The Master’s Hammer and Chisel Review

This weekend marked my final two days of the most recent Beachbody program that I’ve completed… The Master’s Hammer and Chisel! To go from the intense cardio of Core De Force to this primarily weight lifting program definitely required a mental shift (you won’t be sweating your face off… but instead, every muscle in your body will be on fire!), but it was an absolute BLAST and I discovered some of my all time favorite workouts over the past sixty days! So, let’s talk Hammer and Chisel!

The Workouts

The workouts themselves vary in length. Some are super short at about 20 minutes (Master’s Cardio) and some are a bit more lengthy at 46 minutes. However, you’re still able to keep your time “in the gym” (aka in your living room) to a minimum each day as 46 minutes will be your absolute longest workout. In this program you’ll alternate between “Chisel” workouts and “Hammer” workouts. Autumn Calabrese will lead you in the Chisel workouts and you’ll focus more on toning with higher intensity cardio bursts and lighter weights with more reps. If you’ve ever done 21 Day Fix or 21 Day Fix Extreme, think “Total Body Cardio Fix” and “Plyo Fix Extreme” and those are pretty good comparisons for the Chisel workouts! For the Hammer workouts, you’ll pump some iron with Sagi Kalev and focus on much less cardio (although he still likes to throw a random set of burpees in there every now and then) and much heavier weights with less reps. This is more of your traditional weight lifting, and honestly, it can be so much fun! I really enjoyed seeing what my little muscles were capable of and pushing myself in these workouts. Knowing that you’re not going to be doing too much cardio, for some reason gave me a bit more of a mental push to really take it to my max on weight and reps.

To be honest, there wasn’t really any workout that I dreaded… I liked them all!! I’m a big fan of Chisel Agility (no equipment needed, agility and cardio training that will test your body and brain) and Hammer Power (this one just makes you feel like a bad ass with clean and jerks). But seriously, ALL the workouts are really fun and hard work! Each day you’ll complete one main workout and then some days you’ll have an add on like 15 Minute Glute Chisel or 15 Minute Leg Hammer. There are also two different 10 minute ab workouts, one with Autumn and one with Sagi, and both are phenomenal! I’m a REALLY big fan of 10 Minute Ab Chisel with Autumn, it’s all on the bench and so much fun! You will also get one rest day during the week. The calendar schedules it for Thursday but you can change that up. I always took mine on Sunday or Saturday, whichever day I did my long run for training.

Nutrition

Just like with (most) all Beachbody programs, you’ll be using the 21 Day Fix portion control containers to maximize your results in the kitchen! The eating plans and container counts are the same as 21 Day Fix, except that there are a LOT more options for those who are looking to really bulk up (read “MORE FOOD!”). I chose to stick with the lowest meal plan for 21 Day Fix, just like I always do, and it worked out well. Keep in mind that I did add a few reds and blues (as well as some extra purples) on the days that I was running along with my Hammer and Chisel workout.

Equipment Needed

This is the part of the program where some may struggle with the whole “at-home fitness” thing. This program DOES require equipment. Unlike other programs that are body weight only (think Insanity, Core De Force and Piyo), Hammer and Chisel will require you to make some investments and start building your home gym if you really want to get the most out of the program. Equipment that you’ll need includes:

  • Weight bench (I borrowed one from a friend, but you can also find them on Craigslist for pretty cheap) – just make sure it’s STABLE!
  • Pull up bar or resistance bands with a door attachment – I bought my pull up bar on Amazon for about $20 and it’s been a great investment to help with progress
  • Weights – you’ll need light, medium and heavy, and you’ll also want to think about how you want to progress through this program. I already had 4, 8, and 12 lb dumbbells and I also bought a set of adjustable ones that go from 10 to 25 which were super nice when I wanted to increase from 20 to 25 lb!

Keep in mind, there are modifications throughout each workout if you don’t have some of the equipment (mainly using a stability ball instead of a bench)… but the modifications seem kind of tricky and sometimes a hell of a lot more difficult than the original move. My opinion, make the investment and start building your home gym!

Results: This is where some people might struggle with Hammer and Chisel… but hopefully not. The results you’ll see with Hammer and Chisel probably won’t be like what you’d see with Core De Force or Insanity Max:30. What I mean is, it’s a primarily low cardio, weight lifting program and not high intensity cardio. What does that mean for you and your results? Maybe nothing! Maybe a lot! It all depends on how your body reacts to HIIT training vs. weight training! Will you lose inches? Probably. Will you lose a ton of weight. Probably not. Will you increase your muscle mass and get hella stronger? Absofreakinlutely!

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Great program for introducing you to weight lifting if you’re used to mainly cardio programs
  • Awesome combination of heavy and light weights with cardio thrown in
  • You WILL get stronger… it’s inevitable
  • Less than 45 minutes a day
  • It’s just FUN… and you’ll feel like a bad ass, promise

Cons:

  • Equipment IS required, be prepared to make some investments
  • You may not see intense weight loss like with an HIIT program (but don’t let that deter you… you’re building lean muscle which helps burn fat even AFTER you finish your workout!)

Final Thoughts

I LOVED this program! It was so easy to stick to it every day for the entire sixty days. I credit this mainly to how well Autumn and Sagi switch things up… you’ll alternate between Hammer workouts and Chisel workouts, which will keep you from “burning out” on one type over the other. The strength I gained was amazing and I feel much more prepared to continue my fitness journey, even without weight lifting programs! I also gained a really great knowledge of various exercises for different muscle groups, which is nice to know in case I want to throw in a little “tris and bis” at the end of an Insanity Max: 30 workout! All in all, I would completely recommend Hammer and Chisel, just make sure you’re ready to invest in some home gym equipment and lift some serious weights!

What do YOU think?