22 Minute Hard Corps Review
Last Updated Sept 7, 2017
I think you'll agree with me when I say:
It's really hard to workout and get in shape with a full time job, family, and real world responsibilities.
Or is it?
Well, it turns out you can workout and get in shape despite these responsibilites. In fact, you can do it for less than 25 minutes a day in only 2 months and in this post I'll show you how it can be done.
The home workout experts, Beachbody, created a military-style bootcamp workout in 2015. This workout offers cardio and dynamic resistance movements in 22 minute workouts designed by Beachbody trainer Tony Horton for those looking to lose weight and build muscle tone.
What to expect in this review?
I’ve been known to drink the Beachbody Kool-Aid, but I’ll give you an honest review of this product, including the pros and cons.
Who Is This Workout For?
For over 20 years I would go to the gym for my workouts. 3-5 days a week for over 20 years. Then…..kids happened. After my first daughter was born my gym routine changed slightly. I wasn’t going as frequently and I incorporated more home workouts. 2 years later, when my second daughter was born, I quickly realized that gym workouts, even quick workouts were a thing of my past. I just didn’t feel right spending an hour and a half away from them knowing my wife had her hands full.
So I created a modest home gym and went Beachbody crazy. I purchased a variety of home workouts from Beachbody but really enjoyed 22 Minute Hard Corps. Like the title states, this workout is best for those looking to get a solid workout in only 22 minutes.
In only 22 minutes each day, you can lose weight, get in shape, and build/tone your muscles.
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The schedule consists of 8 workouts. 3 cardio, 3 resistance, and 2 ab workouts. There is an optional upgrade which consists of 3 more workouts they call “special ops”. Special ops cardio, resistance, and core. The special ops workouts are more extreme than the basic workouts and kick your butt a little more, especially the core workout.
The format of the workouts are 3 sets of 4-6 exercises. Each move lasts about a minute with very little break in between. After the last exercise, Tony gives you 22 second (haha, clever) break and you repeat the set again until 3 sets are complete.
Here is the schedule…
As you progress through the program, each workout gets more challenging. The exercises Tony Horton incorporates for workouts 1 vs workouts 2 and 3 get increasingly more complex.
For example, in resistance workout 1, he has you do basic pushups and pull-ups. Pretty standard moves. However, in resistance workout 3 there is an exercise that includes alternating lunges and alternating shoulder presses at the same time. I consider myself pretty athletic and coordinated, buy even I had trouble doing that exercise.
Another example is in cardio 1, Tony has you do what he calls “T-jacks”, which is basically a modified jumping jack. In cardio 3 he has an exercise where you stand and shuffle your feet rapidly back and forth, then jump to a plank to a forearm plank, then back to a the standing shuffle. This exercise is tough and after 3 rounds you hope to never see that move again.
The takeaway is that each workout gets progressively more difficult and by the time you finish the progam, cardio and resistance 1 will actually be easy.
Here is a brief description of every exercise in the program
Cardio 1 : 3 sets of 7 exercises
1)TJacks: A modified jumping jack. Pretty easy.
2)Bear Crawls: Get on all fours and move up and back. A challenging move.
3)Side Lateral Shuffle: Get into a half squat and shuffle to your left, then touch your left foot with your right hand. Then shuffle to your right. Repeat several times. Another tough move, in fact, my least favorite amongst all the exercises in this program.
4)Forward Lunge Twist: Clasp your hands together at shoulder length, do a forward lunge on your right foot and twist your torso to your right as you keep your hands together. Moderate difficulty.
5)Basic Burpee: Just like it sounds. Moderate difficulty.
6)A-Skips: Basically just high knees running in place. Moderate difficulty.
7)Run-Lunge-Squat: Squat, then do a lunge on your right leg, squat, then lunge with your left leg. After a ton of these you’ll be spent.
Resistance 1: 3 sets of 5 exercises
1)Push ups: Basic push ups. Moderate difficulty
2)Squat Press: Holding weights at your shoulders, you squat then as you stand again you thrust the weights overhead. Difficult exercise.
3)Pull Ups: Basic pull ups. Moderate Difficulty
4)Chopper Lunge: While you hold a weight (5-15lbs) with both hands, you do a forward lunge and bring the weight down outside the thigh that is lunging. You then rotate the weight back up to your chest and down to your other thigh as you then lunge the opposite leg. Moderate difficulty.
5)Sit Up Punch: A sit up with a double punch at the top. Moderate difficulty.
Cardio 2: 3 sets of 7 Exercises
1)Sprint In Place: A high knee running movement. Challenging exercise
2)Mountain Climbers: Another classic cardio/ab move. Get in a plank position and “run” your legs back and forth. A moderate difficulty.
3)Straight Leg Sprint: While keeping your legs straight you kick each leg out in front and alterate. Exactly as is sounds. A moderate to easy exercise.
4)Gorilla Crawls: Get in a low squat with your fingers barely touching the ground. Then move laterally for two jumps, then repeat in other direction. Challenging exercise.
5)Jimmy Jumps: Simple jumps that have you alternating hands and arms in the air as if you were shooting a basketball. Moderate exercise difficulty.
6)Water Bug: Funny name, challenging movement. Its basically a lateral plyo-pushup. Yep, its challenging.
7)Frog Burpee: A burpee, but when you jump up to a standing position, you do a half sumo squat. Moderate exercise.
Resistance 2: 3 sets of 5 exercises
1)Burpee Press: Do a burpee, but while holding weights (5-30lbs.), when you stand, you raise your arms overhead. A challenging burpee modification.
2)Jump Squats: While holding one dumbbell with both hands, you do a squat, then jump up. Challenging exercise.
3)Chin Up L Crunch: Do a chin up, then do a crunch with straight legs. Difficult movement.
4)Punch Pull: Feet shoulder with apart and holding a dumbbell with one hand near your right shoulder, you rotate left and bring the dumbbell towards your left foot. Then you rotate back to your right and finish in a similar position as you started. Easy exercise.
5)Corkscrew Leg Lift: Lying down on the ground, you do a leg lift and rotate or corkscrew you feet at the top.
Cardio 3: 3 sets with 7 exercises
1)Spider Crawls: You may try to differentiate this move from bear crawls earlier, but its really just the same, or very similar exercise. Easy to moderate difficulty.
2)Skip Flys: While skipping your legs forward and back, your arms are at shoulder height at your sides and, well, doing flys while you skip your legs. Moderate.
3)Cross Climbers: Similar to mountain climbers but as you bring your knees back up, you twist and rotate your left knee towards your right elbow, and right knee towards your left elbow. I love this exercise despite it being moderately challenging.
4)Fast Feet Up And Down: In a standing position, knees slightly bent, you shuffle your feet rapidly, then go down to a plank, then a low plank. Up to a plank, then a standing shuffle again. These are really challenging.
5)Sphinx Kickers: In a low plank position you alternately bend your legs as if you were kicking yourself in the butt. A bit of an akward movement, moderate difficulty.
6)Knee Drop Lunges: With your hands behind your head, you then drop on one knee, then the other, then back up to a standing position and repeat. Difficult exercise.
7)Spin Burpee: Do a burpee, stand and jump 180. Repeat. Another challenging exercise.
Resistance 3: 3 sets with 5 exercises
1)Pump Jumpers: I found these push up modifications fun. Do a push up with your arms and feet closer together, then at the top “jump” your hands further apart and your feet spread apart. At the top of this push up jump your hands closer and your feet closer again.
2)Split Lunge Thrust: Holding weights at your shoulders, you do a rapid lunge back and forth while doing a dumbbell overhead press. I found it to be a pretty difficult exercise physically and I couldn’t seem to coordinate the movement properly so I had to modify the lunges at a much slower pace.
3)Arm Balance Row: In a plank position with lighter weights, you row your left arm up, then rotate and force the weight overhead, still in the plank position. Repeat for other side. A fun, moderate exercise.
4)Mountain Squats: Holding a weight (8-20lbs) in your right hand and cradled on your chest, you do a squat, then lay down completely flat on the ground. Then using your opposite hand to help push you up, you return to a standing position and repeat. After each set you repeat with the opposite hand holding the weight. Sounds like an easy exercise, but it’s a killer after several reps.
5)Scissor Clapper: While in a sitting position with your legs straight out, you lean back, raise your legs 45 degrees, and alternate your legs up and down while clapping your hands between your legs at each rotation. Sounds difficult, but its easy to coordinate and a relatively easy ab exercise.
Dumbells from 5-35lbs depending on your fitness level. Some people may want heavier dumbbells.
Pull up bar and pull up assist band if necessary
Jump mat or yoga mat
PT sandbag. This is a sandbag specifically used for this program that is an alternative to dumbbells. Note: you have to add the sand yourself and it can hold up to 20lbs.
They did a great job with this meal plan. In fact, it’s the most comprehensive meal plan I’ve seen amongst all the different Beachbody workouts I’ve completed. It follows the standard Beachbody color-coded food containers principle and lists tons of different healthy foods to incorporate into your diet.
Furthermore, it contains a variety of recipes, a super simple guide to determine your calorie intake, diet tips to try if you start to plateau in your progress, and even contains an herb and spice compatibility index! When I did p90x back in 2008 I simplified my diet by eating peanut butter sandwiches on wheat bread, almonds, hard-boiled eggs, turkey burgers without a bun, chicken breasts, vegetables, and plenty of water.
I consumed this boring, albeit productive diet religiously for 90 days. By the end of the program I couldn’t bring myself to eat peanut butter ever again. So I welcome the variety of this 22 Minute HC meal plan. It’s a thorough plan with a ton of options to keep your diet plan from getting monotonous and boring.
For those of you unfamiliar with Beachbody’s color-coded food containers, they have created a simple method of dieting/calorie counting/eating healthy that could change your life. Gone are the days of tedious calorie counting. That is so pre-2014. Get ready to simplify your life.
The color-coded containers works as follows: There are seven different color-coded containers and each one is a different size. The green container is for veggies, the purple container is for fruits, red is proteins, yellow carbs, blue healthy fats, orange seeds and dressings, and the last one is a teaspoon for oils or nut butters. The sizes of the containers also vary with green, purple, and red the largest, while the other colors or foods are smaller or minimal amounts.
Each calorie category contains 3 meals and 2 snacks each day, the only difference is how much of each container you consume each day. Obviously those on a larger calorie plan will have more containers or more food for each meal while those on a smaller calorie meal plan will have less food.
There are a variety of recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks that will keep your diet not only healthy, but interesting. Nothing like my boring p90x diet of hard-boiled eggs, peanut butter sandwiches, and chicken breasts. Here are a couple examples…
Omelet and oats: 2 egg omelet with one cup of baby spinach in 1tsp of olive oil, 1 cup of oats topped with 1 cup sliced strawberries sprinkled with vanilla extract and cinnamon.
Quinoa shrimp cocktail: 1 cup of lettuce with ¾ cup cocktail shrimp and ½ cup cooked quinoa drizzled with peanut lime dressing.
Avocado: ¼ avocado sliced covered with balsalmic dressing
Hummus: ¼ cup hummus with 2 lettuce leaves
Spicy Bison: ¾ cup or 3oz. chopped bison seasoned with cayenne pepper and garlic powder sautéed in 1tsp coconut oil with 1 cup broccoli florets.
Now I’m the laziest cook, but I tried these recipes and not only are they delicious, but they’re simple and easy to make. The 22 Minute Hard Corp meal plan is a great diet guide, one of the best I’ve seen Beachbody produce.
I’m not big on taking measurements or even weighing myself when I do an exercise program, but rather take a more subjective approach. I know my body, what I look like in the mirror, and know how my clothes fit. I know my clothes fit different at age 38, then they did at 24 when I was 20 lbs. heavier with more muscle mass. So honestly I’m not going to tell you that I lost 100lbs, dropped 10 sizes, and have 3% body fat. You can simply browse through Google images for those people, but trust me, they’re out there. This program can get you those results in a short amount of time.
What I did notice was that my weight stayed pretty much the same. I lost 5 lbs., but I never intended on losing a lot of weight. My intention was to get toned and increase my cardiovascular fitness. I definitely accomplished this. My chest, back and shoulders were much stronger and visibly more toned than my before picture.
The important thing is that I stuck with a program that fit my lifestyle of quick and efficient workouts. Consistency is key with fitness and if you workout on a consistent basis, you will get results.
Pros and Cons
1)The workouts are only 22 minutes
2)The intensity and efficiency of each workout will get you in shape fast
3)The variety of cardio, resistance, and ab exercises will increase your cardiovascular fitness, build muscle tone, and get you a great six pack
4)No thinking. You just push play and do the workout progam. You don’t have to think about structuring a workout or fitness plan since its already done for you. Its like buying a turn-key house vs a rehab. All the planning has been done, you just have to do it.
5)Meal plan is super simple
1)The benefit of a short workout is also a downside. You simply don’t have enough time to focus on one goal. For example, if you are looking to build muscle this is not the program for you. You will build muscle tone, but not muscle size/mass. Additionally, you are getting a minimal cardio workout too. If you’re looking for intense cardio, then this is not the progam for you. 22 Minute Hard Corps is truly an efficient hybrid cardio/resistance program designed for those with limited time.
2)Resistance exercises lacking some punch. The first resistance workout contains a lot of pull-ups and push ups. Basic resistance exercises that everyone is familiar with that are effective. However, as the workouts progress, I think Tony gets a little too cute and incorporates less effective resistance movements.
For example, in resistance 2 there is an exercise called jump squat where you hold a weight at chest height, squat, then jump up. Your feet leaving the floor briefly. Although it’s a dynamic movement, I felt the jump was unnecessary, and actually gave me a bad shin splint for a few days due to the added pressure of landing with extra weight. A basic squat would’ve been adequate in my opinion.
3)The program as a whole is a little gimmicky. Tony plays into the military style workouts and talks like a drill seargent at times. I know its all part of the brand. They have to keep up the appearance of a real, legitimate boot camp, but at times its too much.
With any Beachbody program you’ll have the option of purchasing under the “guidance” of a Beachbody coach, a fellow workout junkie that may help guide you through the program. A helpful option for those that need more motivation and support. With this option, the DVD basic package sells for $39.95 directly from Beachbody, and you are assigned to a coach unless you request someone you know already.
You can also purchase from Beachbody through everyone’s favorite online store, Amazon.
On Amazon, it sells for $49.85. A little more expensive, but you get the convience of 2 day shipping if you’re an Amazon Prime member. For $99 you can get three additional workouts which provide more variety and intensity. This add-on is called Special Ops for the 22 Minute Hard Corps program and I highly recommend you purchase these additional workouts. The program only comes with 8 basic workouts, so the addition of extra workouts is great for variety.
Another good option is purchasing the program through Beachbody On Demand, a streaming video service. You then get access to Beachbody’s entire collection of workouts for only $9 each month or $99 each year. Honestly, I recently signed up for this and it’s a great service. You not only get access to 22 Minute HC, but every workout Beachbody has ever made! The download access is immediate, and you can access the workouts on your phone, tablet, smart TV, or computer.
22 Minute Hard Corps is set to a military style background. Tony Horton and the people at Beachbody use actual veteran military personnel as the extras in the workouts. This is a nice touch and makes the theme more authentic.
22 minutes is also a short amount of time, but keep in mind that the time between sets is only 22 seconds (hehe) so there’s really only a 1 minute break the entire 22 minutes . This is a very efficient workout that will get you results.
My one major concern is the lack of quality resistance movements, with the exception of the resistance 1 workout. The other resistance workouts are a bit thin, and I never found myself sore the next day.
The equipment needed is minimal in keeping with the military theme which emphasizes a lot of bodyweight exercises.
Finally, the meal plan is excellent. Loaded with tons of healthy food options, great recipes, and an easy to follow portion control system, this is a handy guide for anyone looking to eat healthy.
My final rating is 4.5 stars. Overall a very good program for those looking to lose weight, tone, and workout in a short amount of time.