T25 Alpha was done and dusted so it was time to move onto the Beta round. I thought Alpha was pretty darn good, so I was looking forward to picking up the pace and continuing to get strong results.
Once again it is worth noting that I started the program in reasonable shape. I can run >10km without a break and I live a pretty active lifestyle. The goal for the Beta round was to lose a couple more pounds and hopefully improve the definition on my body.
I again stuck to the program closely and only missed one day after finishing a Tough Mudder event (fair enough I thought!). I have not been using any special diet or supplements, but I generally run a tight ship in that regard so you could consider that I’m always eating well.
General Thoughts and Results
First, final before and after shot of the entire T25 program:
It would be easy to look at that and be a bit disappointed. Of course taking a before and after shot that isn’t complete bullshit is a bit of an art, but I’m telling it like it is here. In terms of weight, I’ve dropped from 91kg down to 89 or 88 on a good day. It isn’t a whole lot but it is in line with my expectations given my starting point.
Fitness wise I am feeling a lot better cardio-wise. As mentioned previously I got through my end goal of Tough Mudder without too much difficulty, which is a great endorsement for the beachbody products. These programs will do a job for you, albeit one that could also be done elsewhere.
In short, Beta was an inconsistent program for me. There were some high points in the workouts, but also some much lower. Where as Alpha felt like it did a great job of getting the body ready for Beta; Beta really suffered from the same lack of focus and ultimately didn’t deliver quite what I was after.
Some general thoughts:
- Production is still top-notch and Shaun and the supporting cast are great. Even Tanya picks things up this round and there is a lot less modifying to be done (useful for those modifying to date).
- Like Alpha, the program is too long, if only by about a week this time. The last week in particular felt like a waste of time (more on Rip’T circuit later) so it might be an idea to wrap it up early.
- Of the five workouts, only Dynamic Core and Upper Focus are of any great value. I feel they make Core Cardio and Rip’t Circuit largely redundant, which is something that didn’t really happen in the Alpha round.
- The lack of focus on stretching is a real weakness of the program. In particular in Beta, stretches are recycled from the previous rounds. Whilst Shaun telling you that you are working your neck during lower focus makes sense, the exact same thing during an upper body workout just stands out as sloppy production.
That all sounds a bit negative. Let me be clear right now in saying the T25 Beta is not a “bad” program or a waste of time, it is just an unfocused one. You’ll get fitter, no doubt about that, but with increasingly diminished returns. For example the addition of weights into upper focus is welcome, but they are really only used for a couple of bicep and shoulder exercises that will be nothing compared to lifting real weights at the gym. Personally I’d rather do Speed 2.0 and then hit the weights before or after to get some real gains in that regard.
Similarly the cardio workouts are difficult, but don’t feel like they build on Alpha. Often they are just the hard moves all over again, the same moves you have already got used to and have mastered. What this means is that the “next level” just never eventuated. You’ll certainly keep your fitness up, but you will not be expanding too much on anything here.
Where I think T25 Beta has real value is in being inserted into other similar programs. Once you have the moves down over a few weeks, you could easily start to use one of a morning before your later workout or sport. This is because they all do a decent job in their own way, it just all doesn’t come together as a whole.
- Core Cardio: Basically this workout is air planks (ouch) and shuffle burpies (ouch, ouch) and not a lot else. You’ll barely get the heart rate up through most of it and if you can push through the two hard sets (which you should be able to after alpha) the rest is really clear sailing. To me the poorest workout in T25.
- Speed 2.0: This workout is way too easy. On the other hand? It is also the most fun of the entire T25 program. It will not change your life, but it is a keeper and one to work into other programs.
- Ript’t Circuit: Replaces Total Body Circuit as the “hard one” that you need to do three times in the last week. The catch is that it really isn’t that hard at all. You do a bit of everything, but not much of anything and it’ll leave you wanting. It isn’t terrible and is still a decent all-around set of moves, but it is nothing like the Alpha equivalent and should have been a lot tougher.
- Upper Focus: Takes the upper body moves of Ript’t circuit and really ramps it up. It isn’t a real upper body workout, but it is good enough to keep you going or as a warm-up to something a bit more intense. A good all around workout and one to keep hold of.
- Dynamic Core: The abs workout, which ironically has more cardio than core cardio. It has a lot of tough moves during the great middle section, but suffers a bit during the side plank sequence. Superman is a good move, but the added pulses just seems like adding something for the sake of adding something. Still, the ending is tough and it will leave you feeling like you put in the work. Probably the best all around workout of Beta.
To summarise all that? Upper Focus and Dynamic Core are the keepers with Speed 2.0 representing a fun little diversion to do here and there. Core Cardio and Ript’t Circuit are decent workouts, but you can do a lot better with your time in T25 alone, let alone other programs.
Focus T25 Beta is an enjoyable program even if the pieces don’t really come together. Beyond the lazy stretching, the production values are high and Shaun T is amazing and in even better form than Insanity. But even more than Alpha, it’ll leave you wanting to move on quickly to something more challenging or focused.
In a sense, this sums up T25 as a complete package. It isn’t an end to your fitness, or even a clear step on the path like P90X. I feel it is something you will do, enjoy and then move onto something completely different whilst adding a few good workouts to your new routines.
There are great workouts to be found here and you will get fitter, but the lack of focus is T25 … umm … focus’ major issue. If you are looking for something to fill a gap in your repertoire or to just keep your fitness up during the off season? Check it out.