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“Fire and Flow” Beachbody Exercise Program Review

Welcome to the SIXTEENTH installment of my extremely detailed, honest, and geeky reviews of Beachbody Workouts. This round, I’ll be reviewing the new all-levels exercise program called “Fire and Flow,” which alternates between “Fire” cardio-weightlifting workouts and “Flow” no-impact, dance-like workouts.

Read on to see why “Fire add Flow” turned out to be one of my all-time favorite Beachbody programs — which is saying a lot, given how many programs I’ve completed — and to ascertain whether it might be a fit for YOU. As usual, I’ll also include my warnings about specific problems with the program, because it wasn’t all sunshine and perfection. Let’s begin with an overview. (Oh, and if you like the rainbow leggings and workout shirt I’m modeling in this article, I designed them! You can shop them here.)

"Fire and Flow" balance
This “Fire and Flow” review features clothing I designed!

Overview of “Fire and Flow”

The “Fire and Flow” Beachbody workout program alternates higher-impact “Fire” cardio and weightlifting workouts led by “Super-Trainer” Jericho McMatthews (creator of “Morning Meltdown 100”) with “Flow” dance-like, no-impact exercises led by Elise Joan, creator of “Barre Blend.”

The program runs 30 minutes a day for 6 days a week, meaning there is one weekly rest day, and the whole thing lasts four weeks. “Fire and Flow” also includes eight 15-minute bonus videos — four of each style (“Fire” and “Flow”). If you have an exercise bike, you can swap out some of the videos for “Fire Rides” and “Flow Rides,” but I am bike-less and thus didn’t take that option.

"Fire and Flow" cardio
The “Fire” workouts feature these Star Jumps!

“Fire and Flow” Release Dates and Equipment

When is “Fire and Flow” available on Beachbody? I bought it June 7, 2022 during the VIP Early Access release, and it’s available to everyone in the BOD Member Library on November 21, 2022.

What equipment do you need for “Fire and Flow?” (Affiliate links here to the actual versions I use and recommend.) The only equipment needed for the program is a range of dumbbells (I used 5 pound dumbbells, 10 pounders, and 15 pounders), resistance bands, and a squishy mat.

There is also an optional journal with prompts, which the trainers discuss during the videos, but you can take or leave doing it. Phew — with “Fire and Flow,” you don’t need a zillion items like “9 Week Control Freak” requires!

"Fire and Flow" review
“Fire and Flow” features flexibility.

Why Trust this “Fire and Flow” Review?

Why is this review of “Fire and Flow” particularly trustworthy? Unlike most other Beachbody review bloggers, I am NOT affiliated with Beachbody in any way. I am not a BOD “Coach,” and I was not compensated for completing and writing about the program; I paid for it out of my own pocket. The good news about that is that I can be 100% honest in this article, because I don’t owe anyone anything! I just enjoy boosting folks’ workout motivation.

For context, I’m a 40-year-old mother of two, and an English teacher. I’d categorize myself as a high-intermediate level athlete, but I struggle with ongoing knee and ankle issues stemming from my college track career. Speaking of avoiding injury…

Beachbody cardio
One of the side-to-side cardio moves in “Fire.”

Using Wise Judgment

Another piece of trust is about health and safety. With any new exercise program, please use wise judgement to listen to your unique body in order to avoid injury. In some cases, it might be prudent to consult a doctor or professional physical trainer before starting a new fitness regimen; follow what’s best for YOU. Got it? Let’s start the opinionated part of the review!

One of the "Fire" flexibility moves.
One of the “Flow” flexibility moves.

Pros: What I LIKED About “Fire and Flow”

1. Alternating the two styles of exercise was great.

By alternating between higher-exertion “Fire” workouts (weightlifting and cardio) and no-impact, Barre-like “Flow” workouts, “Fire and Flow” really kept me motivated and pushing play. Six days a week seems like a lot of workouts, but when half of them are more chilled-out, and one, “Restorative Flow,” is mostly stretching, it’s way more doable to stay on track. I also enjoyed alternating between having Jericho and Elise as trainers, as it maintained the spice of variety.

2. The program is truly “All Levels” — from beginner to advanced.

“Fire and Flow” is one of the few Beachbody programs I would recommend for true beginners to online exercise, because it does a fabulous job of providing modifications down (with Kailey) as well as up (with Dominique). Using the mods, you can make the entire program — even the “Fire” workouts — zero impact. In fact, this program is now my #1 pick for best Beachbody workouts for beginners!

I’m impressed and appreciative at how BOD has increasingly embraced “All Levels” programs, and I’d assert that “Fire and Flow” is their best “All Levels” program so far. Even as a high-intermediate athlete, I felt challenged by it — unlike “4 Weeks for Everybody,” which had too many slow movements for my taste, or “Job 1,” which actually ended up injuring me, and I think is too hard for a true beginner.

As proof that this workout is for a wide range of levels, I’ll add that as a 40-year-old woman, I appreciated that Elise shared that she’s also in her 40s — and there’s a cast member in his 50s. (Jericho may be in her 40s as well, but her age appears to be a closely guarded secret, as my Google searches for “Jericho McMatthews age” yielded a vast plain of nothingness. Strange! I actually find that the older I get, the more proud I am to share my age alongside my bulging muscles.)

Fire and Flow results
“Fire and Flow” results!

3. The vibe is positive, motivating, and professional.

I was repeatedly struck by how positive, uplifting, and professional “Fire and Flow” is. Some Beachbody trainers have a style that’s more tough-love, or casual (ex: in “9 Week Control Freak” when Autumn Calabrese collapsed on the floor laughing and crying), but Jericho and Elise run a 100% tight, polished ship. Every speech is carefully planned to motivate the viewer, and no time is wasted.

I was enraptured by Jericho’s buoyant energy, and her emphasis on what a honor and privilege it is to be able to move our body with exercise. For Elise, it took longer for me to warm to her, but soon, I was even tearing up at some of her messages. My favorite speech of hers was about the concept of letting go of what no longer serves us, even if it used to be good: the analogy being taking a deep breath of air into our lungs. That breath feels good and nourishes us, but at a certain point we need to let it go before it causes harm. Yup!

4. Time and weeks duration is good: 30 minutes, 4 weeks.

30 minutes a day is an ideal duration, as “21 Day Fix” proved. It’s not hard to get the half-hour for “Fire and Flow” wedged into your schedule — especially since half of the workouts (“Flow”) are no-impact, and thus don’t even require strapping on a sports bra!

Meanwhile, four-week programs are delicious in that they’re “easy wins” — satisfyingly doable to finish — but long enough to produce at some clear results. Unlike “4 Weeks of the Prep” (which I don’t recommend), you don’t need to repeat any videos with “Fire and Flow” — each workout video is unique.

The "Flow" moves are like yoga plus dance.
The “Flow” moves are like yoga plus dance.

5. Excellent full-body lean muscle and mobility results.

I’ll talk more about my “Fire and Flow” results in the “Results” section after these Pros and Cons, but the summary is that I was mighty impressed with what happened with my body thanks to this program. “Fire and Flow” delivers on the promise of long, lean muscle (I slimmed down), and full-body functional mobility (my previous injuries healed, and I felt limber and pain-free).

Because of its many moves that involve functional stretching, twisting, and dance-like flowing, my overall structural mobility increased. “Fire and Flow” is a highly effective program that is healthier for your body than many other options out there, because of how balanced and well-rounded it is. This leads right into our next “Pro…”

6. Varied, exciting, useful exercises; no boredom.

I get bored easily, but “Fire and Flow” kept me interested because of how varied it is. There are only one to two sets of any exercise (unlike LIIFT4, which repeats everything THREE times), and when moves are repeated across workouts, a different twist is usually added. Moreover, each exercise is fun, interesting, and unique, without being overly complicated or painful (“80 Day Obsession,” are your ears burning?). Meanwhile, there are modifications up and down for each move, adding still more variety.

“Fire and Flow” is full-body, functional movement, meaning I never felt a certain area was being over-trained or neglected. (In contrast, I loved “6 Weeks of The Work,” but felt it had too much shoulder emphasis.) The program also challenges the mind and spirit with how it’s structured, and the speeches and coaching given.

"Fire and Flow" core
“Fire and Flow” is full of core work.

7. Core and abs work every “Fire” block!

I love abs, and thus I adore that every “Fire” workout video has a “Core Block” of 3 moves to get that 6-pack! The only other Beachbody on Demand program I’ve seen with a consistent core component like this are Joel Freeman’s programs, like “10 Rounds” and “LIIFT4.” The difference is that Jericho’s core moves are not repeated more than one set, adding to the exciting flair of “Fire and Flow,” with constant variety.

8. The built-in music is nice.

I enjoyed the build-in music in “Fire and Flow.” The “Flow” music was relaxing and put me in a nice trance, and the “Fire” flow — though sometimes jarring, because it has words — pumped me up. It felt more like “real” music than the odd video-game-style synthesized tunes in “645.”

9. Moves are by time, not number of reps.

When a workout program is structured in terms of numbers of reps (ex: “12 bicep curls”) it becomes tempting to rush through to hit that number. Luckily, “Fire and Flow” does most of its moves by amount of time (ex: “45 seconds of squats”), meaning you’ll never end early.

Loved this "Flow" mobility move!
Loved this “Flow” mobility move!

10. Mindfulness and motivation work, too.

I profoundly appreciated the breathing and mindfulness coaching during “Fire and Flow,” and the motivational speeches — though they might strike some as cheesy — resonated with me big-time, and lifted me up.

11. Love they usually say weight amount.

It’s extremely helpful when trainers and cast-members verbalize what level of weights they’re picking (5 pounds? 10?) because, since moves are rarely repeated, that guidance helps direct my own choices. For the most part, this program does a good job of stating dumbbell pound ranges. Just beware, though, because sometimes the suggestions are too high — as I found with the “Fire and Flow” sample workout!

12. Solid option for travel due to less equipment.

I was on the road for most of this summer as I did “Fire and Flow,” so I appreciated that several workouts in the set don’t require dumbbells — just bodyweight and resistance bands, which are easy to pack. That said, stay tuned for the cons of trying to do this program during travel.

13. Few push-ups!

I’m quite athletic at this point, but my body just cannot seem to function well with push-ups. Hence, I gotta give a shout-out to the fact that “Fire and Flow” has minimal push-ups — and when push-ups are included in the program, they’re often optional mod-ups. Phew!

Good old "Cobra" yoga pose.
Good old “Cobra” yoga pose.

14. All moves are done on both sides.

I live in fear of workout moves that are done in an asymmetrical way, working one side of the body more than the other. I’m pleased to report, therefore, that “Fire and Flow” does all moves equally on both sides of the body. This may seem obvious, but during the “Flow” workouts especially, it sometimes takes a while for Elise to get to the second side, so have faith that it’s coming, and that your muscles won’t get lopsided.

15. Bonuses are solid, and have warm-ups built-in.

“Fire and Flow” includes eight 15-minute bonus workouts (4 of each style) which are surprisingly good. While some Beachbody programs just reuse clips from the longer videos for bonus, the “Fire and Flow” bonus workouts are all original.

Most importantly, these bonus videos include warm-ups, which means you can use them as stand-alone workouts on days you want your exercise to take half the usual time (in contrast to “30 Day Breakaway,” which injured me due to warm-ups being separate). I completed the “Fire and Flow” bonus workouts in what felt like a surprisingly quick amount of time, and left each feeling cleansed and happy.

16. Cast has a welcoming, positive vibe.

The cast of “Fire and Flow” is gorgeous, and reflects Beachbody’s increasing embrace of diversity. I particularly loved watching the angelic smile of the cast member named Tony (@tonylattimore), who is revealed to be in his 50s, have 10 kids (!), and was in the original P90X cast! The “Intensifier” (woman who shows more difficult versions of moves), Dominique, is also a joy to watch. This, however, brings us right into my first problem with “Fire and Flow…”

This "Flow" move took full body strength!
This “Flow” move took full body strength!

Cons: What I DISLIKED About “Fire and Flow”

A. The “Fire and Flow” cast is nearly mute.

One of my favorite things about the Amoila Cesar workout programs like Beachbody’s “645” is getting to know the cast. Each them always has a fascinating story, and their banter becomes like watching a TV show. Unfortunately, the cast in “Fire and Flow” is almost completely mute, and only tiny tidbits about their lives are dropped — tantalizing hints about stories I wish had been told.

For example, I don’t think Dominique said a single word during the entire program! This felt odd, because she was referred to constantly, as in, “Watch Dominique for the more up-leveled version of this move.” I finally found her on Instagram at @dominiquedomingo by some intensive Googling, but I wish her story and voice had been more highlighted.

Kiana (@_kianafaith_) is mentioned to be a rhythmic gymnast, and some searching revealed her to also have been a NBA dancer and NFL cheerleader! Kailey (@kaileyboutte), the “Fire and Flow” modifier, appears to be a dancer and TikTok star.

I understand that the vibe of the program is “tight and professional,” letting the viewer focus on the moves and the trainer and never waste time, but I would have liked a bit more fleshing out of the cast — fully possible in the course of four weeks of videos.

Cat and cow exercise.
Cat and cow exercise for spine health.

B. The vibe may irk some.

Let me be clear: the vibe of “Fire and Flow” is NOT for everybody. The style is positive, feminine, thoughtful, almost New Age — much like a yoga class. In particular, Elise’s turns of phrase and way of speaking may seem almost like a caricature, as she gushes lines like: “My signature move!” and, “An aspirational level!”

That said, I’d urge you to push through any irritation you might feel from the style at the start of “Fire and Flow,” because it’s a really excellent program. Further, if you’re like me, Jericho and Elise really start to grow on you as the weeks go on.

C. Ramping-up might feel excessive for beginners.

Though I stand by my assertion that “Fire and Flow” is an excellent first (or early) program for beginners to Beachbody on Demand online streaming workouts, the program does begin to get increasingly complex by Week 3, and certainly by Week 4 — to the extent that a true beginner would likely need to add extra modifications.

People new to online exercise programs may sometimes feel hesitant or bad about adding extra mods, but please don’t be shy about it! Listen to your body, and just do the parts of the workout that feel good for YOU. As long as you’re trying — and protecting your body against injury — you’ll still make fitness gains.

Attempting to do a "bind" from "Flow."
Attempting to do a “bind” from “Flow.”

D. Twisting and lunging may need modifications.

Speaking of adding modifications, even if you’re an advanced worker-outer like me, you’ll need to be vigilant in “Fire and Flow,” because it contains many twisting movements that could tweak your back, and lunging exercises which could hurt your knees, if you’re not adequately warmed up and watchful. I’ve done enough online workouts by this point to know that I should never lunge as deeply as Elise does in many of her moves, and I want to empower you to also listen and respond to your body to alter any move as needed.

E. The cool-downs aren’t great.

I did not love the cool-downs at the end of each “Fire and Flow” workout. They felt incomplete, and absolutely needed supplementing. For example, sometimes a muscle — like the glutes — would be heavily worked during the exercises, but not stretched during the cool-down.

Yes, there are Bonus flexibility and restorative videos for both “Fire” and “Flow,” but I mostly supplemented each video with 3-5 minutes of targeted stretching and rolling of my own design. I encourage you not to skip that extra few minutes of the stretching needed.

Flowing with the resistance bands.
Flowing with the resistance bands.

F. No on-screen timer.

There are zero on-screen count-down timers in “Fire and Flow,” which was a pity, because I find them very useful for timed exercises where you need to pace your work. On the bright side, I’m currently in the process of completing the new Joel Freeman Beachbody program, “LIIFT MORE,” and that actually DOES have timers, so BOD may have at last gotten the memo that viewers want them!

G. You may prefer one style over another.

I ended up liking both the “Fire” and “Flow” style workouts equally — just in different ways — but if you prefer one style over the other (or one trainer over the other), you’re in for a long 4 weeks, as each week is evenly divided between the two: three videos each.

Of the two styles, I felt markedly better after each “Fire” workout: “cleansed” by that heart-pumping cardio and weightlifting fun. That said, I was more motivated to turn on the “Flow” workouts because they’re lower impact, and thus didn’t require as much psyching up to start.

Pigeon pose
Pigeon pose — my favorite stretch!

H. The music is a mixed bag.

Overall I liked the “Fire and Flow” music, but I could see it irritating some people, especially the “Fire” tunes, since they often have words, and feature more intense beats. A gripe I did have is that the music only sometimes matched the movements in “Fire and Flow” — a contrast with “Muscle Burns Fat #mbf” which perfectly matched each exercise to the beat.

I. Few days have travel-appropriate equipment.

Though I was able to do several “Fire and Flow” workouts while on the road this summer (including during a wonderful writing retreat), it’s overall not an ideal travel program, because almost all the workouts need weights except for one or two a week (“Cardio Fire” and “Restorative Flow”), and a smattering of the bonuses.

You also truly do need a mat or squishy surface (towel on carpet works) for every workout because of the floor components. This proved to be a problem during the week I was traveling in Mexico for Spanish immersion with kids, since our rental condo had hard concrete floors, and not a mat in sight. In contrast, the ideal program for a context like that would be Shaun T’s dance fitness workout, “Let’s Get Up” because it has zero floor work.

"Fire and Flow" stretching
A great “Fire and Flow” stretch using the resistance bands.

“Fire and Flow” Results:

I was really impressed with the results I got from “Fire and Flow” — a big reason I recommend it so highly, of the 16 Beachbody programs I’ve completed! Here are the changes I noticed:

1. Slimming down (long, lean muscle).

I don’t work out with the goal of losing weight — I just want to feel healthy — BUT I slimmed down more with “Fire and Flow” than any program I’ve done in a while, and I loved how my clothes started to fit better. Elise and Jericho aren’t kidding when they say “Fire and Flow” produces long, lean muscles!

Fire and Flow results
My “Fire and Flow” results.

2. More defined arms and waist.

Unlike the #mbfa and LIIFT4 results I got of bulging biceps, “Fire and Flow” gave me toned, defined arms without as much bulk. You can also see in the photo, above, of me wearing the map dress (designed by my friend David) that a result of the program was a more defined, slimmed-down waist.

3. Healing from injuries (no pain or twinges).

When I started “Fire and Flow,” I was dealing with an ongoing ankle injury due to overuse, as well as knee and back twinges. By the end of the program, my body felt GREAT — limber and strong, with no pain, injuries, or discomfort. Wow! The program really fulfills on its promise of improved mobility and functional fitness.

4. Feeling joyfully connected to my body.

There is a large mindfulness component to “Fire and Flow” — especially the “Flow” workouts, which encourage you to tap into your natural body movement and be truly present during physical expression. During many of Elise’s dance-like movements, she encourages you to add your own personal flair, as well as deepening your breath. As a result, I finished the program with a newfound joyful connection with my body.

Fire and Flow Beachbody
On Pinterest? Save this “Fire and Flow” review with this pin!

“Fire and Flow” in Review

I hope you see from this very detailed review why “Fire and Flow” has become one of my favorite Beachbody on Demand workout programs of all time! It is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, however, so if you’ve tried it, I’d love to hear from you: what did YOU think of “Fire and Flow” and of Jericho and Elise’s coaching? Do share!

If you liked the clothes I modeled in this article, feel free to shop the full store of colorful leggings and shirts I designed and support this woman-owned small business.

Big thanks to Gerry Manacsa, @GManacsa, for taking the wild rainbow photos.

 

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