Get. It. Done.
Since doing Insanity, I’ve been following Shaun T on Facebook and remained active on teambeachbody.com as well as in real life. Once I saw an ad for Focus T25 I read into the program and knew I had to purchase it upon release. For those of you who haven’t yet heard of this amazing new home workout program, it features Shaun T, the face of the popular Insanity and Hip Hop Abs programs. But unlike his other programs, Focus T25’s main goal is to be accessible to those of us with an unfortunate lack of free time in our schedule. As much as I loved Insanity, month 2 became a struggle for me because the time demand increased significantly. I figured Focus T25’s schedule which boasts a 5 days/week 25 minutes/day schedule would be a godsend for me.
Was it truly a godsend?
I’m going to be a bit more honest than T25’s advertisements. It isn’t exactly 25 minutes 5 days per week. On the fifth day it is recommended to do the double on the calendar. If you opt out of doing a double, you can do the workout on your sixth day of course, but then you’re forfeiting your rest day. The seventh day of the week is the optional stretch. Trust me when I say you’ll actually want to do the stretch routine. Especially in the beginning. It is a great way to gear up for the next week and your muscles will thank you for it. Oh, and the 25 minutes of working out don’t include the cooldown, which will run 2-3 minutes.
The nutrition guide follows the 5 theme, instructing you to eat five times a day and supplying recipes with only five ingredients (excluding things like water, salt and pepper) which supposedly only take 5 minutes to prepare. This is also a farce, unless you already have pre-measured/weighted ingredients hanging around. The guide also opens with five easy questions that will determine how many calories per week you need to eat. Yes, for you fitness gurus out there this is grossly oversimplified. For people just beginning their journey to a healthier lifestyle, I think it is perfect. Simple and easy. The information out there telling us what/when/how to eat is confusing and scary and makes most people run back to their potato chips. If you follow the nutrition guide, you will lose weight. If you’ve been at the fitness game for a while and already know how to calculate your BMR and track your macros, then by all means do what you’re already doing as long as you account for the calorie burn with shorter 25 minute workouts. You’ll lose weight and get fitter either way.
Focus T25’s calendar is as follows: 5 weeks of Alpha, 5 weeks of Beta, and 4 weeks of Gamma if you purchase it separately. Alpha’s focus is the foundation. Beta focuses mainly on your core, while Gamma is all about strength. Like other Shaun T programs, there is a big focus on cardio. Less so in Gamma, where you’re lifting dumbbells, but trust me when I say Speed 3.0 more than makes up for the lack of cardio you’ll be doing on other days. My T25 package came with a resistance band. After attempting the first workout with a resistance band instead of dumbbells, I vowed never again. I don’t have much experience using bands, so walking sideways while doing squats and trying to keep the band beneath my feet was distracting.
My main gripe with the way Focus T25 was sold is pretty similar to my take on release-day DLC and disc-based DLC; it is a sleezy, corporate scheme to milk more money from people. After doing the entire program, I firmly believe that you must do Gamma to completely round out the program and finish with the results they’re advertising. To sell it separately is nothing short of a money-grab and made me a bit disappointed with Team Beachbody.
The big question when it comes to T25 I’ve seen online is, “How does it compare to Insanity?” Well. When I did my first week of Alpha, I was definitely in love with T25. To me, it felt like Insanity without the filler. I mean, Insanity has 10 minute warm-ups, followed by a stretch, then your workout, then another stretch. T25 doesn’t waste any time, which is why Shaun T pushes you to NOT take any breaks. If you need to take it down a notch, our old friend Tania is modifying. And that’s another thing; Insanity did not have Tania, or anyone, modifying. I was new to fitness, had never even done a heisman before, so I didn’t know you could modify most of the moves. Having a permanent modifier (like Hip Hop Abs) definitely makes the program less intimidating and helps you stay in the game when you have an injury or just need to slow your heart rate down.
And really, why spend 60-90 minutes working out in a day when you can spend half an hour and still get results? I guess if you actually like working out (I am not one of those freaks, unfortunately)… or need an excuse to eat more. And you can always double up your T25 workouts if you feel the NEED to exercise an hour a day. But if that’s the case you might as well stick to Insanity.
I realize I have to provide my readers with proof that I could lose weight doing T25 after doing Insanity. I am begrudgingly providing you with my embarrassing before and after pictures. Only because I feel it is important to prove that a full-time working parent of a toddler can achieve results if they are dedicated. Nutrition is the big component here, people. You won’t get the results you want if you don’t follow the nutrition guide. Newsflash: Eating a Big Mac and fries at McDonalds will cancel out the calories you burned during your workout. I know, I tried it with Insanity. I hardly lost any weight or inches (though my resting heart rate, endurance, and other non-visible things improved!). So I’m going by the assumption that you’re considering doing T25 because you want to wear smaller clothes. I lost 15 pounds and multiple inches, even with imperfect nutrition. I can only imagine how much better my results would have been if I had a flawless diet. Alas, my willpower is not always as strong as it could be.
I’ll stop procrastinating. Here are my pics!
I gotta say, I’m loving the severe reduction of my post-baby muffin top!
And there you have it! I STRONGLY recommend Focus T25 to busy working parents like myself. It is accessible, Shaun T is encouraging, and with the workouts being only 25 minutes, it was hard for me NOT to find the time to make them up if I had a bad night and couldn’t muster the energy to wake up at 5:30 to get it done.