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“4 Weeks for Every Body” Review: No-Impact Beachbody Exercise Program

For those of us with creaky knees or other issues jumping, a no-impact fitness program is essential to actually exercising. Given this, I was thrilled when the Beachbody on Demand streaming platform introduced “4 Weeks for Every Body” no impact, all levels workout program with trainer Autumn Calabrese: Sept. 12, 2022 for the general BOD release date. What follows is a VERY honest review of the program to assess whether it might be a good match for you — or not.

Why Trust This Review?

This is my 15th review of Beachbody workouts (!), but unlike most other fitness bloggers, I have ZERO affiliation with the company. I am not a “Beachbody coach,” meaning there is no financial incentive for me to convince you to do a program or not — so I can be totally truthful!

As more background, I’m a 40-year-old middle school English teacher and mother of two young kiddos who uses at-home workouts for stress release. I adore writing up geeky, detailed exercise reviews, and it’s mighty satisfying to help readers like you find exercise plans and motivation that work for YOU. Now, a loving reminder: to avoid injury, when starting any new workout program, use wise judgement and consult a doctor if need be. Ready? On to the review!

"4 Weeks for Every Body" moves.
Doing “4 Weeks for Every Body” moves.

“4 Weeks for Every Body” Overview

With four unique workouts per week over the course of four weeks, “4 Weeks for Every Body” with Autumn Calabrese is an all-levels, no-impact workout program with that can be optionally paired with the “4 Week Gut Protocol” nutrition program for full-body, functional training. Of your three weekly days off, you’re required to figure out one other movement option on your own, such as yoga, jogging, dance, or pilates. Autumn also provides some optional cycling workouts for these days on BODi (which I don’t subscribe to, so can’t assess).

What is Eccentric Training?

Three of the four weekly workouts in “4 Weeks for Every Body” feature “eccentric movements” which are slow exercises that force your muscles to lengthen and strengthen by holding the weight longer. For example, Autumn will have you do a quick bicep curl up (in one count), then slowly lower the curl down to a count of four. She then repeats this ten times. The focus is on control and full range of motion.

Most workouts in “4 Weeks for Every Body” feature two or three blocks of work with 3-4 eccentric moves per block, with each block repeated twice. The fourth weekly workout of the program is no-impact cardio which is not eccentric, meaning all moves are done at a fast pace. The cardio workouts alternate between weighted and bodyweight moves, but every video in the program requires at least some equipment. Almost no exercises are repeated between episodes, keeping things fresh.

“4 Weeks for Every Body” Equipment Needed

For equipment, you need dumbbells (I used 5, 10, and 15 pound weights), a squishy mat for floor work, and optionally (but highly recommended) “Core Ball” — or a knockoff equivalent like those shown at the affiliate link here. Because eccentric movements challenge muscles with long holds, you need much lighter weights than usual! If you’re a beginner, you probably could do the whole program using just water bottles or cans for weights.

Oh, and for fellow fashionistas: if you like the map workout clothes I’m wearing in these photos, find them at my friend David Nuttall’s artist shop here. (Speaking of fashion, I awkwardly got a haircut in the middle of taking the photos for this review, so enjoy two different versions of my salt-and-pepper mop.)

What Level is “4 Weeks for Every Body” For?

“4 Weeks for Everybody” is truly an all-levels program: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced, too. I’ll explain more about that in the Pros and Cons section, but one feature to note is that, unlike “9 Week Control Freak,” or Autumn’s other programs, this program does NOT really progress in intensity over the weeks, meaning it stays approximately the same amount of difficulty.

Got enough background and ready for my unfiltered opinions on this new program now? Let’s go!

"4 Weeks for Every Body" results.
“4 Weeks for Every Body” results.

Positives of “4 Weeks for Every Body”

Overall, I enjoyed and recommend “4 Weeks for Every Body.” Here are some aspects which made it a win for me.

1. Fast pace; very little wasted time.

Autumn Calabrese and the Beachbody staff must have gotten the memo that folks were sick of the long pauses for monologues (“21 Day Fix,” are your ears ringing?), because “4 Weeks for Every Body” does NOT waste time! The entire program is tight and efficient — without being overly rushed. Your heart rate remains up, and muscles stay engaged. I even had to pause it once or twice to catch up: a big difference from all the previous programs I needed to fast forward to get back to the action!

2. A truly no-impact workout program.

There is zero jumping in “4 Weeks for Every Body,” and my body rejoiced at that, just having completed the ultra-bouncy “LIIIFT4” program. I felt more motivated to work out with Autumn’s new program because I knew it wasn’t going to hurt my body — and I didn’t have to strap on two sports bras to survive it! Despite being no-impact, there is a great variety of moves to keep things interesting.

3. Actually appropriate for beginners.

Beachbody has released a number of programs that purport to be for “beginners,” but I’ve found the majority of those (including “Let’s Get Up” dance workout with Shaun T) to have such difficult elements that I would not actually feel comfortable recommending them to someone who was new to exercise, or had been out of the workout game for a while. In contrast, “4 Weeks for Everybody” really can be done by most people; its movements are mostly slow, and there are always substantial modifications.

4. Not too easy; challenging even for higher fitness levels.

I’m at a high intermediate fitness level, but “4 Weeks for Every Body” did indeed challenge me! I had to take the modifications on several moves, and sometimes even had to pause the video to catch my breath. (Yes, even though it’s no-impact, it gets your heart rate up.) Autumn remarks several times in the program that people write to her constantly, worrying, “Is ‘4 Weeks for Every Body’ too easy because it’s no impact?” — and then she laughs maniacally and leads the cast into an ultra-challenging move, guffawing, “Not too easy now, is it???”

Eccentric weightlifting: Slow movements.
Eccentric weightlifting: Slow movements.

5. Unique full-body, functional training exercises.

Though I’ve completed over a dozen online workout programs, “4 Weeks for Every Body” has creative, interesting exercise moves that I’ve never seen before. The cardio workouts in particular are some of my favorite I’ve ever done. What’s best is that nearly every exercise hits multiple body parts: challenging the legs, core, and arms every single day. Though many of these moves are compound and complex, all are possible to do as a beginner.

Autumn explains that the moves in “4 Weeks for Every Body” are functional training (also a feature of “645” Beachbody program): movements you need in real life for mobility, stability, and injury prevention — not just to look good, but rather to “do life” with strength, and without getting hurt. Indeed, I found carrying my kids, bending to tie shoes, and schlepping groceries far easier after this month!

6. Short, and has room for choice workouts.

Exactly 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week, for 4 weeks is extremely doable! This is an “easy win” program, meaning you have a high chance of completing it. Though it’s not as short as the 20-minute “Job 1” workouts, I’d argue that half an hour is the perfect length to make it worth it to put on workout gear, while still fitting in a busy schedule.

Moreover, this is the first Beachbody program I’ve seen that has 3 days off the videos — but with one of those days as a required “choice exercise” day, for example, walking, jogging, or yoga. As an enthusiast of exceedingly long walks that leave me exhausted, I felt very seen and supported by that element!

7. Visually lovely.

Though the most beautifully filmed Beachbody program of all time is the running program, “30 Day Breakaway,” “4 Weeks for Every Body” has a pretty earth tones aesthetic. There are plants lining the set in a sort of peaceful garden, the dumbbells are shiny silver chrome, the theme music is like a chill hotel jazz lounge, and everyone is dressed in calming greens. As a 40-year-old woman, I also relish the fact that Autumn Calabrese is looking fabulous at 41 — though my 6-foot self would tower over her 5’2″ frame!

This core move required balance!
This core move required balance!

8. Good cues of form and weight amount.

Autumn is the master of making sure we know weight amount suggestions, as well as form cues to get maximum impact from each move, with minimal injury risk. Because this program is faster than her previous ones, she frequently reassures you that if you miss the start of the move, just begin whenever you catch on, as there will still be enough time to do it.

9. Results: feeling GOOD!

What are the results of “4 Weeks for Every Body?” The best way I can sum it up is I feel BETTER. My body feels looser and more able to tackle everyday activities (“functional training” really does that!), and my mood improved after every episode. The program is great at providing exercises for balance, control, rotation and anti-rotation that transfer to life. I was also able to maintain and build upon muscle gains from previous programs, and heal from pain.

In particular, because of the slow movements in eccentric training, this is a good program if you’ve had nagging almost-injuries. In my case, I have a constantly almost-tweaked knee, but doing lunges at the super-slow pace of “4 Weeks for Every Body” allowed me to learn more about what movements work for my body (ex: angles in form), and build the strength needed to ward off injuries.

10. Solid warm-ups.

With the exception of “80 Day Obsession,” Autumn has the best track record of any BOD coach, in my book, for preventing injury through good warm-ups. The warm-ups in “4 Weeks for Every Body” are the same for two weeks in a row, and are full enough that you’re loose and ready for all the moves to come. The cool-downs vary in length, but in general, get the job done.

11. Nutrition ideas are actually nice.

Every episode ends with a food from Autumn’s brother and partner in nutrition programs, Bobby Calabrese. Though I feared these bits would be annoying product placement, the majority of them are actually lovely and useful. Yes, there is some Shakeology placement (a supplement I don’t use), but most of the snacks featured are just delicious real foods: from fennel to chia to cauliflower shakes! I’m always looking for creative new ideas, and I gained several from those segments.

To extend this further, I don’t do or review Beachbody nutrition programs because I have my own food strategy that works well, however the “4 Week Gut Protocol” seems intriguing, as it focuses on eating real foods and listening to your body to see what works best for your unique flow — things I agree with! For people who’ve tried it, I’m curious your thoughts on that program, so feel free to share in the comments section below.

Arm results from my 15th Beachbody program.
Arm results from my 15th Beachbody program.

Negatives of “4 Weeks for Every Body”

Despite the positive aspects of “4 Weeks for Every Body,” there were several elements of the program I did not like. Here’s an honest run-down of its problems.

1. Can feel long, slow, and less “exciting.”

Though I love the concept of a no-impact workout, and understand the importance of eccentric exercises, I got annoyed that three of the four weekly workouts were that sloooooow eccentric style. There’s something so cleansing and fun about a workout that’s fast, and holding each movement for a length “4, 3, 2, 1” count pushed my impatient self to the brink.

In contrast, the no-impact cardio video each week was a joy, so I wish there’d been more of a balance of eccentric and fast exercises, with at least two faster-paced videos a week. In general, with this slower program, I missed the breathless, “cleansed” post-exercise feeling I got from intense, fast programs like “6 Weeks of the Work” or “Muscle Burns Fat.”

2. Potentially rough on the knees or back for several moves. 

No-impact doesn’t necessarily mean no injury or pain risk. If you have knee issues like me, doing long, slow lunge movements can cause great discomfort. Further, “4 Weeks for Every Body” has too many “Surrender” and “Buddha” moves (which require kneeling or getting up from kneeling) for an “all-levels” program. These exercises have injured me in the past, so I strongly suggest skipping or intensely modifying them if you have knees like mine; I just did squats or crunches instead during them.

If you have back issues, you may also want to proceed with caution with this program, as it does feature quite a bit of twisting (“rotation and anti-rotation” moves) which are important for functional training and gaining strength for daily life — but can cause injury if not done with caution. Luckily, I did not throw out my back with “4 Weeks for Every Body” as I did with “Job 1,” but there were moments that I purposely slowed down to stay safe.

3. Results won’t be as clear and fast.

The fitness results I got from “4 Weeks for Every Body” are more subtle than those I got in other programs. This program is more about overall health and feeling good, versus #mbfa (“Muscle Burns Fat Advanced”) or “LIIFT4” which yielded rippling biceps and abs. This doesn’t mean Autumn’s new program isn’t worthwhile — just manage your expectations, given that it’s fewer days a week and lower intensity.

Using the Core Ball for ab work.
Using the Core Ball for ab work.

4. Don’t get to know cast much, and they’re not as diverse.

Anyone who’s done an Amoila Cesar program like “The Work” or “4 Weeks of The Prep” is spoiled when it comes to casts. Cesar always has hilarious, fully mic-ed cast members who you’ll remember (and maybe even follow on Instagram) for years to come. In contrast, Autumn is very much the star of “4 Weeks for Every Body,” and though you get glimpses of the cast members’ personalities, their mics are hard to hear, and there’s little sustained interaction.

For example, I could tell that the cast member, Jimmy R.O. Smith, was someone special. Sure enough, a search yielded the fact that he is a choreographer and creative director who can be found at @j_r_o_s on Instagram, and JimmyROSmith.com online. Wouldn’t it have been nice if Autumn could have spent some of the air time during long sets (not wasting time, since the move would be going in the background) chatting with him about what he does in life?

Regarding the diversity of the cast, I’m pleased to see more cast members of color in “4 Weeks for Every Body,” but I’m missing the fabulous range of age, body type, and ethnicity diversity so beautifully incorporated in “Muscle Burns Fat #mbf.”

5. No on-screen timers, and no music.

Shaun T. is the king of on-screen timers and graphics, but Autumn’s “4 Weeks for Every Body” has none, even during the cardio days with one minute chunks of timed work. It’s not a terrible minus, but I always appreciate the timing context so I can manage effort to give my all. Further, there is no background music, which for some people is a “pro” because they prefer to add their own tunes instead of being subjected to bizarre video game-style ditties like those in “645.”

6. Zero workouts with no equipment.

There are almost no other programs on the Beachbody on Demand platform which have ZERO workouts that don’t require equipment. Nearly every other program has a smattering of bodyweight-only days, which I always appreciated because I’d time those workouts for weekends I was traveling and didn’t want to bring weights. Like the on-screen timer “minus” above, this isn’t a huge negative, but it’s worth noting as you plan when and where to do your workout.

7. Some moves quite complex.

In an effort to be full-body, exciting, and unique, Autumn has devised some compound moves in “4 Weeks for Every Body” that are highly complex. They’re not necessarily difficult — I stand by my assertion that this program is truly appropriate for beginners — but they take some brainpower to follow. For this reason, if you’d prefer to just space out during your workout, a simpler program with classic, non-compound moves like “LIIFT4” or “21 Day Fix” may be a better fit.

8. Very little bonus content.

Unlike “9 Week Control Freak,” which has a vast amount of free supplementary videos, or “21 Day Fix,” which features recurring core and ab extras, “4 Weeks for Every Body” merely has 4 bonus cycling videos as bonus — and they are all behind the BODi paywall, and require a stationary bike! I would have liked at least a few mini videos to supplement this program… Or maybe I’ve just gotten spoiled from the usual volume of Beachbody program bonus videos!

Some "4 Weeks for Every Body" moves are like "9 Week Control Freak."
Some “4 Weeks for Every Body” moves are like “9 Week Control Freak.”

“4 Weeks for Every Body” vs. Other Beachbody Programs

I was struck by how different “4 Weeks for Every Body” felt from any other Beachbody on Demand program I’ve done, due to 3/4 of its videos being the slow eccentric movements. Its uniqueness is a good thing, because it means it fills a need in BOD’s offerings — specifically, the need for a true beginner-appropriate program. Trying to decide whether to do “4 Weeks for Everybody” or another Beachbody workout program? Here’s my guide to picking.

“4 Weeks for Every Body” vs. Other Beginner and All-Levels Programs

“21 Day Fix” vs. “4 Weeks for Every Body”

Ok, ok, this is the big question everyone has been waiting for: “Should I start with ‘21 Day Fix‘ or ‘4 Weeks for Every Body?'” The reality is that these two Autumn Calabrese programs are really quite different, so it comes down to what you’re looking for.

If you’re an absolute beginner, for sure, start with “4 Weeks for Every Body.” This new program of Autumn’s is no-impact (whereas “21DF” has quite a bit of jumping — though there are modifications), and overall has a lower chance of injury. Though both programs are exactly 30 minutes a day, “4 Weeks for Every Body” is only four times a week (with the fifth day being your choice of exercise), while “21DF” is a full SEVEN days a week for three weeks, plus extra core and ab work. Even though two of those seven days of “21DF” are more relaxed workouts like yoga and pilates, I did find myself needing to add extra rest days — something that can jar your sense of confidence when starting a new program.

If you are a higher beginner or intermediate fitness level, either program could work, depending on your desires. Pick “21 Day Fix” if you want clearer, faster results and don’t mind working out seven days a week (or adding in extra rest days), but pick “4 Weeks for Every Body” if you want to feel overall good and healthy, with an emphasis on taking care of joints (via no-impact exercise) and functional training that makes everyday life better.

“Job 1” vs. “4 Weeks for Every Body”

I would strongly recommend “4 Weeks for Every Body” over “Job 1” with trainer Jennifer Jacobs — as tempting as the 20-minute length of the latter may be. Though I found “Job 1” to be a solid month-long program, I had some major gripes with it — notably, no clear modifications due to no cast — and it was one of the few Beachbody programs which injured me (due to its rushed pace).

Back results from "4 Weeks for Every Body."
Back results from “4 Weeks for Every Body.”

“4 Weeks for Every Body” vs. Intermediate Programs

“9 Week Control Freak” vs. “4 Weeks for Every Body”

After wondering how “4 Weeks for Everybody,” (released in mid-2022) compares to Autumn’s “21 Day Fix: Real Time,” (released in 2019), the next question is how it compares with her “9 Week Control Freak,” (released in late 2020). My answer, having completed both of them, is that, though they have some similarities (like the use of the Core Ball, and creative, full-body moves), they are overall VERY different programs. You’ve got to hand it to Autumn for changing things up!

“9 Week Control Freak” is 5 days a week for 30 minutes or less, and features a heart-pounding combination of Tabata cardio, HIIT, weightlifting, and flexibility and balance that progress INTENSELY in difficulty as the weeks continue. #9WCF is notorious for needing a huge amount of equipment (the Control Track which hangs off a door, Core Ball, exercise step, mat, weights), though there is a version called “Off the Wall” which just needs weights.

In contrast, “4 Weeks for Every Body” doesn’t really progress in difficulty over the weeks, and features much slower (eccentric) moves, no impact, less equipment, and overall more simplicity. Between the two programs, I found #9WCF more fun and exhilarating, but “4 Weeks for Every Body” more peaceful and less stressful. Though I LOVED the muscle and fitness results I got from #9WCF, it was hectic to manage all the equipment and complicated moves. If you’re wondering which program to do first, I’d suggest saving #9WCF for after either of Autumn’s other programs.

Note about Autumn’s 2018 program, “80 Day Obsession:” though I got incredible results from it, I almost never recommend it to others, first because it has a high risk of injury from its bizarre moves, and second because it is SO long and intense — with some workouts being a full hour long!

“Muscle Burns Fat #mbf” vs. “4 Weeks for Every Body”

I looooove “Muscle Burns Fat #mbf!” It’s fun, fast-paced, effective (great results), and interesting. The trainer, Megan Davies, and her diverse cast are warm, clear, and motivating. It also is set to music which helps with rep counts, and it’s just 30 minutes a day, 7 days a week, for three weeks. It’s definitely more challenging than “4 Weeks for Every Body” (but not insanely so) so you could aim to do #mbf afterwards — perhaps adding in extra rest days as needed to break up the 7 straight days of videos.

“645” vs. “4 Weeks for Every Body”

Amoila Cesar is my favorite trainer on Beachbody, and in many ways, “645” is one of the most important programs on the platform because of its emphasis on teaching about all aspects of healthy exercise and functional fitness. That said, at 45 minutes a day for 6 days a week over 3 months — plus a LOT of down-time during each episode for educational chats — “645” is LONG and can feel slow and dragging.

I do recommend that everyone try to do “645” at some point for the base it provides in health and understanding of one’s body, but “4 Weeks for Every Body” makes sense to do first, since it’s far more efficient. Regarding Cesar’s earlier Intermediate program, “4 Weeks of The Prep,” I don’t recommend it to anyone. It was hastily filmed after “The Work” and is awkward and disjointed. Do “645” or another program instead.

“LIIFT4” vs. “4 Weeks for Every Body”

The 2018 program, “LIIFT4” with Joel Freeman — 4 days a week of 30-40 minutes of lifting and HIIT for 8 weeks — is one of the most beloved and enduring programs on Beachbody, but I have some major issues with it that may or may not apply to you. It is a ton of very straightforward, symmetrical, repetitive weightlifting, with an emphasis on the upper body (best for men, in my preference), then extremely bouncy cardio — though some lower-impact modifications are offered.

Though Joel makes me laugh, and there were parts of LIIFT4 I really enjoyed (especially the fact that there is ab and core work at the end of every session, meaning I got great results), I prefer the full-body, functional training, lower-impact style of “4 Weeks for Every Body.” Your desires may vary!

“Barre Blend” vs. “4 Weeks for Every Body”

I don’t have a full review of “Barre Blend” because I only review programs I’ve honestly done every video for — and I cannot seem to finish “Barre Blend” because it is… it’s… how do I say this… not really my style, either in moves or verbal vibe. I also find it very challenging for my long body to do those repeated, low-weight Pilates and ballet moves. That said, because it is no-impact or low-impact (depending which modifications you take), “Barre Blend” could be a natural program to do AFTER “4 Weeks for Every Body” — provided the style works for you.

Dumbbell swings, mid-swing.
Dumbbell swings, mid-swing.

“4 Weeks for Every Body” vs. Advanced Programs

Though I adored both “6 Weeks of the Work” and “Muscle Burns Fat Advanced #mbfa,” both are TRULY advanced, and thus my guess is that you already know whether you want to do a no-impact, all-levels program (“4 Weeks for Every Body”) or a heart-pounding, muscle-aching sweat-fest. (My line about “The Work” is that it’s one of my favorite BOD programs of all time — but you should only try it if you are comfortable not being able to finish most of the moves! It’s that challenging.)

“4 Weeks for Every Body” vs. Specialty Programs

Beachbody’s running program, “30 Day Breakaway” (in which you build up to run a 5k) and the new Shaun T dance program, “Let’s Get Up,” are so specific in what they offer, that again my guess is that you already know whether you want a more classic workout program like “4 Weeks for Everybody” versus jogging or dance. That said, if you haven’t tried “Let’s Get Up” already, I highly recommend sampling at least one video (“Only Way is Up” being my favorite) — you’re guaranteed to come out with a wide smile on your face! Just don’t be fooled by its “Beginner” label: the side-to-side movements can get fast, so be prepared to do it at half time if needed.

What is the Hashtag for “4 Weeks for Every Body?”

So… I can’t seem to find anywhere what the agreed-upon abbreviation or hashtag for “4 Weeks for Every Body” is! Is it #4WfEb? #4W4EB? No one seems to know! In an attempt to keep everything here accurate, you’ll notice that in this entire 4,500-word review, I just ended up writing out the full title of the program instead of picking a random abbreviation.

"4 Weeks for Every Body" review
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“4 Weeks for Every Body” in Sum

Overall, I really enjoyed “4 Weeks for Every Body,” and think it’s a wonderful addition to the Beachbody library that fills a previously empty niche of a truly all-levels, no-impact program. This is the first program that I feel very few reservations about recommending to truly beginner exercisers, and I love that Autumn took the feedback of having no wasted time.

That said, “4 Weeks for Every Body” is not for everyone. Having 3 of the 4 workouts as slow eccentric exercises could drive an impatient gal mad. You might also want more workouts a week, or crave that breathless, ultra-sweaty joy of fast lifting and jumping. It just comes down to what you most want and need!

If you’ve done “4 Weeks for Every Body,” what in this review do you agree or disagree with? I’m curious to hear your experiences. If you haven’t done Autumn’s new program yet, what questions do you have? Do share!

Thank you for taking the photos, Gerry Manacsa, @GManacsa!

 

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