Cali Move Home Workout Review

My last fitness post was on the CaliMove mobility program. Well, I just finished their at-home program as well. And (spoiler alert) I really liked it.

General Structure

This program is a bit different from the mobility program. It's also different from the Athlean-X strength training programs, in that the workouts all time-based.  The exact details vary depending on what phase of the program you're in, but this means that the length of any given workout is fixed, so you know going into it exactly how long it will take.  Personally, I really liked this, as one of my main issues with the mobility program, as well as the Athlean-X Xero calisthenics program, was that the workouts could drag on for an hour or more.  With this program, you know the length up front and it's never too long - I think they top out at around 40 minutes, which isn't bad at all.

I started this program when I was half way through the mobility program. At the time, it was a good fit because you start out only training three days a week.  Also, they advertise that, while this isn't meant to be done with other training programs, it's OK to do the mobility program at the same time.  If you're going to do that, though, I would recommend staggering them like I did.  As I mentioned, the mobility program ramps up to six days a week and probably an hour or more per workout by the end.  Combine that with four days a week of 30 to 40 minutes of the at-home workout and you've got a pretty long and tiring workout there.

Anyway, like the mobility program, the at-home workout program is six months long, with a one-week de-load half way through.  Each month is a different "phase", with a slightly different training schedule and approach.  The phases vary, with some focusing on circuit training, some doing straight sets, supersets, AMRAP intervals, etc.  They're all challenging and give you enough variation to keep the program interesting and engaging.

In terms of the exercises, there's nothing really new or revolutionary here.  The program is designed to be done at home, with no exercise equipment at all (not even a pullup bar), so there's only so many options available.  So lots of variations on pushups, crunches, planks, lunges, squats, and so forth.  The only thing that requires any "equipment" is the row variations, which can be done with a pair of folding chairs or something equivalent.  But that said, there are actually a lot of variations in this program.  And the exercises rotate and progress as you move through the program, so the workouts stay challenging and change often enough that you don't get bored.

Program Presentation

In terms of presentation, this program is quite different from the mobility program.  Since this one is time-based, each session has a follow-along video (also available as downloadable audio) that tells you the intervals and exercises.  It also has a very spiffy set of graphics that summarize the workout.  Basically, they're animated GIFs that show the exercise, the time on and off, number of repetitions, and an indication of the workout flow (so for circuits the images flow together).


I have to say, I really like this presentation.  Of the programs I've done so far, this is by far the most visually interesting and and easy to follow workout summary.  Once you get used to it, you can get all of the information you need in a single glance, without having to search the page or think about the instructions.  This is especially nice for the circuits and supersets.  When dealing with simple text presentations of more complicated flows, I find that it's easy to get lost when I start to get tired.  The graphics make it easy to reorient yourself and prepare for the next exercise, while the video helps keep you from getting lost in the first place.

The rest of the program presentation is also quite good.  Each phase starts with a brief video overview describing the approach and a set of demo videos for the exercises employed in that stage.  As usual for CaliMove, the exercise demo videos are exceptional.  Each phase also has an Excel spreadsheet that you can download to track your progress.  This is a little inconvenient, in that it's a little hard to compare between phases with each one being a different file and the spreadsheet doesn't break down sets, but that's not a big deal.  With a calisthenics program there's no weight to track, so really all you care about is that the number of reps keeps going up.  Besides, if you don't like it, you can always track things on your own, whether in your own spreadsheet or just on paper.


I also purchased the "nutrition upgrade" with this program.  The base program is just the workouts - it doesn't come with any kind of nutrition information, or eating plan, or anything like that.  If you want that stuff, you have to buy it as an add-on.

The nutrition upgrade was...fine, I guess.  I watched the videos and read the PDFs, but ended up deciding not to follow the nutrition program.  It had a lot of good information, as well as some that seemed iffy.  There was some mention of "detox" and a couple of other things that made me cringe a little.  For the most part, though, it seemed sane and reasonable.  As I recall, the plan involved using food categorization and relative portion sizes to reach specific macro targets that change week by week.  To me, it seemed like yet another way to track macros without actually tracking them. 

Personally, I didn't care for this approach and ended up just doing plain-old food tracking with Cronometer.  I was already in a place where I was eating a healthy, balanced diet, and just needed to change my energy balance a little to drop 5 - 10 pounds.  I was up to close to 170lbs after the holidays and wanted to get down to around 160, so I tried to cut my calorie intake back by an average of 250kcal per day (give or take - some days I was at maintenance, others I was 500 under) for five or six months.  That worked well for me and averaged out to around half a pound per week of weight loss.  I know some people really hate tracking their food, but I don't mind it all that much.  At least, I don't really find it any more painful than the "no-tracking tracking" alternatives like this program uses.  I'd rather just look at the numbers than have to figure out what group and portion size each of my foods fits in.  But that's just me.


Overall, I really liked the at-home program.  It's extremely well presented and easy to follow.  The workouts themselves are good and stay challenging, despite the lack of any equipment.  I also really liked the relatively short duration and fixed time.  If I had it to do over, I wouldn't bother with the nutrition upgrade, but if you're looking for a more structure nutrition plan, then maybe it could be helpful to you.  But if you're looking to stay in shape, get a bit stronger, and do it at home without equipment, then I highly recommend this program.

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