Having just come to the end of week 5 of the Focus T25 Alpha programme, I thought now might be a good time to do a little review and an update on how I am finding the Focus T25 programme as a whole so far. Plus I haven’t blogged in so long I thought this might be a good opportunity to let you all know I am still alive….and exercising.
First off let me state I am not a Beachbody coach and have no plans to become one (I did research into it, but concluded that it wasn’t for me) so this is a completely unbiased review. The Alpha programme consists of five workouts, plus a stretching DVD. Each workout lasts 25 (sweat filled, heart racing, exhausting) minutes and then there is around 3 minutes of stretching to conclude at the end. I don’t know how long the stretch DVD that you are supposed to do on a Sunday takes because…er…I’ve never done it. I find stretching a bit dull…I know it’s good for you and important, and the fact I hate it is probably the reason I am the most inflexible person you could ever meet…but I’m still not going to do it…a couple of minutes at the end of each workout is enough for me. So the idea is to do one workout per day Monday-Thursday (you have a handy calendar which tells you which one you should be doing) and then Friday you do a ‘double day’ so two workouts back to back. You don’t actually need any equipment to do the Alpha phase of T25, just maybe a mat for the ab intervals DVD (although I didn’t have one and it was fine). I’ll go through each workout and give you my thoughts on it and how I found it…baring in mind I have completed BBG 1.0 twice and BBG 2.0 one and a half times before doing this so I had pretty good fitness levels to start off with.
- Cardio really enjoyed the cardio workout, it gets your heart racing and uses lots of traditional aerobics style moves like jumping jacks, jump lunges, half tuck jumps and lateral mountain climbers. What I really like about this DVD and all of them is that the exercises are progressive so you start off with what appears to be a simple move and then you build up so that it gets more complex (and difficult), but because it moves up in stages it’s easy to follow. All the moves are high impact and there is what is called a ‘Burnout’ where you do all the exercises you have learned in fast succession one after the other, that really gets the heart rate up. As with all the workouts there is a participant on the DVD called Tania who provides a ‘modifier’ move, if you can’t quite manage what Shaun T is doing. It’s basically a slightly easier version that still gets you working. I didn’t have to use the modifier for this workout.
- Speed 1.0 this workout focuses on speed, focus, stretching and stability. You do some very high intensity moves like the ones in the Cardio workout and then you stretch in between. There are some more fast and complex cardio moves that you have to concentrate with, and there is still a ‘Burnout’ round. Again I found this workout manageable without having to implement the ‘Modifier’ move at any point.
- Total Body Circuit okay this is where things got tough for me. I found this workout so bloody hard at the start. I dreaded it in fact. There’s lots of push ups and plank hold style moves that require a strong upper body and because it goes from one move straight into the next with no rests I found it really challenging. I did have to use the modifier for this workout, dropping down to doing push ups on my knees rather than my toes, and I even had to pause the workout the first couple of times I did it. I have just finished week five though (where you have to do the total body workout three times in one week!) and I am now able to complete the workout without pausing…but I still have to modify.
- Ab intervals a workout solely focused on the core mainly on the floor, with some cardio moves that you do on your feet in between to get the heart rate up. Really enjoyed this workout, it involves some moves I’ve never really done before like ‘V sits’ and you can definitely feel your abdominal muscles working hard. I did modify on one or two moves but most of them were manageable.
- Lower Focus as the name suggests this workout is 25 minutes of targeting the lower body. Lots of jump lunges and squats and a lunge sequence that will really get the legs burning. This workout still involves plenty of cardio and because this uses the big muscle groups of the lower body it really gets you sweating and burning loads of calories.
Then there’s the stretch DVD which as I mentioned I have not used. Maybe I’ll give it a try during the Beta phase and let you know what I think of it then.
So far I am really enjoying the T25 programme. The fact the workouts are just 25 minutes is fantastic when you are the mum of a toddler because you can get it done while they nap, and if it’s a day where they refuse to nap you can still get it done without feeling guilty because it’s only a short amount of time spent away from mum duties. You don’t need any equipment for Alpha at all just a bit of floor space and it definitely gets you heart rate up, improves your fitness levels and burns loads of calories. As it’s mainly cardio based if you don’t enjoy cardio then this probably isn’t the programme for you. But you could always incorporate the workouts into a weightlifting schedule on some days so that you are getting some cardio in. The moves are easy to follow using Shaun T’s instructions and the modifier is always there if you need it, because of this I would say the Alpha phase is suitable for a beginner, however because it is so high intensity i wouldn’t recommend it immediately post partum. The fact you do different workouts everyday and you have a DVD to follow along with means that you don’t get bored…which is what I was finding with BBG, but then I do have the attention spam of a gnat!
The Alpha phase is referred to as the ‘foundation’ phase of T25 and I am currently on my second workout from the Beta phase which I can tell is going to be a lot more challenging…goodness knows how I will get on with Gamma! I will keep you posted!
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