I am not a Beachbody coach. I am not being compensated for this review. My goal is to provide real information about my experience with this program as an independent fitness instructor trying something new. I will be checking in weekly and posting my results at the bottom of each entry. For previous reviews, check out Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3.
This week I am combining Weeks 4 and 5 because I went out of town last week. Since they are over, I am able to fully review the new workouts, Shakeology and meal planning, etc. Here are my thoughts.
PiYo DVD Run Times
Drench: I had heard from my Beachbody coach that this one was killer and she wasn’t kidding. It was 48 minutes of dynamic movement, sculpting and muscle burn. The time required was a shock, I barely got it in before work because the previous DVDs were 20-35 minutes, but I sweat through it and live talk-to- text myself my thoughts for an in-the-moment review. This is what I was thinking while performing the moves in “Drench”…
0:01 complete: “48 minutes? WTF?”
7:00 complete: “Ok, same movements we’ve learned before, nothing crazy…”
12:00 complete: “Too fast! I can barely keep up, form is suffering on me and cues aren’t great.”
18:00 complete: “First break due to butt cheek cramp. That’s a new one.”
19:00 complete: “Planks, planks and a new move!”
25:00 complete: “Squats and burpees, nearly the same combo as before so thankfully in familiar, albeit thigh-burning, territory.”
30:00 complete: “Stopping for water. I’m surprised Beachbody doesn’t include a quick water break or two in their workouts considering how the 21 Day Fix is so focused on hydration.”
40:00 complete: “I’m really irritated because this ‘flow’ section is really weak in terms of cueing, which newbies need. I know these moves from my past with Pilates, but someone new would be really confused and overwhelmed. Not good Chalene!”
48:00 complete – the end: “Nice cool down. I feel very accomplished but this was my least favorite so far.”
Sculpt: This workout uses varying tempos to keep your muscles under tension for different periods of time. Some felt like nice, long stretches, others felt like hell in the best way possible. Many of the moves are repetition from the past DVDs, so if you get bored easily it may be a low point for you. For me, I do these before work when I am groggy so it was a nice way to not have to think.
The claim for “Sculpt” is that it “generates muscular endurance and metabolic changes that will totally transform your figure.” I don’t know about that, but I did really enjoy the 30 minute workout. It focuses on lots of tricep push ups, planks, etc. and had a similar flow sequence to “Drench.” Was it the most challenging DVD so far? No, but it was a nice in-between workout to give your muscles a break from some of the more challenging DVDs like “Drench” and “Sweat.” Want to explore more? The “Fill Me With Meaning” blog has a great breakdown of all the exercises you do in “Sculpt.”
Week 5 I went on a camping trip and did not do PiYo for four days. I couldn’t do the workouts due to no electricity or wifi, but my coach thought that if I just worked out/did activities it would even out. I hiked a minimum of 8 miles a day on steep inclines, kayaked 5 miles in wind with 2-4 foot tall waves one day, etc. I’m hoping this trip didn’t set me back.
PiYo Meal Plan Week 4
Overall: Weeks 4 and 5 introduced two new workouts – one I enjoyed but wasn’t as challenged by and another I felt was almost too-demanding for a newbie and didn’t have proper form/cues. While “Drench” is not my favorite, it did challenge me more than the others, so I have to give PiYo props for keeping my muscles tired and working. The past two weeks have completely cut Upper Body Define” and “Lower Body Define” out of the equation, so I’m excited to see the program getting harder and less elementary.
The Meal Plan:
As stated in my last review, meal planning has become much easier now that I can recall off the top of my head how many portions I need of what food group. Week 4 went well with me feeling amazing and excelling at meal planning. You’ll see my photo of a full work week of lunches and snacks prepped for the office. I noticed flatter abs and looser clothes and all was right with the world.
Week 5 was tougher; it was over a holiday weekend and I had a wedding to attend. I packed a cooler of goodies which helped me stay on track, but the build your own pasta bar, carrot cake and open bar proved to be a bit too tempting. I tried to limit my portions and not drink to excess, but I did indulge because I can’t be a total social pariah. I got back on track for three days, but then it was off to a long weekend of camping in a national park without internet access or a fridge. I looked up advice for camping on the 21 Day Fix and found this great article on the “Finding Motivation Everyday” blog. I packed my favorite healthy snacks, pictured below, that are camping and 21 Day Fix approved, but it was still a struggle. I had to eat more processed foods than usual due to eating vegetarian hot dogs or canned chili. I tried to limit my starches, but when you hike 8 miles on cliffs and kayak 5 miles in the same day, your body will tell you that it needs carbs and you need to listen so I wasn’t 100% compliant with the plan. Plus, smores are a tradition, so I had to have those one night. I did my best, but I didn’t want to be starved or miserable so I did go outside the plan.
21 Day Fix Approved Camping Snacks
Overall: Still missing chocolate, wine, etc. in unlimited quantities but learning to live without excess. Being creative with the meals, planning in advance and cooking large portions has been the key to staying on track. Snacks for traveling are essential, but meals on vacation or at special events can be tough. I think it’s ok to take a break every now and then to celebrate with someone, everything in moderation right? I am starting Week 6 on track again, packed meals, less processed food and the motivation to get back to 100% compliance.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Shakeology Mug Cake
Week 4 I was finishing my bag of Vegan Chocolate Shakeology and still enjoying it. I was really craving chocolate cake one day and was having my shake at night instead of the morning, so I got creative and made my first Shakeology Mug Cake. It’s your classic mug cake or protein pancake recipe using ingredients you likely have on hand.
-1/4 tsp baking powder
-1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology
-1 tbs sweetener of your choice (I used agave)
– dash of salt
– 1 egg
– optional mix in: 1 tbs PB2 peanut butter, 1 tbs cocoa powder (I used both!)
– 2 or 3 tbs milk or almond milk
Peanut Butter Chocolate Shakeology Mug Cake Ingredients
- In a mug mix Shakeology, baking powder, salt, peanut butter and cocoa, cocoa, and sweetener if it’s a dry sweetener like stevia or sugar.
- Next, mix in an egg, 2-3 tablespoons of milk and sweetener if it’s wet like agave.
- Mix until dry ingredients are wet. Really scrape bottom to mix and sides.
- Microwave for 90 seconds. Don’t be alarmed if the cake puffs out above the mug, it will deflate once the heat is off.
- Let rest in microwave for 2 minutes as it is hot. Cake should easily pull away from the mug with little residue. Enjoy!
Finished Shakeology Mug Cake
I love my chocolate, but decided to switch out the flavors to see what the others had to offer. I was excited to open my Beachbody delivery on Week 5 to find my combo pack – strawberry, vanilla and chocolate. A Neapolitan flavor box, if you will. I have tried the three and strawberry is my new favorite! If you like strawberry shakes or strawberry milk, this is for you. The combo boxes have 6 less servings than a bag, so I was hesitant to give up those days initially, but now that I have tried the others I think the variety will keep me excited for my daily shake and is well worth it.
Shakeology Combo Pack
Overall: Shakeology must have some addictive ingredient in it because I am shockingly not tired of it yet. I invested in the combo box (same prices, more variety, less servings) and feel that if you need to sample different flavors before selecting a 30-day bag of one OR if you are doing a long-term plan the variety it presents is worth the missing packets. Try coming up with new shakes, cakes, etc. and it will keep your stomach interested!
Coach and Challenge Group:
Weeks 4 and 5 were not as strong in terms of the support I received. One challenge group was over so I was switched into a 5 day one with new people who weren’t doing any BB exercises, which wasn’t as beneficial. Week 5 I was completely without a challenge group as my coach wasn’t running one, but she did encourage me to check in on her permanent accountability Facebook page. The page is less active as people are posting sporadically so it was less motivating and engaging. I’m hoping that for Weeks 6-8 she puts me in a new one of women who are actively working to improve themselves.
Overall: The Challenge groups and support was missed during weeks 4-5. While my coach did check in, I missed the daily accountability. The groups are a nice, free tool that comes with your program, so use it!
…drumroll for results…
My PiYo and 21 Day Fix Abs Week 4
WEEKS 4-5 RESULTS:
1 lb. down for 9.6 lbs. lost in 35 days. I’ve experienced significant muscle gain too.
NSVs: Better endurance, noticing muscle tone in new areas, had the confidence to rock shorts for the first time in over a year.
Tune in for a review of week four next week. Thanks for stopping by for my unbiased Piyo and Shakeology review!