PARROT REVIEW: FOCUS T25 with Shaun T – BETA
The long anticipated Part 2 of 2 has arrived. PART 1 covered the Alpha Phase, but now it’s time to crank it up a notch, turn it up to 11, or let our balls drop…I’m really not sure if I’m saying that right but you get the point. Alpha worked on the foundation but BETA Phase is focused on the core. Along the way I’ll provide some tips and advice along with my partner in fitness and species procreation, Mrs. Parrot.
What you’ll need:
Some weights are the only addition required. Nothing too heavy. 10lbs for the men and 5lbs for the ladies should do.
It’s Beta: Core Cardio, and you can tell because they changed the color of the lightbulb on the set to orange. There’s lots of compound ( combo ) moves to get the gut involved like Air Plank Jumps. The same 2.5 minute cool-down from Alpha:Cardio follows the main video.
While Core Cardio does indeed involve the core, it does not do so to a crazy degree. Think of it as Alpha Cardio with a bit more kick to it. That’s probably a very good thing as there is a devoted Core video the same week.
Like all things Shaun T, you’re going to sweat your butt off only this time you better get out the weights. There are however a few things you should know.
Upper Focus is still circuit training with weights. That means it is nothing like a dedicated muscle routine such as Body Beast. The purpose of this is to accelerate the fat burning process by getting the muscles involved. As such the average male would probably not need more than a couple 10lb weights. As such the band included in the package is a good choice. To give perspective I can do repeated sets of bicep curls at 40lbs.
The moves involve push ups, presses, curls, rows and abdominal work. By now you should really get the impression your abs are getting stronger as hardly a workout goes by Shaun doesn’t go after them.
Hey, all this working out is fine and dandy but remember citizens, the food guide is critical for this program as realistically you will not be burning the same calorie load as Insanity: Asylum. Therefore lets pass the mike over to the expert, Mrs. Parrot, for a brief segment I’d like to call:
Feeding my husband is an ever difficult task as his immunity to arsenic is staggering. He also has a nasty tendency to go for seconds which is why even though he is brawny as a Kryptonian god, his abs are less defined than you would expect for someone who has a stack of workout programs. So for T25, I have volunteered to follow the “Get it Done” Nutrition Guide and Mr. Parrot has PROMISED to follow it religiously so he can walk down the street without a shirt. He’s a complex man, but a good provider.
The basic outline of this guide for the semi-active person is 400/200/400/200/400. The main meals are 400 calories and two snacks at 200 for a daily total of 1600 calories. That means the traditional “going for seconds” is out. It also means you need to be conscious of what you eat lest you waste your calorie allotment on empty foods such as rice or pasta. Occasional lean meats, lots of vegetables and easy on the grains describes the recipes best.
What would be handy is a calorie counter for individual ingredients, but fortunately the P90X2 guide more than makes up for that. Mr. Parrot has not complained about feeling hungry and admits overconsumption is more a habit than a need. In the last 2 weeks he has gained more definition and I that means I wait in front of the bathroom mirror for him to finish yelling ,” Can you FEEL the power!!?” while striking a pose a bit more often. Men.
It’s a cardio gut-buster. Dynamic Core has you moving around and then intermittently dropping to the floor to pull of some deadly abdominal work. You’ll finish with 5-count Abs which should make your midsection spontaneously combust.
The sequence is 7 standing core exercises followed by 7 seated moves and repeating that cycle several times with a bonus round at the end. This would best be described as a cardio core routine, and while very intense, I would also say this is also very do-able for the average home fitness beginner. This one ranks as one of Mrs. Parrot’s favorites.
Speaking of abs: My recommendation is not to do any ab routine the day after this as your midsection will be done like dinner.
Get out the weights. Again, the average person should go for around 10lbs as this is less about concentrated reps and more for burning the muscles out. That means squats, curls, planks and pushups…the usual far you’ve come to expect from a core workout.
And make no mistake, those light weights will start to feel like boat anchors in fairly short order. When it comes to any cardio, the best always involves weights in my opinion to activate the muscles even further. Rip-It is a prime example of how to do it by taking the circuit training style of Upper Focus and applying it to the legs as well.
QUESTION: When Shaun goes to pick up his dry-cleaning, do they call him Mr. T?
The first 2 rounds are done 3x with final round doing all the moves from rounds 1 and 2 three times as well. The bonus disk, Core Speed is the same format. This would be another disk where turning the music option to loud might help for keeping pace with the cast as keeping co-ordination and rhythm to the music will greatly determine the outcome of the workout.
Primarily, Speed 2.0 is fancy footwork with legs that never lets up. There’s lots of hopping around that demands being light and fast on the feet. Nothing here is crazy plyo, just steady and quick movements that start to beat the legs down rather fast.
Want to try something different? Mrs. Parrot modified this routine on a rebounder ( mini-trampoline )!
BONUS DISK: CORE SPEED
When Shaun sports the matching bright yellow shorts and shoelaces, you know you’ve just opened a box of trouble. No joke, Core Speed will put the boots to you and I loved it with every fiber of my being!
There is some co-ordination required to get through this and Mrs. Parrot was having some difficulty even though I was ranking this as one of my all-time favorites. In all fairness to her we are fast-tracking this review and were she to have spent the required time in the ALPHA Phase I doubt it would be an issue. She says it is more likely because she is German and that’s also a solid argument. I love her, but must admit her family truly has no concept of moving to the rhythm.
Like Speed 2.0, the format is 2 sequences of moves done 3 times, with a final third sequence doing both previous sequences back-to-back an additional three times ( Take a moment to digest that ). Again, it feels like there is some Hip Hop Abs influence ( minus the metrosexual cast ) due to the music sync at times, combined with an ass-kicking dose of Insanity. As such you may wish to choose the DVD option to play the music loud. This is the best 25 minute beat down you will get and this one alone is 6 Feathers of out 5!
Focus T25 does what it sets out to do: give you an hours worth of butt kicking intensity condensed into 25 minutes of physical punishment. It seems that once again Shaun T delivers the goods.
And make no mistake, Shaun T is the cornerstone of this project. For a fitness program to get packed into 25 minutes requires solid explanations and superhuman coaching. At no point are you left hanging, even if you struggle to keep up with the moves and for that Shaun deserves full credit. The production values are top notch, music perfect, the intensity customizable to different skill levels, and the workouts fun. There is nothing “cheap” about Focus T25.
But the big question is, Can this replace Asylum, Insanity or P90X? Replace is such a harsh word. Some days it most certainly can when you have to get your workout done in a crunch. But in truth any decent fitness regimen requires far more than any one workout series. Variety is key and T25 adds to that variety in wonderful ways.
So based on that, don’t pack up your P90X or Insanity and think you’re going to make it with just Focus T25. Think of T25 as a gateway drug to longer workouts like Asylum. Mrs. Parrot had a very irregular workout schedule and actually finds herself anticipating our next workout thanks to T25 and is looking forward to expanding her personal home workout library.
Just remember, the Food Guide is critical. It’s not there to balance out a crooked table leg, it is there to be read and followed otherwise you can take any hopes of ripped midsections and fuh-git-about it. No going back for seconds of Mrs. Parrot’s Coconut Curry and absolutely, positively no junk food unless you want to see your calorie allotment wasted . But if you can pay homage to the spirit of the guide, I believe good things will happen.
This review is based on the ALPHA and BETA section of the program as GAMMA is an optional expansion pack that I will grade separately. Nonetheless I bestow upon Focus T25 the coveted 6 Feather Award of Excellence. Another home run for Shaun T. Him…and his magnificent hair.
April 26, 2015 at
Hey, Thanks for doing the reviews for T25! T25 has been my first (and only thus far) beachbody at home work out (truth be told, it’s the only at-home workout I’ve done whatsoever) and I love it…. and your reviews have definitely been a contributor to me deciding this is the best workout regimen for me.
I even started doing my own workout reviews because I thought your subtle comedy in reviewing while not peddling people to buy stuff is something I too would like to get good at!
Anyway, thanks for the review on these guys! If you ever come across another Shaun T workout you think would be great for a fellow Canadian with 0 free time (I’m in med school) let me know! :)
April 26, 2015 at
Max 30 would be the next Shaun T workout you’d likely go for! CIZE is his upcoming one and I have to say, it will be an interesting review for a Scottish systems analyst to pull off.
September 23, 2014 at
Hi all. I am a 51 year old man with a goal of gong from 249.9 lbs to 199. I am at 211 after repeating t25 Alpha 3 times (I have NEVER worked out in my life and was terribly out of shape). I started Beta a couple weeks ago and am glad I repeated Alpha. I am must better at controlling my body now, and doing beta after going through alpha once would have had less results for sure. I have a top-notch scale, and it is hilarious….I can lose about 2 lbs just in water weight from the 25 minutes workout and 3 minute cool down. I just want to point out my experience for those who are older and thinking of trying t25. Yep, it is hard, but yep, it works.
July 30, 2014 at
Hi, I enjoyed your review. One question from me is that I have done many strength training programs with my fave bring the body beast. I’m doing Focus T 25 to chisel & lose bulk. Is T25 enough on its own or do I have to add a heavy lifting component? P.S. I’m also doing IF 5 days a week.
October 13, 2014 at
I hybrid in some lifting myself. Having done Beast by the schedule I found the lack of cardio made me feel my age. I still lift Heavy at least 3 times a week. I only own the Gamma part of T 25 and use it as a portion of my Cardio.
June 22, 2014 at
I’m a man who’s not in shape – at least not a fit one. In fact, I am 5-wheels post-op from gastric bypass surgery, and I’m ready to take this to the next level by starting a work out regimen like T25. I hadn’t even heard of T25 until a week ago. My question is this: what program would you recommend for a beginner?
June 22, 2014 at
Well, you have to take it easy that’s for sure so I wouldn’t recommend any P90X program. T25 is also very cardio heavy and might be difficult for a beginner. Another option is do P90X but modify to suit your needs.
The original Power90 is an option with one problem…it sucks. Production values are awful as it was made before Beachbody was a serious company. But good news, Tony is recreating the original Power90 into P90 which is scheduled for this Fall and it looks really good.
Until then I would take morning walks, maybe do a few push ups and most importantly, eat right until you’re healed up enough. Your health is made in the kitchen before anything else.
June 22, 2014 at
Thanks for the quick reply, JP. I think you’re right; P90 looks perfect, only I don’t want to wait until Fall to begin. I’m pretty healed up at this point, and weighed in today at 218. I’ll start with the advice above, and add a little C25K or something.
June 12, 2014 at
Thanks for this review; love the hilarious realism you bring to it.
I am just about to start the Beta portion of T25 and am now really looking forward to it. Have loved the Alpha portion and, having done P90X, really feel this is a great fit for me now.
A little advice…have you ever reviewed the Shakeology? Are they at all worth it or just a money grab? Looking to get a little help with the nutrition side of things. Seeing as the 30 minute workouts are best for me, I’m obviously a little strapped for time!
Thanks in advance!
June 13, 2014 at
One cannot deny the marketing push behind Shakeology, yet I have found better products out there for a whole lot less. As is, Shakeology is just way, way too expensive.
I use Vega Sport supplements which I honestly feel kick Shakeology’s butt to the curb and don’t require me to take a second mortgage on my house.
January 29, 2015 at
Here’s another vote for Vega. Use Vega Sport (lots of BCAA’s) for recovery and Vega One for smoothies/meal replacements. Vegetable based. Soy and Whey free. Good taste. Not chalky at all. > or ~1 gram of sugar. Shakeology has 9 grams of sugar. Speaking of sugar – the P90x recovery drink has 20 grams of it. No wonder it would call to me from my sleep. Only reason I did the workouts in the beginning was to have an excuse to sip that sweet nectar. But I digress. Just throw some OJ in with the Vega Sport and it tastes as good. Anyway just another opinion on what Mr. Parrot mentioned.
April 15, 2014 at
You are a flipping riot and write great reviews.
December 8, 2013 at
Thanks so much for your various beachbody reviews. It is next to impossible to find objective reviews from people who don’t have a financial interest as a coach or otherwise and you are doing a great service for the skeptical among us :-).
I was wondering your thoughts about this program for a middle-aged guy who is in reasonable health but has had a hiatus from working out for a while (only very occasional gym visits for about the last year or so and while probably not overweight I have put on a few extra pounds and definitely need to lose a small tire and tone up :-)). I don’t have a ton of time or space at home and I was hoping this would fit the bill. On the other hand I don’t want to get involved with something where I will wind up injured. I was following some video programs in the past and even though I thought I was being very careful, I much have done an ab exercise I wasn’t ready for and would up hurting my back and putting myself out of commission for some time. Thanks!
December 8, 2013 at
Thanks for the compliments! It is fun doing reviews when you have no corporate overlord watching over your shoulder!
Regarding age and this series, I don’t imagine it would be a problem. I’m 42 and I think T25 has become one of my favorite workout series. It is customizable so you don’t have to go full bore right from the start. If you take it slow to begin with and listen to your body, I see no reason anyone would get hurt as T25 never really asks you to get crazy on the same level as Asylum. The moves although tough, are still very do-able.
The program makes the best of the 25 minutes and if time is an issue you need look no further. Also, I understand P90X3 is coming out very soon and it is a 30 minute based program as well. I will be reviewing that as soon as it becomes available. Just finished Tapout XT2 and I’m now looking forward to Tony’s next creation.
September 9, 2013 at
Hi DP, I just wanted to express my appreciation to you for all your reviews, especially knowing that you’re not a BB coach, you are my trusted go to on all my workout dvds, and although I do not have any balls to drop ( being female ) you succeed in being helpful, informative, and very funny. Also like Mrs. Parrot’s contributions. Keep up the very good work
August 10, 2013 at
love the reviews. Thanks!!!
August 10, 2013 at
macx dvd ripper pro can’t rip these dvds. i watch them through my apple tv.
August 11, 2013 at
I know!! I have the same problem when trying to use Handbrake for export to my AppleTV. Anyone out there have any suggestions and experience with this? It would be nice to add this to a video library.
August 14, 2013 at
If you don’t mind using torrents, they are out there in Apple/mp4 format
August 14, 2013 at
I suppose. I always feel a little dirty when doing stuff like that though. I’m one of those guys who bought every song in his iTunes library!
August 24, 2013 at
MakeMKV will rip them into MKV format and then Handbrake them to Apple TV. I’ve watch them on my jailbroken ATV 2 via Plex and they work perfectly
August 25, 2013 at
Works like a charm! Me and my AppleTv thank you!
August 8, 2013 at
Excellent review DP, any plans on taking on the Gamma (and rumored Delta) workouts?
August 8, 2013 at
Absolutely! However, it might be around a month before I can do that as I have to save up the required greenbacks first.
August 8, 2013 at
Change of plans…I broke down and bought it!