What is 54D? The $4,000 workout endorsed by Alex Rodríguez

54D, a “human transformation” program founded by former professional soccer player Rodrigo Garduño, is not new. It took Mexico by storm in 2012 and opened its first U.S. office in Coral Gables, Florida in 2019.

But the popularity of Garduño’s free Instagram workouts during the pandemic boosted brand awareness and inspired a new digital offering, 54D ON, that allows people around the world to participate. Endorsements from big names like Alex Rodriguez and Adriana Lima and plans to expand with studios in Miami, New York and Los Angeles ensure the brand grows even more prominent in the United States.

At first glance, the program may look like it is about mastering a physical feat. Garduño attributes the success of the program to the mental shift each participant goes through: It’s about community, to break mental barriers and “give yourself wings,” he said.

The concept behind 54D

Garduño became a professional footballer at the age of 17. “I’ve dedicated my whole life to playing soccer in Mexico. I retired when I was almost 30 and when I retired I didn’t know what to do, ”said Garduño TODAY. “I was down with some kind of depression for two or three months, thinking what’s next for me? How will I deal with my life and support my family for the next 30 years? I realized that the only thing that could help me was myself. “

Garduño was always the guy in the locker room who kept his teammates motivated, so he decided to bring those skills to the public. What he has learned as a footballer, he translated into seminars on how to get out of difficult situations with mental strength.

But after a few years he realized that he was just talk and no action. “I only helped people halfway,” he said. “You empower people with ideas and motivation, but when they return home they return to the same place they were before. For real life to change, you have to go through an active process. “

And so the 54D program was born. It is an “intense program that changes the way you look and feel, but most importantly, the way you think and think. For me, that’s the only thing that really changes people’s lives, ”said Garduño.

What is 54D?

What exactly does following the program entail? The nine-week program is built on three pillars: high-intensity fitness, a strict nutrition plan and recovery therapy. The in-studio program has a high price tag of $ 3,900, but the virtual version is more accessible for $ 385.

  • Fitness: Bodyweight training lasts for an hour a day, six days a week, and gets harder as the week progresses. They are modeled after athletic training – based on soccer, volleyball, running – and are based on 15 different modalities, including high-intensity interval training, anaerobic training and isometric positions. “It’s very difficult, but very fun because you never repeat a class during the 54 days,” said Garduño. Optional extra classes that use weights have a specific focus such as lower body, upper body, and core.
  • Nourishment: All participants follow a nutrition plan that was developed by nutritionists and corresponds to their level in the training program. The first 10 days of the plan is a detox phase in which you cut down on sugar and saturated fat. The plan focuses on the importance of eating protein and vegetables, drinking water, and avoiding alcohol, and takes into account any dietary restrictions.
  • Recovery therapy: Great emphasis is placed on recovery and the studios have state-of-the-art equipment such as cryotherapy equipment and compression cabins to support recovery between workouts.

There is also a strict attendance policy. To ensure engagement, the courses are only accessible for 24 hours. If you are three minutes late for a class you are not allowed in and if you miss three classes you will be kicked off the program – yes, even if you are a celebrity, Garduño said.

“If you’re not ready to do this, go to the gym regularly because this is not for everyone,” said Garduño. “You have to be absolutely sure that you are ready for a program that pushes you to your limits, not only in training, but also in your habits and everyday life.”

It may seem strict, but Garduño said the program is for people who are ready to change their lives. “If you follow the rules, you will get the results you want,” said Garduño.

You start and end the 54D program with the same group of people – a so-called “generation”.54D

Why 54 days?

Before launching the brand, Garduño ran test groups in which he experimented with diet and fitness plans before settling on nine weeks as the sweet spot.

They found that 54 days was long enough to experience real transformation, both physically and mentally, but not too long for people to find it difficult to commit.

The hope is that after nine weeks you will have the tools to “fly yourself,” said Garduño. But, he added, the majority of participants actually re-enroll and start the 54 days over. Since the classes are always unique, the program does not become old-fashioned. For example, let’s say the first 54 days helped you lose excess fat, the second time your goal now may be to build muscle, so you can add weighted upper body training. The company is also releasing a second track for those who have completed the initial nine week program and want to move on.

The program is modeled after a university, not a gym

“When you go to the gym, you pay a monthly fee, but nobody wants to go,” said Garduño. “People don’t have the discipline or commitment they need. How can we help people achieve this? We’re creating a program where people can’t skip a day, it’s mandatory to come every day, or you get kicked out. If I want to offer you real variety, you have to get involved. “

Another important part of the program is the community. “It’s like going to a university, you enroll with the same people who graduate with you,” said Garduño. “It’s not a program that you can start anytime; Like in a school, we have a start day that everyone starts for this training class. You start and end with the same group. “

A new training course begins every two weeks. In the app you can chat with your entire group (usually around 25-35 people) as well as your trainers for the entire duration of the program.

“This is a self-help group. Everyone has their own goals, but everyone suffers the same, eats the same, struggles with the same sore muscles and always pushes through … Every time you don’t feel like exercising, you open the app and see everyone in your group say: ‘ We are there together. ‘”

Through physical work, 54D helps people overcome mental barriers.54D

Why are celebrities so drawn to 54D?

We are often persuaded to try programs that are touted by celebrities. After all, they have access to pretty much any trainer or program. So if you choose one, it has to work, right?

Garduño said that many professional athletes use the program as training in the off-season because the workouts are designed to improve coordination, strength, and flexibility. All coaches must be former professional footballers, which gives them a special insight into the mindset of overcoming tough hurdles and overcoming setbacks.

For other celebrities, this mental component is the biggest draw, he said. The workout is also very easy to incorporate into your routine, he added, which makes it attractive to actors and models as it doesn’t require any equipment, just your phone and sneakers, and can be done while traveling.

The mental transformation

This emotional work is most important to Garduño, because on the first day of the program he stood in the shoes of every participant who wanted to change his life.

“I started nine years ago because I felt it. When I retired from football, I felt exactly the same situation, not knowing what else to expect. I felt without wings. Alone. Despair. Depression. And I know what that feeling does to us. You think there is nothing else in life for you. “

Today he defines the main mission of the 54D program as helping people lead a better life.

“Life is difficult and over the years everyone stops dreaming, stops thinking that it is possible to be better, achieve goals, and be successful at something. Our program helps them rise again, “said Garduño.” People say, ‘I have wings again’. Maybe you’ve lost someone, or broken up with your husband, or been depressed, making you feel strong again and ready to dream again; try again. This program has what people need to get up and fight again. “

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