Welcome to the TWELFTH installment of my extremely detailed and geeky reviews of Beachbody workouts! Today, we will examine whether or not the new “Job 1” home exercise plan with trainer Jennifer Jacobs could be a good match for YOUR fitness goals.
Overview of this Efficient 4-Week Exercise Plan:
“Job 1” is a full-body strength and cardio program that is just 20 minutes a day for 5 days a week (meaning there are two rest or stretching days) over the course of 4 weeks. It includes an extra 5 bonus “Overtime” workouts that target specific areas and can be combined with the regular program to make an “Overtime Calendar” of 40 minutes a day. “Job 1” alternates days between strength training (weights and resistance loops) and cardio workouts.
“Job 1” gets its name because the idea is to make your health priority #1 for a full month. The “Supertrainer” behind this workout program is former Peloton instructor Jennifer Jacobs who is 37 years old (as of the filming), has two young kids, and is fluent in French. The release date for “Job 1” was December, 2021 for Coach and VIP access, and June 13, 2022 for Beachbody on Demand member library. (Note that this general BOD library release date was pushed back from May.)
A Beachbody Cycling Option?!
In a new twist, Beachbody “Job 1” gives you the choice in the cardio days to either do the bodyweight “HIIT It” and “20 Minute Sweat Session” videos, or to swap in the cycling workouts included in the program, should you happen to have a MYX spinning bike or other such apparatus. This technically makes “Job 1” Beachbody’s first cycling program, but because there are only 4 spinning videos and they are optional, it’s really only dabbling in that realm.
Is “Job 1” for Beginners?
Supposedly “Job 1” is for “All Levels” — meaning Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced — but I beg to differ about that assessment. Read on for my warning about why this program may NOT be ideal for Beginners.
Why Trust This “Job 1” Review?
As explained in my dozen other Beachbody reviews, I am not in any way affiliated with, nor compensated by the Beachbody company — meaning I am able to be incredibly HONEST in these write-ups. No, I am NOT a “Beachbody Coach,” meaning I have NO financial stake in whether or not you do this program, nor any others, beyond the fact that I like to help inspire and support people to exercise happily.
I actually DO every single one of the workout videos in every program I review (taking copious notes along the way), and I pay out of pocket to get early access to these programs so I can review them in time for their release to the general public. My passion and joy is to can help readers like you find the best program to match your individual fitness goals!
By day I am an English teacher and writer, so doing home workouts is my stress release sanity. For reference, I’m 40 years old, have two young kids, and am at a High-Intermediate fitness level. I do have a history of knee problems from my college days as a high jumper, so I will be discussing in this review about tips to stay injury-free if you choose “Job 1.” That said, please use wise judgement before starting any new workout program, proceed at your own risk, and consult a doctor if you’re not sure whether it will be safe for your body.
Equipment Needed for “Job 1”
You’ll need light, medium, and heavy dumbbells for “Job 1.” (Note: Some links here are affiliates that provide a small commission upon purchase at no extra cost to you.) I was able to do most of the moves in the program with my trusty 10 pound vinyl-covered weights, but really wished I had 5-pounders for some of the more difficult arm moves. For the heavier leg lifts, I used my MX55 adjustable dumbbells (set to 15-20 pounds for the most part), though as I explain in that linked review, I far prefer regular weights to adjustable ones.
2. Resistance Loops:
You will need light, medium, and heavy resistance loops for “Job 1” — just the standard rubber kind like those that are sold bundled with sliders here. (You don’t need sliders for “Job 1,” but it may be useful to buy that bundle if you ever want to do “80 Day Obsession” or “6 Weeks of The Work.”) Note that the newfangled big cloth resistance loops — like those used for “645” — will NOT work for “Job 1” because there are several moves where you need to grasp and pull them, and the thick cloth ones are difficult to use in that manner.
3. Thick Foam Mat:
There is a ton of floor work (yay, abs!) in “Job 1,” so you’ll definitely want a thick, soft exercise mat like this one. A mat like this will also save your feet if you work out barefoot like I do! I also use a larger, thinner mat like these puzzle piece workout floor tiles, though I do find that the pieces come apart if I move too quickly on certain moves. Putting one of those grippy under-carpet mat layers beneath can help. You may also want a sticky yoga mat for traction if you’re doing the lateral movements in socks.
4. Workout Clothes:
I highly recommend wearing compression socks for vein health, and I like this brand. (I learned the hard way that if your legs aren’t supported well, varicose veins can develop.) Optional, but if you want cute workout clothes, do check out these wonderful woman-owned companies for colorful leggings and tops.
5. VERY Optional: Spinning Bike
Since “Job 1” is the first Beachbody workout with a cycling component — albeit optional — you might be interested in the new MYX bike… or not. For just four optional workouts, it’s probably not at all worth it unless you’re going to be taking advantage of the BODi workouts (membership costs extra), which now have spinning. For context, I do not own the bike, myself, and will not be getting it because I far prefer floor workouts.
Time for the moment you’ve been waiting for: My extremely honest assessment of the Pros and Cons of “Job 1” — what there is to love, and what you should be warned of! Let’s start with the positives.
Pros of “Job 1”
1. This workout program is SHORT!
“Job 1” is just twenty minutes a day, which can fit into almost any schedule. The program also has two rest days a week, and runs for a mere four weeks, meaning it’s highly achievable to stick with and complete. Easy win! For those who want more length, there is an “Overtime” version of “Job 1” which explains how to layer the extra 5 workouts in to bring each day to 40 minutes if desired. (I did not do that advanced calendar, and will explain why in #4.)
2. Absolutely zero wasted time.
Unlike notoriously chatty workout programs like “645 Beachbody” or “21 Day Fix,” there is not a single second wasted in “Job 1.” You’d better strap on your sports bra fast, because the warm-up starts immediately after the intro music ends!
3. There is an on-screen countdown!
“Job 1” has my absolute favorite thing: an on-screen countdown timer for the full duration of the video! It’s been a while since Beachbody did this — lately they’ve been doing timers that last just for short portions of the workout (ex: the EMOM in #mbfa), but I find full-duration timers a game-changer. When I know exactly how much time is left in a video, I can pace myself and plan effort accurately for maximum burn.
4. Great mix of exercises for full-body results and variety.
I adored the full-body nature of “Job 1.” It features strength and cardio exercises from head to toe, with an especially-appreciated emphasis on core moves. (Yes, I’m aiming for 6-pack abs!) There is wonderful variety, and I never felt bored, as every set usually repeated just twice, and featured creative and interesting exercises.
If you do the regular calendar (not “Overtime”), you also never need to repeat a video, adding to the novel feeling. I also enjoyed the duration variety; there are some lovely stretches of continuous movement that reminded me of “9 Week Control Freak” in how they pushed my cardio endurance and left me with a happy “cleansed” feeling. Further, the “Overtime” videos are also excellent quality, which isn’t always the case with bonus material.
4. Difficult enough moves for Intermediate or higher.
Though “Job 1” was initially billed as a “Beginner” program, I’m very glad that Beachbody changed the level to “All Levels” (though “Intermediate” would be more accurate), because the moves and pace are certainly hard enough for this High-Intermediate gal! The program moves very fast, and I found myself breathless and sore, despite the short 20-minute time frame.
Though I thought I’d be dipping into the Overtime calendar to do “doubles” for 40-minute workouts, 100% of the time I was too tired after just one video to do another. That’s a good sign. The workouts also get more difficult as the program goes on.
5. Jennifer Jacobs is excellent.
The trainer for “Job 1” has been described as “no nonsense,” and that sums her up well. Jennifer Jacobs is clear, strong, motivating, gorgeous, and gets straight to the point. There are no long stories or asides — just 100% focus on the exercises, plus useful form cues. If you’re a fashion-lover like me, you’ll also SWOON for her shiny metallic outfits and smoky eye shadow, expertly paired with intense eye contact and a coy raised eyebrow. (I attempted to draw these elements in the cartoon, above.)
6. Solid background music.
After releasing a slew of programs with no background music, Beachbody has started experimenting with different kinds of electronic tunes to keep motivation. Though the gold standard of background workout music is “Muscle Burns Fat,” which had original songs set perfectly to the beat of the weightlifting, the tunes in “Job 1” are better than the odd video game music of “645.” I definitely appreciated not having to cue up my own music.
7. A distraction-free set, simple equipment, and no cast.
Though I have adored the Beachbody casts (“Let’s Get Up” dancers, you’ll always have my heart!), there’s something neat and simple about having a mere living room as a set, and just one person on the screen each day. Not having a cast also boosts efficiency, too, as there are zero side conversations and tangents. The missing cast does come with a cost, however, which we will explore in the “Cons” section.
It’s also nice to have a program with fairly straightforward equipment. It’s more likely that someone will have dumbbells and cheap loops than they’ll have (or want to invest in) the door control track for complicated programs like “9WCF.”
8. One of the best sample workouts ever made.
There is something about the “Job 1” sample workout that enraptured me! I NEVER repeat videos… but I did that sample workout two whole times. It’s engaging, efficient, fun, and effective. If you’re curious about what the program is like, try the sample, as it’s an accurate taste.
9. I suppose it’s nice to have a Beachbody cycling option?
Though I didn’t use the cycling workouts since I don’t have the bike, and because the non-bike cardio workouts were great, I guess I appreciate that Beachbody is attempting to get in on the spinning craze? (I put a question mark here because, while I appreciate that BOD is trying something new, I maintain that the platform’s strength lies in its dumbbell and bodyweight workout programs. Gotta give credit for attempting to innovate though, right?)
Cons of Beachbody’s “Job 1”
A. Concerning lack of a modifier.
A glaring flaw in “Job 1” is that, because there is no cast, there is no one to demonstrate modified versions of the exercises from the get-go. Yes, Jennifer Jacobs verbally describes the mods (ex: “You can take the jump out”) and sometimes models them, but that’s rarely until the middle of the set.
I found this lack of a modifier extremely problematic in billing the program as “All Levels,” because if a Beginner tries the program and doesn’t know how to add their own modifications, they could absolutely risk getting hurt. Do not attempt this program unless you already know how to make your own mods.
B. Injury Risk.
“Job 1” has very short warm-ups, lots of jumping and side-to-side lateral movements (only some of which have modifications), and such a fast pace that there is little time for explaining or coaching moves. Now, I have only been injured by two of the twelve Beachbody workout programs I’ve completed — “30 Day Breakaway,” and “Job 1” — and both were due to doing a fast move without adequate warm-up.
My “Job 1” injury came on the second to last day, Workout 19: “20 Minute Sweat Session,” where there is a fast side to side reach (“Oblique Pull-Downs”). As I was doing them, I thought to myself, “This is a fast and intense move to do with so little warm up…” and just like that, my lower right back went: TWEAK!
I was in great discomfort for the whole next week, and ended up having to see a chiropractor, who confirmed that my back was out of whack. Through her adjustment and lots of rest and stretching, I’m on the mend, but the warning remains: Proceed with caution with “Job 1!”
C. This program should not be called “All Levels.”
“Job 1” is NOT for Beginners unless, by some feat of nature, you are a Beginner with an expert understanding of how to make your own modifications and add extra warm-ups and cool-downs without instruction. My original plan had been to do “Job 1” with a friend who’s been out of the workout game for a few years, but I almost immediately called her up and said, “Don’t press play on that first workout video — let’s wait for a program that has a lower risk of injury for people just starting up again.” For a true Beginner option with lower risk, I’d suggest the no-impact Autumn Calabrese program “4 Weeks for Every Body” instead.
D. Resistance loops can be awkward for some moves.
“Job 1” has several arm exercises where you bunch up and grab the ends of loops and pull them. Unfortunately, my fingers kept getting smushed together in the rubber, and I ultimately found these moves so awkward that I switched to plain dumbbell curls several times, even though Jennifer explained that the loops give a special kind of double resistance that dumbbells cannot.
Luckily, there aren’t a huge number of loop exercises like these in “Job 1,” and some of the resistance loop moves (like “Archers”) are fun and effective. Just be warned that you may or may not enjoy those stretchy rubber bands on your hands.
E. The program might be too short, but is too intense to do doubles.
I feel weird griping about 20 minutes being “too short,” because I have a very busy schedule, and I really appreciated having a doable workout time frame that was efficiently used… but I have to admit that at the end of every “Job 1” workout, even though I was sweaty and my heart was pounding, I had a craving for something more.
I even got so annoyed about fully changing clothes for less than half an hour that I started to do some of the workouts in street clothes! “Well, why didn’t you just do the Overtime calendar to make 40 minute workouts?” you might ask. The thing is, each video is so intense that 40 full minutes of that would truly make an advanced program.
Further, the overall duration is short. 4 weeks (with 20 minute workouts and two rest days a week) is a rather short time frame to see significant workout gains. Yes, I got solid results from “Job 1,” but nothing as noticeable as the combined #mbf and #mbfa results, for example, or “9 Week Control Freak.”
I don’t want to dissuade anyone from doing a 3 or 4 week program, but I do caution you to manage your expectations about what body changes will be evident in less than a month. In my experience, it takes at least 6 weeks to get real traction. Keep going!
F. “Job 1” needs to be supplemented with something else.
As trainer Amoila Cesar points out in “6 Weeks of The Work,” you can’t rely on home workouts alone for your fitness gains, and you REALLY can’t rely on 20 minutes alone if you’re sedentary the rest of the 24 hours. “Job 1” needs to be supplemented with something, be it long walks (as I tried to do every day, despite the Boston winter), jogging, stretching, or yoga. Note that unlike “21 Day Fix,” “Job 1” has only one stretching video, and zero yoga or pilates, so those could be good areas to supplement.
G. Weight amounts are rarely specified.
I find it immensely helpful when trainers say the amount of weights they are using — and even more helpful where there’s a cast that says their amounts, so the full range is laid out. Unfortunately, Jennifer Jacobs rarely shares her dumbbell weight in “Job 1.” This may be an effort to be more embracing of the “All Levels” aspiration of the program (not wanting to intimidate anyone with high weight revelations), but it was frustrating.
H. Turns out a cast and chatting provides heart and buy-in.
Though I gripe vociferously about how much Amoila Cesar and Autumn Calabrese chat with their cast (thus slowing down their workouts), “Job 1’s” lack of other on-screen “characters” powerfully demonstrates just how important these extra faces are in providing engagement for the viewer — almost like watching a television show, or hanging out with old friends. Oh, how much I laughed at the jokes Joel Freeman of LIIFT4 or Amoila Cesar cracked with their team!
I theorize that the somewhat empty feeling I had upon completing “Job 1” was related to never really getting to know Jennifer, as she didn’t relate personal stories, and not getting to meet or learn about any cast members — since they didn’t exist. I completely understand why Jennifer and the producers made the choice to focus on efficiency (I did appreciate that!) — I’m just noting that personalities make a difference. Your own preferences may vary.
Types of Workouts in “Job 1”
To demonstrate the effective and exciting varied nature of “Job 1,” here is the run-down of each of the types of workouts in the program.
“Job 1” Sample Workout:
As mentioned in the “Pros” section, the “Job 1” sample workout is top-notch. It has some moves in it that I’ve never seen before!
“Start Strong” and “Build and Burn:”
These low-impact strength training workouts are on Mondays and Wednesdays, respectively, and I looked forward to them because I love weight-lifting! They rotate which body part they focus on (ex: “Back, Legs, and Core” one day), and consist of 3 blocks of 3 moves, repeated twice each. Each block focuses on one of the three mentioned areas. I always adored the core blocks!
These High Intensity Interval Training workouts are 4 blocks of 3 moves, repeated twice, producing three minutes of continuous cardio work. Thee continuous movement sections gave me the same heart-pounding, enjoyably cleansed feeling as “9 Week Control Freak,” though the latter had 12-minute continuous work flows.
“20 Minute Sweat Session:”
These cardio bodyweight workouts feature 3 minutes straight of rotating three 30-second moves twice. Though I enjoyed these videos, the one in week 4 is where I injured myself, as it moved too quickly.
These workouts were a fun change, with 45 seconds each for three moves, twice, in two blocks, with a “Power Minute” of bodyweight cardio in between. The term reminded me of the “Megan Minute” in #mbfa!
Unlike the main program’s videos which feature repeating blocks of work only twice, the “Overtime” videos have THREE repetitions. This got quite intense, especially for the arm episodes!
Though I don’t have a stationary bike, I did preview the “Job 1” cycling workouts, and they feature Jennifer Jacobs on her bike in her living room set, bringing the viewer through a set of hills with varying resistance.
Beachbody’s “Job 1” Review, In Sum
Though I started out with very high hopes for “Job 1” Beachbody program (such a great sample workout!), I ended up feeling rather so-so about it upon completion. Though its positives are strong — no wasted time, varied and interesting moves, an on-screen timer, and a highly efficient time frame — its cons are quite problematic. Not having a modifier, paired with quick, high-impact moves, is a recipe for tweaking something, and I did also end up missing the engagement and humor that comes from having a cast.
I would recommend “Job 1” for Intermediate and High-Intermediate exercisers looking for a shorter program to do between longer ones. I do NOT recommend “Job 1” for Beginners or for a first program.
So what about you? If you haven’t done Beachbody’s “Job 1” yet, what questions or comments do you have? If you have done it, what is your take on this highly-efficient, fast-paced, shiny-spandexed workout program? Do share!
Want more? For the overview of all the programs I’ve reviewed, click “Beachbody Workouts.”
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 3.7 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!