Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Focus T25 Review: Overview and Cardio

It's official. Focus T25 is in the house! Shaun T, the instructor for T25, is my favorite fitness trainer. I have a bunch of his workout programs: Insanity and Asylum 1 and 2. I love them. Absolutely adore them.

But I will admit, they are not for everyone. They are super high impact and high intensity. They are for people who want to do an hour of hard exercise each day. That's great for me, but for someone who just wants to exercise for basic fitness or who is limited on time or who had joint issues, this is not a good solution. If you were to ask me, "Is Insanity or Asylum for me?" I would reply, "Maybe. It depends."

Enter T25. Simple movements. 25 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Low impact modifications. If you were to ask me, "Is T25 for me?" I would reply, "Yes." To every single person.

My husband, as you all know, is an excellent runner and had great success doing 5K and 10K training programs. Lately, he's been wanting to work on his fitness beyond running and do some resistance training and more plyometric cardio. Like many people he found running great for an easy fitness solution plus some weight loss; now he's looking to tone up a little more.

Admittedly, Seth does not love to exercise. He's watched me do all of Shaun T's workout with a mixture of entertainment (because he likes Shaun T and finds him motivating) and horror (because he could not imagine wanting to "kill" yourself with fitness for an hour every day. As a result, he was very excited to hear about T25 -- it's seemed like fitness for sane people, people who just want to be fit (not insane fit; just healthy fit).

Focus T25 came in the mail yesterday. It includes eleven workouts, a workout schedule, a food guide, and a 15 pound resistance band. Because we're Team Beachbody members, we got a bonus Core Speed workout. 

The program is divided into two five week cycles, alpha, the foundation, and beta, which focuses on core. There is also a third section, gamma, but those DVDs must be purchased separately and used more for maintenance. Here's a summary of the workouts included in alpha and beta from the Team Beachbody website:

ALPHA Cycle 25-Minute Workouts:
  • Cardio. 25 minutes of calorie-burning, sweat-drenching cardio.
  • Speed 1.0. Ignite your quickness. Burn the fat. Fast-paced for fast results.
  • Total Body Circuit. Focus on strength and resistance—without lifting a single weight.
  • Ab Intervals. Cardio and ab intervals that shred the fat from your midsection.
  • Lower Focus. Focus on your lower-body muscles—the key to burning fat and kicking up your metabolism.

BETA Cycle 25-Minute Workouts:
  • Core Cardio. Get your sweat on! This progressive cardio-core workout is about you getting shredded fast.
  • Speed 2.0. Rev it up with Shaun's calorie-scorching, core-focused speed drills.
  • Rip't Circuit. Cardio … upper body … legs … abs ... repeat! This is how you get ripped in 25 minutes.
  • Dynamic Core. You'll go from vertical to horizontal and back again in this dynamic, crazy core routine.
  • Upper Focus. Shaun will help you develop the upper body of your dreams. All you have to do is FOCUS.

Seth is planning to do the first DVD is the program, Cardio, tonight. We watched the DVD one time through (without doing it) the other night though because we were excited.

The principle of the workout is excellent. You start with a basic move and build on it increasing difficulty for a few minutes. You are continuously moving. Two times in the program, you do what's called a burnout and for two minutes do the most challenging moves from the previous ten minutes or so.

The moves seemed easy to follow and did not require the practice or coordination that some of the trickier moves in Insanity and Asylum demand. You could easily pick up all the moves right away in T25. In contrast, I have to go through the ladder drill practice DVD in Asylum 2 twice before even starting the program to make sure I had all the agility moves down and my coordination level is at least average.

I definitely think that you can get a great workout in 25 minutes with the exercises I saw. (I'm hoping to be able to say a bit more about difficulty level after doing the workout with Seth tonight.) Staying focused and keeping moving is key. Shaun T stresses this and recommends dropping down to more low level modifications if you get tired instead of stopping and dropping out.

The 25 minute workout is go go go right from the beginning and you're moving the entire way through. After the 25 minutes wrap, there is an optional cool down stretch that's around two and a half minutes, which I would definitely recommend.

Since this is Seth's program, I'm hoping he might guest blog a few reviews in the future (or at least consent to some interviews). He's going to be taking before and after pictures and going for the free t-shirt when he finishes the program.

T25 is program is going to be all him! I will not be joining all his workouts since I am focused on training for the Tough Mudder in mid-August. I can't wait to see how this program works for Seth. The running was such a success. I think this will be too.

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