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REVIEW: Transform :20



At last, I get to review Transform :20 by Shaun T without being scalped for early access fees.  As most of you know, I am not a Beachbody coach.  That means the company has a different approach to giving guys like me free early access on the same level.  It usually has me asking, and them giving the usual reply.

So, that's a 'no' then?


About the only piece of equipment being utilized is an aerobic stepper.  Now, you can purchase the one from Beachbody for…wait…$60US + s&h…???  Ok, hang on…

Over my cold, dead Scottish hiney.  I guarantee you can find these at your local Value Village for $2.  Heck, go to Home Depot and you’ll be able to build a solid one for a paltry $10.  Sorry.  That just got me riled up.

And of course, you need to have access to Beachbody on Demand since like everything else on this cosmic dust-ball, a subscription service is required.  Makes one long for the good old days of DVD’s, Blockbuster and polio.


Transform :20 is a cardio program with body-weight resistance.  Think of it as a more aggressive T25.   I’m going to be the lonely voice in the room when I say this, but the first week of Transform :20 is just.  Freaking.  Dull.  That will be your biggest obstacle moving forward, but if you can plow through then I think you’ll be handsomely rewarded.

The workouts are done 6 days a week, so that’s a good sign, since I’m seeing a lot of this 4-5 day nonsense happening these days.  Each day has a different workout: Burn / Faster / Stronger / Powerful / Cut / and Balanced.  Depending on the day, there will be slight modifications in intensity, plyometric application, and high intensity cardio.  If you know Shaun T, you know that the legs will by far get the most attention, so do NOT neglect to tackle those bonus weighted workouts.

All regular workouts will use body weight as your source of resistance.


If you’ve made it this far then you’ve managed to stay committed…which I guess was the point of the name all along.  It’s almost like Shaun has thought this through.

Speaking of Shaun T, his training style is very motivational-based.  “You can do it”, “push”, “don’t quit”…it seems to be what works for him so don’t expect casual banter.  Other trainers like Tony Horton for example can be chatty like an old friend.  Autumn is very, very chatty like the popular girl who won’t, like, shut up.  And of course, Leondro is like the guy driving a white van offering kids free candy.  So if you’ve liked Shaun’s style in his previous series, you’ll be pleased.

Occasionally, motivation will come via the 'Shaun-Cam'

The climb phase does add a level of difficulty, but I found it more to do with dexterity and mobility.  If you can do these workouts at this stage, I imagine you’ll be pretty light on your feet.

All Phases have a similar workout outline that eventually ends with 3 “Transformers”.   These are blocks of time to crank out as many as you can of a required motion.  try to wait until after the transformer to curse Shaun and his dog.  Write down the result though, as these will be crucial to track your progress.


Nutrition. If you think you’re going to do 20 minutes a day and then go straight to chugging donuts and coffee then you better just forget it.  The diet requirements here are more strict than a NASA launch.

As with anything in life, the higher the level of commitment, the higher the level of success.  I would therefore encourage you to plan ahead and have activities planned that don’t involve sitting around and thinking about food.  Keep your mind occupied and body fed with good food, or you’ll crack.

Note the lack of a 'Starbucks' column.


Sorry, but Shaun’s been playing with you up to this point.  What made this phase doubly hard was my sixteen-year-old son has decided that he wants to get huge.  What a coincidence…so do I!  But that means he demands that I join him in the Parrot Dungeon for Beast-level training six days a week.

A good protein powder is a game changer.

So Shaun T get’s my cardio for 20 minutes in the morning, and Parrot Jr. has me doing 45 minutes of strip-set weight training in the evening.  You think I’m sore?  You have no idea.  If this is the path you’re also going to take then be sure to add a couple doses of high-end protein to your nutrition plan.  I’ve added two whey protein shakes a day to my list and it’s been the only thing keeping my 47 year-old carcass coming back for more.

If you want to survive, under no circumstances skip 'Balanced' day.

But I’ll tell you this much, I haven’t looked this good with a shirt off in a long time.  And stamina?  The crazy mobility workouts in Transform :20 combined with some resistance training make for a holy grail of fitness.  I’m sleeping better, I’m feeling better and I’ve lost 1.5 inches off the waist that I put on over Christmas and haven’t been able to shed.  And while I don’t want to get crude, the increased metabolism is having other totally freaking awesome side effects.

Our mom says our dad is a real sex machine.

Just to throw you a curve ball, the final workout is the most lethal.  The Cut & Shaun-a-thon is a grotesque 60 minutes of old-school punishment.  It’s a battle of will to get to the end.  The good thing is that this is not Insanity, so the impact is very manageable.  While you will be working your butt off, nobody is asking you to do sixty seconds of jump-knee-tucks.  I think even Shaun is moving on from that type of joint-busting training.

Remind me when its over that I need to throw up.


Transform :20 is like a bowl of Rice Krispies.  It’s a part of a complete breakfast as long as you add milk, a banana and a side of Irish bangers.  In my opinion T:20 needs a complimentary regimen of resistance training, or at the very least a second workout in the day.  While some might overlook them, there are Bonus tracks with weight training so try to get that second workout in.  I guarantee it will make a huge difference.

By itself, I’m not entirely sure how anyone is going to meet any significant fitness goals with a mere 20 minutes a day…UNLESS you just have that body type.  I must admit, there indeed exists some people who just gravitate to a lean mean body.  My wife for example, can do three push-ups a week and look like a supermodel.  If I don’t slave my backside every day like a rented mule, I’ll look like the Pillsbury Dough-boy within a month.  Genetics are funny that way.

It's not my fault being the biggest and the strongest. I don't even exercise!

That’s not to say this is easy.  Transform :20 is brutal since Shaun is compacting more into less time.  On that note, if you were to for example, do T:20 during the morning and something like Body Beast during the evening, that would be an absolutely killer workout schedule.  That’s why I give Transform :20 high marks for being an ideal hybrid workout.

The music here is well, odd.  It’s obviously canned music and keeps a steady beat, but the constant talking points injected into the song by a robotic-voice Shaun T never really grew on me.  Your mileage may vary.  Keep in mind I stopped following music in the 90’s.

Or as my kids would say, the 1890's

There does seem to be an odd shift in the video fitness industry from 1 hour commitments to shorter and shorter workouts.  I’m afraid I have to say that 20 minutes is probably as low as we can go.  Any less and you’re just making the muscles sore.  If that’s your goal then save time and throw yourself down the stairs a few times a week.  Maybe Beachbody’s ultimate target is to just have Shaun T running in a giant hamster wheel from a hungry tiger for 5 minutes.

Need another test group volunteer.

I’m going to give Transform :20 a 4 feathers out of 5.  It’s fantastic at what it does which is squish about 40 minutes of cardio down to 20.  But you will be exponentially better served if you do doubles or combine with another fitness routine that fills the gaps with weights.  Do that, and you’ll be unstoppable.

Transform: 20

Trainer - 80%
Production Values - 80%
Strength - 70%
Cardio - 75%
Music - 85%


Shaun manages to cram a lot in 20 minutes. However, don't be afraid to hybrid this workout with another program for better results.

User Rating: 3.01 ( 77 votes)

John Paul Parrot ( aka. The Dysfunctional Parrot ) is a disgruntled Systems Analyst who wanders the Canadian wastelands saving small villages with the power of Kung Fu.  His chair is also a little too close to the twenty year old microwave.  As you can well imagine, this has had certain side effects.



  1. Ajay

    February 21, 2020 at

    I agree, 20 minutes doesn’t feel like nearly enough. My issue is that I like to get my workouts for the day done in one block. Do you think doing two of these back-to-back would be too much? Lately i’ve been doing about 15-20 minutes of cardio before a more focused resistance training workout so that I can start with my heart rate up. Do you think this would be a good program to start with, and then roll into a 40 minute Body Beast style workout (bringing it to a solid 1-hour). Or do you think again, that might be too much all at once? Thanks as always. Great reading every time.

  2. Drak On

    February 21, 2020 at

    This sound perfect as a morning workout to do before work! I’m going to pair it up with outdoor workouts 3x a week :D

  3. manny

    February 21, 2020 at

    Transform 20 vs Max 30 – which one you picking? lol

  4. holyguy7

    February 21, 2020 at

    I saw right away that it looked like cardio so I came up with my own hybrid workout. I alternate days between LIIFT4 and Transform20. It seems to work very well.

  5. Stink Fleaman

    February 21, 2020 at

    Thank you for all the reviews. Do you think this could be used as a hybrid, alternating this and body beast or p90x? 20 minutes doesn’t seem enough for cardio.

  6. Cathy Bruning

    February 21, 2020 at

    Thanks so much for the reviews. They are always entertaining. After step workouts went by the wayside, I started working out with T25, and now Insanity and Insanity Max 30 are my regular workouts. I tried to do a T25 workout recently, and I wasn’t challenged at all and I turned it off. I plan on using Transform 20 as a pre-workout for Inferno, Blackfire and LTF on Daily Burn (love them, just need a more intense cardio warmup). So, could I skip weeks 1 & 2 of Transform and start with the Climb stage? And, P.S. I still have my Jane Fonda step (long live the 80’s!), so no need to fork out the $60 for the BB version.

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