So you were a big-shot athlete in school, helping your team bring home trophy after trophy. Or you just ran your fourth marathon, crushing your PR once again. Or maybe you’ve made your way through the whole Beachbody On Demand library, and now you’re itching for another challenge. After accomplishments like these, Beachbody’s newest home workout program, SHIFT SHOP, could be just what you’re looking for.
For ex-athletes and fitness pros, working out in front of your TV might seem a little underwhelming, but SHIFT SHOP is anything but your average home workout program. Created by Super Trainer and former athlete Chris Downing, SHIFT SHOP was made with athletes in mind by challenging your agility, coordination, endurance and more. It was created to take you back to peak moments of your athletic training, or to elevate your fitness level beyond anything you’ve experienced before. And it might just be one of Beachbody’s toughest workout programs. Ever.
Sure, it might sound intimidating. But you’re up to the challenge, right?
What is SHIFT SHOP?
This is a three-week ramp-up fitness program consisting of strength and cardio workouts. For the strength workouts, you just need your bodyweight and a set of dumbbells. For the cardio workouts, you use the SHIFT SHOP Agility Markers as directional targets to help improve your reflexes and coordination. There’s also a nutrition plan paired with the workouts that gradually decreases your consumption of starchy carbs, to test your resolve and to push you to rethink your relationship with “comfort” food.
In week one, the workouts are 25 minutes long, and you eat a 40/30/30 balance of carbs, protein, and fat. Week two increases the workouts to 35 minutes and you cut back on starchy carbs. Finally, week three concludes with 45-minute workouts and removes starchy carbs from your diet completely, so carbs only make up 30 percent of your calories. And, if you still want more of a challenge, you can tackle the deluxe workouts, which are 50 minutes. By gradually increasing the workout length and slowly removing starchy carbs from your diet, your body has time to adjust to the changes, making this challenging program more doable.
What Makes SHIFT SHOP So Hard?
From the total-body moves to the rigorous nutrition plan, every aspect of SHIFT SHOP is designed to challenge you, both psychically and mentally. Here are a few reasons why SHIFT SHOP might be harder than anything you’ve done before, and why it’s well worth your while to do it.
The Ramp-Up Method
This unique component of SHIFT SHOP helps you reach your goals by gradually training your body and mind for moves that increase in difficulty, and workouts that increase in length and intensity.
Chris likes to think of it as trying to get to the top of a mountain. “You work an additional 10-minutes per workout each week, and you want to get to that final week – the mountain top of the program,” he says. “This is challenging, but as you’re ramping up, you’re reinventing yourself the whole time. So by the time you get to the top of that mountain you’re in better shape mentally, physically, and emotionally.”
And instead of learning entirely new moves each week, the program builds on moves you’ve already learned, and combines them into compound moves. “Each week really sets you up for the next,” says Elanit Friedman, Beachbody’s Director of Fitness and Wellness. “You spend a week doing these movements, and right when your body is getting used to them, we intensify them.”
For example, in week one you might do a squat and a bicep curl separately, but in week two you do them in together, explains Friedman. “You’re not learning any new moves in week three, so you can push the intensity all the way up,” she says. “Since you already know the moves, you can push harder than you normally would.”
You’re Doing Cardio and Strength
This isn’t just a strength training program, and it’s not just and cardio program. It’s both. Each week, you alternate between cardio and strength workouts. The cardio workouts challenge your agility, coordination, and endurance, while the strength workouts help you build muscle. Both challenge your entire body, so no muscle gets left behind.
If you’re not used to using weights in your workouts, this is just another way that SHIFT SHOP will push your limits. “Using weights allows you to expand your exercise library,” Friedman says. “It’s fun, the moves are dynamic, and weights bring an added challenge into the mix.”
The Agility Markers
“The program is designed to be done in a six-by-six space,” Friedman says. “But the cool thing about the markers is that you can scale them to whatever sized area you have available to you. So let’s say you take them outside and double the spacing. So now you’re sprinting in a 12-foot space, and the workout just became twice as difficult.” You can keep making the space wider and longer to intensify the agility workouts.
“SHIFT SHOP is as hard as you make it,” Downing says, and the Agility Markers are a great example of this. “As you go through the program and get stronger, you’re spirit is going to tell you you need to go harder. As you get more confident, you’re going to want to challenge yourself.”
The Nutrition Plan
Not only will the the SHIFT SHOP workouts challenge you, but so will the rigorous nutrition plan that’s paired with it. Similar to the workouts, it gradually ramps up in intensity to help you accomplish the ambitious feat of eliminating starchy carbs from your diet.
For starters, this plan eliminates all grains, a key component of Chris’s diet when he’s focused on shredding down. Secondly, week one starts with a truncated list of approved carbohydrates. Then, as the weeks progress, you cut more carbs out of your diet, until you finally remove all starchy carbs completely. This leaves you with only consuming carbs via fruits and vegetables.
Although this might sound like a ketogenic, or low-carb diet, it’s not. You’re still getting at least 30 percent of your calories from carbs, explains Paige Benté, M.S., R.D., a Beachbody Nutrition Manager, and that only happens in the final week. The first two weeks still allow 40 percent of your calories to come from carbs.
“Part of what people don’t understand is that you can get carbs in other places,” she says, rather than just foods like bread and pasta. Oftentimes people rely too much on these kinds of processed carbs. “So, it’s not always the problem of eating a diet is too high in carbs, it’s just the wrong kind of carbs.”
But a diet with only 30 percent carbs is still lower than the typical American diet, and most other Beachbody programs. This helps to temporarily lean out your body by reducing your glycogen stores, and it also helps to retrain how your brain thinks about carbs. A major concept behind this plan is that food is fuel for your body, not a crutch to lean on when you’re bored or in need of comfort.
“We never really try to challenge people with a diet,” Benté says. “But with SHIFT SHOP, we’re challenging you on both ends, with the nutrition plan and the workouts.”
The Mental Shift
It doesn’t matter if you have two minutes left left in a game or just a few more sets of squats—as you near the end of a sweat session, everything becomes even tougher physically and mentally. SHIFT SHOP is no different.
“These exercises are not easy, and the duration of the workouts aren’t easy. There are moments where you want to stop working,” Friedman says. And in those moments, Downing has your back with “Shop Rules,” motivational statements to help keep you going. “This program really challenges you mentally,” Downing says. “But it’s showing you that you’re capable of anything you set your mind to. Period.”
The nutrition plan is also challenging. “A lot of people rely on starchy carbs as comfort foods,” Benté says. “It’s sugar, it’s bread, it’s pasta…so when you start eliminating these foods, you see physical results, but you have to remain strong mentally to keep them out of your diet.”
How Does SHIFT SHOP Compare to Other Beachbody Programs?
There are three major factors that make SHIFT SHOP a unique home workout program. No other Beachbody program uses the ramp-up method to progressively increase the duration and intensity of the workouts. The Agility Markers were also designed specifically for SHIFT SHOP, to help you increase your athleticism as you build strength, endurance, and multi-directional power. Finally, no other program has the same kind of regimented nutrition plan as SHIFT SHOP, which decreases your consumption of starchy carbs to challenge your mind and body.
Who Should Do SHIFT SHOP?
Anyone who wants to see results.
Seriously, it was designed for people of all fitness levels. “It was created for everybody, but definitely with the athlete in mind,” Friedman says. “A lot of the moves were inspired by football drills, basketball drills, soccer drills, and other sport-specific exercises designed to enhance agility, coordination, speed, strength, and power.”
But it’s also easily adaptable to multiple fitness levels. “This program is attainable for beginners, because it can ramp them up over the three-week period to feel comfortable and in shape enough to do another program, or to do SHIFT SHOP again,” Friedman says. Plus, a modifier demonstrates every exercise, showing you how to adjust the difficulty and intensity of the moves as needed.
“This program is definitely achievable for anyone who tries it; you can finish it,” Friedman says. “But with anything that will give you results like this, it’s not easy.”