Does Athlean X Work? My Personal AX1 90-Day Program Review

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Jeff Cavaliere, also known through his brand Athlean-X, is a popular fitness influencer. Jeff is a bit different than your typical fitness influencer. His videos go beyond simple advice and really delve into the science behind what he’s saying. He makes sure you’re educated, so you know why you’re doing what he’s telling you. 

I’ve seen Athlean-X videos pop up in my YouTube recommendations for years. In any of Jeff’s videos I’ve watched, I always came away feeling like I got a lot of value. Recently, I wanted to switch up my training. While I was looking for programs to try out, the Athlean-X AX1 program came up.

The program sounded like a good deal. You get a full 90-day training program equipped with instructional videos and a meal plan. The program promises great results, and Athlean-X has a lot of testimonials to back up those claims. So does Athlean-X work? In this review, I’ll go into detail with the answer from my experience. Keep reading to find out.

What is Athlean-X?

Athlean-X AX1 is a complete 90-day training program. This program should contain everything you need, no matter your goals. Whether you want to lose weight, gain weight, or work out at home or at the gym, there are options in the program for you. 

The training style of Athlean-X is a mix of training methodologies. They range from classic compound movements to more modern training styles. Some of the exercises that Jeff uses are ones he even created himself. 

The main types of exercises used in the AX1 program are:

  • Compound movements
  • Unilateral movements 
  • Bodyweight movements
  • Isometric training

Many workouts consist of all four of these.

The Training Split

The workout split is a variation of push, pull, legs combined with conditioning workouts. The basic weekly breakdown of your training is:

  • Monday: Push & Pull
  • Tuesday: Conditioning
  • Wednesday: Legs
  • Thursday: Conditioning
  • Friday: Push & Pull
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: Rest

I enjoyed the training split in this program. Push, pull, legs is one of my favorite ways of training. This variation combining push and pull on the same days felt well-rounded and effective. 

My Personal History and Background with Fitness and Exercise

I’ve been working out for over 9 years. I started when I was 16 doing Mark Rippetoe’s 5×5 program. Most of my training has been in powerlifting. I’ve also delved into bodybuilding here and there. I’ve tried many programs, from 5×5 to the Conjugate Method to Daily Undulating Periodization. 

Athlean-X doesn’t line up with my usual style of powerlifting training. That said, I chose it because I wanted to change things up. I wanted to get a bit leaner and improve my conditioning. I felt like this program could help me do just that.

My Personal Experience with Athlean-X

I used this program for the full 90 days. Overall, I enjoyed it and felt I got a lot out of following this workout plan.

What I Liked About the Program

My favorite part of this workout plan is the exercise variation. This was something I was looking for in taking a break from powerlifting training.

Studies have found that varying exercise selection only makes a small difference in muscle building. So it helps, but I won’t overhype exercise variation as the end all be all. But what studies have found is it does make a significant difference in the motivation to train

I will say this aligns with what I experienced in this program. I looked forward to my daily training more than I had in a while. It was fun seeing what new exercises I would be doing in my workout that day. 

The workouts also left me feeling energized and like I had accomplished something. These workouts will challenge you. I found myself covered in sweat by the end of some of them. But that’s the challenge I wanted. 

What I Didn’t Like About the Program

The one thing I wasn’t a huge fan of was the meal plan. It’s pre-planned out for you with what you need to eat. Which is good for beginners who need to just stick with something. But it leaves you without much flexibility. 

I knew it wouldn’t be a diet I would stick to, so I went in my own direction with that. But I’ve been working out long enough to know how to eat for fat loss.

That said, those who like having a “coach” tell you exactly what to eat may respond well to this diet plan. 

The Results I Got

I felt like I got good results from this program. I lost about 7 pounds in the 90 days. I wasn’t going after super aggressive weight loss, but I was able to slim down a bit like I wanted to. I’ve also noticed the muscles in my upper body have more definition than usual. I’m not one to usually have a fully defined six-pack, but my abs have a bit more definition than normal as well. 

Required Equipment for the AX-1 90-Day Program

One of the best things about this program is you don’t need much equipment to do it. You only need a pull-up bar, dumbbells, and a resistance band. Although while it’s not required, I would recommend you have access to a barbell and power rack to get the most out of it. 

The program itself also handles the use of different types of equipment efficiently. If you don’t have access to a piece of equipment, you can hit a button to swap that exercise out for something else. It’s a super easy and streamlined process.

What are the benefits of the Athlean-X program?

There are several benefits I found in the Athlean-X AX1 program. The main benefits are:

  • It has instructional videos for everything. Every step in the process and each exercise is explained thoroughly. 
  • The program is completely science-based and backed by research. 
  • It’s an actual cutting-edge program. It offers exercises and workouts that are outside of what you’ll typically find for free online.
  • I found it easy to understand. I wasn’t ever confused about the next step I needed to take. 
  • The program is designed to improve your all-around fitness. 
  • You can base it on whatever goals you have. 
  • The workouts can be done at home or in the gym with simple equipment. 
  • They offer a community feed where you can ask questions or get help when you’re stuck.

With all these benefits, I believe many people can get a lot out of this program. 

What are the drawbacks of the Athlean-X program?

While this program has many benefits, it also has a few drawbacks. The ones I found from my experience were: 

  • The diet plan is beginner friendly. However, it lacks customizability which I think could lead to people falling off of it. 
  • The workouts may be too intense for complete beginners or those with limiting health conditions. Those who are new to training may find they get overly sore from the workouts. This can lead to people stopping a program more easily. I would recommend a complete beginner to start somewhere else. 
  • If you want to improve your big lifts, this isn’t your program. There are compound exercises used in training. That said, you likely won’t see big jumps in your bench press, squat, deadlift, etc. But if you want to improve your overall physical fitness and physique, this program is great. 

There are some potential drawbacks. But I still think this program is great for someone who wants to improve their overall fitness. It’s definitely one that stands out, in my opinion, compared to other similar programs available. 

Comparison to Other Workout Programs

I also wanted to give you an idea of how Athlean-X compares to other options. The table below will compare the features of this program to AX2 (another Athlean-X program), V Shred, and Super Hero X12. 

FeatureAX1AX2V ShredSuperhero X12
Price$80-$97 or $13 per month annual subscription$80-$97 or $13 per month annual subscription$47-$67$49
Length of Program90 Days90 Days90 Days84 Days
Training LevelIntermediate – AdvancedIntermediate – AdvancedBeginnerBeginner – Intermediate
Ease of UseEasy to UseEasy to UseVery ConfusingEasy to Use
Goals It’ll Help You AchieveFat Loss or Muscle BuildingFat Loss or Muscle BuildingWeight LossFat Loss or Muscle Building
Equipment NeededDumbbells, Pull-Up Bar, Resistance BandBench, Pull-Up Bar, Resistance Band, DumbbellsGym Membership Needed to Get the Most Out of ItAdjustable Bench, Dumbbells, Pull-Up Bar
Exercise VariationLots of Variation and CustomizabilityLots of Variation and CustomizabilityNoneSome Variation
Research-Backed MethodsYesYesNoYes
Efficacy of Nutritional RecommendationsHealthy GuidelinesHealthy GuidelinesLacks Nutritional EfficacyHealthy Guidelines

As you can see, the Athlean-X programs cost a bit more than other options. That said, I think you get more out of their programs than other options. If you’re looking for a great intermediate to advanced training option, Athlean is the way to go. 

If you’re looking for more of a beginner option, Superhero X12 is also a good option. I would definitely choose that over V Shred, which has too many negatives to it.  

Overview of the Athlean-X Community

One of the great things about Athlean-X is the community feel of the program. From the moment you log in to the portal, one of the first things that jumps out is the community feed. People can post their questions, get help, or even share big news about their most recent PR. It’s hard not to get motivated to train when you see others sharing their successes. 

I believe this community is one thing that not many other programs offer. Athlean has worked hard to build up a positive community base. And that effort shines through. Members of the Athlean team are even active in the community feed to help you out if needed. It’s a great level of support that makes you feel like a valued customer. 

Analysis of the Program’s Price and Value

The program is more expensive than other options available. However, I think the value is worth the price to get everything it offers. I didn’t even make much use of the meal plan myself. But even with just the training plan alone, it’s worth the price. It’s a more detailed training plan than you’ll find free online or even in many other paid programs. 

Pricing Structure

If you’re wondering, the pricing structure is a base price of $80-97 for the program. The price varies a bit based on the sales that they have available. 

They also offer a $13 per month subscription to get access to all the programs they have. Do note that you have to commit to a full year if you go the subscription-based route. But if you want to do additional programs after the initial 90 days, it’s a good value. 

Conclusion and Final Recommendation

Overall, I really enjoyed this program. I would recommend it to anyone looking to build muscle or improve their level of fitness.

The program does a great job of offering exercise variation. It keeps it interesting, so you stay motivated to train. You can also easily swap out the exercises based on the equipment you have available. 

While I wasn’t a fan of the diet plan, it could be useful for some people. It just depends if you respond well to being told exactly what to eat. 

The instructional videos throughout the program are extremely helpful. You shouldn’t have to worry about using bad form or anything else. They have you covered. 

The community feel also really stands out and makes this a well-rounded program. 

If you’d like to check out Athlean-X AX1, click this link to see more about the program on their website. 



Pierce Reiten

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