Category Archives: review

Hammer & Chisel Workout Program Review

I am so excited to finally be reviewing this program. I’ve done many different Beachbody programs in full over the last year, plus many other workout programs before that, and Hammer & Chisel has been my favorite by far. The schedule kept me from ever getting bored, the workouts were never more than 45 minutes, and I felt amazing doing the program.

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What is Hammer & Chisel?

It’s scientifically designed to combine the best of strength training, agility, power, endurance, and sculpt your body to be lean AND strong. Talk about improving your body image!

This program will get you in the best shape of your life…just in time to kick off the new year
What is The Master’s Hammer and Chisel™? It’s a 60-day total body transformation program that helps you craft a defined, jaw-dropping physique using breakthrough resistance training. You will sculpt your body into a masterpiece with 14 brand-new workouts from celebrity trainers and winning fitness competitors, Sagi Kalev and Autumn Calabrese.

How does The Master’s Hammer and Chisel work? You’ll focus on building muscle, power, and strength with The Master’s Hammer™ workouts and trainer Sagi Kalev, while you shed fat and sculpt definition with The Master’s Chisel™ workouts and trainer Autumn Calabrese. Plus, it includes a dedicated modifier who demonstrates moves at a lower intensity and adapts exercises for those with limited access to equipment.

Why Did I Do This Program?

I decided to do this program because I’ve found that I am most confident when strength training and enjoy those programs quite a bit. I used to be a “cardio queen,” spending hours running or on various cardio machines with my only focus on the number of calories I burned. Strength training days actually gave me anxiety because of how few calories I burned during them. Learning how good strength training is for my body helped me to realize that “more” isn’t better and fitness isn’t about calories in and calorie out.

I’m not going to lie, I was intimidated to start the program. Yes, I work out on a regular basis, but I also don’t make being really fit a huge part of my focus, so I was afraid the program would be too difficult for me. There were certainly some moves at the beginning that were hard or I couldn’t complete, but that just gave me a challenge to work towards, rather than staying in my comfort zone.

Hammer and Chisel Review Week 2

What Did I Think?

Well, I’ve mentioned this before, but I loved the program. The schedule is set up in a way that always keeps you guessing. There’s no clear pattern to the workout schedule, so you don’t know what’s coming what day. It’s also great for your body because not only did the trainers organize the workouts to maximize fitness results but it also keeps your body guessing.

My other favorite part of the program was the nutrition plan. It’s based off a similar concept as the 21 Day Fix, using portions of food groups rather than calories, but what I loved most was it’s emphasis on eating to fuel your workouts. I got to choose whether I wanted to focus on building muscle, maintaining muscle, or leaning out, which meant that to gain muscle it was about eating MORE food. Also, the lowest bracket is 1,200-1,499, which means you’re eating much MORE than the 1200 Calorie Diet amount (which I’m NOT a fan of).

I also loved that the workouts were split between two trainers. It kept me from getting bored/annoyed with any particular trainer and, again, made the whole program much more dynamic and interesting. The fact that one is a woman and one is a man also makes it helpful for showing the program is for both men and women.

I think the biggest difficulty, however, is that a lot of equipment is recommended for the program. Since I don’t have a lot in my apartment, I made due with their modifications. Here is a video I made about how I did Hammer & Chisel in my studio apartment:

What Were My Results?

I know, I know, this is what you’ve been patiently waiting for! As you all know, my life took a very unexpected turn right in the middle of doing this program. I stuck to the nutrition plan pretty well in the first month, but when I lost my job that went to the backburner. Despite not having the best nutrition, I still felt amazing by the end of this program. It makes me want to do it again and be better about what I eat!

hammer and chisel results

Non-Visual Wins:

+ Clothes fit now or fit more loosely

+ Feel strong and confident

+ Empowered to accomplish more

+ Gained muscle & feel so much more fit

When I went into this program my goals were to gain muscle and for my clothes to fit better. Check and check! There are dresses that have been hanging in my closet that were too tight and finally fit well, and many of my regular work clothes became really loose.

Along with that, I feel so much stronger and more confident in myself. I lifted weights and did moves I’d not been able to at the beginning of this program and that confidence always translates into the rest of my life. If the chubby, unathletic girl growing up can do those moves and increase weights, then what else can I accomplish?side

Things That I Let Hold Me Back:

+ Stress

+ Trouble Sleeping

+ Emotional Eating (SUGAR!)

+ No Consistent Eating Plan

As I mentioned before, there were many factors that kept me from getting even better results. But I’m giving myself a lot of grace on this one. I am so happy with my results and yes, maybe the could have been better, but being incredibly fit isn’t my number one, especially right now.
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The best part of doing Hammer & Chisel was doing it at the same time as many of the women on my coaching team. Having them to constantly reach out to, share my frustrations and my wins with, ask questions, and even commiserate, made the whole experience so much better. If I hadn’t had them and my challengers to check in with, I’m not sure I would have made it through! Having that community of women who understood what I was doing and were not only doing it right alongside me but were so supportive and uplifting made all the difference.

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If you’re interested in chatting more about the program or doing it with my next challenge group or just with me as your coach, feel free to send me an email at peaceloveandoats@gmail.com. I could talk all day about Hammer & Chisel!

How often do you get out of your fitness comfort zone?

Do you have an accountability buddy for exercise? 

Hammer & Chisel Review {Week 1}

If you follow me on Instagram or my coaching “Like” page then you know that last week was my first week of The Master’s Hammer & Chisel, which is a 60-day workout program that focuses on building strength, endurance, agility, and power. The program has TWO trainers: Autumn Calabrese (best known from the 21 Day Fix) and Sagi Kalev (from Body Beast). All the workouts with “Chisel” in the name are with Autumn, and all the ones with “Hammer” in the name are with Sagi.

Beachbody The Master's Hammer & Chisel

I knew I wanted to try out this program back in July when I first learned about it at Beachbody’s Summit, and I decided to save it for January and February so I could go all in, nutrition-wise. Since each week of the calendar is completely different, I’ve decided to review each week on its own. Plus gives me accountability because I’d rather not say I skipped a workout!

Beachbody Summit Hammer & Chisel

Week One of Hammer & Chisel

Monday- Chisel Balance: A total-body scorcher that taps into your strength and endurance with killer stability and core training.

Oh. My. Gosh. What an intro to the program. This one had me SO SORE and I loved all the balance moves. 

Tuesday- Hammer Plyometrics: Fire up your fast-twitch muscles to develop force, speed, and power with total-body jump training.

I hate plyometrics. The jumping. BAH. It’s hard. But I was shocked I was able to do most of these moves with them. It was tough but I’m glad I did it! 

Wednesday- Iso-Strength Chisel: Full range-of-motion moves and isometric holds build strength and chisel fat for your leanest physique.

AHHHHHH. This one got sooo tough near the end. Holding a position for just 10 seconds seemed like forever! I liked this one!

Thursday- Rest Day 🙂

Friday- Iso Speed Hammer: A tempo-style workout that focuses on eccentric lifts help you shape lean muscle and build unprecedented strength.

Not gonna lie, this wasn’t my favorite workout. They were going too quickly for me to keep up. The next time it comes up in the schedule I think I’ll just pause and do the moves at my own pace – which they suggest if you feel their pace is unsafe for you!

Saturday- Chisel Endurance: Improve endurance by sustaining tension with moves that target your slow-twitch muscle fibers.

Ouch. Haha, another tough one! I think I like the Autumn workouts the best, so far. We did two rounds of the same moves and my quads were on FIRE! Luckily she kept the breaks short so you didn’t have time to think about stopping!

Sunday- Total Body Hammer: Power through pyramid-style sets to rev up metabolic burn long after your last rep.

Ahhh this was tough! This workout was much more like Sagi’s Body Beast program and I used heavier weights to challenge myself. But I LOVE weight lifting! I feel so good afterwards.

Hammer and Chisel Week One

Hammer & Chisel Nutrition Plan

*Personal Note:

Remember how I said I pushed off starting this program until January so I could go all in? That’s because if you want to take the nutrition 100% seriously, that means no sugar and no alcohol. It’s important to remember that you don’t HAVE to follow the plan exactly and if you need to build in treats, then do it! Especially if you struggle with any kind of eating disorder or may be triggered by the “all or nothing” mindset.

Personally, I struggle following nutrition plans in the name of balance and mental health, but really it ends up being an excuse to use food as an emotional crutch. This program is a test for me and that’s why I’ve chosen to go all in. And yes, it’s hard. But if you want to give it your all, that means it WILL be hard.

 

So back to the plan.

What I love about this plan is that you can change it based on your goals. You answer a series of questions including your gender, weight, and general daily activity, and then you choose whether you want to focus on leaning out or whether you want to focus on building muscle.

From there, it ends up being very similar to the 21 Day Fix since it is a container system, rather than calorie counting. Each food group is color coded and you’re given a list of appropriate foods (for example, yellow = carbs and blue = healthy fats). You’re then given the number of each colored container you should eat in a day.

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When you first receive the containers they seem shockingly small. I actually laughed out loud. But you’d be surprised when you fill them up and then dump them out just how much food it is on your plate. They offer tons of recipes in the plan, but you can also go to Pinterest and find thousands more.

So far so good – I have stuck to the plan! I have definitely had some weak moments where all I wanted were some M&Ms or Cheerios, but I’m hoping as time goes on those cravings will become fewer and far between!

 

Have you ever followed a workout plan? What was your favorite?

What were your workouts last week?

Minted Art Marketplace

You all know I’m a little obsessed with quotes… haha if you’ve been reading for any amount of time you’ve probably noticed – especially if you follow me on instagram or you’ve checked out my etsy shop!

I was contacted by Minted and, although I’d heard of them before, I thought they only did stationary and invitations. Well… I was wrong! Minted has this amazing page on their website that’s an Art Marketplace.

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Various artists have their own collection pages, or you can sift through categories of art pieces, prints or order your own custom design. Clearly the people at Minted knew me well when they sent me these three pieces as examples:

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I’m pretty sure I spent a good half hour last night clicking through all the prints that they have… haha now I’m a bit obsessed! And inspired by all their work! I kind of hope some of my friends don’t read this post because I’ve already found a few that I’d love to send as gifts!

Anyway, I just wanted to share since I had no idea this existed and I love the site now. I am receiving a gift card for my review (disclaimer!) but I would have shared this anyway!

Do you like art & quote prints? 

Have you gotten your mom/grandmother/friend who’s a mom something for mother’s day??

Piyo Review

First of all, I want to emphasize that I am no way affiliated with Beach Body (yet… haha) and I was not compensated for this review. I decided to try Piyo at the prompting of a friend and purchased the DVDs with my own money. 

Piyo is a workout program that uses pilates and yoga moves and is all body-weight: all you need is yourself and a yoga mat! From Beachbody:

PiYo combines the muscle-sculpting, core-firming benefits of Pilates with the strength and flexibility advantages of yoga. And, we crank up the speed to deliver a true fat-burning, low-impact workout that leaves your body looking long, lean, and incredibly defined.

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When you order Piyo you receive 8 workouts on three different DVDs, a Quick Start Guide, a 60-day workout calendar, a nutrition guide and a bonus Buns DVD. When I ordered Piyo, I do so through a Beach Body Coach, who is meant to answer your questions and support you along your journey. My coach, Anna, offers monthly challenges to keep you accountable with your workouts and your eating, as well as to keep you motivated.

I decided to follow the 60-day workout calender to the best of my abilities. So what did I think? I actually really liked this program. I usually hate doing at-home workouts but over the past few months I’ve really enjoyed them. The first couple of weeks of doing Piyo was a little harder, but once I got further into the program I started to feel stronger and fully understood the rhythm. Also, the workouts you do starting after the first two weeks are a little more interesting. The program adds in new workouts as you move along which helps to mix things up quite a bit.

I did not 100% follow the program for two reasons: 1) by the last two weeks I was missing Tone It Up workouts and getting a little bored and 2) I haven’t been feeling my best and they started to be too much for me. As for 1, that’s pretty typical of me and as for number 2, well, I’m seeing a doctor this week about some things I’ve been dealing with and hopefully I’ll be more capable of demanding workouts in the near future.

So final verdict? TRY IT! If you’re willing to pay for the DVDs, this is a great at-home workout program, especially for someone who doesn’t have much space or equipment and if you’re consistent with it and with your eating habits, I really think you will see great results.

 

Do you like at-home workout DVDs? 

Do you follow a workout program or make it up as you go? 

Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Review

This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno. As always, the opinions expressed here are completely my own.

I really loved the Mizuno Wave Rider 17, so I was excited when Mizuno sent me their Wave Rider 18 to try out. The Mizuno Wave Rider 18 is a neutral shoe, which means that it has the right amount of support for a wide range of runners. The shoe is actually 1 oz lighter than its previous version, coming in at 7.8oz with a 12mm ramp (difference between heel and toe height). The shoe also comes in wide or narrow, and three different colors:

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I’ve been using my Mizunos for a couple weeks now, taking them on light jogs, walks, and plenty of errand running.

Mizuno

According to Mizuno, they adopted the influence of the Japanese “Hado,” which essential means a life force that promotes powerful transformations. Their idea is that the sleek, dynamic design relaying the power and kinetic energy of running will harness the transformative possibilities of every run. Some inspiration, right? Haha I didn’t realize so much background thought went into these shoes, but they are passionate about them!

The one thing I noticed about the Wave Rider 18 is that they do take time to break in. The bottom of the shoe is pretty stiff, so when I wore them for 4 hours volunteering and then on a walk with a friend, my feet were feeling it by the end. I’d recommend slowly breaking these in on shorter runs/walks before taking them out for anything longer.

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Otherwise, I was pretty pleased with the fit. I normally order a narrow in running shoes, but these worked really well for me in the regular size. They also have plenty of support for a neutral shoe, so once you do get them loosened up a bit they will be great for long runs. According to Mizuno, their patented Wave Technology gives you maximum responsiveness, or “just enough” support for your run, and the modified outsole pattern gives the shoe added durability and an improved underfoot feel.

I do have to be honest and say that I preferred the 17 over the 18 so far, but I’ll give these some more time and report back to you all if I change my mind! I plan on wearing them through the winter to really break them in, so I’m excited to see how they do!

 

How often do you get new running/walking shoes? 

If you were designing a running shoe, what would you choose for your inspiration?