    April 19, 2017 at

    Another great review. 5 out of 5 from the P90X lover? Now that IS saying something about this program.

    I too was wonder what the Price was…

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      April 19, 2017 at

      I’ll have to edit the review to add it as a lot of people are asking. It is a subscription fee of 14.95/mo.

  21. Deathbypigeons

    April 19, 2017 at

    Does it offer anything comparable to Ab Ripper (X/X2/X3) as I’m not sure that muscle group was covered by your review?

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      April 19, 2017 at

      Not really. It has abdominal moves in the UB Metcon workouts but no one workout is dedicated to abs.

      • Dagwood

        June 1, 2017 at

        Shoulders & Shield (1 & 2) work the abs (shield) decently.

    • Katie

      May 4, 2017 at

      Since Daily Burn is a subscription site, you have access to all the other workout programs as well. There is a “Core” series with core workouts, obviously, and then you can also search for other workouts on the site that are exclusively abs and add those in.

  22. freereel

    April 18, 2017 at

    Great review. A few questions.

    Price?

    Comparison with:

    P90X
    P90X3
    Body Beast
    21-day metashred

    Thanks!

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      April 18, 2017 at

      Price is a subscription fee of 14.95/mo.

      I would compare this closest to P90X3, but would say this is better. It has the potential to also compete with Body Beast if you drop the reps and up the weight. 21 Day Metashred is more cardio/resistance so it wouldn’t be the same kind of workout.

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