Tony Horton's Next Level - Season 2
Trainer - 90%
Production Values - 90%
Strength - 85%
Cardio - 85%
Value - 65%
Tony Horton's Next Level might not have broad appeal to the person who just wants to "get it over with", but it will be a cool glass of water to those of us who long for a return to the old days.
In Season One of Tony Horton’s Next Level, it was gratifying to see old and new faces. And best of all, seeing Tony do what Tony does best. We talked about his current post-Beachbody situation and I will explore that further in this review of Season 2.
So what’s different here? No question, there feels to be an added intensity to Season 2, making it well worth viewing. I’ve bitched about Gaiam enough, so I will spare you any further ranting but will instead go right to the workout itself and see if its worth adding to your video catalog.
It might shock some to know, this was all made on a shoestring budget. Tony mentioned how everyone helped out to make Next Level happen. From the perspective of dollars and cents, Next Level is shocking when you consider how well it turned out. Beachbody for example, now often cuts things like timers out ( why?? ). Next Level still includes them. Thank you.
What You Need
Season 1 was light on equipment, but for Season 2 you’ll need to at least bring the pull-up bar back. Expect the weights to get greater usage as well. It would also be worth investing in some resistance loops.
Time: 20 Minutes
We kick it off with some basic moves to assess our physical level. Do we up the ante, or throw our hands up in defeat and grab a deluxe bag of chips? After doing 11 moves, you’ll have a better idea.
AM Marching Orders
Time: 38 Minutes
Low impact plyo-cardio to get you going in the morning. There’s a fair amount of punch-kick combos in there as well, so if that’s your thing then great. It’s nice to see Traci Morrow once again and as always, she finds Tony’s jokes one level more amusing than they probably are. That’s a good friend right there.
Time: 43 Minutes
Three rounds of nine moves for 30 seconds. Supposedly its a more intense version of AM Marching Orders but it felt to be an entirely different workout since it had no punch-kick combos. To me that was a plus.
Push Pull Palooza
Time: 68 Minutes
Ok, this is what I signed up for; pull-up bars, weights and push-ups. This is Chest and Back in all its painful glory. At last, a worthy successor to the classic P90X killer. All that’s missing are Sean’s creative socks.
Remember, Tony is working out and keeping up with a 31 and 36 year old; both in their physical prime. Tony is 60. Sixty. This was also made shortly after his long road to physical recovery. Post-Beachbody stress, and the onslaught of Bell’s Palsy dropped the poor bastard to the ground for over a year. Not to mention the death of his friend Tom Petty further added to the load. Hey…I feel ya on that one. Running Down a Dream was my song when I loaded up my ’82 Dodge Omni at nineteen and ran away to the unknowns of the wild west.
Time: 47 Minutes
Two rounds of ten moves. It’s punch kick combos because that’s really all you’re going to get with these kinds of workouts. Admittedly, I am an extremely harsh critic of “martial arts” style routines. This is because as some might know, after years of karate I am an official MA-snob. Alice returns and is a natural fit given her MA expertise.
Time: 56 Minutes
Basic not enough to satisfy your inner dragon? Then step into the Octagon with MMA Advanced. Once again Tony invites Alice to the mix. As with any MMA style workout, you do punch-kick combos. Here they are just more complex. Don’t expect to take on any back-alley thugs as this stuff is naturally just for show. Kind of like real TaeKwonDo.
Time: 39 Minutes
While the name might imply a stretch/yoga workout, it is not. Instead, break out those wrap-around bands and improve the strength around the joints. I’m always a little skeptical about these things, but hot damn if they don’t actually work. I suffer from minor knee discomfort and I swear these are helping by going after the it-bands. It was kind of weird when Tony mentioned buying them on Amazon instead of BB. Dreya Weber is also back and looking great for someone who has to be in their mid fifties by now.
Dude, Where’s My Cardio?
Time: 65 Minutes
Tony brings the boys for a cardio killer. The odds of anyone doing Level 3 out of the gate are slim unless they’ve gone through something like Insanity: Max 30. I found this resonated with me as there’s something about working out with the guys that motivates me not to be the weakest punk in the room.
Time: 24 Minutes
It’s cardio once again, but this one doesn’t coddle you with instructions and demos. You are expected to keep up with 2 rounds comprised of 40 seconds movements. Low impact cardio, some punch-combos and core plank work are on the menu today.
Time: 41 Minutes
25 moves at roughly a minute a pop. And the best thing; Dreya and Bobby are together in the same workout. Somebody pinch me.
Flex Express is very yoga-esque without being the same routine as just about every other yoga workout. There’s a lot more going on than repetitious upward/downward dogs so the time will seem to go by much quicker.
Triple Core Cardio
Time: 50 Minutes
Why triple? Two rounds of nine moves. There are 2 core moves followed by one cardio move. See? It’s math. The core moves are tough, and you will be very relieved when cardio comes around.
The Low Down
Time: 57 Minutes
It’s leg day. Two rounds of moves that mix weight training and plyometrics. The mix of the two hearken back to P90X3 and Eccentic Lower’s philosophy of post-activation potentiation. Once this workout is done there is no blasted way you’ll have anything left in the lower-body tank.
If I may offer a radical opinion; this is what P90X3 should have been. The progression from X to X2 was natural, but X3 felt somewhat diluted in order to accommodate the half hour mandate. As such, Next Level is not really something new at all, but rather a return to a more classic approach.
We’ve kind of gotten spoiled, present company included. While half-hour workouts are fine, they just won’t measure up to a full hour of devotion. Tony Horton’s Next Level might not have broad appeal to the person who just wants to “get it over with”, but it will be a cool glass of water to those of us who wish for a return to the old days. With production values that actually exceed Beachbody’s current offerings and a dearth of silly gimmicks, Next Level is Tony doing what Tony does best.
So now the question is, what’s next?
Tony has recently embarked on fundraising endeavors to finance his next series. Remember, Beachbody is out of the picture and so is the large financial capital to back any new projects. P90X for example, cost millions to produce. Cameras, tech, equipment and lowly production assistants to fetch a cappuccino don’t fall from trees. It also goes without saying that Gaiam doesn’t have that kind of venture capital either, leaving Tony quite literally on his own.
Still, even at 60, Tony has among the best brand value of any video fitness trainer in the business. That means a GoFundMe or something similar could easily muster the necessary funds. But more than that, he seems to have good friends who have his back and that’s an asset you can’t buy at any price. While BB might have made things convenient, it’s a different world now. Indeed, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.
So will there be a Season 3? Don’t know, but it can easily go either way. Re-assembling the set and production crew might be too restrictive. The effort would be the same as embarking on a fresh program, which would at least add to his post-Beachbody catalog. His Instagram videos heavily suggest new things are on the horizon and I don’t doubt that for a second. Heck, Tony is just about 100% of the reason I got involved in this fitness-review gig, so I genuinely hope he enjoys the well deserved fruits of his labor. If Next Level is any indication of his post-Beachbody potential, I think the future looks very bright.