Pant, pant, pant — 6 weeks have passed, and I’ve now completed the full at-home workout program consisting of both “Muscle Burns Fat” #mbf and “Muscle Burns Fat Advanced” #mbfa on Beachbody on Demand with trainer Megan Davies. Here is my detailed, truthful review to help you decide whether this exercise plan is a match for YOU.
This honest-as-heck article will cover the difference between #mbf and #mbfa, pros and cons of each, and photos and descriptions of the fitness results I got. I truly did every single workout from both programs (including all the bonus videos), so this review is drenched in my real sweat!
Why to Trust This HONEST Review
I’m NOT a Beachbody coach or employee, and no one paid me to write this. I’m just a 39 year old English teacher and mother of two young kids who manages stress by writing very (VERY) thorough Beachbody reviews. Hey — there are worse ways to manage stress, right? Now let’s dive in.
An Overview of #mbf and #mbfa
Overall, “Muscle Burns Fat” and #mbfa are phenomenal fitness programs. Of all the Beachbody workouts I’ve tried (tons!), these are truly two of the best, for enjoyment as much as results. At $8-$14 a month for the BOD platform (plus a 14 day free trial), they’re an excellent deal, too.
Both “Muscle Burns Fat” programs feature weightlifting, cardio, and core workouts set to music, with unique videos for all 7 days of the week: 30 minutes a day for #mbf and 37 for #mbfa. The programs are classified as Intermediate and Advanced, respectively, and there is always a modifier to lessen impact and difficulty on most moves. (As with all new exercise endeavors, make sure to consult a doctor and use common sense to avoid injury.)
The signature piece of equipment for both #mbf and #mbfa is a fun cordless jump rope: the BOD Rope. (Here’s an affiliate link to the inexpensive indoor jump rope I like.) You’ll also need a squishy workout mat, and light, medium, and heavy dumbbells — though you don’t need as heavy as other programs due to high volume of reps; I used 5-20 pounders.
Pros of the “Muscle Burns Fat” Duo
The first thing I loved about #mbf and #mbfa is that there is ZERO wasted time. Unlike “80 Day Obsession” — a program in which trainer Autumn Calabrese is prone to long pauses for monologues, laughing, and panting — Megan Davies goes immediately from move to move. The result is breathless and efficient… though you may need to hit “Pause” at times to rest.
Second, the “Muscle Burns Fat” duo has the most motivating, good-spirited tone of any Beachbody program I’ve done so far. The cast (working out from home by Zoom) is diverse, delightful, and encouraging, and the emphasis of the whole series of workouts is on feeling good in your body.
3. Fun, motivating music.
Third, the fact that #mbf and #mbfa are set to music cannot be understated. The in-program songs are a GAME-CHANGER in the Beachbody world, since most other BOD workouts have no music (or an awkward external Spotify playlist).
The “Muscle Burns Fat” music is not just motivating — it’s functional. The beat perfectly matches the pace of reps so you can minimize screen time and look away while moving. The songs also shift tone when exercises are about to start or end, which helps immensely since the majority of moves have no on-screen countdown timer. I hope Beachbody continues to make beat-based programs set to music!
Fourth, the “Muscle Burns Fat” duo absolutely yields results for the whole body. Let’s explore the visual, muscular, cardio, and flexibility gains in more detail.
Results from #mbf and #mbfa
What physical benefits did I get from the “Muscle Burns Fat” duo? Unlike “6 Weeks of The Work” which focuses on shoulders, or “80 Day Obsession” which emphasizes the rear end, #mbf and #mbfa is extremely whole-body.
Whole-Body Fitness and Lean Muscle Strength:
“Muscle Burns Fat” has a fabulous mix of moves, including both asymmetrical and symmetrical, cardio and isometric, weightlifting and bodyweight. Because it uses high reps of lighter weights, the results are more lean muscle instead of bulk.
Megan puts a wonderful emphasis on balancing the body (thank you, asymmetrical exercises!) and strengthening and stretching the back in particular. At the end of the 6-week program duo, I found my whole body feeling GREAT: strong, sitting and standing tall, and functioning at peak level in my daily life, not just in my home gym.
Amazing Abs and Arms!
You WILL get results from this program series. If I had to pinpoint where I saw the biggest gains from #mbf and #mbfa, they would be in my ab definition — especially the sides of the six pack — and in my shoulders and biceps. I also noticed a marked improvement in my hip flexibility due to Megan’s obsession with Catcher’s Stretch (pictured below).
The “Muscle Burns Fat” Cast
A hands-down highlight of #mbf and #mbfa is the cast members (plus their cute dogs and houses). I was left wanting to know and see more of them, so I’d love your help: let’s try to gather the Instagram handles and websites of as many of them as we can find so we can show them our appreciation!
Thus far, I have tracked down Lacee (who has an epic fitness empire of her own) and the Australian breakdancer, Pauler, but I’d love to find any others, and will update this paragraph as we find links.
Leave a comment if you have more information about Melissa and Mark (those joyful dancers), Esteban, Ariana, Jianna, Messh, Mackenzie, Michelle, Jennifer, Cassidy, Vanessa and Lyndan (who replaced a couple from #mbf who apparently had to leave because of injury), or Michael and MJ. I adored each and every one of the cast members, and thank them for their exercise motivation and energy.
Can You Skip #mbf and Go Directly to #mbfa?
Noooo. Important: Both #mbf and #mbfa are just 3 weeks long (for a total of 6 weeks, put together), but Muscle Burns Fat Advanced is SO MUCH HARDER than #mbf. Do NOT attempt #mbfa without doing #mbf first, no matter how fit you already are. Though #mbfa features new moves, it builds on essential learning you need to practice first in the opening program.
I want to emphasize that the #mbf and #mbfa relationship is really not like the relationship between “The Prep” and “The Work” at all. “4 Weeks of The Prep” was thrown together in haste AFTER filming “6 Weeks of The Work,” and you probably could skip it and go right to “The Work” if you already know how to modify moves. In contrast, Megan and her team carefully thought through the entire “Muscle Burns Fat” flow from #mbf to #mbfa, and no section should be skipped.
Which Direction Should the BOD Rope Spin?
A question which is never explicitly addressed in the #mbf and #mbfa duo is whether you should twirl the cordless jump rope from back to front, or front to back. A friend who is in one of the “Muscle Burns Fat” groups said that she heard from Megan’s own lips that the balls should be spun from back to front (like a regular jump rope), but I beg to differ.
After six weeks of experimenting, I found the feel of the BOD Rope and moves far better when the balls were spun from front to back (like jump-roping backwards). The momentum encouraged me to keep my shoulders back, spurring better posture and core engagement.
To keep with Megan’s secondhand wishes, however, I tried to alternate directions as much as possible. For those of you reading this who’ve tried, which direction do YOU spin the cordless jump rope in?
Is “Muscle Burns Fat” too High Impact?
Good news: You can take out much of the impact in #mbf and #mbfa in several ways. First, do the modifications modeled by Lacee for every move. Second, you can get a squishy workout surface. I use a thick mat on top of foam puzzle piece floor coverings, and it’s so soft that I actually work out in just socks, with no shoes.
Third, if you want to get super cushioned, you can get an adult indoor mini-trampoline like I did! It’s not at all required or even mentioned in the program, but I got quite the hoot out of boinging while doing the BOD Rope jumping.
A note to all the ladies reading this who experience the post-pregnancy symptoms of fast bouncing… er, causing problems: Don’t be hesitant about using Lacee’s mods. You will still get an effective workout and results even without the jarring jumps.
About “Muscle Burns Fat ADVANCED”
I’ve already written a wildly detailed Muscle Burns Fat #mbf review which has now been read over 5,000 times, so I’m going to devote the rest of this article to an in-depth exploration of “Muscle Burns Fat Advanced” #mbfa.
Ideally, this article will help you decide whether you’d want to go straight to it after one round of #mbf, or if you’d rather do a second or third round of #mbf first — or even try a break to finish another program — before endeavoring #mbfa.
Differences Between #mbf & #mbfa
Why is #mbfa So Hard?
“Muscle Burns Fat Advanced” episodes last just 7 minutes longer than #mbf ones, so why does #mbfa feel so much more difficult? Several reasons. First, the pace is faster. Megan assumes you already have a strong base in the foundational moves, so she barely pauses at any point.
Second, the #mbfa exercises — though similar to #mbf — are actually quite different from “Muscle Burns Fat,” and are way more challenging moves. For instance, a repeated ab move during #mbf Core Circuit days is Mountain Climbers. I thought that was sooo hard… until #mbfa came along, and suddenly we were not just doing Sit-Throughs on Core days… but FRONT Sit-Throughs! (Did I mention that Megan used to be a gymnast?) Even the Dynamic Recovery stretching days are challenging as heck in #mbfa. They ain’t no easy 5 minute movement breaks, that’s for sure.
Third, there is the addition after EACH block of a Megan Minute: a full 60 seconds of sweaty, all-out effort on one exercise: usually a heavier version of one of the moves from the block. I got a huge kick out of these minutes (mostly because I love countdowns and heavy lifting), but they really drain you.
Adding Extra Rest Days
My confession is this: I came dangerously close to quitting #mbfa numerous times because of total exhaustion. Don’t get me wrong — “Muscle Burns Fat Advanced” is an EXCELLENT program — but 6 weeks of non-stop workouts takes a toll.
Though I ultimately didn’t quit #mbfa, I did take several extra rest days, and recommend you do the same if your body is telling you it needs to rebuild. Budget a bit longer than the supposed 6 weeks for the “Muscle Burns Fat” combo, and choose wisely about whether you want to do #mbf a second round before heading to #mbfa.
Can #mbfa Pair With Walking or Running?
For sure, “Muscle Burns Fat Advanced” is a match made in heaven with walking. Though #mbfa is intense, it’s only 37 minutes long per video, so especially if you work a desk job, adding extra movement is key. Megan says herself several times that the series is not really cardio, meaning that even though the workouts get your heart rate up, there’s room to add more. I got into a great groove of aiming every day to fit in all my “big rocks” of: 1) #mbfa, 2) a nice outdoor walk, and, 3) meditation.
Regarding adding running to the mix, I’m not a runner (being a tall person who is also highly gangly makes jogging uncomfortable), but I imagine #mbfa could be paired with runs… with caution and restraint. If I got as exhausted as I did from #mbfa plus walking, methinks that you’d need to tone things down with extra rest days if you were integrating running.
Will Weightlifting Make Me Bulky?
You may be nervous to do #mbf or continue to #mbfa because of a fear that lifting weights causes “too much bulk.” Never fear — “Muscle Burns Fat” features high reps of medium to light weights, meaning it builds lean muscle, not huge bulk. You can see in my video embedded in this article that my biceps look relatively slim when not flexing… it’s only when I flex that the muscles really pop!
To compare to other Beachbody on Demand in terms of bulk creation, LIIFT4 would be an example of a program that could potentially cause bulking up, especially if you went heavier with the weights, because it’s about fewer reps and more weight.
In contrast, the Barre Blend program on BOD is the other end of the spectrum, using just 1-5 pound weights: ultra-light dumbbells with extremely high volume of reps. The “Muscle Burns Fat” series is sort of between LIIFT4 and Barre Blend with regards to style and effect, though it’s further towards the former in its love of a good lift.
“Muscle Burns Fat Advanced” Calendar
The #mbfa workout schedule follows the same flow as #mbf, but with new moves and music, a faster pace, plus that Megan Minute explained previously. Here is my analysis of each exercise set, with explanation of how they all progress over the three weeks of the program.
Mondays: Lower Body Burn Advanced.
Leg day! I loved these workouts, but found them extremely challenging, especially because I kept pushing myself to increase the weights. (On the printable chart where you keep track, I have lots of excited exclamation points for success at heavier lifts.) I was actually able to match Megan’s weight amounts during #mbfa! Sometimes.
Like #mbf, these lifting days have 4 blocks of exercise which alternate asymmetrical and symmetrical blocks (love that!) with BOD Rope jumping between, and now in #mbfa, the Megan Minute. The moves get more and more complex as the weeks go on, and mix in balance, eccentric movements, and forward and backward movements which require quite a bit of space. Pace yourself.
Example asymmetrical block: Split Squat, Hover Knee Drive with Leg Extension, then a combo of both. Example symmetrical block: Walking Side Lunge with Calf Raises. Megan Minute example: Sumo Squats.
Tues. and Thursdays: Core Circuit Advanced.
These workouts alternate BOD Rope and other cardio moves with ab and back exercises, then end with a 6-minute AMRAP (versus 4 minutes in #mbf): a challenge to do “As Many Reps As Possible” of a set of moves (different between Tuesdays and Thursdays). It’s motivating to try to beat your score from the previous week!
I found myself way more into the AMRAPS in #mbfa than #mbf because I finally got into the swing of moving quickly from one move to another, and the exercise list in #mbfa is complex enough to really sink your teeth into. Example AMRAP: 6 minutes to repeat Lunge Complex (4), to Roll Punch (4), to Lateral Jump with 3 High Knees (4), then 20 Jump Rope Hops.
The cardio blocks of these workouts are doable, especially with the modifications that lovely Lacee always provides to take out the impact — but the core moves… sheesh. They really get wild. (Does anyone really need that many reps of Front Sit-Throughs, Week 3?! I definitely modified some.) Let’s just say that the sides of my six pack are now showing because of Megan’s diabolical torture. I somewhat dreaded these days, but they pay off.
Wednesdays: Upper Body Burn Advanced.
These were my favorite workouts, and Megan says they’re hers, too. I loved the addition of glute bridges in #mbfa to chest presses, and enjoyed seeing the amount of weight I could lift increase with each week.
Example asymmetrical block: 1/2 Kneeling Row, Swing to Negative Curl, then combo. Example symmetrical block: Curl to Arnold Press, then Wide Neutral Bent-Over Row. Megan Minute example: Decline Press and Alt. Press.
Fridays: Full Body Burn Advanced.
The compound moves in this lifting day are designed to work both lower and upper body, which sometimes makes it challenging to select weight amounts. (You usually have to defer to the demands of your weakest muscles.) I enjoyed all the lifting days in #mbfa, and this workout set was no exception.
Example asymmetrical block: Side Lunge to Clean, then Split Jerk followed by a combo of both. Example symmetrical block: Swing to Rack then Drag Curls. Megan Minute example: Shifting Side Lunge.
Saturdays: Power Ignite Advanced.
Ok wait — actually these were probably my favorite workouts. Power Ignite days are just 25 minutes long and are EMOMs: “Every Minute on the Minute” where you do a set amount of a move before 40 seconds is out, then rest 20 seconds, and repeat multiple times. Ahh… that sweet spot of countdown timers plus full-out effort.
In the last Power Ignite of #mbfa, Megan reveals that the program contains 150 Front Sit-Throughs?! Whoa! I never thought I’d be able to do even one, but was able to make it through most with her tutorial helping. If you are nervous about them, Lacee offers a far more doable modification.
Example EMOM block: Skier Swing to Broad Jump, then Front Sit-Throughs, alternated over a 10 minute block. There are also lots of Loaded Beast Push-Ups in these Saturday workouts.
Sundays: Dynamic Recovery Advanced.
Listen: if you were expecting a relaxing and easy “day off” like the stretching days in “The Work,” you are in for a rude shock. The Dynamic Recovery days in #mbfa are NO JOKE. My burly husband tried to do one and could barely make it past the first move — let alone the partial bridge backbends.
My suggestion for these workouts is to do what you can — being careful not to injure yourself — and you’ll start to see some progress by week 3 of repeating those same moves. (I only survived these because I’m already freakishly flexible.) I have to hand it to Megan that she’s dedicated to helping us improve our hip flexibility, back mobility, and posture.
The final video ends with Megan choking back her crying as she congratulates the cast and us at home. I found it very moving how genuinely dedicated and passionate she is about helping people live better through daily exercise. This is also evident in the intro video about her. Megan Davies is the real deal! (And her arms and abs are #goals.)
Bonus: Three 10 Minute Ignite Videos.
In #mbfa there are three ten minute workouts that cover lower body, upper body, and full body, and can be either used alone, or tacked on to the end of #mba and #mbfa workouts to intensify the program for if you do a second or third round through.
I enjoyed all of these because they are the EMOM format that has the countdown timer and repeated moves so you can zone out and get sweaty fast. These videos don’t have a warm-up and barely have a cool-down, so make sure you add those in yourself.
On the Go Workouts:
These two workouts are both about 27 minutes long and require no equipment (not even the BOD Rope), so they’re good for travel (ex: taking your newly muscular “beach body” on a momcation to the oceanside of the ABC Islands or Folly Beach), or if you want a shorter workout time than the usual 40 minutes of #mbfa.
OTG Core Circuit Advanced:
I will warn you that “On the Go: Core Circuit Advanced” brings back those freaking Front Sit-Throughs, but as always, Lacee has a modification, bless her. As with #mbf’s bonus workouts, I’m highly impressed by the quality of #mbfa’s extra content. Megan and her team truly thought through and brought their A-game to all aspects of this program.
OTG Full Body Burn Advanced:
This workout starts slow and feels not cardio enough, but soon gets you into the booty-busting world of pistol squats and RDL, then a combo — then repeating both sides. I found myself missing the BOD Rope, which might bode badly for heading out of #mbfa and into the next thing! Speaking of that…
Which Workout Program to Do After #mbf and #mbfa
According to Megan, when you’re done with both #mbf and “Muscle Burns Fat Advanced,” you should circle back to #mbf (with the option to add the 10 minute Bonus workouts found in the #mbfa materials). The reason she explains is that the two programs work different sets of muscles and skills, so you’d miss out if you just repeat #mbfa.
On my end, I can really see how repeating the whole duo would be beneficial. Looking back at the video I took (embedded in this article) I can see I still have much work to do on keeping my core engaged and tight while doing the moves. If I repeated the series with that in mind — and continuing to increase weights — I would get more benefit.
Nutrition Plans: Healthy Eating
In the “Program Materials” section, there’s a giant document called “Quick Start Guide to Nutrition.” I already eat oodles of veggies, whole grains, and other such healthy stuff, and I already quit alcohol almost a year ago, so I didn’t spend time on this document, but it might be of use to some.
Problems With “Muscle Burns Fat Advanced”
Between #mbf and #mbfa, I liked #mbf a bit more, though both are excellent programs. Why? Here are my two major gripes with the program:
Issue 1: #mbfa is HARD!
The intensity of “Muscle Burns Fat Advanced” is both a pro and a con. Phrased positively, you really get your money’s worth with #mbfa — and for $8 a month with an annual Beachbody on Demand subscription, that ain’t bad.
Phrased negatively, it is so relentless to work out at the advanced level of #mbfa every day for 3 weeks that my bet is that few people finish this program without adding many extra rest days, meaning “Muscle Burns Fat Advanced” will actually last you a month or longer. I’d also wager that most workouts take folks longer than the supposed 37 minutes because of the need to hit pause to breathe.
I really want to emphasize this: there actually are no rest days in #mbfa because the “stretching” day is in fact a 40 minute workout. If you’re planning on doing #mbfa, you will NEED extra sleep, extra protein (I was starving and bone-tired during the whole month), and the willingness and ability to modify moves and scheduling as your body needs.
Issue 2: I’d prefer more lower body work.
Anyone who’s done “80 Day Obsession” gets a little spoiled seeing the backside gains from the targeted glute work Autumn brings you though. In contrast, Megan’s clear love is arm and ab work, meaning the gains you see in #mbf and #mbfa are more upper body than a leg-loving lady like me prefers. I ain’t complaining about this new shoulder definition, though…
A Note on these Armor Leggings and Photo Backdrops
Workout reviews are all well and good, but what about fitness fashion?! At this point you may be wondering: what in heaven’s name is going on with Lillie’s dramatic armor leggings and 80s style night sky backdrop? Glad you asked.
My current obsession is supporting woman-and-BIPOC-owned small businesses, and the latest find is Lorica Clothing: a woman-of-color owned workout gear company which meticulously prints authentic historic armor onto leggings and sports tops. Here I am modeling The Sackville set. (The red outfit is from Rochelle Porter, another phenomenal WOC-run biz.)
Regarding the backdrop, I got sick of photographing my plain white walls, so on the suggestion of a kind reader, bought some $10 cheesy wall tapestries and taped them up in my laundry room with painter’s tape! Epic look, eh?
Oh, and regarding my hair… I attempted to cut it myself, and things didn’t go so well. Thanks for your patience while I sort out the situation with my two-toned, lopsided mop.
“Muscle Burns Fat” & #mbfa in Sum
In closing, I highly recommend both #mbf and #mbfa — just know that “Muscle Burns Fat Advanced” is, in Megan and the cast’s repeated words, “NO JOKE!” The 3 weeks of #mbfa are HARD, with almost no rest within individual videos or in the calendar. The results — especially in arms and abs — are real, though!
As long as you know how to listen to your body to modify moves and add additional rest days, the “Muscle Burns Fat” duo is one of the best new Beachbody on Demand workout programs, and is well worth your time. Now, if you’ve tried #mbf and/or #mbfa, what was YOUR experience? Do share!
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!