Archive for the Review of Product Category

The Master’s Hammer & Chisel – Total Body Hammer w/ Sagi Kalev

Posted in Health/Fitness, Review of Product, Workout review with tags , , , on March 13, 2016 by mistransformation

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One of the first sneak peaks we had was Autumn’s Total Body Chisel and now on Beachbody OnDemand we got to taste Sagi’s Total Body Hammer. This is a nice simple set up of basic lifting exercises done in a pyramid format that packs a bit of a punch.

You will need a couple of sets of dumbbells tailored to your needs, a pullup bar or a band if you don’t have one, a bench or a ball if you don’t have a bench.  You can also do the chest exercises on the floor.

The warm up is the same warm up that Sagi does in most of his other Hammer workouts.

There are three rounds total with three separate exercises.  Each round is completed two times.   Each exercise is completed in a pyramid format of 10 reps, 8 reps and then 6 reps. You complete all 3 pyramids before going on to the next exercise.   The second set really allows you to go up in weight if you didn’t get it right the first time (perhaps go down too).

Round One 

Bench Press (10/8/6 reps)

Squat (10/8/6 reps)

Reverse Grip Row (10/8/6 reps)

(remember I said you do this again)

Round Two 

Incline Flys (10/8/6 reps)

Reverse Lunge (you do one leg and get the opposite leg on set two) (10/8/6 reps)

Wide pullups or wide band pulls (10/8/6 reps)

Repeat

Round Three 

Seated Military Press

Split Squat (you do one leg and get the opposite leg on set two) (10/8/6 reps)

Posterior Delt Fly (one arm at a time, getting the other arm on set 2) (10/8/6 reps)

Repeat 

I felt that Sagi’s cool down while still only 3 minutes long, was a bit more thorough than most of Autumn’s which sometimes aren’t even 2 minutes long.

When you get your correct weights, I really feel that this workout can get you winded and by the end you will feel like you got a great workout.  One thing I didn’t like was Sagi picking on the gentleman in the video because of his weight selection.  We all can’t press 70 pounds like Sagi.  I know that’s his Beast persona but I worry someone may go too heavy and rip their shoulder.  So keep that in mind. We aren’t all professional bodybuilders.

Solid 4 out of 5 stars.

SagiMHAC

The Master’s Hammer & Chisel – Chisel Balance w/ Autumn Calabrese Workout Review

Posted in Health/Fitness, Review, Review of Product, Workout review with tags , , on January 16, 2016 by mistransformation

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I have a few friends on my Facebook page that are engaged in the Master’s Hammer & Chisel program. I don’t have the program but do get to experience the workouts through my Beachbody OnDemand subscription.  One workout from the H&C program that sticks out in my mind is Chisel Balance with Autumn because most of the time when I see that it is on others’ rotation for the day it is met with a bunch of cyber grunts and groans.  I was really excited when I woke up this morning to find that it was today’s Challenge du Jour OnDemand.

Required equipment:  Dumbbells and Bench or Stability ball.  Modifications are shown if you don’t have the bench or stability ball.   Follow Mike.

WORKOUT DESCRIPTION from OnDemand:   A total-body scorcher that taps into your strength and endurance with killer stability and core training.

Chisel Balance is 9 different movements with 15 repetitions each done for 2 sets.  Because this is balance, most are done on one leg or with one arm at a time so you would do the move Right to Left and then repeat.  The workout is approximately 40 minutes long.

The moves are:

Squat bench sit with one leg raised while holding a dumbbell.  If you can’t sit down with one leg raised, there is a modification shown.

Lat pullover with 1 leg raised (R/L).  You don’t repeat this on each leg because this is really a lat focused move and both arms are used at once so this move is done twice total.

Single leg squat deadlift. (R/L)

Up down bench climb on hands.  This move is done in a plank with your bench in front of you.  You climb the bench with your hands.  Each hand is a lead hand (meaning you don’t alternate per set).  I’m sorry but I can’t remember if this was done 4x total or 2x total. I do remember it being tough as I went on however.  In the back of my mind I feel like I only did it 2x total.  I will check on this.

Bulgarian split squat jump.  This isn’t as bad as it sounds.  This is more like a rocking horse movement where you lift your front leg off the ground towards your stomach rather than do a jump with both feet off the ground (which I have done in other workouts).

One arm renegade row with opposite leg lift. (R/L)

One arm chest press in bridge formation while lifting a leg and your upper back on the bench.  (R/L)

Balance row to pistol squat.  (The most challenging of all the movements as far as balance goes – at least for me).

As you can see, on a lot of the moves you are working more than just the targeted area, i.e., in the bridge movements you definitely feel it in your butt.

In this workout, I feel that you have to go a little lighter in your weights:  1. Because you are doing 15 reps/2 sets back-to-back; and 2. Because you have to concentrate on the balance element of the movement.

I feel like I got a solid workout and one thing I liked about the cool down in this workout was that it was different than the other ones I have tried from this program.  Autumn had been doing the same for most of them.  I feel it was targeted to this particular workout.

4 1/2 stars out of 5 because it was tough and that’s the way I like it!

 

 

CIZE – The Next Level – Work Your Body w/ Shaun T Workout Review

Posted in Health/Fitness, Motivation/Inspiration, Review, Review of Product, Workout review with tags , , , , on January 12, 2016 by mistransformation

 

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Cize is a Beachbody dance workout program with Shaun T of Hip Hop Abs and Insanity fame.  I do not have the program but am a member of Beachbody OnDemand and I have been able to do a couple of the routines from the Cize program.  Crazy 8s is offered as a sneak peak and there was another routine recently offered as a Challenge du Jour (I forget which one sorry).

Big news on the Facebook Cize front for about a week was that a new routine was going to drop OnDemand and that Chilli of TLC fame (90s girl group) was going to be a part of it.  The strange thing is that I had already been doing it since about mid-December on my Roku.  The even stranger thing is that I could not find the routine on my PC or my tablet at least not until today.

Work Your Body was offered today as the Challenge du Jour.  The featured song is a song that Chilli did specifically for the program.  She is also a background dancer in this routine.

The routine consists of 8 moves:  Hook Groove; Skate; Point Cha-Cha; Cross Cha-Cha; Booty Back Whip; Step Ball Change; African Chug; and Man Up.  I know Shaun has some other names for these but this is what I know them as in my own head.  Shaun breaks down each move and then you repeat it a few times until you really get to know it.  Then you move on to a new move, learn it and repeat from the top.  You do this throughout all 8 movements (starting from the top format).  After learning all the moves and repeating them a few times, you then move on to the Cize It Up portion where the featured song is played and you do the routine to that.  Again, the featured song is Chilli’s Work Your Body.

Since I had access to this program since mid-December, this was my fourth time completing the routine.  I have to tell you, the more you do them, the more you can really dig into the moves, add your own flavor and really go all out so that you get a good workout.   The workout is about 30 minutes long and it really goes by fast.

Even though Shaun T says let’s cool down at the end, this routine had no cool down included so you are on your own with that.

I wouldn’t call this Insanity intensity because you do have to stop to watch Shaun explain the next move but if you really get into it, you can definitely feel your heart rate go up (but still not to Insanity level).  I really love to watch Shaun T dance (he is a professional dancer after all).  The broken down format makes the routine easy to learn and I really felt like I may have just been a dancer in another life.

Definitely 4 out of 5 stars on this one.  Fun factor galore.

 

The Master’s Hammer & Chisel – Chisel Endurance w/ Autumn Calabrese Workout Review

Posted in Health/Fitness, Motivation/Inspiration, Review, Review of Product, Workout review with tags , , on January 3, 2016 by mistransformation

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Beachbody OnDemand gave us a little New Year’s Day treat when they made Chisel Endurance the Challenge du Jour starting off 2016 right.

Equipment needed:  Bench Or Stability Ball and Weights and Chin-Up Bar Or Bands With Door Attachment Kit.

Workout Description from Beachbody OnDemand:  Improve endurance by sustaining tension with moves that target your slow-twitch muscle fibers.

This was another workout from Autumn that kind of sneaks up on you. In the beginning I was like, “Not another easy one from Autumn.”  By the end I was like, “Okay, I’m done now.”  It’s not terribly difficult but you are definitely going to feel it.

This follows a common set up by Autumn – 10 moves (left/right if applicable counts for each side) done for 60 seconds each and then repeat.

Round One

Bench run up (or surrenders if you don’t have a bench). This is simply as it sounds you run up on the bench with the same lead food for 60 seconds and then you switch leads.

Negative pull-ups or band pulls- In this movement you pull yourself up to a count of one and lower to the count of three.  Same cadence with the band.

Bench step up crossover lunges – This is my favorite move in the routine.  Using the same lead leg you step up on the bench (never moving your foot on the step) and you cross back, push yourself up on the step while keeping the opposite leg off the step and you set that opposite leg on the floor to the side (it’s hard to explain, sorry).   Switch leads after 60 seconds.

Decline push-ups.  These are done with your feet elevated either on the bench or on the ball.  If you can’t do either, simply do them on the floor.  That would be better than nothing.

One arm row w/ opposite leg extended – This is exactly what you would expect except you do the row while keeping the opposite leg extended.  Switch sides after 60 seconds.

Incline chest press on bench or ball.  This is a very familiar move to all I am sure.  No bells or whistles here.

Plank hold with knee taps.  This is a simple move where you hold the forearm plank and then drop each knee to the floor but it becomes challenging after about 30 seconds.  Especially when you are doing it barefoot and you have cuts on your toes – ouchie!

After Round One you get a 60 second break and then you complete the same moves for round two.

As per usual, the cool down/stretch wasn’t even three minutes long.  I really wish Autumn would do a thorough stretch.  Cathe Friedrich is one who gives a great cool down/stretch segment after her workouts.

I hope that my Hammer & Chisel reviews are helping you decide on this program.  Right now Autumn and Sagi are orchestrating their own little beginning of the year challenge group with the program so if you are doing the program, please drop me a comment and let me know how you are doing.  Thanks.

Happy New Year!

ChiselCardioACMHAC

 

Choice For Best of 2015! Beachbody OnDemand!

Posted in Health/Fitness, Review, Review of Product, Workout review with tags , , , on December 31, 2015 by mistransformation

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I know I didn’t specifically review Beachbody OnDemand’s website but all of The Master’s Hammer & Chisel reviews I have done so far are courtesy of my Beachbody OnDemand subscription.

I feel bad because we had a few good offering in 2015 like Daily Burn’s Black Fire, Cathe Ripped w/ HiiT workouts and the Anarchy workout DVDs but Beachbody OnDemand was really a no-brainer for me.   I have had a subscription since August.  Your first month is free and then you are billed in quarterly installments of  $38.87. You can cancel anytime.

Beachbody OnDemand was launched in the spring of 2015.  There are so many offerings with Beachbody OnDemand that I don’t even know where to begin.  You can do the original P90X or go way back to the classic Power 90 program.  Maybe you want to do P90X 2 or 3 or One on One with Tony Horton.  Maybe that’s not your thing.  Maybe you want Turbo Jam or Turbo Fire or how about Chalean Extreme?  How about the Insanity workouts.  Not enough for you?  Do the Asylum 1 or 2.   Do you feel like dancing?  Do Hip Hop Abs with Shaun T.   Maybe you want to go way back to Slim in 6 with Debbie Siebers.  I really could go on and on.

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I’m not done though.  While some of the newer offerings are not completely uploaded on the website you do get sneak peaks of those systems.  These systems being:  21 Day Fix; 21 Day Fix Extreme; CIZE; Body Beast; P90; T25; Insanity Max 30 and The Master’s Hammer & Chisel.

I bet you are already signing up for your 30 day free trial at this point but I’m not done!

There is also something called the Challenge du Jour and you may just get an additional sneak peak from one of the programs not yet offered on the website.  You definitely want to check out what your #CDJ is every day so you don’t miss anything.  I actually purchased the PiYo program because I couldn’t get enough of it.

Another added bonus are the Master’s Trainers workouts.  These are express “live” workouts like you would find in your local fitness facilities.  These include Turbo Kick; PiYo; Insanity Live and P90x Live.  I really like this added feature with the non-celebrity workout leaders.

BODstreaming

You have the convenience of streaming to your computer, your tablet, your phone, a Roku, Chromecast, etc.  This is so easy, you can workout anywhere!  I like it because I can do the workouts when I stay with my parents for the weekend.

I encourage you to check out http://club.teambeachbody.com/ and see what there is to offer.   There is so much more than I have mentioned in this post (Yoga Booty Ballet; Active Maternity; Rev Abs; Brazil Butt Lift – I could go on and on.)

I think you see now why this was my pick for 2015.

Here’s to a great 2016!  Let’s do this!

The Master’s Hammer & Chisel Total Body Chisel with Autumn Calabrese Workout Review

Posted in Health/Fitness, Motivation/Inspiration, Review, Review of Product, Workout review with tags , , , on October 25, 2015 by mistransformation

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As I’m sure you Beachbody aficionados know, the program The Master’s Hammer & Chisel with Autumn Calabrese (21 Day Fix) and Sagi Kalev (Body Beast) will be released in December.  Beachbody OnDemand has sneak peaks of two workouts from this system.  I have tried them both and today I am reviewing the Total Body Chisel workout.

For this workout you will need some moderate to heavy dumbbells depending on your ability.  You will also need a bench if you have one available.  If you don’t have a bench you can use an exercise ball and a high step (or do the modifications shown in the workout).

This workout is roughly 36 minutes in length. The setup is 3 circuits of 3 moves with 10 repetitions completed for 3 rounds. Rest is between circuits.

There is a very short warm up of dynamic stretching.

Circuit one consists of a squat, a chest press (w/ bench or ball or floor) and reverse grip row.

Circuit two consists of a back lunge (Right/Left), chest fly and dumbbell pullovers.

Circuit three consists of bench step up to crossover lunge (Right/Left – modification shown in workout), angled biceps curls and triceps bench dips (or floor).

After all of the circuits there is a short cool down/stretch.  A little too short for my taste but I always take some extra time to stretch on my own.

As you can see, the workout isn’t rocket science.  Pretty basic moves that you see in most other lifting workouts.  What you do get with this workout is Autumn’s motivation and technique guidance.  If it weren’t for that, I probably wouldn’t keep doing the workout but I do keep going back to it and increasing my weights as Autumn instructs.

I really hope that the rest of Hammer & Chisel aren’t as basic as this. I’m hoping there is some excitement that they just aren’t showing us yet.

I would give this 3 1/2 out of 5 stars because of the short warm up and cool down and because I just need a little extra oomph for my workouts. Something to make it different and stand out from the others.

My Summer Vacation at the Kripalu Center For Yoga & Health Part 3

Posted in Health/Fitness, hiking, Kripalu, labyrinth, Motivation/Inspiration, Qigong, Review, Review of Product, Stress Relief, Yoga on September 21, 2015 by mistransformation

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Friday, our first day at Kripalu, we unpacked our things and organized them meeting a few of the women that were already unpacked and staying in the same room (there would be 8 of us total).  After getting organized, Josie took me on a tour of the facility since she is very knowledgeable about Kripalu.  This was her 7th stay at the center.  Next it was time for dinner. The cafeteria at Kripalu is amply air-conditioned and large enough to accommodate a large number of people.  You do not have to specifically eat there though. There are a few other rooms you may go to if you don’t like a crowded cafeteria or you may even choose to take your meal outside to the front terrace and enjoy the view.  The cafeteria offers a buffet for vegetarians, non-vegetarians and also a Buddha bar.

After dinner, Josie and I went off to do our own thing. She went to her teacher training class and I went to Kripalu orientation which was very helpful for people who had never been to the facility and needed to know about proper Kripalu etiquette.  Next I went on to enjoy the most divine yoga nidra class.  The teacher, Jennifer Reis was very warm and calming and we even had some rain falling outside as a natural sound effect.  Some people were so relaxed I heard some snoring and there were a few that were still lying on the floor when everyone else was getting up to leave class.  After class, I took a quick shower (the showers are equipped with their own shampoo, conditioner and shower gel) and went off to the Sun Room Lounge to read my book before going to bed.  (It is lights out at 10 pm and I am not ready to sleep at that time.)  The top bunk I had to sleep in took me back to my childhood at the family camp.  It had been years since I was in a bunk bed.

I was up bright and early for the 6:00 am Kripalu yoga class and chose the intermediate class.  This class was just enough movement to be invigorating in the morning to catch some energy for the day.  After class I had worked up an appetite. Breakfast is a real treat at Kripalu. Breakfast is always silent if you choose to eat in the cafeteria.  They have a variety of hot cereal and good gluten free breads that you can put some yummy natural peanut butter and a variety of jellies on.   After breakfast I went to explore the labyrinth.  I did a nice walking meditation and then stopped at the Buddha and gave him an offering.

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After the labyrinth, I took a short hike on the trail east of the Shadowbrook building (that’s the name of the main facility).

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After my hike, I went off to spend quality time at beautiful Lake Mahkeenac.  The lake is a 15 to 20 minute walk from the main facility down to the private beach area of Kripalu.  It was quiet and peaceful.  I put on some Krishna Das and meditated out in the sun.

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After all of that work, my stomach started growling ferociously and I walked back for lunch and then took the outdoor meditation class taking place in the large tent to the east of the Shadowbrook building.  The teacher was Ken Nelson.  He talked a bit about meditation, did some breathing awareness exercises and then we did a 20 minute sit to this gorgeous view:

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The weather was spectacular for most of the day and I really wasn’t keen on spending it inside so I walked around and explored the grounds some more.  I found a few other interesting gems in the process.

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As I was enjoying the grounds of Kripalu I noticed that dark clouds were beginning to collect in the sky. This was not a good sign because I had a 6:00 p.m. guided Kayaking activity that I had pre-registered for.  Even though it wasn’t looking too promising I decided to get my things in order to kayak and take the walk down to the lake.  The leaders for the activity were already beginning to put some of the kayaks away although they assured us that they didn’t cancel yet.  It wasn’t too long after my arrival that we started to hear thunder and eventually the activity had to be cancelled.  I hauled butt to make it back to Shadowbrook and I made it just in time because a strong storm passed through.  When it was all over, it left us with a beautiful rainbow:

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After dinner I enjoyed the Rest and Unwind Yoga class and was lucky enough to catch the tail end of the Maggie & Hannah concert which I enjoyed immensely.  I then found some quiet space to read before going off to bed.

On Sunday, my final day of the retreat, I woke up at 6:00 am for the Gentle yoga class which was a really great class to wake up with after all of the activity I did the day before.  The leader used sound healing and mantra in her practice.  After silent breakfast I went off to do a bit more exploring of the grounds until the Qigong on the Lawn class.  Qigong was lead once again by Ken Nelson.  He seemed very knowledgeable and the practice was quite enjoyable.  We got to watch the mist rise until the sun burned it off unveiling a beautiful view of the Stockbridge Bowl.
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After Qigong on the Lawn, I met up w/ Josie again.  We packed up our things ,put them in the luggage room, and went off to eat lunch and then sadly we left the facility.  Although my time felt a bit rushed, that’s the nature of a weekend R&R Retreat at Kripalu.  Any inconveniences I was worried about in the beginning were outweighed by all of the good things at Kripalu.  I thought everything was spectacular and I really loved my time and hope to revisit again someday.