My honest 9 Week Control Freak review
After finishing #MBF, I was on the hunt for a new Beachbody workout that offered something a bit different but would still maintain the gains I made in #MBF. Once I watched the intro video for 9 Week Control Freak and saw the combination of the equipment used and the variety in the workouts, I was excited to start. Read on for my honest 9 Week Control Freak review.
Note: I’m in no way affiliated with Beachbody On Demand. I’m not a Beachbody coach, I’ve just set myself a goal of getting through as many of the Beachbody workouts as I can. So far I’ve done Barre Blend, 21-Day Fix , 80 Day Obsession, 30 Day Breakaway and #MBF.
What is 9 Week Control Freak?
9 Week Control Freak is one of the workout programs offered by Beachbody on Demand which streams workouts and provides nutrition plans.
It’s a combination of Tabata Cardio, HIIT, strength training, and balance workouts. What makes 9 Week Control Freak stand out from other programs is the that the workouts incorporate the use of a control track (more on that below), exercise step and small exercise ball (used for abs and core work and stretches). Most people probably don’t have these pieces of equipment lying around so you do need to spend some dollars before you can do 9 Week Control Freak. I’d normally head straight to Amazon for these but I’d advise at least getting the control track from Beachbody.
The idea behind the program is that for 9 weeks you take control of not just your fitness but also your nutrition and rest.
What are the 9 Week Control Freak workouts like?
They are 30 minute workouts, 5 days a week, led by Beachbody’s super trainer, Autumn Calabrese (Autumn is also the trainer for 21-Day Fix and 80 Day Obsession) . The 9 week program is divided up into 3 phases. Each phase increases in intensity and difficulty.
3 days a week are DCT-T workouts – which stands for Density, Complexes, and Tabata Training, 1 day of the week is Total Body Tone, and the other day is Tabata Cardio and Core. Tabata Cardio includes for example, using the exercise step for 10 seconds, followed by a brief rest then repeating the move on and off for 4 minutes. It is really effective in getting the heart rate up.
You can watch a sample 9 Week Control Freak workout here:
The control track
In my opinion, the control track is one of the big pluses of 9 Week Control Freak. It makes the program fun and different from other Beachbody workouts I’ve done. It’s basically a resistance band cable set-up which attaches to your door (or you can install it on your wall) that allows you to push and pull at various heights using resistance bands. You can buy the control track through Beachbody (the wall mount costs extra). It’s like a home version of the cable machine you get at the gym.
The control track makes the workouts fun and interesting but it can be a bit of a pain to have to adjust the track to different heights during the workouts. I also found that I had to watch the workouts on the ipad because I didn’t have a suitable door to attach the control track to that was near the TV.
I found that the control track gave me a great arm workout in particular (although I wasn’t looking to bulk up, I just wanted more definition).
Pros of 9 Week Control Freak
√ Each workout is only 30 minutes which is great if you are time poor like me. If you want a longer workout you can also tack on one of the supplementary, bonus workouts. I loved that there were 2 rest days a week too. One of by biggest criticisms of Muscle Burns Fat (you can read my review) is that it is a 7 day a week program.
√ There is always a new move to learn and the workouts are never boring. I loved how the workouts were structured so that you might be repeating a couple of exercises for the first 1/3 of the workout, followed by resistance moves and then ending with some cardio.
√ There is a modifier who does a less intense version of each move.
√ If you’re looking to build stronger legs and glutes, 9 Week Control Freak will definitely do that. Autumn loves her leg moves. My legs were so sore during the 9 weeks.
√ 9 Week Control Freak works every part of the body, although there is a definite focus on the lower body.
√ I definitely got my heart rate up and worked up a good sweat during each workout.
√ I like that the program is a decent length. It meant I didn’t need to think about what I was going to do for the next 9 weeks
√ 9 Week Control Freak isn’t just an exercise program. Autumn Calabrese has tried to take a more holistic approach to fitness with this program by making it clear that 9 Week Control Freak is also about taking control of your nutrition and your rest. She also peppers the workouts with her motivational quotes such as “put in half the effort, expect half the results”.
√ There are lots of bonus workouts.
√ Beachbody has a huge online following so it’s easy to find other people doing the program at the same time as you to keep you motivated and share results and inspiration. You don’t even need to be with a coach to get this benefit. Just find a free Facebook group or look up 9 Week Control Freak on Instagram.
Cons of 9 Week Control Freak
X Even though 9 Week Control Freak is touted as a total body workout, there is a lot of focus on the lower body but not enough on the upper body. I feel like if you were looking to make gains in this area, you’d be disappointed with 9 Week Control Freak. 9 Week Control Freak really isn’t about heavy lifting/ weight training.
X A lot of equipment is required for 9 week control freak. And then of course, after you complete the program, you need to find space to store that equipment.
X 9 week control freak does not have music
X The program requires a decent amount of space. It would be perfect for someone with a home gym. You also need to have an appropriate door to hang the control track on, that allows for a lot of surrounding movement. The alternative to using a door is to hang the track on the wall but of course you’d need to drill holes in the wall. Also the door you use might not necessarily be in a convenient location such as in front of the TV where you do the workout. You also need space to do the moves on the exercise step.
X Almost none of the moves are repeated and some of the moves felt overly complicated. So if you are like me and take a while to get your head around each move, this can be a bit frustrating and feels like a bit of a time waste. I also felt like some of the moves weren’t entirely safe. Autumn suggest that people watch the workout before completing it to figure out the moves. This seemed like it should be totally unnecessary. I mean I barely have time to work out for 30 minutes a day, let alone spend another 30 minutes trying to figure out what is I am supposed to be doing.
X I found that the control track was a bit tricky to get the hang on. It’s good to practice using it a bit before undertaking the workouts. It is also a pain to have to adjust the track to different heights during the workouts.
X Some people can’t stand Autumn Calabrese’s style. She’s a very tough love/ no nonsense kind of trainer. She’s also full of inspirational quotes which some people might find irritating. I personally don’t mind her at all – I find her pretty motivational and positive. But I suppose you could always just turn your music up if you have an issue with her.
X Autumn pushes the various Beachbody products such as their Shakeology shakes, nutrition bars etc. during the workouts. I just ignore all that and focus on the workouts.
For the pros and cons of Beachbody in general, see my Beachbody on Demand review.
What equipment do you need to do 9 week control freak?
- small core ball
- control track
- exercise step
- weights of various sizes
- exercise mat.
Of course Beachbody want you to purchase this equipment through them. You can get most of the equipment from Amazon but I’d recommend getting the control track directly from Beachbody.
If you don’t want to invest in the equipment you could also do Beachbody’s 9 Week Control Freak: Off the Wall. I haven’t done this program but according to Beachbody’s website, Off the Wall is a dumbbells-only option.
I feel like people who are reasonably fit and familiar with other Beachbody workouts will be able to do the workouts. It is a great program for people who are time poor and want to get maximum results in the minimum amount of time. However you do need space to be able to complete the program so if you live in a small apartment where space is at a premium, 9 Week Control Freak might not be suitable for you.
Is 9 Week Control Freak suitable for beginners?
Beachbody have designated 9 Week Control Freak as an intermediate program. It does have a modifier who does a less intense version of each move but there is definitely a steep learning curve.
If you are unfit, I would not recommend doing this program straight away. For complete beginners, I’d recommend 21 Day Fix and then working your way up to a more full on program like 9 Week Control Freak.
What is the difference between 9 Week Control Freak and Off the Wall?
Off the Wall is a dumbbells-only version of 9 Week Control Freak, so you don’t need to get all of the equipment.
Can you lose weight doing 9 Week Control Freak?
I didn’t lose any weight, although to be fair, I wasn’t really trying to. You’d probably need to combine the program with some kind of restrictive diet plan to see significant results on the scales. Beachbody likes to spruik their Ultimate Portion Fix and 2B Mindset diets, along with their various shakes and potions. Presumably you’d see good weight loss results if you followed one of those while doing 9 Week Control Freak. I just try to eat healthily most of the time but didn’t really restrict myself at all.
So would I recommend 9 Week Control Freak?
Overall I enjoyed 9 Week Control Freak – using the equipment was fun and each workout definitely got my heart rate up and the endorphins flowing. I loved the cardio element of 9 Week Control Freak too. Overall I was motivated each morning to get up and do the workout.
One of the big reasons why I like Beachbody on Demand so much is that it is a lot cheaper and convenient than going to a gym to do classes. However to do 9 Week Control Freak I had to purchase the core ball, control track and exercise step, all of which I might not use again. And of course I need to store them somewhere after the program finished (although the core ball does deflate).
Whether or not you will enjoy it depends on what you want to get out of the program. I do feel like this program is aimed more at women in say there 30s who want to work on the butt and leg area. If you are looking to build up your upper body for example, you’ll probably be disappointed with 9 Week Control Freak. But if you just want to feel motivated to get up each day and do a shortish, varied workout to start your day off right and feel like you have burnt some calories, 9 Week Control Freak will be a good fit.
Have you tried 9 Week Control Freak? Did you love it or hate it? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Courtney has a passion for all things fitness on a budget. She loves home workouts and trying out different fitness gear.