Focus T25 Alpha Total Body Circuit Review

Yesterday, I was supposed to do Focus T25 Alpha Total Body Circuit, but things came up and I never got a chance to get it done.  I started my morning with some Asylum Speed and Agility and Les Mills Combat Plyo HIIT, followed by some never-ending landscaping.  We didn’t finish landscaping until late in the evening, so I decided to just double up my T25 workouts today, which I did.  I always recommend following the workout calendar and speaking with a doctor if you have any concerns. Below you will find my review of Focus T25 Alpha Total Body Circuit and in a subsequent post a review of Ab Intervals.

Focus T25 Alpha Total Body Circuit Review

I started off my workout this morning with Focus T25’s Alpha Total Body Circuit.  Again, you don’t need any equipment and the workout spans 25 minutes.  This workout is considered a “cardio based strength workout,” which pretty much sums it up in a nutshell.  In a way, I hesitate to compare the difficulty of this workout with the two previous workouts, as they are quite a bit different (and yet also similar in some ways). I wasn’t winded throughout it like I was during Alpha Cardio, but man was it hard. In this particular workout, I was really thankful for Tania as a modifier during many of the strength workouts. I am definitely not the best at doing push-ups and can only do so many on my toes before I have to modify, so I was periodically looking for Tania when my body gave out on these activities (same with some of the plank-based exercises).

As with the first two DVDs, Shaun T provides you with a couple of warm up exercises to get your blood flowing (I really enjoy how he eased me into the workout with some alternating knee lifts and jogs).  You also see some previously done exercises, such as the hop, hop turns and hop, hook, squats. So far, so good – doesn’t seem too different from the other workouts. However, then Shaun T throws in some changes.  He brings you down to the floor (which hasn’t happened in previous videos) and gets you started on some plank shoulder taps. Wahoo, again, feeling pretty good, got my plank going alright. Then, of course, the move starts to progress (as with the Alpha Cardio DVD, Shaun T has many moves progress in difficulty level) and we move into shoulder tap push-ups. At this point, I had to start  referring to Tania for options when my body no longer cooperated.  After that, we proceed to some lunges and squats (which I LOVE) and then back to my favorite, jabs. Again with each of these sets, we progress through easy to hard moves. After some fun cardio blasting with jabs, we get back down and do some more planks, this time incorporating plank walk combos (i.e. with squats, in and out abs, etc.). Again, I’m loving Tania at this point – she’s turning into my new best friend. 😉  After this strenuous strength exercise, we go all out with some sprints (ahh…refreshing) and into some sprint combos with squats. Back to floor work with plank work (walking in and out, hopping in and out, up to pike and out, etc.). We then proceed into some squats and squat burpee combinations and then back into some spider-lunges and push-ups. At this point, I’m dripping in sweat, red as a beet, and wondering what I got myself into.  Oh yeah, and we haven’t even reached the burnout yet.  The burnout begins with just over 5 minutes left in your workout. It’s a combination of the last set in each of the previous progressions where Shaun T asks you to go all out.  As the burnout comes to an end, Shaun T finishes the workout with some floor sprints and a body run and with the optional cool down at the end. Oi…I survived. 🙂

Overall, I thought this was a great overall body workout.  Shaun T incorporated a lot of variety that helped keep me in the workout.  Rather than do all the plank work at once, he alternated them with other exercises (i.e. moving from plank work to lunges, into squats, into sprints, etc.). The variety helped keep me interested and knowing that each exercise was relatively short helped keep me from dropping on the floor in a pile of my own sweat and staying there forever (not that I didn’t consider it at times…).  I also really liked the fact that I didn’t need any weights or equipment to strengthen – we were just using our own body weight.  My goal is to eventually be able to rely less on Tania’s modifications and more on keeping excellent form and staying with Shaun T’s pace.  As with the previous two workouts, we don’t get any water breaks and I ended up having to stop and grab some water throughout this workout. I definitely miss my water breaks…

Loved how the workout made me feel and I look forward to challenging myself to complete it better each time I do it. Yet another tip goes into my Workout Tip Jar.

 

Please remember that I am not a doctor or a nutritionist or fitness expert.   All information I discuss on my blog is intended for inspiration and educational purposes and is not intended as a medical diagnosis or treatment. Before making any changes to your own health and fitness, I highly recommend speaking with your doctor.

Focus T25: Alpha Speed 1.0 Review

Day 2 of Focus T25’s workouts was called Speed 1.0.  It, of course, spans 25 minutes and also requires no equipment, which is nice. The DVD pocket reads, “This fast-paced cardio workout improves speed and focuses on stretching, stability, and sweat. It’s your foundation for all the Speed workouts.”

I really enjoyed this particular DVD as it was a combination of cardio and stretch/stability exercises.  Because every other exercise for the first 15 minutes or so alternated fast paced cardio with stretch/stability, I felt like it was a bit “easier” than yesterday’s cardio workout. You go all out for the cardio exercise (such as hops and hooks, burpees, cross jacks, and zigzag hops) and then center yourself for your stability and stretch exercises (such as a hip flexor hold, leg crossover stretch, and a side lunge stretch), which ends up giving you that much needed breather so that you can go all out again for the next cardio move.  Even though I stated that it felt a bit easier, it was definitely not easy.  I was dripping sweat and very thankful for the stretch/stability exercises. I’m not a huge fan of long stretching videos (I get bored easily and much prefer constantly moving), but really enjoyed how it was incorporated into this DVD.

With just over 9 minutes left, Shaun T introduces the Burnout, which is basically 8 minutes of the non-stop cardio moves you had just done throughout the video. I liked that I already knew the moves, so when the burnout came, I didn’t have to think about what I had to do, I just did it when Shaun T gave the direction.  The Burnout is brutal (in an “awesome, I’m about to die, but I’m loving this” type of way…).  It’s super hardcore, you’re going all out, and it’s non-stop.  By the time you’re done your burnout, you are thanking that the workout is only 25 minutes long!  The last minute or so is a stretch/stability cool down, which felt oh-so-good after the crazy burnout. As with the Cardio DVD, there is the optional cool down stretch at the end.

Overall, I think I actually liked this DVD better than yesterday’s Cardio. It was super fun, flew by in a flash, and incorporated lots of fun cardio/stretch moves. I love workouts that incorporate kicking and punching (I think it comes from my obsession with Tae Bo when I was in high school), and this DVD has several moves that did that.  As with the last DVD, it has Tania who modifies the moves for those who need to follow along with lower impact options. Another thing that both this video and Cardio have, which I forgot to mention in my previous post is that it has a timer that counts backwards from 25 minutes, so you know how much longer you have to go. In addition, above the timer is the name of the  move you are doing with a timing bar that increases as your going through the exercise (so you can tell if you’re almost done that particular move, which I find very motivating!).

Again, Shaun T is super motivating, provides lots of tips to focus you on proper form, and keeps you motivated and “in” the workout.  I felt awesome when I was finished and am already looking forward to tomorrow’s video.  I imagine that if people follow the nutrition guide and the workout calendar, that results should definitely follow.  After my journey with Focus T25, I’ll definitely share with you my results (which will hopefully be amazing!).

Another well-earned tip goes into my Workout Tip Jar.

 

Please remember that I am not a doctor or a nutritionist or fitness expert.   All information I discuss on my blog is intended for inspiration and educational purposes and is not intended as a medical diagnosis or treatment. Before making any changes to your own health and fitness, I highly recommend speaking with your doctor.

Focus T25: Alpha Cardio Review

I started my day off great with two back to back workouts (Asylum’s X Trainer and Les Mills Combat’s Power HIIT) and felt amazing, not expecting to receive my Focus T25 until later in the week.  I went to check the mail later on in the day and, lo and behold, there was my Focus T25 awaiting.

t25revised

If there is one thing that I absolutely love, it’s trying new workouts.  I have been totally amped about this DVD set that I really couldn’t hold back. I tore open the package and started rifling through the contents.

A Brief Breakdown of Focus T25

Before I get into the nitty gritty of the Alpha Cardio workout, I’ll just briefly outline what is involved in the DVD series.  When you order the base set, it comes with two cycles of workouts: Alpha and Beta, which each span a 5 week period of time. Alpha sets the foundation for your journey , while Beta steps it up and focuses on your core with new moves to burn fat and sculpt lean muscle.  Below is a breakdown of the DVDs included in each set (as described on the Teambeachbody 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! The 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 si 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.

In addition, with the base kit you get the following:

  • Quick-Start Guide.
  • Get It Done Nutrition Guide.
  • ALPHA-BETA Workout Calendars.
  • Stretch Workout.
  • 5-Day Fast Track.
  • B-LINES Resistance Band (15 lb).
  • 24/7 Online Support.
  • Core Speed (an extra DVD if your order through your Coach or Team Beachbody).

In addition, I also ordered the T25 Gamma DVDs, which give you a PURE STRENGTH Hybrid Calendar, a PURE GAMMA workout calendar, and the following four workouts:

  • Rip’T Up.  Strengthen and streamline your biceps, triceps, shoulders, back, and chest with Shaun’s 360 degrees upper-body moves.
  • Extreme Circuit. Build lean muscle and burn fat at the same time! In this one, the weights never leave your hands. Not even for the warm-up.
  • The Pyramid. Accelerate your reps as time progresses. This is your 25 minute cardio and strength endurance test.
  • Speed 3.0 Workout. Faster pace. More sweat. Serious results. You won’t want to miss this 25 minute high-speed challenge.

Gamma’s focus is on Strength and provides two different calendar options – one that focuses on getting ripped while building pure strength.

But I seem to be digressing…now on to the review!

 

Alpha Cardio Review

The first workout for Focus T25 is Alpha Cardio. Something that I particularly like about this package is that the workout schedule is also included directly on the DVD case, so if you lose the larger calendar, you can always refer directly to the case. The case is divided into each DVD pocket and on each pocket is the name of the workout (i.e. Cardio), a brief description of what the workout entails, the allotted time, and the equipment needed.  For Alpha Cardio, it states:

Cardio

A progressive cardio workout that’ll have you burning fat and dripping sweat in just 25 minutes.

TRT: 25 minutes

Equipment: Nada

 

As with most Beachbody workouts, the first DVD you pop in is not likely going to be the most intense (don’t want to scare anyone off right away).  I was, however, pleasantly surprised with Alpha Cardio.  It is exactly what it describes – “a progressive cardio workout that’ll have you burning fat and dripping sweat.”  The exercises build onto each other (i.e. you start with an alternating knee lift, then lift on toes while still alternating knee lifts, proceed into a slow and controlled jog, and finish with a faster high knee jog).  By the time you get to the top progression, you’re dying and wishing Shaun T will move on, which he, thankfully, does.  There are a variety of different sets that he progresses through, such as jacks, lunges, heel taps, jumps, squats/hops, sprints, and other moves. I won’t get into the painstaking details of each of the moves, as I’m sure you can find them elsewhere.

Shaun T also includes two “Burnout” sections throughout the DVD (one towards the middle and another towards the end), where he asks you to go as hard as you can through the burnout section, which includes moves you have already done at a more intense rate.

By the end of the 25 minutes, I was literally dripping in sweat and out of breath. I did pretty well throughout the workout, keeping up with the cast and only having to take a few breathers here and there. I’m sure I will get better and will improve my form as I progress throughout the DVD series.  As the timer was counting down, however, I was definitely looking forward to stopping, not because I was bored, but because I was dying for a break.  Overall, I thought it was an amazing workout for it being only 25 minutes long. I am definitely used to longer workouts, but the 25 minutes felt great.  Below you can find some of my pros and cons to this particular DVD.

Pros:

  • Short and sweet – who doesn’t have 25 minutes a day to workout?
  • There is a modifier – Tania is a great option to have to watch if you cannot quite get a move or if you need a lower-impact option.
  • Focus on technique – Shaun T, as per usual, is always providing tips and reminders to use proper form to get the most out of your workouts and to be safe.
  • Fast Paced – Each of the moves is relatively short, so the video goes by too quickly for you to get bored or feel like you have to quit due to pain/exhaustion.  Just when I was on the brink of stopping, Shaun T would change up the exercise and move on to something new and less painful (ahhh…squats…).
  • Fun – I really enjoyed myself throughout the workout.  When I did Insanity, I sometimes dreaded doing some of the videos because of the repetitive nature of them, but I found this one super fun (and brought back fuzzy, warm memories of Asylum, which I LOVED).
  • Shaun T – Shaun T himself is a pro. I love him, as he’s a huge motivator, makes funny comments, and keeps you in the workout.
  • Good quality filming – audio and picture were great (I HATE when I can’t hear the instructor properly)
  • Great workout – As I mentioned, I was dripping in sweat after 25 minutes. Wahoo!
  • Optional cool down stretch – At the end of the DVD, you can choose to follow Shaun T’s cool down stretch, which is just over a couple of minutes long. A nice and important option.

Cons:

  • I’m being a bit nit picky here, but the music wasn’t super stellar. I didn’t dislike the music, but to be honest, when I think back to what music I even heard, I can’t remember!  Maybe that’s because I was focused so much on using proper form with moves and trying to last to the next exercise!

 

Overall, a fantastic workout. I’m imagining that as we progress through the DVDs that the workouts will become more challenging, which I look forward to.  So far, pretty impressed with the quality of the workout and the DVD. Plus I got to add anther dollar to my Workout Tip Jar. Yay!

 

Happy Exercising!

 

Please remember that I am not a doctor or a nutritionist or fitness expert.   All information I discuss on my blog is intended for inspiration and educational purposes and is not intended as a medical diagnosis or treatment. Before making any changes to your own health and fitness, I highly recommend speaking with your doctor.

 

 

My Fitness Plan

Now that it’s summer and I have yet to find out what I’ll be teaching in the fall, I have more time to focus on myself and on getting more physically fit.  In order to do this, I need to have some goals in mind as well as a plan.

 

My Goals

1) To improve my 5K running time by 1 minute by September.

2) To lose 10 lbs by the end of the summer (equals approximately 5 lbs/month).

3) To workout a minimum of 5 times/week.

4) To eat healthy 90% of the time.

So now that I have some goals, how am I going to achieve them?

 

The Plan: The Workouts

To improve my fitness, I plan on following the Focus T25 workout guide. In addition, I plan on incorporating Chalean Extreme’s strength training DVDs three times/week.  The workout schedule for T25 only covers 5 days/week, so I also plan on adding in some running and other videos on my days off (such as Asylum, Insanity, LesMills Combat, TurboFire, TurboJam, and HipHop Abs). I try not to plan a “rest” day, because I know I take them when I need them. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to not overdue it! However, while I await for T25’s arrival, I will be following my own little hybrid of two amazing DVD series: Insanity: The Asylum (Volumes 1 and 2) as well as Les Mills Combat.

The reason I decided to make a hybrid of these two series is because they are two of my favorite DVD sets and I haven’t done them in a while.  Asylum will definitely help improve my speed and agility which will then help improve my 5K run time and my overall fitness. Les Mills Combat is just plain fun and something I always love to do do when I’m not feeling like working out (so it gives me the kick in the butt that I need).

The Plan: Nutrition

As with everything, we all know that nutrition is a huge factor in one’s overall health. As such, I hope to follow whatever food plan is in the T25 guide.  However, until that arrives, I will be following the food guide in Les Mills Combat.  The last time I followed this plan (which includes daily Shakeology), I lost 12 lbs in just over a month.

 

Please remember that I am not a doctor or a nutritionist or fitness expert.  This is just my tentative plan in order to improve my overall health. All information I discuss on my blog is intended for inspiration and educational purposes and is not intended as a medical diagnosis or treatment. Before making any changes to your own health and fitness, I highly recommend speaking with your doctor.