Pressed for time? Got a minute—or actually 25 of them?
The Focus T25 workout program marshals all of your high-intensity fitness forces into a relatively short, power-packed time period—something many fitness aficionados consider about half the time necessary to achieve optimal results.
But not for Shaun T, creator of the Insanity Program who also developed T25 for BeachBody, and who believes that not all lengthy workouts deliver great results just because they are long. They don’t have to be. Researchers have found the first 30 minutes of a workout (assuming you’re really moving and not stopping to grab your cell phone) are the most intense for fat burning and muscle toning. In short, real success is achievable in a fast-paced, highly focused and maximized environment.
The full-body, anaerobic (strength training) and aerobic (cardio) T25 routine consists of 10 no-holds-barred 25-minute sessions, beginning with the 5-week Alpha cycle: cardio; speed 1.0; total body circuit; ab intervals; lower focus. Participants do one workout a day for four days, with two on the fifth day. Day six is for rest, and though stretching is highlighted before and after every session, the seventh day features 25-minutes dedicated solely to stretching for improved agility.
In the Beta cycle, also lasting 5 weeks, more challenging steps concentrate on core cardio; speed 2.0; rip’t circuit; dynamic core and upper focus. The idea is to fatigue each body part before moving on. An optional third—or Gamma—phase on four DVDs is available, and a resistance band comes with the first phase DVD.
Said to be as high impact as most anything can be, T25 works every muscle group and nix’s any real breath-catching breaks. In short, there’s a slight break at 13 minutes and then a change of pace at 16 minutes, but no time to walk around and look out the window to see who’s coming (as one participant put it, “No one can help you now!”). Burpees, planks, squats, jumps, kicks, jumping jacks, deadlifts and lunges—done at ramped up intensities—are among the program’s key features, which also include a recommended 5- to 6-smaller meals-a-day for continuous energy nutrition plan.
If you are in less than good shape when you start training with T25, “Tanya” the modifier provides a slightly less intense path to perfection, until you’re ready to go full-bore.
Critics say there is a great deal of lateral jumping, which can exacerbate existing knee and back issues. Under these circumstances it is highly recommended you make Tanya your workout buddy, again with the goal that in time you’ll be able to graduate and take T25 the way it was designed. But even at the modified level, your body will reportedly respond and change.
If you’re really out of shape, like most anything else take it slowly. One reviewer has said repeating the first week is a good option to help acclimate you and build up endurance. Increased stretching (more than is presented on the DVDs) pre- and post-workout may also help, no matter what condition you’re in.