Beachbody (!): My New Thing

June 8, 2018


I never thought I’d be doing it, either.

You guys, I am (was!?) a runner.  Between 2004 – 2010 (basically all of early, pre-kid adulthood), I was always training for something.  I really do love running, and I love training plans, achieving goals, and crushing my own PRs.  I’ve run 4 marathons — my last and fastest in 2009, now nearly a decade ago.  In my head, I can still run that fast.

(I can’t.)

Because between then and now, I had 3 children.  And I aged 9 years.  I actually don’t think the pregnancies did anything terrible to my running prowess or my body.  HOWEVER, the kids really put a damper on my training.  I won’t say that I am unable to train 40+ mile weeks the way I used to, but it is definitely — definitely — not a priority.

I still love to run.  And I hope to do more of it someday.  But several factors have made me less interested lately.  They are as follows:

1) Running in Miami Beach weather kind of sucks, at least for 6 months of the year.  Summer runs are in humid 80F conditions, often with lightning in the distance (and I HATE lightning, even in the distance).  I could use our treadmill (and I do use it on occasion) but I think the loud noise tends to wake the big kids up, and also treadmill running just isn’t as enjoyable.

2) I am not feeling as confident as I used to about running outside alone in the early mornings.  Maybe I’m just becoming a wimp but I fear a) falling (if it’s not light) and b) dogs running around loose in our neighborhood, which is a thing.  I hit my head HARD on a tree back in 2016 (fun) and maybe it soured me.  I don’t know.

3) I am slower than I used to be.  I realize that if I started running more consistently I’d probably speed up, but I’m not sure I could get back to 2010 me.  And seeing a decline is tough!  I am not the type who can ignore numbers.

4) I don’t feel like I want to dedicate the time on weekends right now to do proper long runs.  Those are my favorite runs and I will be back doing them again someday (it is admittedly nice to run to the beach, despite point #1) but right now it just feels like too much of a commitment.  (Although as I write that, I am sort of realizing it’s ridiculous).

5) I’m vain and was not getting the kinds of ‘results’ I really want from running.  I’d like more muscle definition in my arms and abs.  I admire the toned athletic look that women get when they do a good amount of strength training.  What can I say — superficial.  But true.

SO.  All that said, I wanted workouts that would be:

– short
– somewhat fun
– doable at home
– hard enough that I’d see progress

My SIL (here’s her podcast interview!) has been into Beachbody workouts for years and is specifically into Autumn Calabrese.  I finally decided to ask her which routine she would recommend for me — something that would meet the above criteria and not kill me in 20 seconds.  She recommended 21 Day Fix.

Beachbody is a MLM company.  “Coaches” promote the programs, provide encouragement, and sell subscriptions to the workout AND supplements (Shakeology drinks and other “boosters”).  But it’s also something you can just purchase outright like any other product.  I am not a coach (and nor is my SIL), so I just went to the website and signed up for a subscription to the on demand workouts.  There is a 2 week free trial, and then I paid $39 for 3 months (I think $99/year is clearly a better deal but I wasn’t ready to commit to a year).

There are all kinds of structured diets on the site to follow, and there are supplements to buy that they promote.  I’m sure they benefit some people, but I really just wanted the workouts.   The other stuff is fairly easy to just ignore if you’re not in the mood for that sort of thing.

And the workouts?  THEY ARE GREAT.

Here’s what I like:

1) STRUCTURE.  The 21 Day Fix has a calendar that tells you exactly what you are supposed to do each day (I’m sure the other programs do as well).  Example:

Monday – Total Body Cardio Fix
Tuesday – Upper Body Fix
Wednesday – Lower Fix


There are 2 workouts that are heavy on cardio (think burpees + jumping moves), 1 upper, 1 lower, 1 that’s a mix (called Dirty 30), 1 yoga, and 1 pilates.  There’s also an alternative core workout (to be used in place of the pilates) and an alternative barre leg workout (to be used in place of the lower).  Weights are used most of the workouts (pilates, yoga and one of the cardio workouts are exceptions).

The schedule suggests “optionally” doubling up on workouts the 3rd week, but . . . that plan is not for me!  I have been sticking to one each day.  There’s no formal ‘rest’ day, but the yoga and pilates are definitely not as intense so they serve that purpose.

2) PROGRESS.  You can really see progress quickly with these!  When I started I literally told Josh I thought I needed to see a doctor because I was THAT BEAT UP by the workout.  (I was also getting over a cold, but still!).  Now I can mostly complete that workout, just slowing down a few of the moves.  I can see progress with the weights I am using (started with 5lb and some 8lb, now mostly 8lb and need to start incorporating some 10lb).  I have only been doing them for 5 weeks.

3) THEY ARE SHORT (and not too boring).  Each is done in 30 minutes.  The yoga and pilates aren’t too hard, but all of the others leave me super sweaty and tired.  Each move is only 60 seconds so even if I hate it, I can count down and it’s over soon.  There’s enough variation that it’s really not boring.  And when it does get boring (or easy . . . ha) there are about 8 million other programs to switch to (21 Day Fix Extreme, 80 Day Obsession, etc).

4) THEY ARE JUST HARD ENOUGH.  There are reasonable modifications for every move.  They are juuuuust hard enough to be quite challenging but honestly I can mostly complete them (with great effort), which is fun!  I am the kind fo person where I know I’d probably quit outright if I had to modify everything.

Oh, and equipment/space needed is fairly minimal.  Basically just the length of one mat and some hand weights (I have 5 / 8 / 10 at home, plus 15 / 20 that are Josh’s if I ever manage to get that strong).  I find that if there are too many complicated items needed (I’m looking at you, Barre3 ball that keeps deflating) I resist starting a workout.

5) RESULTS?  Well . . . maybe.  I do think my arms look better and my abs less of a . . . post-baby situation.  I am eating whatever the hell I want right now (breastfeeding gives me that license in my opinion) so I’m sure I might see more dramatic results if I were to change that.

These were both last week.
I have one quasi before/after shot but I made the mistake of not wearing a shirt and I sort of refuse to post it.  Sorry!  It did somehow make it to Insta Stories. 

I’m not giving up running.  In fact, some day I think I’d like to do a combo (maybe 3 of these workouts / 3 runs each week, or 4 / 2).  I definitely want to go back to doing races someday, because I find it really fun.  But this is a great option for me right now.

Oh, and many of you asked “When do you do these”?  On work days, I typically start around 5:50 AM and finish at 6:20 AM. If I get up around 5 (which is right after G’s 2nd nighttime feeding if I’m lucky), I have some time to prep for the day and then caffeinate before the workout.  Lately, G has been sleeping OR happy in her bassinet until at 6:30 or so, or Josh will hang out with her while I finish if she is up.  If A or C wake up, they can get their own banana and watch (and sometimes participate, ha!).  A is even learning to pour cereal and milk.  The benefit of kids getting older . . .

On non-work days, I do them after the big kids go to school, usually during G’s AM nap.  Really, 30 minutes isn’t terribly hard to fit in, especially when you don’t have to leave the house.

So, now I’m a coach and you can buy from me! JUST KIDDING.  Not going there.  But if you have questions I’m happy to answer them.


  • Reply Michelle March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    I love T25! The trainer is super motivating and they have an advanced and beginner levels. It honestly sounds a lot like what you”re doing, only 25 min, and a bunch of different types of HIIT workouts. I”ve done it after both of my babies and got great results! I should probably look into other programs but I”m too cheap ha!

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 9:00 pm

      Ooh good to hear!

      I do the streaming which gives you access to allll the programs. I love having so many options.

  • Reply Omdg March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    You look great! I agree, strength training produces the best results. Wish I had time to try something I could do every day!

  • Reply Jill March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    Hi! I”m not sure if I”m allowed to post this, so please feel free to delete. I”m a new beachbody coach and can definitely help get anyone started with this program or any of the others on beachbody on demand. There”s a new program coming out July 16th that is 4 times a week for 30 min. It combines weight training and HIIT. My husband and I are doing it together and would love to have others join us. My email is Feel free to reach out if interested in this, of any other program!

    I”m a momma of two and finally quit my gym membership and am actually enjoying home workouts.

  • Reply Griffin March 10, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    One of the things that drew me to your and Laura’s blogs years ago was running, one of many activities we had in common. A year ago, I called the local Crossfit gym on a whim more than anything else. I have converted 100% and can still knock out a respectable 5k or 4 miler for local raises. The strength training and group mentality have been wonderful. For vanity and health reasons, my body needed. My initial assessment revealed serious imbalances because of the running for 16 straight years. I was not disciplined enough to cross train on my own. I’m lucky in that I can make CF work with our schedule and that our local "box" is very welcoming with a mindset of life-long fitness for all ages and body types. I

  • Reply Griffin March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    Whew, still on first cup of coffee and noticed several typos and then hit send before completing my thoughts. Not sure why, but I love the fact that you shared that you’ve drifted away from running. Running was part of my identity, particularly in Boston where the running culture is so strong. Dropping it was a process even though I knew I was doing the right thing for my mental and physical wellness.

  • Reply Suzanne T March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    Good luck on the new residency!!!! I am a Residency Program Director, Marathon runner, mom, Beachbody Coach, Gretchen fan (questioner) and paper planner/ organizer addict living in Southwest Florida. Just found your podcast and now your blog- binging on both when I should really be getting ready for my next class of residents!!

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:07 pm

      OMG. We are twins!!! I want to know what field you are in!!

      And YES, we are down to the zero hour – a bit terrifying for us as a new program! AHHHH!

  • Reply Victoria B. March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    Just want to chime in on the Beach Body love. I own and have done many of the programs and I love them all. I can personally recommend Brazilian Butt Lift, Chalean Extreme and T-25. They all follow the same format with a calendar detailing which workouts to do each day, routines that are 20-60 minutes in length and an eating plan. I never do the eating plan.

    These tapes work if you commit to them and stick with the program. I love being able to get in a good workout at home on my schedule and not having to drive to the gym or plan my day around a class I want to take.

    I DO NOT PURCHASE THEM FROM A COACH – I buy them from Beach Body directly or – depending on who has the better price. I avoid the coach route specifically because I don”t want to support a scammy MLM venture nor do I want to be pestered about their nutritional plans, shake supplements or being a coach in someone”s pyramid scheme.

  • Reply Kelsey March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    I’m really surprised! This is MLM! I am shocked this is coming from you! Also why use little containers? Shouldn’t we be learning healthy habits that are actually sustainable?

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

      1) not participating in the MLM (I bought straight from company and am NOT selling)
      2) not doing the containers or any other dietary part of it

      The workouts are really good! What can I say?! I agree I”d so prefer it to be a regular company, but I don”t find the concept offensive if it”s optional.

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:07 pm

      PS agree about the containers. I could see how this might be helpful for someone with a great deal of weight to lose but otherwise no. Definitely not my style.

  • Reply Erica S March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    I’ve definitely noticed that as I’ve gotten older, just running is not enough to keep me looking toned, and doesn’t do much for body composition. I’ve really been focusing on strength training since having B last July and I’m really happy with results! I *kind* of miss running long distances (the longest I’ve run since he was born has been 7 miles, and my highest mileage weeks have maxed out at 20). I’d like to run a full marathon again someday … but I also really want to hang out with my baby! I think strength training is going to become increasingly important for body composition and maintaining good posture and mobility. Now if only I enjoyed yoga….

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

      Me too (marathon) but I think the kids may be 10 by that time! I guess maybe I’m also realizing it’s okay to drift into different phases of fitness – the point is to keep doing something active, not to reach a certain running goal of cumulative miles in my life or something. I also find that the endorphin high from strength workouts isn’t as much as a long run, but it’s not nothing either!

  • Reply Taryn March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    I am with you on the running thing. I was a distance runner for years, and just in the past 1+ years have basically fallen out of love with it. I prefer a quick strength/boot camp type workout I can do on my own at home (or at a gym) over the "production" that is a long run. I have 2 young kids (4 and 6) and way prefer hanging out with them on the weekends. I also work full-time, so my time with them is fairly limited. I am finding my body is changing for the better, as I also prefer the more athletic build with visible muscles. Glad to hear you enjoy these workouts as a good substitute for running.

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

      I never thought I could get an endorphin high without running. Turns out I was wrong 🙂 I definitely do want to incorporate more running again someday (I like racing, even if I’m only competing w/ myself) but this feels like a better fit right now!

  • Reply SusannahEarlyBd March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I know several women who are really into Burn boot camp but this seems more doable for me as I wouldn”t have to drive there and back, etc. I”m afraid I might not be able to do even the modified moves but am definitely thinking about trying it once I”m past the 6 week PP mark. Thanks again.

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:07 pm

      Oh I bet you’d ramp up so quickly! I think it would be perfect for you — you wouldn’t have to leave the house and could do it when R+#4 are napping (E and F could just hang out and watch, or E or F could entertain R while you do it. . .)

  • Reply elizabeth March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    Interesting! Is there an app or do you watch the workouts on your computer or tablet, etc.? Do you need to listen to an instructor, or is it something you could do silently (like in a gym with other people around, or while watching TV)?

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

      If you knew the routines, I think you could do them using a phone + wireless headphones! However, I use my laptop propped up on the couch. Easy peasy 🙂

  • Reply Rachel July 20, 2019 at 10:48 pm

    I heart your podcasts with Laura. I heard you mention beach body recently so am
    just reading this post. I just got the 14 day trial after going to a local boot camp place and learning it would be $200 a month (!!) to join. Need a plan B. Anyway, my question is – do the workouts change on the on demand program or are they always the same? Like could you do 21 day fix for a year and be doing the same handful of workouts, or do they add new ones? I get bored easily…but I guess then I could try other types within BB On Demand…Thanks!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 24, 2019 at 5:32 am

      They don’t add new ones but they did come out with a variation (21 Day Fix Real Time) and you could always switch from program to program (21 Day Fix, 80 Day Obsession, etc). 80 day is super intense but it’s 80 different workouts so probably not boring!!

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