Between gearing up to launch a fitness program of our own and getting married, taking the time to review a Beachbody workout could be considered a holiday.
It’s been some time since I followed a structured workout I hadn’t created myself. It’s been two years in all since the last time I did a Beachbody program specifically.
Beachbody released the Core de Force program around three months ago, and it instantly grabbed my attention. It’s the first truly serious MMA workout I’ve seen, and I’d never done something like this before. Our own fitness program – the Fitness Updated program – was nearly ready for launch. My wife was taking care of the final bits of preparation before we sent the program out.
I’m going to be a walking billboard from now on. This was the last chance I had to try and review someone else’s program, and I sure do love getting to pass judgement.
My Core de Force review will look at the full month I spent on the workout, covering everything that you should know about the program.
What is Core de Force?
While I had some trouble describing the Insanity workout and P90X, this proved to be simple. Core de Force is a month-long workout program inspired by the most demanding and dynamic sport there is – mixed martial arts.
That the program is a month-long should give you a clue about how difficult it’s going to be. It takes a lot of work to reach your goals in only 30 days.
The creators don’t seem to think this is the case though. They market the Core de Force program as being a one-size-fits-all weight loss solution. Beachbody have always liked to claim anyone can do their programs.
The premise of their claim is easy enough to understand – every move in the program is rotational, and they are all designed to work the midsection. This means your core will be engaged for the entire workout. But we’ll get into that more in a second.
Each move also has a modifier, and you can ease yourself into the workout.
The program is a dynamic one, with a wide variety of sequences and some power moves thrown in.
• No equipment thanks to bodyweight moves
• A total body workout
• Intense cardio sessions
• Surprisingly low impact exercises
Who Created Core de Force?
If you’ve seen my other Beachbody reviews, you know I rarely talk about different trainers. The programs are almost always made by Shaun T, Tony Horton, or Chalene Johnson.
Things are a little different this time around, as the Core de Force program was created by Joel Freeman and Jericho McMatthews; a pair of incredible fitness professionals.
Joel is a top level personal coach with his own gym in Olympia, Washington. He’s also a national body combat trainer.
His partner Jericho has a degree in physical education and kinesiology, and has over 10 years’ experience as an international master trainer.
First Impressions of Core de Force
The program has a very professional look and feel. The video production looks like it came out of Hollywood, which is just to be expected from Beachbody at this point.
The atmosphere of the workouts is a dynamic one, with moves and rounds coming and going fast. It’s packed full of energy.
The trainers and the crew are all into the workouts, with less smiles on show. It’s about the workout and sweating. Joel and Jericho will both walk you through the moves, with the camera following every detail.
The music stacks up to other Beachbody releases, and the moves look like a lot of fun.
I’ve seen some people compare this workout to Less Mill’s Combat, but those comparisons aren’t fair at all. Core de Force is much more engaging and has no gimmicks attached.
The moves aren’t choreographed as well. This means that you do everything at your own pace, rather than in time with the beat.
The 10 Core de Force Workouts
Before we look at each workout individually, let’s give you a general overview;
• A total of 10 workouts with plenty of diversity
• Workouts last between 27 and 47 minutes, with another two 5 minute videos
• The workouts start with less complex moves, with things becoming more complex by the third week
• Modifiers are available at all times for every move. They’re very simple to follow too, making it easier for you to ease your way into the program if need be.
• A lot of punching, kicking, and power moves
• Surprisingly low-to-medium impact moves across the whole workout
• Workouts are divided into rounds of 3 minutes, much like a boxing match. Each round has a cardio spike.
• Standing rotational moves don’t feel like an ab workout at all, but target the core much more effectively than crunches.
Now let’s take a look at the full list of workouts in Core de Force;
• MMA Speed
MMA Speed sets the pace of the first half of the program, with things starting out kind of easy. It features hip moves and core rotation, tied together with dynamic sequences that rarely feel repetitive. There are six rounds for a total of 27 minutes.
• Dynamic Strength
Dynamic Strength starts out simple, with a range of squats and push-up variations and some balance moves to keep it fresh. The circuit becomes more complex as you repeat it. I found myself enjoying the pace here. This is a resistance session. There are 12 rounds for a total of 37 minutes.
• 5 Minute Core on the Floor
On top of being a well-structured ab workout, this workout can be used to supplement other programs. As the name implies, this one only takes around five minutes, but it’s a very dynamic and innovative workout with lots of different plank variations. Doing this workout right after doing another workout is an intense core blast.
• Power Sculpt
Power Sculpt offers a low impact plyometric session, complete with plenty of back and forth between standing and on-the-floor exercises. This adds explosiveness to the circuit, with your core doing the majority of the work. This is another one that doesn’t feel like a more traditional workout for the core, but gets the job done all the same. From my experiences coaching, stand ab moves are much better than crunches. Power Sculpt lasts nine rounds for a total of 37 minutes.
• MMA Shred
MMA Shred is a dynamic workout packed full of power kicks. It’ll have you switching between jabs, punches, and knee kicks. The very definition of mixed martial arts. Moving through the rounds feels great, and it’s super easy to coordinate punches. The workout feels like a shadow boxing sparring session that gets adrenaline pumping. This one lasts nine rounds for a total of 37 minutes.
• MMA Power
MMA Power is where things get more intense. The cardio is faster, the moves are more complex, and there’s a lot of diversity. You’ll learn more kicks and combine those new moves into intense 3-minute rounds. MMA Power gives you 12 rounds of core combos for a total of 47 minutes.
• MMA Plyo
I can’t say I’ve ever used this many traditional moves in workouts before. It’s refreshing to see a core session with so much variety to it. When I saw “plyo” in the name of this workout I assumed that there would be a lot of jumping involved, but I found the opposite to be true. This is a fast-paced rotational combo with plenty of core moves and explosiveness. It’ll last for 12 rounds, for a total of 47 minutes.
• Core de Force Relief
This one lasts just five minutes. It covers some stretching moves, in particular stretching the hamstrings. You’ll ease your way into deep stretches, improving flexibility on the way.
• Active Recovery
The Active Recovery is more comprehensive than Core de Force Relief and it serves as the recovery session of the program. It prepares your body for the upcoming week, fighting off muscle soreness while improving mobility, flexibility, and range of motion. MMA fighters are known for having great flexibility, and this recovery program can take you there. It takes 21 minutes in all to complete.
• Core Kinetics
Core Kinetics is a bonus workout filled with MMA-inspired moves. This short but intense workout includes elegant -looking sequences and rotational work. It takes 16 minutes in all.
• Learn It
Learn It is the training segment given before the more intense workouts. It helps you to create a solid foundation. Many kicks from the programme aren’t included here as they are simple enough for you to learn on the go, but the more complex movements are taken apart and explained in a simple to understand manner.
All of the different workouts are fast-paced and dynamic, and they target your whole body. I found myself enjoying the overall flow of the workouts, and have seen an improvement in my coordination.
The three-minute rounds of the workouts are a great timeframe that drives you to go harder, and you’re sure to go harder. Give each round everything you can three minutes before moving on. It’s the perfect example of a Tabata-style workout with some extra diversity. This would explain the rapid weight loss.
Core de Force is a mixture of boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai. Each sessions is more innovative than the last, and I had a lot of fun going through each session.
Who Should Consider Trying Core de Force?
There is no definitive answer to this question. As mentioned before, Beachbody market the program as an all in one solution for weight loss and fitness. The reality is a bit more nuanced than this.
I wouldn’t recommend the program to those with knee and joint pain. The exercises in the plan called for dynamic body movement, and you could easily injure yourself between the kicks and punches.
If your knees and joints are healthy though, I say it’s worth a shot.
The program is for people who:
• Enjoy spicing things up
• Want to lose weight fast
• Get some muscle definition
• Try out new training methods
• Are bored easily
• Don’t look forward to their workouts
The modifiers ease you into the workouts, so there’s no harm in trying it and seeing how everything goes for you. Besides, there’s always the option of returning the package and getting your money back with no questions asked.
Many reviews of Core de Force will make the comparison of Core de Force vs. Less Mill’s Combat. It’s my opinion that the people who would make that comparison are people that have tried only one of the workouts, or not tried either. The two workouts couldn’t be more different.
Less Mill’s Combat adds some rhythm to the moves and is built around upper body movements. Core de Force is very different.
The Core de Force Calendar
Given that this is a 30-day workout, you have a simple enough schedule to follow. It comes with a printed calendar that tells you what exercises to do on what day. It’s as simple as that.
I recommend putting your calendar on a wall, so that it is easy to see and it keeps you accountable. I kept mine on the side of my fridge. Having your journey visualized like this makes it easier to follow.
The Core De Force Nutrition Plan
The base kit and Deluxe kit have their separate nutrition plans. With the basic kit, you get the book, sample menus, and recipes. There are also several tips on how to burn fat as fuel with food. The Deluxe kit has all of that, as well as plastic containers that you can use to keep track of food.
This system of plastic containers is copied from Autumn’s 21 Day Fix Workout. It’s a good system to follow, but it’s not worth the extra money in my opinion.
You get everything you need from the book anyway, so save some time and money and use it to buy healthy food instead!
Where to Purchase Core de Force
*Update – Beachbody recently put all of their workouts on their subscription model Beachbody on Demand. I’d recommend using the official Beachbody on Demand website to get access to Core de Force and all of their other workouts.
The cost of this is $99 for a yearly subscription, but you do get access to all their latest and greatest programs, all of the most popular programs – including Insanity and P90X – and, perhaps best of all, access to all future releases from Beachbody.
Your subscription to Beachbody on Demand will also come complete with a 30-day money back guarantee.
This option is much cheaper than picking up individual workouts with more bang for your buck. Now every workout costs the same amount under Beachbody on Demand, with you getting access to everything for a single payment of just $99.
By the way, I tested their customer service representatives with some trivial questions to test their responses. They would generally back to me – and therefore you – within less than 24 hours.
I went into this workout with a six-pack anyway. Preparing a fitness program of my own as left me in the best shape of my life. It wasn’t exactly a big change for me to switch to Core De Force.
With that said, I did see improvement in coordination and flexibility, and my core was strengthened too. I lost 3 pounds, but keep in mind I already have a really low body-fat percentage and am in great shape already.
I can easily see how the average person could lose up to 20 pounds when following this workout. The moves are very intense if you invest enough energy in them, and the sequences are varied enough to stay engaging; targeting each muscle group at different angles. That, along with the core rotational moves, gets your body burning through fat.
Expect to have a flatter abdomen, and maybe even see some abstract through if you’re only around 20 pounds overweight. You’ll likely notice your lower body – particularly the thighs – loses a lot of fatty tissue. Your upper body is going to look more defined – particularly the arms and shoulders – from all of that shadowboxing.
All in all, Core de Force has earned my approval. I would easily recommend this for those looking to escape the monotony of their regular routines and enjoy something a little different. This is something that could please everyone thanks to the modifiers.
The price is relatively low for a workout program, and I enjoy that it only takes 30 days to do. Throw in that money back guarantee, and it’s easy to see you have nothing to lose by at least trying the program.
I hope that you found my Core de Force review helpful, and that I was able to describe my own experiences using the program properly.
You can check out my workout platform Fitness Updated. While I’m doing the shameless plugs, I’d say Fitness Updated is more comprehensive than Core de Force, and that it gives you the chance to completely customize your workout with dozens of programs at a reduced price.
Fitness Updated is also provided as a 7-day free trial, no need for credit card information. You won’t be charged after those seven days (after all, we don’t have your credit card and can’t charge you!) and you are only charged if you decide to purchase the product. You’ll even get a discount as a loyal Lifestyle Updated reader, and you can’t say fairer than that.