Whether you agree with the sentiment or not, one of life’s hardest lessons to learn is “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”
Losing fat and building muscle is normally one of those this-or-that scenarios.
You can’t have both at once … or can you?
Well, that’s exactly what Shaun T’s Focus T25 program promises, which gets our skeptic juices a-flowin’. So let’s dig deeper to learn more about this program (yes, that was a Shaun T-ism).
About the Creator – Shaun T
A wise man once said, “You have a choice! You can throw in the towel. Or you can use it to wipe the sweat off your face!” That man?
Albert Einstein Team Beachbody trainer Shaun T, of course.
The absolutely ripped fitness trainer, clad in motivational quote tattoos (hey, we all have one, right?), is still the face of Beachbody nearly two decades after launching Hip Hop Abs in 2003.
And, his rise to fame was the early-2000s equivalent of “going viral.”
Shaun T was a former track and field standout in high school before attending college. Yet, the communications major had a sudden change of heart after packing on the Freshman 50.
He switched to an exercise science degree track, joined a gym, and became a hip-hop dance class teacher. It was an instant success, drawing crowds of 90+ people per class!
With a degree to his name and a passion for fitness, Shaun T went on to:
- Become a back-up dancer for Mariah Carey (this really was the early 2000s)
- Join Team Beachbody as a fitness trainer
- Make appearances on hot TV shows, like Oprah
- Roll out 14 programs with Beachbody (including Insanity, T25, and Cize)
- Rack up more than eight million routine downloads
You might not know Shaun T. But once you see his face and hear his voice echo through a wooden gym, it’ll bring back the memories of those early-morning Insanity infomercials.
What is Focus T25?
Focus T25 — or plain old T25 for short — is proof that Shaun T isn’t a one-trick pony, nor did he peak with Insanity’s record-breaking rollout back in 2013.
T25’s own mantra describes the program best: “Get it done in 25 minutes.”
This high-intensity resistance training & cardio fusion condenses your typical hour-long workout into a meager 25 minutes of butt-busting, sweat-inducing, muscle-aching training.
Focus T25 takes you on a three-stage journey, gradually ramping up its intensity every 1–2 weeks (which is also in line with the principle of progressive overload):
- Alpha: Beginner-style workouts to build your foundation
- Beta: Fast-paced workouts that’ll kick your progress into full throttle
- Gamma: Strength-focused training sessions to bring the program full circle
To be 100% clear: Focus T25 is 25 straight minutes of high-impact training.
And, while it’s only half as long as your average Insanity workout (which typically runs around 40–60 minutes), Shaun T will hound you relentlessly until the final timer ticks down to zero.
If you’re looking for something “easy” and beginner-friendly, you’re better off with something a bit tamer, like Joel Freeman’s 10 Rounds.
Focus T25 Details & Features
We take it Focus T25 is still on your list of programs to try? Before you choose this over some other programs, here’s a closer look at Focus T25:
Every day you spend on a mismatched fitness program puts you one day further from an aesthetic physique (sounds inspirational … but is it Shaun T tattoo-worthy? Who knows.).
The T25 Start Here tab reminds us of a gym on December 31 — almost empty and a little eerie. While lacking the usual details, this page does explain the basics with:
- A three-minute Focus T25 trailer preparing you for the rollercoaster ahead
- A program overview, such as how many workouts there are, which equipment you need, and the training styles you’ll face (more about these later)
- A link to the Beachbody Nutrition Center (don’t waste a click on this one!)
- A quick bio explaining who the man, the myth, the legend — Shaun T — is
- A before-and-after photo of a T25 survivor
It’s a decent starting point if the name Shaun T doesn’t ring a bell, but you likely won’t spend more than a few minutes on this page before clicking over to one of the two other tabs.
Focus T25 looks pretty gnarly on paper — build muscle, burn fat, and sculpt a more aesthetic physique with just 25 minutes of training a day?
Let’s take a closer look at T25’s workouts to help you decide if it’s the program for you.
Focus T25 Schedule
T25 is one of the most time-friendly workout routines for anyone living a busy lifestyle while also hoping to see fast results. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a packed ten weeks ahead.
The Alpha stage lasts for five weeks as you build your foundational strength. Your typical week in this initial phase looks a little something like this:
- Speed 1.0
- Total Body Circuit
- Ab Intervals
- Lower Focus and Cardio (Fridays are your “double day”)
- STATurday (get a gauge on your progress so far)
Once you survive those first five weeks, you’ll move onto Beta.
The Beta phase weekly schedule follows the same five days on, two days off the pattern as Alpha. For the next five weeks, your calendar will look closer to this:
- Core Cardio
- Speed 2.0
- Rip’t Circuit
- Dynamic Core
- Upper Focus and Core Cardio (another two-fer)
Of course, if you work weekends or can’t find time on Wednesdays (for example), you can rearrange the routine to fit your personal schedule.
After five weeks comes the Gamma stage.
The Gamma schedule is a colorful mixture of mostly Gamma workouts with a few Alpha and Beta workouts sprinkled in if you choose the Pure Strength Hybrid focus.
(More about that in our “Pure Gamma Workout Calendar” section below!)
The typical week during the Pure Gamma phase looks like this:
- Speed 3.0
- Rip’t Up
- Extreme Circuit
- The Pyramid
- Speed 3.0 (just one workout, hallelujah!)
And, if you can finish off those four weeks, you can officially say you finished T25.
A good chunk of T25 is completely equipment-free. But if you want to be ready when Shaun T belts out commands, it also helps to have:
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Version 2
Each dumbbell adjusts from 5 to 52.5 pounds. Rapidly switch from one exercise to the next. You don’t need multiple dumbbells cluttering up your home gym.
* These two are optional, but they’re decent gear to have for future home workouts ten weeks from now when T25 is over!
A Look at the Workouts
Almost every T25 workout is high-impact, high-intensity, and downright exhausting. You’ll do about 10–60 seconds of one exercise before quickly moving onto the next with no rest!
Throughout the program, you’ll also encounter muscle-shaking burnout sets, seemingly endless circuits, and intense exercise progressions that are somehow twice as grueling as the last.
And, any “rest” breaks are just brief stretches led by Shaun T.
So while it’s no Insanity 2.0, it’s not even close to “easy.”
Exercises include burpees, ski jumps, push-up variations, mountain climbers, deadlifts, kickbacks, uppercuts, floor sprints, shuffles, and more!
Here’s a breakdown of the workout videos you’ll gain access to:
Most workouts also include a warm-up and a cool-down, both about three or so minutes each. So that means T25 might not really be 25 minutes of actual training.
The Program Materials tab makes one thing clear: running a Beachbody program in the pre-BOD era was a hell of a lot simpler.
You didn’t need ridiculously expensive printer ink (or even a printer, for that matter). Every booklet, manual, and pamphlet came in the box alongside the DVDs, all ready to go!
Keep that in mind as we go through the resources you’ll find in this section.
T25’s Quick Start guide is nothing more than a missed opportunity for Beachbody. Instead of hyping up the program or explaining the gist of it, the six-page PDF basically says this:
- Take body measurements (weight, chest, waist, etc.)
- Follow the T25 calendar.
- Snap after photos.
- Join our Focus T25 challenge for a shot at cash prizes.
- … that’s it.
If you didn’t tune into the T25 trailer (or read an honest review like this one), this guide wouldn’t be of much help. The problem is there’s no other program guide, so you’re basically SOL there.
Focus T25 Daily Journal
It doesn’t matter if it’s LIIFT4 or T25, Beachbody is notoriously outdated in the Program Materials department. With the bar practically on the floor, Focus T25 hurdled over that thing with an editable PDF for its daily journal.
Every day, open your journal and:
- Read Shaun T’s quote of the day, most of which translate to “Let’s workout.”
- Log which workout you did.
- Type up notes about the workout (did you get injured, feel exhausted, cry?).
- Mark down whether you “nailed it” or “barely made it” (failure isn’t an option?).
Every week ends with STATurday.
(We felt this surging secondhand embarrassment thinking this was a spelling error repeated literally ten times before realizing it’s the day you’ll record your body measurements.)
Quick Start Guide to Nutrition
Okay, our excitement from the daily journal/PDF saga may have clouded our judgment a little. BOD is still peddling this damn Quick Start Guide to Nutrition that you’ll probably never use.
It’s a really good read if you’re looking to lull yourself to sleep after a caffeine overload, stuck on hold with your credit card company, or need to look busy when your boss strolls through.
Maybe we’re being a bit harsh here.
But this thing is basically an 84-page Shakeology/Beachbody On Demand advertisement with a few recipes and health tips sprinkled in. It’s also not the actual Focus T25 nutrition plan.
Foundation Workout Calendar
T25 success begins with building that fitness foundation (aka: the Alpha and Beta cycles). This two-page calendar does a pretty good job of mapping out the next two months.
But is it convenient? That’s a long shot.
It seems T25’s transition into the modern tech world began and ended with the Daily Journal. So you can’t cross out workouts after completing them or log your stats every Saturday.
It’s time to fire up that printer, baby!
Pure Gamma Workout Calendar
The Pure Gamma workout calendar is for anyone ballsy enough to kick things up a notch and dedicate another four weeks to Shaun T’s program.
It’s a two-page calendar that leaves you with two options:
- Option 1 (Pure Gamma): As the name suggests, these next four weeks are nothing but those Gamma workouts to help you get absolutely ripped.
- Option 2 (Pure Strength Hybrid): This route is an Alpha/Beta/Gamma combo designed to continue those strength gains while also getting ripped. Each week consists of about 3–4 Gamma workouts and 1–2 Alpha or Beta training sessions you’ve already done.
Being able to customize your routine a bit is definitely a plus, especially if you’re still digging the Focus T25 program and not ready to move onto something more intense (like Insanity or P90X by Tony Horton).
5-Day Fast Track
Do you want to get ripped in five days? Unfortunately, that’s the bad news: unless you’re already somewhere around 7–10% body fat, that’s simply not possible (… or even remotely safe).
But with the 5-Day Fast Track guide, you can start T25 off on the right foot. This right-to-the-point PDF walks you through week one of the Alpha phase with a bit of a weight-loss twist.
It’s extreme and definitely not sustainable beyond the five-day mark. With a 1,100-calorie-a-day diet and five meals a day (all about 300 calories apiece), this week will be absolutely miserable.
On a positive note, every meal has a recipe, ingredients list, and nutrients.
Where, oh where, is the Focus T25 nutrition guide? Well, if you’re searching for it in the Program Materials tab (the most logical place it’d be), the answer is “not here.”
Just to clarify — there is a diet guide … but you won’t find it unless you type “T25 Nutrition Guide” in the search bar. So it’s a little silly that they forgot one of the most important pieces.
Here’s what you need to know about it.
Before heading to Wegmans to buy ingredients, you need to know how many calories a routine like T25 requires. And, Beachbody didn’t disappoint: the math is just as ridiculous as always!
You’ll answer four questions, assign yourself a point value for each, and learn whether you’ll eat a 1,200 or 1,600-calorie diet. For the record, this calculation doesn’t look scientific whatsoever.
The rest of this 43-page guide includes:
- 25 unique recipes (all with five or fewer ingredients, taking <5 minutes to cook)
- 25 nutritious “Keep It Real” foods if you decide to DIY your meals
- Tips for which meals to eat if you’re wrestling with temptations, etc.
- Nudges to buy Shakeology everything
Overall, the recipes look decent. And Shaun T does a great job tossing a few nutritional tidbits into the guide (information about antioxidants, how to stay full for longer, flavor boosts, etc.).
If Shaun T yelling “dig deeper” or “stay focused” doesn’t feel all that motivating, he does provide a Spotify playlist that you can bump instead.
Is it a good playlist? That depends on what you consider a bop.
If “Dear Future Husband” by Meghan Trainor or “Love Me Like You Do” by Ellie Goulding (yes, from the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack) gets that adrenaline pumping, this list is for you!
Typical T25 Before and After Results
If you look no further than the official Beachbody website, Focus T25 can work miracles.
Their Success Stories page includes impressive before-and-after shots of those who’ve dropped 52 pounds in 21 weeks, shed 107 in 2 ¾ years, and slimmed down 26 in just one cycle!
… but what’s typical?
Here’s a list of real T25 results from people who’ve actually completed the program:
- Lost 1.75 inches around the stomach (by the end of Alpha, no less)
- Dropped 50 pounds in half a year
- Slimmed down 19 inches (after Gamma)
- Dipped down eight pounds after Alpha
- Noticeable results after just one week
The weight loss is almost certain if you follow the meal plan (no matter how silly the calorie recommendations are) and remain committed through Alpha and Beta.
But if you muster up the strength (literally) to try Gamma, you can shed additional weight while also packing on some serious muscle mass.
The average person won’t end the program looking like a spitting image of Arnold. However, now that you’re a little thinner and stronger, you’re ready for tougher programs that guarantee gains.
What is the Hardest T25 Workout?
According to Shaun T, the hardest T25 workout is the Alpha Total Body Circuit. For 25 minutes, you’ll power through 42+ exercises — like planks, tap push-ups, and pike-ups — with eight tiring progressions. The workout features no rest breaks and ends strong on an absolutely brutal “burnout” set.
Is T25 Better than Insanity?
T25 is better than Insanity if you don’t have 40–60 minutes to spare, are relatively new to hardcore and high-intensity training, and want to build foundational fitness. However, if you’re already in decent shape and want to bring your endurance and physique to an elite level, Insanity is better!
6 Focus T25 Pros
1. Twenty-five minutes of training five days a week is completely reasonable, even for beginners. T25 exceeds the American Heart Association’s recommended 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week, which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke while also improving your cardiovascular endurance (a win-win, if we must say).
2. The program is all about progression, both within each workout and from one phase to the next. This gives your heart, lungs, muscles, joints, everything time to handle increasingly more intense workouts, like those you’ll encounter during Beta and Gamma.
3. It’s possible to burn about 250–400 calories during every T25 workout. With five workouts a week, that’s about 1,250–2,000 calories torched (or up to 0.57 pounds per week on workouts alone). If you were eating a 2,000-calorie diet before, dropping down to 1,200 or 1,600 accounts for another 2,800–5,600 calories torched a week (or up to 1.6 pounds lost every week via diet). In other words, shedding about two pounds a week is normal!
4. T25 requires minimal everything: time, money, and space. It’s easy to knock these workouts out before or after your shift without needing a gym membership. You also don’t need much more than dumbbells, resistance bands, and maybe a cushioned floor mat.
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5. It doesn’t receive the same fanfare as Shaun T’s Insanity program, but it’s still pretty well-regarded amongst Beachbody enthusiasts. Many users report dropping 20+ pounds during the program while also building strength and muscle! It’s a win-win, really.
6. HIIT has a reputation as a fat and calorie-burner. Research proves that HIIT can burn 28.5% more absolute fat mass than regular cardio (2019), improve VO2 max by up to 41% in eight weeks (2011), and burn just as many calories as classic cardio in less time (2014). Weight loss with Focus T25 is a real and likely possibility!
4 Focus T25 Cons
1. If you don’t know to look for it, you’ll have no clue there’s even a nutritional guide. Many experts agree that weight loss is 75–80% diet and 20–25% exercise. In other words, “forgetting” to link this PDF might just ruin your results all together.
2. There aren’t any rest breaks between sets. While this allows you to hit that 25-minute deadline, it also requires you to be relatively fit (like the 25-minutes-of-continuous-cardio fit). The program is also too easy for elite athletes, making it ideal for just intermediates.
3. Since each phase has about five videos, and the Alpha and Beta phases last five weeks each, the workouts will start to feel repetitive. The cycle offers a better gauge of your progress from week to week, but it definitely loses its allure pretty quickly.
4. It’s a high-impact circuit-style routine, there are no rest periods, and it requires tons of ground/jumping exercises. So if you have pre-existing conditions, heart health concerns, asthma, or still-hurting injuries, this routine could be borderline dangerous. Experts agree that HIIT programs are generally safe, but they’re also responsible for a 144% spike in athletic injuries — likely due to insufficient experience or poor form.
Wrapping Up This Focus T25 Review
Focus T25 isn’t Shaun T’s best program, but it’s hard to top a program as successful and well-liked as Insanity.
This program is decent for anyone looking to lose weight, with some training experience (ideally a late-beginner or intermediate), and do it all with just five 25-minute sessions a week.
Many users walk away from the 10-week program stronger, leaner, and thinner.
But if you’re a true beginner or an elite athlete, you’re better off with a more intense program.
T25’s lack of rest breaks and high-impact exercises will be a bit much for the average person, but it might be too much of a breeze for the advanced folks.