I’m really excited to finally share my official review of The Master’s Hammer and Chisel!
Here are my official "before and after" pictures, from January 4th (left) to March 6th (right).
Two weeks ago I finished my last workout of this program (which I’m just going to call Hammer and Chisel from here on because let’s be real, that name is super long and ridic. Actually let’s just make that H&C, yeah?).
Hammer and Chisel is one of Beachbody’s latest at-home fitness programs, an 8 week strength and lifting adventure that’s designed to build strength, power, stability, agility, and performance in your body.
The preview for this program launched way back at the closing celebration of the 2015 Coach Summit in Nashville last July, and let’s just say that putting a cheesy infomercial promo video on a jumbotron while you’re sitting in an NFL football stadium surrounded by the energy of 10,000 other coaches and the trainers Autumn and Sagi in real life makes it SO FREAKING awesome and I pretty much exploded with excitement. #coachlife
I couldn’t wait to finally get my hands on the program when it launched in December because I LOVE strength training and it looked like so much fun!
I officially started the program in January and it actually took me 9 weeks to complete because I took a week break in the middle to go to Jamaica, but I can’t believe it’s over! The time flew by. It's truly unlike any other fitness program out there, scientifically designed to combine the best of strength training, agility, power, endurance, and sculpt your body to be lean AND strong.
WHAT I LOVED
+ What I loved the most about H&C is that it re-defined my relationship with food and my body.
I learned how to eat to fuel my performance instead of eating to be “skinny”, and learned how important it is to eat MORE calories instead of living in a constant mindset of restriction. I was never athletic or into fitness growing up, and I’ve been on a personal journey of developing positive body image and self love for the past several years. Yup, even as a health and fitness coach, I’m most definitely a work in progress!
+ Also, when you commit to starting and finishing a longer program like this, you get the most incredible feeling of accomplishment.
+ I never got bored! This program went by SO fast. I don’t usually have any trouble finishing 60 or even 90 day programs, but by the end I’m completely sick of doing the same workouts every single week. Hammer and Chisel has 12 different workouts, and the calendar mixes them up constantly so you have no idea what’s coming in the week ahead.
+ I loved the workouts! There’s a combination of heavy weights, endurance, cardio/HIIT, balance, agility, and each one is a little different.
WHAT I LEARNED FROM HAMMER & CHISEL
I learned that when you lift weights every day, you won’t just lose weight, but your entire body composition will change.
I learned that when you gain muscle, you boost your metabolism (hello, extra food!) and make your body more resilient to bumps in the road (hello all inclusive vacations!)
I learned that when you gain muscle, your results will be MAINTAINABLE.
Here’s where I’m at 2.5 weeks after completing the program, including one week spent on an all-inclusive Caribbean cruise (on which I definitely consumed my fair share of chips and guac, wine, froyo, and rum punch).
I’ve done programs before that focus on “quick results” and slimming down as fast as possible. Let’s face it. Those types of results are never sustainable, and I’d end up losing my progress and ending right back where I was.
With Hammer and Chisel, I have so much muscle and strength that these results aren’t going anywhere, and I don’t have to feel guilty for “falling off the wagon.”
I consider myself a recovering perfectionist, and with perfectionism comes a type A all-or-nothing mindset. It’s easy for me to convince myself that if I’m not 100% perfect at something, I might as well not even try. This relates to working out and eating too -- in the past, I thought if I couldn’t stick to a plan 100%, I’d automatically fail, and that I had to feel shame and guilt for slipping up and having a “non-approved” treat. I’ve been healing from this mindset for the past two years, basically ever since I became a Beachbody coach and did the 21 Day Fix, but Hammer and Chisel brought me even further on my journey because I KNOW there’s no such thing as perfect.
The workouts are only 30-45 minutes a day, which countered any false belief that you have to do an hour of cardio plus extra “toning” to get results. They’re primarily focused on total body strength and weight lifting routines, but they push you to really challenge yourself.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
-Add stretching! I personally feel like there needed to be more rest days built into the program calendar. You workout six days a week which in itself isn’t too much, but the workouts are ALL intense, total body routines and some weeks I felt a little over-tired or burned out.
-Make sure to fuel yourself properly and listen to your body.
-Shakeology is super important because it will ensure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs! I drink it every day, it’s a non-negotiable for me.
-I also loved adding the Beachbody Performance Line, specifically the Recover protein shake. I had one after the more intense workouts, 4-5 times/week.
-Track your weights on worksheets and challenge yourself to increase your weights every time you do a workout (you repeat each workout at least every 2-3 weeks).
WHAT DO YOU GET WITH THE MASTER'S HAMMER AND CHISEL?
You can purchase different packages depending on your goals. I recommend the Challenge Pack, which is a bundle of Shakeology plus the base program which comes with all 12 workouts, a couple bonus workouts, three different workout calendars, a nutrition guide, and a free trial to Beachbody On Demand so you can stream the workouts online or through an app (that's what I do)!
There's also an expanded "deluxe" kit that comes with some additional bonus workouts I'm probably going to end up purchasing.
WHO IT’S FOR
Due to the intensity of the workouts and compound movements, and the 6 days a week schedule, I'd personally recommend this program for people at an intermediate to advanced fitness level.
If you’re just getting started with working out or learning how to eat healthy, the 21 Day Fix is the best place to start!
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO YOU REALLY NEED??
+ Several sets of dumbbells
Ranging from light (the weight you’d use for shoulder presses) to heavy (the max amount you would squat). I got away with 5lbs up to 25 lbs, but I definitely need heavier weights for the lower body exercises. I have my eye on these adjustable dumbbells!
+ A stable, high quality bench OR an exercise ball
I used a stability ball and it worked just fine. There are modifications shown in all workouts if you don’t have a bench! If you do want to invest in a bench, my friend and teammate Brittany recommends this PowerBlock workout bench. She says it’s a lot more sturdy and safe than cheaper ones at Target.
+ A pull up bar OR resistance band
I do recommend an over the door pull up bar. If that’s not possible, you can wedge a resistance band into a door crack and do lat pull-downs instead of pull ups! There are a lot of pull ups and chin ups in this program though. I placed a step stool under my pull-up bar and assisted myself with my legs...otherwise you can get this awesome stretchy assist band!
+ A good quality mat
+ At least 6x6’ of space
Yup, this is a more high maintenance program in terms of equipment needed -- but it's an investment in YOU and well worth it if you're committed to creating a home gym.
One of my favorite things about this program is that there are TWO trainers, Autumn Calabrese and Sagi. Autumn is the “chisel” and Sagi is the “hammer,” and they each have 6 workouts. Autumn’s Chisel workouts tend to be more compound movements, and Sagi’s are geared more towards building muscle (although they both mix it up too). With the 60 day calendar you alternate Hammer and Chisel workouts every other day.
The program also comes with two additional 30 day calendars, one with only the Chisel workouts if you want to, and one with the Hammer workouts if you want to.
I could see myself completing the Chisel calendar later this spring because I loved almost all of the Chisel workouts!
Chisel Balance - A total-body workout creating stabilization, muscular endurance, and core strength.
Iso Strength Chisel - An intense resistance workout using isometric holds and flexibility to increase strength.
Chisel Endurance - Increase muscular endurance and strength in this time-under-tension workout.
Chisel Cardio - The cardiovascular resistance routine will increase heart rate, circulation, and burn an intense amount of calories.
Chisel Agility - A challenging cardio workout that will help you move quickly, improve coordination, and create greater stabilization.
Total Body Chisel - This full-body resistance workout focuses on creating lean muscle and strength.
Hammer Plyometrics - This jump training workout will use your entire body to create force, speed, and power.
Iso Speed Hammer - A tempo training workout that uses speed and isometric holds to create strength and grow muscle.
Total Body Hammer - A hypertrophy workout focused on pyramid-style sets to maximize strength and muscle growth.
Max Hammer Strength - Start with a pre-fatigued muscle, finish with a maximum lift. Increase strength, power, and muscular development.
Hammer Power - This intense powerlifting-inspired workout will increase speed, reactive strength, and power.
Hammer Conditioning - A workout based on compound movements that will improve stability, coordination, and strength.
10 Min Ab Chisel - This core-crusher will transform your midsection, without ever getting on the floor.
10 Min Ab Hammer - Carve definition into your core while strengthening your entire ab complex.
HOW IMPORTANT IS NUTRITION?
Like the calorie breakdowns in 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix EXTREME, the ones in The Master’s Hammer and Chisel Program and Nutrition Guide also include the number of color-coded, portion-control containers your bracket requires each day to meet your goals. If you want to gear your nutrition toward building more muscle (a surplus), or toward shredding fat (a deficit), you can use the Nutrition Plan Quiz to recalculate your calories to help you reach your goals.
Nutrition is EVERYTHING. This program really taught me how to fuel my body and eat for energy, not to be skinny. Because it's a longer program, I wanted to really make it fit into my LIFESTYLE, instead of fitting my lifestyle around my workout/meal plan.
I did try to follow the nutrition plan most days, but I left some space for date night and treats here and there. “Date night” for me entails a glass or two of wine, a salad or healthy dinner, and maybe a piece or two of pizza or bites from Ben’s plate, so nothing too crazy. Let’s be honest, I probably drink about 3-6 glasses of wine a week, and that’s something I’m not going to cut out of my life. Late winter is the easiest season for me to stay on track because there aren’t any major holidays and it’s too cold for my froyo addiction to hit full force. I also make sure to keep junk food OUT of the house or at least out of sight, because if I can see it I’ll want to eat it!
This is what a "treat meal" looks like for me once or twice a week ... brunch, beers, froyo, or date night (NOT all at once, but maybe a couple at once haha).
I’m lucky to work from home and have more control over my kitchen, but if you have office temptations, do your best to stay out of the break room and always have a healthy snack as an alternative.
I’ve also learned that if I give myself wiggle room and cut myself some slack, it’s easier for me to actually listen to my body and eat healthy, because if I know that treats aren’t “off limits,” it’s easier to say no. Restricting yourself is a mind fuck and will trigger mad emotional cravings because we always want what we can’t have, regardless of how it will make us feel physically! If you tell yourself you can have a treat, you’ll empower yourself to say “no thanks” because it doesn’t meet your goals and will make you feel like crap.
Give yourself a choice!
WHAT'S NEXT FOR ME
I've been taking the past couple weeks "off" a designated program and getting back into running now the days are longer, but I'm going to continue working on my strength and intuitive eating goals!
I will say that when you're committing to a program like this, ACCOUNTABILITY IS KEY. So key. I would have given up so many times if it wasn't for my team of coaches who were doing the program together with me, and my Inspire Joy accountability group!
I choose to become an affiliate of products which I believe are truly helpful to my readers and that I use myself, and I may receive a commission on purchases made through the links I provide on this website. I am not a licensed nutritionist, or expert in any healthcare field. I am an Independent Beachbody Coach who is a product of the products I use from Beachbody.
Please see your physician before changing your diet, starting an exercise program, or taking any supplements of any kind.