Tony Horton’s 22 Minute Hard Corps routine looks downright brutal, spotlighting real American veterans in each video and requiring nearly 22 straight minutes of absolutely grueling training.
But will it help you lose weight or look more shredded than ever?
Let’s find out!
About the Creator – Tony Horton
Tony Horton is arguably the face of Beachbody On Demand, the genius behind the now-famed P90X (and its spinoffs) and Ten Minute Trainer.
Though Horton has since stepped back from his 15-year tenure with the platform, his most successful moments include:
- Training celebrities like Bruce Springsteen and Billy Idol
- Becoming a spokesperson for Thighmaster and NordicTrack
- Authoring multiple best-selling motivational books
- Launching his own hair and skin care product line (TH Care)
He might not demonstrate every exercise and crank out every rep like he used to.
But Tony Horton is still the man, the myth, the legend (and easily the most recognizable face in home fitness videos!).
What is 22 Minute Hard Corps?
22 Minute Hard Corps entered the airwaves sometime in late 2015 or early 2016, making it one of Tony Horton’s newest Beachbody On Demand launches.
The eight-week routine is among the more grueling BOD programs, with Horton himself describing it as a “no nonsense” routine while asking users to “give [him] every rep.”
This six-day-a-week full-body program features cadenced workouts with three focuses:
- Resistance training
By the end of the program, most users wind up dropping 1–2 pounds per week.
(We’d say take a shot every tine Horton says “hardcore,” but you’d probably be wasted before the 22 minutes finally ends.)
22 Minute Hard Corps Details & Features
We have a hunch that a Tony Horton & military mix might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Before you decide either way, here’s an in-depth glance at the program:
The sheer thought of a military-esque fitness program is enough to fill even the most elite athletes with dread. (Seriously, have you seen — or attempted — the Marine Corps PFT? It’s intense.)
Or maybe a drill sergeant shouting commands in your ear isn’t your idea of a “fun” workout. If there’s any doubt in your mind, the “Start Here” tab is where you’ll learn the basics.
This page features things like:
- A two-minute workout trailer. Careful, this one is easy to miss! The page’s header has a small “Watch Trailer” button in a tiny, blue font in the bottom left corner.
- A quick program overview. Discover how long this program lasts (22 minutes, as the name suggests) and whether there’s cardio involved (sorry — yes).
- A link to the Beachbody Nutrition Center. Honestly, skip it. This isn’t the matching 22 Minute Hard Corps diet, and neither of the two suggested plans is ideal for gains.
- An introduction to Tony Horton. It’s just a quick welcome paragraph with links to his social media handles. You’ll learn more about the legend on his Wikipedia page.
- Related content and results. Horton uploaded before-and-after images of those who’ve had success with this program (of course, paired with “results may vary”).
Unless you’re comparing five or more Beachbody programs before you settle on “the one,” the “Start Here” page is quite vague and probably won’t sway you in either direction.
But this next section might!
(Note: If you skip the Program Materials tab, this section will look like an oddly organized video gallery. To learn which workout falls on which day, check out the Workout Calendar PDF.)
Horton divides the 13 workouts into two sections: 22 Minute Hard Corps and 22 Minute Hard Corps Deluxe. Now, here’s what lies on the eight-week road ahead:
Regular vs. Deluxe Workouts
If you wind up buying the programs deluxe kit (which seems automatic if you subscribe to Beachbody On Demand), you’ll gain access to its three deluxe videos:
- Special Ops: Cardio
- Special Ops: Resistance Training
- Special Ops: Core
It’s not entirely clear what makes these exclusive workouts any different than the standard video collection. And, unless you literally read the fine print, you’ll wonder, “so, when do I do these?”
Check the microscopic letters at the bottom of the official Workout Calendar. Horton gives you the option to swap out a standard exercise with Special Ops a few times per week.
Why? No idea.
While we can’t reveal too much about your upcoming 48 workouts, we can offer a taste of what to expect on week one (the remaining weeks follow a similar pattern).
Week one looks something like this:
- Cardio 1 & Core 1
- Resistance 1
- Cardio 1 & Core 1
- Resistance 1
- Cardio 2 & Core 1
- Resistance 1
- Day Off & Meal Prep
(Each unique workout also has a number plugged in at the end — 1, 2, or 3. Halfway through during week four, you’ll begin easing into the more intense 3s.)
For the most part, you’ll crush through six straight workouts per week (Monday through Saturday) that alternate between cardio & core days and resistance days.
All but two Sundays are reserved for rest (squeeze in a little meal prep). On your fourth and eighth Sunday, you’ll repeat the physical fitness test (PFT) from day one to track your progress!
A Look at the Workouts Themselves
If you’ve scrolled this far, we can make a few predictions:
- The name “Tony Horton” gives you P90X flashbacks (in a good way, you devil, you).
- You appreciate the challenge of boot camp-style workouts for whatever reason.
- You’re a Beachbody On Demand regular running low on programs.
- You fell asleep on the couch while binge-watching Comedy Central and woke up startled to paid programming featuring the freakishly terrifying sound of the legend Tony Horton screaming “hardcore” repeatedly (oddly specific, but you can probably relate).
Now, from everything we’ve discussed thus far, the 22 Minute Hard Corps videos look and sound downright brutal. But are they?
Well, here’s what we discovered after viewing a few of them:
The “Cold Start” video comes somewhat out of left field. There’s very subtle mention of it in the Quick Start Guide, but it’s easy to miss if you don’t know to look for it.
This 10-minute clip is a high-intensity warm-up for those ungodly early 6 a.m. workouts, when the outdoor temperatures plummet, or if you woke up feeling stiff from yesterday’s session.
Horton breaks the warm-up into brief 30-second stints or cycles featuring dynamic exercises (jogging in place, hamstring stretches, lunges, etc.).
He also mentions a few modifications to do if your last real workout was in 12th grade PE.
This video lumps another ten minutes onto your 22-minute workout (defeating the namesake entirely). If you’re out of shape, you might also feel winded by the time the real workout starts.
Why not just squeeze an extra five minutes into each video as an optional warm-up?
The 22 Minute Hard Corps cardio workouts will be your worst nightmare if you dread feeling out of breath. These workouts feature 10–50 reps of exercises like:
- Lunge twists
- Bear crawls
- Run lunge squats
- Lateral shuffles
If you can’t muster up the willpower to finish a set, Horton encourages you to march in place until you’re ready to continue. There’s brief 22-second “rest periods” during these brutal, 22 minutes.
(Horton must’ve practiced his drill sergeant voice before shooting these videos. He takes on an odd accent the moment he starts counting.)
The two Core (not Corps) training sessions require either 11 or 22 reps per exercise. During this rapid-fire ab and lower back workout, you’ll come toe-to-toe with exercises like:
- Chop twists (with sandbags)
- Cobra crunches
- Kick twists
- Plank rolls
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Though you were gearing up for a 22-minute workout, you’ll be thankful these are just ten!
The Resistance sessions mark the return of 22-minute training sessions and require a bit more equipment on-hand, including:
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Horton also recommends Beachbody’s sandbags, Chin-Up Max set-up, and jump mat, though you can do without all of these. (If you’re new to BOD, get used to these constant self-ads.)
Before you touch a single weight or perform a single rep, Horton makes one thing clear: nothing matters more than form — if your only choice is to use half-ass cheat reps, drop the damn weight!
After a super quick warm-up (not sure why it has one if there’s that optional ten-minute Cold Start, but okay), you’ll segue into exercises like:
- Push-ups (25)
- Pull-ups (15)
- Squat thrusts with dumbbells or sandbags (20)
- Sit-up punches
- Chopper lunges (20)
This circuit-style workout certainly keeps things exciting while ensuring that every muscle is drained by the end of those 22 minutes.
The cooldown is about a minute long and features some stretching and jogging in place. You might want to tack on a few extra minutes before calling it a day, or you might wake up sore.
This rant might sound nit-picky … but the program’s PDFs shouldn’t be the third and final tab. Honestly, it’s the only section that actually explains how the program works and what to expect.
Now, is the Programs Materials tab perfect? Far from it!
It lacks a lengthy program guide typical of Beachbody On Demand programs (which could be a bonus, since these guides shove Shakeology or Beachbody ads into every nook and cranny).
But it also leaves you in the dark about the workouts themselves until you hit “play” on video one.
(Okay, rant over.)
You’ll find these PDFs in the Program Materials tab:
The QuickStart guide is a 7-page crash course in the 22 Minute Hard Corps routine.
(When you subtract the title page, a completely unnecessary full-page picture of Horton, and a
Dear John letter from him, you’re left with just four pages of useful information.)
Before you start the program, you’ll follow these four simple steps:
- A “Ration” Plan. There’s a funky-looking chart asking you to assign yourself points based on your gender, weight, and activity level. Add ‘em up, compare it to the chart on the right, and discover which plan is right for you. We still don’t understand why Beachbody insists on these ridiculous point scales when scientific calculations like TDEE or BMR exist.
- Before & After. Weigh yourself, snap photos, and take measurements from chest to thigh. When you bust through your 48th and final workout, you’ll return to this page to do it all over again. If those before-and-after photos aren’t shopped, you should see a difference.
- PT Fit Test. On day one, week four, and week eight, you’ll complete a short fitness test to gauge where you’re starting and how much progress you make throughout the program. You have just 60 seconds to do as many push-ups, jumping jacks, etc. as possible! The whole test takes 5–10 minutes, so there’s no need to waste a pre-workout scoop.
- “Basic Training” Action Plan. This step tells you to follow the training plan. That’s it. This would’ve been a phenomenal time to explain the logic behind the workouts or why some workouts are “2” or why you should swap in a Deluxe workout now and then.
We owe Tony Horton a round of applause here, though. While 22 Minute Hard Corps might not be a 10/10, Horton certainly deserves credit for the creative military puns/references sprinkled in.
The included calendar doesn’t dance around the point (impressive by Beachbody standards!). If you’re wondering when Core 1 or Resistance Training 3 enter the scene, you’ll learn that here.
Look at the calendar first to decide if this program is doable!
Hell Week Challenge
The Hell Week Challenge looks just as miserable as it sounds — a full week of two-a-day workouts, paired with a signed promise to remind yourself not to quit.
That’s two cardio and one core session (or two resistance training sessions) in a single day.
Horton encourages you to share a photo online after finishing Hell Week.
He also suggests using the hashtag #GetSome, which … means something very different to the civilian world. Nobody on your feed will understand, and you might come off as a creep.
(Pretty sure bragging and the military don’t mix well either.)
Quick Start Guide to Nutrition
It wouldn’t be a Beachbody On Demand program without forcing this damn Quick Start Guide to Nutrition down everyone’s throats. Nine times out of ten, this 84-page PDF isn’t worth opening.
A sizable chunk of the guide is a Beachbody cash grab trying to convince unsuspecting users to buy Beachbody everything (food containers, Shakeology, supplements, bars, etc.).
To be clear: This isn’t the 22 Minute Hard Corps meal plan!
And, unless you’re looking to spice things up in the kitchen with new recipes (page 44 and beyond, if so), don’t even bother looking at this thing.
The regular ‘ol “Nutrition Guide” is the one you’ll actually pair with 22 Minute Hard Corps! In this 74-page PDF, you’ll learn all about:
- Proper portion control for fruits, veggies, proteins, carbs, fats, etc.
- What counts as a “ration” for each (ah, turns out you don’t need their colored containers)
- Tips for remaining hydrated
- How to meal prep and handle your “surplus”
- Which spices you can use with global cuisine (seems random yet helpful)
- A plug for Shakeology and other Beachbody supplements (womp womp)
- Twenty-two recipes
Ads, ads, ads, ads, ads
If your training expertise stops and starts at the gym, the Nutrition Guide will help you fuel your body for eight grueling weeks of military-style fitness training.
But don’t feel like this is the end-all-be-all.
This … is just a condensed version of the Quick Start Guide.
The tally sheets are where you can track your portions for every meal in a simple chart.
Unfortunately, this PDF only includes two mini daily calendars. You’ll have to make multiple print-out copies (are printers still a thing?) or use the annotate feature on your PDF viewer.
It’s 2021; you’d think they’d go the fill-in PDF route.
Materiales del Programa & Matériel du Programme
Like many other Beachbody programs, the 22 Minute Hard Corps materials also come translated in both Spanish and French. The inclusivity is a nice touch!
How Many Calories Do You Burn in 22 Minute Hard Corps?
The popular trend with at-home workouts is designing a routine that torches a ton of calories. Whether it’s Athlean-X or P90X, you can expect a serious burn by the end.
The Beachbody website features about a dozen success stories of those who’ve seen results with 22 Minute Hard Corps (not that impressive when you realize most are Beachbody coaches).
Your total weight loss also depends on your metabolism, gender, activity level, fitness level, diet, etc. But how many calories can you expect to torch in the average workout?
The folks at Jeanie & Jean tracked the calorie-burning potential for five of the workouts.
Here’s what they found:
|22 Minute Hard Corps Workout||Calories Burned|
Each week brings three cardio, core, and resistance workouts. If we do the math … you’ll likely shred somewhere in the ballpark of 1,173 calories per week.
If you chop your calories by 332 a day, you can drive the weekly torch to 3,500 calories (one pound of fat). By the end of the eight weeks, an eight-pound weight loss is more than reasonable.
There’s no shortage of impressive before-and-after snaps on the official Beachbody website. And yet, there always seems to be a “catch” hidden in tiny, easy-to-miss letters.
For example, one user lost 170 pounds. Well, in 3.25 years and with the aid of more than five Beachbody On Demand programs. (Not to knock him or his seriously impressive results!)
Yet, the real bummer is that most of these jaw-dropping success stories are actually independent Beachbody coaches. So it’s not clear whether the weight loss or job title came first.
We scoured the internet for honest results and picked up a few hot points:
- Shed 1 ½ pounds (+37% performance)
- Dropped 16 pounds in eight weeks
- Lost 20 pounds by the end of the program
- Torched 45 pounds in seven months (when paired with Body Beast)
If you follow the schedule to a T, give Tony Horton every last rep (that feels weird saying), and keep your diet under control, dropping 1–2 pounds a week is the norm.
22 Minute Hard Corps vs P90X3
22 Minute Hard Corps and P90X3 are two of Tony Horton’s most popular Beachbody On Demand routines. But if you’re torn between the two, here’s a little guidance:
- Choose 22 Minute Hard Corps if you want shorter workouts (22 minutes tops), enjoy cardio and limited-equipment workouts, and like consistency (some of it might seem repetitive or like you’re doing the same thing weekly).
- Go for P90X3 if you crave a little more variety (pilates, upper/lower workouts, agility), want to choose a unique path that revolves around your goals, and end the program with a leaner or more ripped physique.
22 Minute Hard Corps vs T25
When you pit Tony Horton’s 22 Minute Hard Corps versus Shaun T’s T25, you find yourself amidst a completely different debacle.
Both are short (<25-minute) workouts with limited rest, some equipment usage (mostly dumbbells or sandbags), and an impressive calorie burn.
If you still need help deciding, here’s some advice:
- Go for 22 Minute Hard Corps if you have a soft spot for Tony Horton, consider yourself a military fanatic, want a shorter program (eight weeks), and like some exercise variety.
- Select T25 if you’re a stickler for cardio, want to torch even more calories, and crave even more traditional routines (ex: dumbbells for strength).
6 Benefits of 22 Minute Hard Corps
- It’s entirely possible to drop 1–2 pounds (or more) per week. However, with a strict diet and commitment to your routine, 20 pounds in eight weeks is doable. If you want to maximize your weight loss, step up the intensity; studies suggest that exercising at 60.2–80% of your maximum heart rate is that coveted “maximal fat oxidation” zone (2009).
- You can track your results with the fitness test on day one, week four, and week eight. If you aren’t seeing results, it’s time to make a few changes!
- If you wind up loving the program, you can either start over again from week one or tough it out through an additional “Hell Week” with two-a-day workouts.
- Those who enjoy Horton’s other programs — notably P90X3 — like Hard Corps.
- You don’t need much more than a sandbag (or dumbbell) and pull-up bar. The jump mat and other Beachbody On Demand products are purely optional.
- The workouts feature some traditional exercises (like push-ups) and some non-conventional exercises (like chopper lunges). While the lack of barbells might be a turn-off for you personally, it doesn’t necessarily mean gains will suffer. A 2017 study found that calisthenic exercises like push-ups are about equivalent to 40% bench press 1RM, effective for building strength and size.
3 Negatives of 22 Minute Hard Corps
- It’s not truly 22 minutes a day. Cardio days also feature those ten-minute core workouts, and if you’re starting with the Cold Start warm-up, it’s closer to 32–42 minutes per day. Fortunately, that fits snugly within the 150 minutes of aerobic physical activity per week guidelines (2019). Adding this routine to your schedule can help you meet this goal while trying to prevent conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.
- Some of the Program Materials are worthless or not as useful as they could be.
- The workouts generally don’t feature warm-ups, and the included warm-up — the Cold Start — might leave you winded before the real workout even begins. If you skip all warm-ups entirely, you could be amplifying your risk of mid-workout injury (2006). Even a five-minute jog on the treadmill is better than nothing for strain and sprain prevention!
Wrapping Up This 22 Minute Hard Corps Review
22 Minute Hard Corps is a rock-solid program if you’re eyeing weight loss, can commit to six days of training per week, don’t have much in the way of a home gym, and love Tony Horton.
With the diet and workouts in play, it’s entirely possible to drop 20 pounds during the program and turn a once-chubby physique into a moderately shredded one.
It can definitely work.
Yet, it’s not 22 minutes most days, a lot of the program materials are sales-y or flat-out irrelevant to your eight week journey, and the workouts might not be intense enough if you’re not a newbie.
Generally, this is a great program for beginners looking to get fit and drop a few pounds! But it might not be a program you can cycle back to once you become fitter (like you can with P90X).