MTN Tough 30-30 Mid-Program Review & Thoughts

TX_Diver

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May 27, 2019
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535
I'm no fitness guru (or even really a fan of working out) but I generally consider myself to be in decent shape. 10 years ago I did a lot of paddling and would do races up to 25ish miles long. While at college with access to an awesome gym I made up some work-out programs and stuck with them for awhile. Recently I've just been doing jiu jitsu and found it to be a great way to stay in shape without needing to go to a gym. With jiu jitsu gyms closed for awhile though, and elk season approaching quick (T-8 weeks now!) I figured I'd shell out the $67.50 and try the Mtn Tough 30-30 program.

I'm halfway through week 4 right now. I started a little over 5 weeks ago but just had our 2nd baby last week so I haven't hit each week exactly on schedule.

Some Misc. Positive Thoughts
The program is definitely structured more towards hunting with a lot of lower body work. I don't think this program is going to help me look better in front of a mirror (but I took a before picture just in case...) but it does seem to focus on the functional fitness aspect of things which is what matters most. I'd rather be able to pack an elk out than just look like I could pack an elk out.

The workouts are simple and interesting. I was a little underwhelmed at first with the simplicity of them but now think that the simplicity is a huge plus. Similar to jiu jitsu, the fundamentals when done well will take you a long ways. I think there's a lot of focus on other programs with doing fancy exercises, and complex movements while skipping over the basics (personal experience with what I see from other individuals at gyms who are doing other/their own programs, not based on my experience doing other programs). The 30-30 program effectively implements a lot of basic/compound movements that will build strength.

It got me out running (this one almost goes in the negative thoughts). I hate running and wouldn't have run otherwise but week 1 starts out with a reasonable time and builds on it each week. My pace and how I feel after has slowly improved with each one.

Workouts build on the previous weeks with higher reps or #s of rounds so there's definitely some thought given to slowly increasing effort/workload in an effective manner.

The website has great form videos for each exercise that's part of the work-out, some have some modifications to make them easier or harder.

Workout structures are kinda fun (look-up Mtn tough 22s on youtube to see what Week 1 Day 1 holds). There is some variety through each week too so it's not like you're in the garage for 30 minutes each day. For the weighted pack stuff I've put my oldest daughter in the backpack and gone for walks. She loves it and it's a good way to get out of the house.

Some Misc. Negative Thoughts
This one is very specific to me: I don't do a lot of stuff for time/max effort, generally I keep a pace that I could go all day at. Most of the work-outs in the program are done for time. I will usually go at an elevated pace but make sure to really focus on form as I have zero desire to injure myself while trying to save 2 minutes. My opinion is that a few of these work-outs rely on max effort in order to really feel it. If I go through at a slightly elevated pace I'm not particularly sore the next day or anything (although I'm aware I worked out and have seen improvements in time throughout the weeks (some workouts repeat so you can compare times). If you want to get maximum gains out of this you'll need to go all-in against the clock for every workout. This is similar to anything though that you'll get out what you put in.

I personally would like to see a little more focus on the core work. Yesterday's workout had 200 situps and it was the first time in the weeks that the core portion of the workout was challenging IMO. Stuff like running and rucking and many of the other workouts inherently work your core as well, but I PERSONALLY would prefer some additional focus there.

I don't particularly like the 5 days on 2 days off structure as my job/current life events (new baby) make that kind of consistency difficult. I think some additional recovery helps a bit too between some of the work-outs. However the 5/2 is great for people who need that kind of consistency mandated in order to stick with it.

The work-outs are very manageable timewise but most of them will take closer to an hour once you do the warm-up, workout and cool down. 30-60 doesn't have the same ring to it though.

Some days include pull-ups/chin-ups. I bought this thinking it was 100% equipment free. I don't have a pull-up bar (or nearby park). An exercise mat is highly recommended as well.

The website is a little clunky and logs you out often so it's kind of a pain to navigate, but you get used to it and there is a lot of info there so overall can't complain.

Weeks 1 and 2 have had the hardest work-outs so far so I think that may scare off some people who are starting with no fitness base.

Overall Thoughts
Overall/So far I think this is a great program, especially for the current price and other stuff you get with it. The website has some great mobility/stretching stuff on it. While the work-outs aren't super glamorous/complex I think they are effective. If you have the time and knowledge to put together a work-out program you could come up with something similar on your own, but there's really no reason to when stuff like this exists at this price-point. When I put together my own work-out program in the past it took me a lot of time doing research, trying exercises, etc. That leg-work has been done here and you can take advantage of it for a pretty reasonable price.

The most important part of working out (and also the hardest part) is starting, so if you need something to do but don't want to go to a gym or buy equipment, or you're like me and just want to change it up a bit while your normal work-out routine/gym is impacted by COVID, then I'd highly recommend the 30-30 program.
 
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TX_Diver

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Update - Finished 2 weeks ago. I did the 6 week program in 7.5 weeks so take that for what it's worth (mainly due to life, new baby, work, etc. rather than the program itself).

Not a whole lot to add to my week 4 thoughts but I'll touch on a few again.

Additional Positive Thoughts
The workouts picked back up a bit with weeks 5/6 and were more challenging than 3/4.

This is a fairly comprehensive at home program that will improve your fitness. If you're a crossfit athlete or similar you may not gain much but for the average person I think this program is great, and for the above average person it's still a great supplement/way to change up your routine a bit.

I picked up a slight tan from doing many of the workouts outside.

Additional Negative Thoughts
There is still no way 30 minutes is a good timeframe for these unless you're a very high level athlete. The warm-up is about 6-7 minutes (w/ a 5 second break between each part) and the cool down is 9 minutes if you take a 5 second break between each activity. Plan on an hour ish each time all-in (with some going under and a few taking longer)

There are 2 high rep single exercise days in the last weeks. I wasn't a huge fan of these but would consider them to be largely mental which is a huge part of your game. Get the form right and get through them.

My Personal Conclusion/Overall Experience & Opinion
I ended up losing about 10lbs (190 to 180).
You get out of things what you put in. Had I gone all out every work-out and sprinted for every run I'd probably have lost 20 lbs and have a sweet 6 pack, but even with my slow/steady approach I still made some good progress in some areas and at least some progress in all areas. Example - The first week running I got 2 miles at an 10:30 min/mile pace. The last week I got 4 miles at a 9:07 min/mile pace. Trying to get 4 at an 8:30 pace before my elk hunt, mainly because it's something I never really wanted to do/would have done otherwise.
There are 4 weeks left til my elk hunt (or were at time of finishing, now slightly less than 3). I'm planning to re-do weeks 2, 4, & 6 but keep the run at 4 miles each time and also make some minor tweaks to add more core work. Through winter I'll probably switch back to jiu jitsu as it's indoors and my wife wants to start again now that we have some mats at the house, but this program will definitely be in the mix later next year again. There are some good workout formats in there too that you could always follow with the exercises of your choice
$75 is a good price for what you get.

If you're on the fence or need something to do at home I'd jump on it. My negatives are pretty specific to myself and personality while I think the positive take-aways are applicable across a much wider spectrum. This program is an easy way to start working out that will take-away all the "I don't have any equipment", "I don't have a gym nearby", "I don't have the money for a personal trainer or gym membership" excuses. If you're not competing at the crossfit games or trying to achieve a very specific goal that requires an extremely targeted approach to fitness, my personal opinion is that you'd probably get something out of the 30-30 program.
 
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TX_Diver

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535
Updated 2nd post now that I finished.

Each day has a short video from Ara with some motivation and an overview of the work-out. I didn't watch all of them but I know what Jocko would say.
 
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