I'm wrapping up week 8 of Beachbody's The Master Hammer & Chisel program and all I can say is that I LOVED it! After several cardio intense programs and losing about 10 lbs, this was just what I needed to build muscle and definition.
First, a quick overview of the program. Sagi Kalev and Autumn Calabrese, two of Beachbody's Master Trainers, teamed up on this one. Sagi is the Hammer and Autumn is the Chisel. Together, they bring the ability to sculpt your muscles while building balance, strength and power.
There are 13 different DVDs with this program so you get a lot of variety, something I love as I get bored easily. And, if you get the deluxe version or use it on demand, there are even more quick abs, glutes and legs workouts that rock. Most workouts are 30-40 minutes with the abs, glutes and legs workouts being 10-15 minutes. They're meant to add on to your workout, not replace other scheduled programs.
Let me say that I love Autumn as a trainer. I know she's not everyone's cup of tea but I like her. I don't love Sagi as much but he grew on me by the end.
I started this workout coming off doing the 3 Day Refresh so I had a nice kickstart towards eating well. I've been able to maintain portion controls and consuming a high number of fruits and veggies in my diet since the Refresh and I know that helped the visible results.
I lost a couple more pounds after my Refresh while on this program and probably gained a lb or two in muscle so it's kind of a wash. And, believe me, I have not been perfect on my diet. Maybe 75% good and then there's the days I drink too much beer or eat too much pizza. :)
Overall I have defined muscles like I've NEVER had before which is exciting. Total, I dropped about 2.5 inches, mostly from my butt and thighs. Yep, those are my trouble spots so I was super happy to see that. Check out the before and afters.
I did take these photos about a week early because I know my upcoming week was crazy and I went out of town and ended my program a couple of days early.
As you can see, I'm definitely down some inches and I've gained some muscle. Look at my back muscles!
While I loved this program, it's not for beginners. The trainers are assuming you know the basics and, while they do cover proper form, there are some high intensity moves that could get you hurt if you're not ready for it. I recommend this for more of an intermediate or advanced program. Even then, as someone who's been working out for a while, I recommend modifying. Unless you're a pretty skilled athlete who's used to some of these moves, you'll tweak a knee super easy if you try to go full out.
For example, Autumn uses the bench a lot for step up type moves. I know my knees give me trouble sometimes and I struggle with form on normal lunges. So, there's no way you're going to see me jumping up and down off a bench. It's perfect hard to modify those moves on the ground and I still got great results. If you don't have a bench, the modification of a lot of sitting moves is the ball which is great. The ball is actually a little bit harder than using the bench because you have to use your core to stabilize yourself. I used the ball.
I opted not to use a pull up bar or a band. That was just my preference. I subbed pull ups for upright rows and chin ups for dumbbell curls. I know they might not work all the exact same muscles but it's close and those are moves know I can do. I can't do a pull up to save my life (ok, maybe I could do one or two, but still...) and end up slacking off half the workout.
Bottom line is that you have to know your body and what you're capable of. I know my knees are very sensitive and when I use heavier weights while doing leg exercises, I always end up with a sore knee. So, I backed off the weights even when Autumn and Sagi were pushing me to do more. Now, I'm not saying don't push yourself and don't try to use heavier weights when you can. But, if you know you've got some physical limitations, be smart!
I would recommend this to anyone who's been working out, has gotten to or close to their goal weight and is looking for the next step that's going to give them muscle definition and sculpting. I'll definitely be doing this program again. Not right away, my knees need a little break, but soon!
Think you might want to try this program or others, complete this quick form and let me know a little more about you and I'll follow up. Want info about other Beachbody programs, read my post where I reviewed a ton of them.
If you're curious about my journey, read up about what I've done to get results.