Core de Force is one of Beachbody On Demand’s lesser-known programs, though it packs quite the punch into 30 days of nonstop equipment-free training (pun fully intended).
This month-long, almost exclusively ab program is a mix of MMA fan favorites — an exciting blend of Muay Thai, kickboxing, explosive training, cardio, and more.
Being “in the ring” with Joel Freeman and Jericho McMatthews for three-minute all-out “rounds” will carve out some visible core definition and enhance your endurance … all in 30 days.
But is Core de Force good for beginners? Let’s find out!
Table of Contents
- About the Creators – Joel Freeman & Jericho McMatthews
- What is Core de Force?
- Core de Force Details & Features
- Start Here
- Frequently Asked Questions
- 6 Gnarly Benefits of Core de Force
- 5 Negatives of Core de Force
- Wrapping Up This Core de Force Review
About the Creators – Joel Freeman & Jericho McMatthews
Core de Force is a tag-team effort featuring two of Beachbody’s most popular trainers:
Joel Freeman rose to Beachbody’s “Super Trainer” status back in 2016. He later released his hit programs, the LIIFT4 weightlifting, and HIIT routine and the 10 Rounds Boxing Workout to a crowd of more than 30 million viewers by January 2020.
But before his budding reputation as Beachbody’s fan-favorite MMA trainer, Freeman climbed himself to the top of the fitness industry ladder — rung by painstaking rung.
Like most, his career had humble beginnings, tracing back to a local gym at Texas Tech.
His success evolved into record-setting group class participation, partnering with Washington’s Department of Health, and filling the shoes of “Group Exercise Director” at Gold’s Gym SoCal.
Jericho McMatthews is also a Beachbody Super Trainer and an International Master Trainer with Les Mills, serving as an educator to fellow trainers since 2005.
Today, McMatthews is the face of Beachbody’s Morning Meltdown 100 and makes regular appearances in Beachbody Yoga Studio,
But before joining the Beachbody craze, McMatthews became a student of her craft, earning degrees in physical education, kinesiology, and psychology.
She later became a certified NASM personal trainer and earned the coveted title of “Reebok fitness model.” The trainer notes fighting the global obesity epidemic as her top inspiration.
What is Core de Force?
The official trailer describes Core de Force as Beachbody’s “ultimate” MMA program.
But while you’ll become an at-home “expert” on beginner-level hooks, footwork, and sparring, Core de Force is simply a core program with an MMA twist.
(More exciting than doing Ab Ripper X for 30 straight days, right?)
Possibly obvious but worth mentioning disclaimer: This is not how mixed martial arts legends like Robbie Lawler train outside of the cage!
Core de Force workouts feature boxing, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and explosive movements. Each 27–47-minute training session follows a similar format and chases the same few goals:
- Three-minute rounds of calorie-shredding MMA moves or bodyweight exercises
- 30 seconds of rest once the bell rings at the end of the round
- Carving out ab definition without any equipment in 30 days
- Losing weight, trimming belly fat, and slimming down around the waist
- Feeling like a “total badass”
Dozens of exercises and combos, 30 back-to-back days of core work, 20+ training videos, 12+ rounds per workout, two trainers, and absolutely no equipment needed — what do you say?
Core de Force Details & Features
Now five years after Beachbody launched Core de Force, it’s strange how little traction the program has gained online — in the form of reviews and Reddit posts — since its early days.
Do McMatthews and Freeman simply not have the star power of Shaun T or Tony Horton? Or is 30 consecutive days of MMA-themed core work not appealing to 90% of Beachbody users?
Learn more about Core de Force below!
The “Start Here” tab is where you’ll rattle off our favorite Morty quote — “You son of a bitch, I’m in” — or question who in their right mind would shadowbox in their living room for a full month.
This page is a back-to-basics look at Core de Force, including:
- An ultra-short two-minute trailer
- A program overview (i.e., how many workouts in the program)
- A link to the Beachbody Nutrition Center that has nothing to do with this program
- Quick bios explaining who Freeman and McMatthews are
- A before-and-after shot of a 32-pound weight loss success story
But beyond the hype, two tiny details could change your mind: it’s supposedly an “advanced” program, and some Core de Force HIIT workouts drag on for 47 minutes at a time.
Do You Need Any Equipment for Core de Force?
You don’t need any equipment to complete Core de Force. However, the Beachbody Super Trainers recommend an agility ladder for the Deluxe version’s Agility Strength & Agility Power (though you could just tape the floor). A yoga mat for tailbone-friendly floor core exercises is also optional.
Even if the “Start Here” and “Program Materials” sections look incredible, Core de Force will be a total dud if the workouts don’t live up to your expectations.
So here’s a closer look at Core de Force’s 20+ workout videos:
Note: When we say “rounds,” we’re referring to three minutes of continuous exercise before your next 30-second break!
Learn It & Work It
If you want to master the highly technical MMA form, the trainers suggest watching the Learn It & Work It videos before attempting the paired workout.
These four short introductory videos include:
- MMA Speed: Learn It & Work It (7 minutes)
- MMA Shred: Learn It & Work It (4 minutes)
- MMA Power: Learn It & Work It (5 minutes)
- MMA Plyo: Learn It & Work It (4 minutes)
Of course, McMatthews and Freeman aren’t expecting you to memorize each combo they introduce. But these videos will certainly help you follow along instead of rewinding the video.
Core de Force
The original Core de Force calendar features 13 different workouts, each with a unique training emphasis (i.e., speed, recovery, shred). The classic Core de Force workouts include:
- MMA Speed (27 minutes): Six rounds of high-intensity, upper body and core focus
- MMA Shred (37 minutes): Nine rounds of high-intensity MMA, featuring Muay Thai and plenty of elbow jabs and kicks
- MMA Power (47 minutes): 12 rounds of high-intensity, kick-heavy MMA training
- MMA Plyo (47 minutes): 12 rounds full of jumping, kicks, and twists
- Dynamic Strength (47 minutes): 12 rounds worth of full-body strength training, featuring classics like squats and push-ups
- Power Sculpt (36 minutes): HIIT training with tiresome floor-to-standing exercises
- Core Kinetics (16 minutes): A pure ab workout
- 5-Minute Core on the Floor (5 minutes): A no-rest ab workout with just 15 seconds of rest between exercises
- CORE DE FORCE Relief (5 minutes): Core de Force’s cool-down stretching routine designed to prevent morning stiffness
- Active Recovery (21 minutes): Emphasizes form and techniques with light stretching and exercise
- MMA Mashup (27 minutes): A full-body best-of mash-up spotlighting exercises from the cardio and strength workouts
- MMA Speed 2.0 (27 minutes): A cranked-up version of MMA Speed with new combos
- MMA Shred 2.0 (37 minutes): The original MMA Shred with a heavier Muay Thai twist
Core de Force Deluxe
Most users will likely tap out after one round of Core de Force. (It just doesn’t have the same long-term appeal as legendary Beachbody programs like Insanity and P90X.)
But if you’re satisfied with your results and want to attempt round two, you can try the Deluxe version for more intensity and variety:
- Agility Strength (37 minutes): A footwork-style agility workout
- Agility Power (27 minutes): Core de Force’s agility ladder training session
- MMA Kick Butt (37 minutes): A lower-body workout for a stronger butt and legs, with a tiresome emphasis on kicks and knees
The “Deluxe” round is where that agility ladder will come in handy. But never underestimate the power (and simplicity) of a roll of colored tape on the basement or garage floor!
If you were waiting to hear the logic behind 30 days of nothing but core work, it’s not here either! Noticeably absent from the “Program Materials” tab is a handbook explaining the program.
But this tab does include these eight documents (plus two additional sections where each is translated into Spanish and French):
The QuickStart guide is the closest Core de Force comes to a full program guide, which isn’t saying much when other BOD routines like P90X and Power 90 have 80+ page beasts.
This mostly self-explanatory seven-page PDF explains:
- Where to take before and after body measurements
- How to follow the Core de Force meal plan as intended
- That progress starts when you press “play” on the MMA Speed disc
- How ramping up intensity will transform your physique
- When to fit the five-minute Core on the Floor and Relief workouts into your schedule
- What happens after round one ends (hint: Core de Force … round two)
If you have an ounce of common sense leftover, you’d probably figure this out by yourself. This guide also seems a bit simplistic for a program supposedly designed for advanced athletes.
Quick Start Guide to Nutrition
It’s not a real Beachbody program without the Quick Start Guide to Nutrition shoved into the Program Materials section. But don’t fall into the trap; this is not the Core de Force meal plan!
Beachbody always uploads this nutritional plan to drum up sales for Beachbody and Shakeology supplements. But it’s basically one giant, 84-page Beachbody advertisement!
(The only saving grace is the “Recipes” that begin around page 44. With easy-follow recipes for banana egg pancakes and taco-filled zucchini boats, it can spice things up in the kitchen.)
The Core De Force eating plan somewhat makes up for the lack of a program guide. Sitting at a modest 33 pages, the nutritional plan is just short enough to skim for the must-have information.
Since it’s a high-intensity routine, McMatthews and Freeman recommend eating more calories as the program progresses to ensure a fast metabolism and fat-burning.
But calculating your calories for weight loss requires some math:
- Your weight x 11 = Starting point
- Starting point + 400 = Maintenance calories
- Maintenance calories – 750 = Daily target calories *
So if you weigh 170 pounds, about 1,520 calories per day is the “sweet spot.” But on top of a regular ‘ol daily calorie count, this number will fall into one of four defined eating plans:
(* If you’d prefer a maintenance diet, don’t subtract the 750 calories per day.)
|Eating Plan||Calorie Range|
As you progress through the Core de Force eating plan, you’ll also come across:
- Charts explaining how many servings of vegetables, fruits, proteins, carbs, healthy fats, dressings, and oils and nut butters you should eat per day
- Color-coded food lists that organize foods in order of most to least nutritious
- A few sample meal plans
- Recommended supplements (Of course, they’re all branded with the Beachbody logo. Any brand pre-workout, electrolyte formula, and BCAAs will do.)
- Signature pre and post-workout recipes, featuring meals like Greek yogurt bowls, mango lime dressing, and spaghetti squash with turkey meat sauce
- A lifetime supply of Beachbody and Shakeology ads
C4 Original Pre-Workout | Caffeine + Beta-Alanine + Creatine
Formulated with strength-boosting Creatine, CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine, and caffeine to improve your muscular endurance and keep fatigue at bay as you crush it in the gym.
Given the risk of plateaus and cortisol-triggered water retention during high-intensity routines, McMatthews and Freeman suggest slight variations in the eating plan from week to week.
So during week two, you’ll eat an extra serving of fruit daily, and week three lumps an extra daily serving of healthy fats on top. Then, the final week of the program dips back down to baseline.
Overall, the eating plan is well-laid-out, the recipes are detailed (including how many servings of each food type are in each), and there’s nothing wrong with minor dietary changes.
The two-page Food Tracker PDF is where you’ll log your daily diet as you chug along on Core de Force. Once you calculate your ideal eating plan, you’ll:
- In the top chart of page two, jot down how many servings of veggies, healthy fats, and other food categories you should be eating per day — according to your specific plan.
- Record how many servings of each you consume for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and your twice-daily snacks. (Holy modern, Beachbody; you can type into this PDF!)
- Check off one of the boxes in the “Water” row each time you drink a glass (up to eight).
- Repeat for the next two days to complete all four charts on the page.
It’s not entirely clear why the second page only includes three days’ worth of charts, not one or seven. But we’re too pumped about the high-tech PDFs to have unclouded judgment right now.
Despite the DVD mentioned in the Core de Force Quick Start guide, the Workout Calendar is surprisingly modern. Just click the empty box for each workout to strike a digital “X” through it!
The calendar details which workouts to follow over the next 30 days. A typical week on Core de Force might look something like this:
* “Active Recovery” typically means any low-intensity workout, including walking, jogging, or biking. But in this case, it’s the name of a 21-minute Core de Force workout.
If one round of Core de Force wasn’t enough to carve out the core definition you envisioned, the Deluxe Calendar will crank up the intensity for round two. (Yes, another 30 days of this!)
This schedule weaves in the three Core de Force Deluxe workouts — Agility Strength, Agility Power, and MMA Kick Butt — with the 13 standard workouts from the last month.
If round one slimmed the gut, a “Deluxe” round two should guarantee a more chiseled look.
The Hybrid Calendar combines the Core de Force workouts with the most popular workouts across the entire Beachbody collection, pulling sessions from programs like:
- Focus T25 (Total Body Circuit & Stretch)
- P90X (Ab Ripper X)
- P90X3 (Agility X)
- Joel’s BOD Exclusives (8×8 & Grab Bag: Power)
- Hammer & Chisel (Hammer Power & Chisel Agility)
- Insanity (Cardio Power)
- 10-Minute Trainer (Yoga Flex)
- Insanity: The Asylum (Strength)
- Insanity: The Asylum Vol. 2 (Back & 6-Pack)
- Jericho’s BOD Exclusives (Half & Half)
This schedule seems entirely random. We also can’t imagine how ridiculously expensive following this calendar would be if monthly Beachbody On Demand subscriptions didn’t exist.
But when it’s time to graduate to a new program, you have a taste of what might come next. (It likely would’ve been a best-selling Tony Horton, Shaun T, or Sagi Kalev program anyway!)
The FAQ page is more like a blog post on the official Beachbody website. It answers seven questions about Core de Force, such as how long the workouts are and how many exist.
But the answer to one question — “Who Is CORE DE FORCE For?” — shouldn’t be hidden on some back-alley Beachbody blog.
Remember: the “Start Here” page lists Core de Force as an “advanced” routine, and the Quick Start guide includes intermediate-level users. But this answer loops beginners into the mix!
One of the background trainers — Jessica — modifies all exercises to be noob-friendly. For a program without a Fit Test (like P90X), it’s odd that Beachbody forgot to mention this tidbit.
French & Spanish Translations
Core de Force also includes French and Spanish translations for all seven of the PDFs. The videos also include closed caption options for Spanish subtitles and audio (no French, though).
Core de Force Results (Before & After)
There aren’t too many Core de Force results touted online. But from the official website, there are a few success stories from those who’ve survived multiple rounds of the program.
One user dropped 51 pounds and 41 ½ inches in 150 days — or five cycles. Another lost an impressive 20 pounds and 30 inches in a span of just three months.
What’s realistic, though?
If you follow the diet and leave it all in the “ring,” it’s possible to end Core de Force 7–10 pounds lighter while slimming down 8–10 inches.
Core de Force vs Focus T25
Core de Force and Focus T25 by Shaun T are both solid options for users who enjoy high-intensity training, calendar variety, and short training sessions. But which one is better?
Core de Force is better than Focus T25 if …
- You have more free time in your schedule, a primary goal of weight loss, and little to no training equipment.
- Above all else, you want to sculpt a strong and well-defined core.
- Cardio is more “doable” with more variety and unique training styles, rather than traditional lunges, squats, and jumps.
Meanwhile, Focus T25 should be your go-to program if …
- On top of losing weight and carving out visible core muscles, you hope to build strength and enhance muscle mass.
- Progressing through three high-impact phases that gradually increase intensity without going past the 25-minute mark ticks all your boxes.
- Circuits, speed training, ab intervals, and pyramids sound more exciting than sometimes repetitive three-minute rounds.
Core de Force vs Insanity Max 30
Insanity Max 30 and Core de Force are ideal for experienced Beachbody athletes ready to slim down with near-maximum intensity exercise. Now, which one of these programs is best?
Choose Core de Force over Insanity Max 30 if …
- You want to complete a full cardio and core program in 30 days instead of Insanity Max 30’s 60-day schedule.
- Two mellow trainers emphasizing proper form are more motivating than one trainer constantly yelling at you to “max out.”
- You consider yourself a beginner or an intermediate (it’s not the most beginner-friendly routine, but the modifier makes it doable).
Otherwise, Insanity Max 30 is a better choice if …
- Cardio-centered weight loss matters more to you than improving other areas of fitness, like agility, power, and core strength.
- Burning 300–500 calories per 30-minute workout sounds ideal, and you don’t have any training equipment handy.
- You’ve either completed Insanity or have the mental and physical strength to survive Shaun T’s “max out” workouts.
Core de Force vs P90X3
Joel Freeman’s Core de Force and Tony Horton’s P90X3 are decent choices if workout variety, daily training, and 1–2 pounds of weekly weight loss sound like perks to you. So which one of these programs is better?
Select Beachbody’s Core de Force if …
- You have a little extra time in your schedule to squeeze in 37 or 47-minute workouts (P90X3 workouts usually last about 30 minutes).
- Thirty days and about ten pounds of weight loss are enough to help you reach your aesthetic fitness goals.
- You can’t pass the P90X3 Fit Test right now but hope to complete the Tony Horton program one day.
Or opt for P90X3 if ….
- There’s room in the budget for adjustable dumbbells (up to 50 pounds) and a chin-up or pull-up bar.
- You’d rather expand your training horizons past MMA’s boundaries (i.e., isometric training, yoga, pilates, speed training, and more intense plyometrics).
- You want the results of two cutting-edge Beachbody programs — P90X and P90X2 — shoved into a reasonable, 90-day program.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Core de Force Good for Weight Loss?
Core de Force is good for weight loss if you have the endurance to complete the workouts. Each daily session burns around 300–500 calories, while the eating plan creates an extra 750-calorie deficit. You could lose 7,350 calories per week on the low end — or about 2.1 pounds of fat.
(Core de Force’s heart rate increases will also drive you toward the “fat-burning zone,” which research from 2009 suggests is between 60.2% and 80% of your maximum heart rate.)
Which Workout Burns the Most Calories?
Core de Force’s 47-minute MMA Power workout burns the most calories, according to Jeanie and Joan. The high-intensity workout features 12 rounds of heart-rate-spiking exercise, spotlighting exercises like ground-to-fighter stance and core-heavy combos. It’s possible to burn 528 calories by the end.
How Many Days is Core de Force?
Core de Force is a 30-day program with one weekly “active recovery” day built-in. Once you complete the first 30-day round, the road splits before you: return for round two with the Deluxe version or experiment with the Hybrid calendar, which features workouts from P90X3, Focus T25, and Insanity.
Is Core de Force a HIIT Workout?
Core de Force is a HIIT workout and balances three-minute, high-intensity rounds with 30-second rest periods between exercises. McMatthews and Freeman recommend using rest breaks to “boxer’s bounce” for 30 seconds, creating the ideal intensity difference between HIIT and LIIT.
(Research from 2015 shows that high-intensity interval training significantly lowered BMI, body fat, and waist circumference in career firefighters, though Core de Force’s three-minute rounds may be lower intensity and longer than traditional HIIT.)
6 Gnarly Benefits of Core de Force
Ten Pounds of Weight Loss In 30 Days Is Possible
We did the math. A ~400-calorie shred per workout plus 750 fewer calories consumed daily adds up to a 1,150-calorie deficit per day. Or 34,500 total calories by the end of Core de Force, which equals about 9.86 pounds of fat lost and about 10 inches lost!
There’s Plenty of Variety
Even if MMA Power or Core Kinetics aren’t your all-time favorite workouts, there’s still plenty to look forward to as the weeks go on. Core de Force features 16 workouts with a mix of MMA, bodyweight training, pure ab work, cardio movements, and agility to keep each week exciting.
The Trainers Are Great
Unlike programs like Insanity or T25, where Shaun T is seemingly always shouting, Freeman and McMatthews find the delicate balance between motivating and mellow. The workouts maintain a fast-paced and high-intensity vibe without becoming too intimidating.
The Program Materials Are High-Tech (Sort Of)
Most Beachbody programs require you to print out any documents that require you to record data. So the fact that Core de Force includes PDFs you can actually type into definitely modernizes the routine. Who has a functional printer these days anyway?
It Doesn’t Have to End In 30 Days
If you’re a diehard Core de Force fan, you don’t have to call it quits after 30 days. You have two options: follow the new and improved Deluxe version or try the Hybrid program, which infuses some of the best workouts from other Beachbody programs.
It Doesn’t Require a Crazy Time Commitment
Most Core de Force workouts last just 27–47 minutes, which isn’t all that crazy if you have spare time at the end of the night. It’s much more schedule-friendly than Insanities or One-on-One with Tony Horton’s 46-minute average session length.
5 Negatives of Core de Force
There’s Little Justification Behind the Program
Most Beachbody programs include a clunky, 80-or-so-page program guide explaining how to follow the routine and what inspired its inception. Unfortunately, Core de Force will leave you empty-handed in that sense.
It’s Not Exactly Beginner-Friendly
Beachbody had the presence of mind to turn this advanced-level program into a noob-friendly routine by adding modifications to each exercise. However, a month of technical MMA combos, everyday core work, and no true rest days still isn’t ideal for beginners (just like Insanity).
The Promises Are a Bit Gimmicky
Core de Force is a reliable weight loss tool. However, since spot reduction doesn’t exist, it seems a bit dishonest to advertise this program as a fix to belly fat. You’ll lose weight all over your body, and the near-constant core work doesn’t necessarily trim the waistline specifically.
(A study from 2011 also proved that five weekly ab workouts over six weeks had no direct impact on abdominal subcutaneous fat, though Core de Force does have a cardio emphasis!)
The Combos Are a Bit Too Technical (Even With the Videos!)
Some of the combos flow through three to four moves, which can require a little too much brain power during a usually mindless task. The introductory videos will help to an extent, but many users settle for “close enough” for exercises like “Switch Knee, Cross, Front Uppercut, Cross.”
It’s Core Overkill
It’s not a daily core workout in the traditional sense (i.e., crunches, V-ups, planks, etc.). But with exercises like kicks, knees, and cross-body jabs that create rotation in the core, Core de Force is essentially a daily ab workout — with a cardio and weight loss twist.
Wrapping Up This Core de Force Review
Core de Force is a decent 30-day program for intermediate or advanced athletes looking to trim some body fat and reveal a six-pack, though beginners can follow along with the modifiers.
While you may end the program ten pounds lighter, fit the workouts into your busy schedule, and enjoy the two-trainer approach, Core de Force definitely has its flaws.
It’s a bit gimmicky with its belly-slimming selling point, the combos can be a little too challenging (even for advanced Beachbody-ers), and it’s almost nonstop core work.
Overall, Core de Force is best for those who don’t enjoy traditional cardio and want to lose weight. But a program like Power 90 or 10-Minute Trainer is much more noob-friendly!