Beachbody Program Review
Updated: Apr 18, 2020
Have you ever considered signing up for a Beachbody On Demand account but aren't sure if it's "worth it"? I'm a former personal trainer with a degree in exercise science who started her fitness journey with Beachbody videos. That's right -- many people assume that if you're doing home workout videos, well that's just really not "fitness" and you won't really see results. I'm here to tell you that if someone ever says that to you - please drop kick them into next week.
Exercise videos can get a bad rep and sometimes rightfully so, if they're created by someone who doesn't exactly know what they're talking about. Unfortunately, there is a lot of information on the internet regarding fitness that is wrong or misleading and can really throw inexperienced exercisers for a loop. Luckily, Beachbody trainers are all very well educated & provide helpful and trustworthy information in their programs to help you achieve the best results in a healthy way. Beachbody On Demand is a super affordable (less than $2 per week!) streaming service that has hundreds of workouts that you can do right from the comfort of your own home. With a variety of workout styles from strength training, to yoga, to boxing, to dance, you can workout from your computer, TV, tablet, and smart phone!
So, you think you want to sign up, but where do you start? Like I said, I started my fitness journey on Beachbody many years ago and have completed a lot of their programs! That's why I've included a comprehensive review of 15 Beachbody programs to help you decide which one is right for you! Check it out below!
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Rating: 3 Stars
Trainer: Shaun T
Summary: 60 days of high intensity, lengthy workouts anywhere from ~40-60 minutes. High impact, lots of jumping. Mostly cardio based with body weight resistance training included. No equipment needed, therefore it's great for those who may not have equipment at home. You will work HARD with this program. Not a beginner program. Although there is a modifier available, this program is best for those who are upper level intermediate or advanced in their fitness level.
Overall Thoughts: Shaun T is one of my favorite BeachBody trainers. He is super motivating, high energy, and fun to listen to. Insanity will leave you a sweaty mess and is awesome if you need an intense cardio blast. I would not recommend this program for beginners or those with bone/joint disorders or cardiovascular complications due to the intensity level. I personally feel that these workouts were a bit lengthy for being HIIT in nature. I stopped this program due to lower back pain that surfaced after a couple of months.
Rating: 3.5 Stars Trainer: Chalean Johnson Summary: 90 days of high intensity, cardio workouts ranging from anywhere from ~15-55 minutes. There is a modifier available. No equipment required in the main track, resistance bands required for the bonus and advanced workouts. These are somewhat dance-y workouts in nature, making this a fun alternative to traditional cardio! Overall Thoughts: Chalean is relatable and super motivating! Her personality is so bubbly and I feel like she's literally your mom when you're doing one of her workouts, lol. She's educated in fitness, which can be noted in her workouts. Personally, I love the shorter, 15-25 minute HIIT workouts and the 10 minute abs to add in as a quick finisher after my main workouts. This program is best for those that are at an intermediate to advanced fitness level.
Rating: 3.5 Stars Trainer: Tony Horton Summary: 90 days of mixed cardio and resistance training workouts that are 30 minutes in length. Equipment required includes dumbbells, resistance bands, chin up bar, yoga mat. This program focuses on strength, speed & agility, balance, and flexibility. Modifier available. Overall Thoughts: Tony's workouts are great, but listening to his voice can sometimes be like nails on a chalkboard, if I'm being completely honest! He's goofy and kind of strange, and sometimes leaves you wishing he would just hurry up and get the workout done already. Luckily, these are only 30 minutes long and will leave you drenched in sweat! The downfall with this program is that it requires a chin up bar or resistance bands with a door attachment, which are not always easily attainable. The upside? This program is one of the safest in my opinion without a bunch of crazy movements! Best for intermediate or advanced fitness levels.
Hip Hop Abs
Rating: 2.5 Stars Trainer: Shaun T Summary: 60 days of cardio and ab based workouts ranging from ~5-45 minutes. No equipment required, but you can add weighted gloves for a little extra resistance if you'd like. Overall Thoughts: I'll be honest in saying that it's been forever since I've done any of these workouts. It's ab heavy hence the name, therefore great for core strengthening, although it is not very functional, nor is it ideal for total body training. This is a dance style program, making it a fun way to add in exercise, especially for beginners!
Rating: 2.5 Stars Trainer: Autumn Calabrese Summary: 30 days of 30 minute long dance workouts. No equipment required. Cardio-focused. Modifier available. Overall Thoughts: As the name indicates, this one is all about the country music. It's a fun dance workout, that doesn't even feel like a workout and the time goes by really fast. You get a good little cardio activity in, but don't break much of a sweat, so if you're one that likes to get a little more intense with your workouts, this probably isn't the program for you. It's great for beginners due to the low impact and enjoyment level if you can get past the cheesiness, lol. I personally found the steps to be a little too complicated, but I'm also super uncoordinated! This is my least favorite of Autumn's programs.
Rating: 3.5 Stars Trainer: Shaun T Summary: 10 weeks of 25 minute long high intensity cardio and resistance based workouts. 3 phases: Alpha, Beta, Gamma. Alpha builds your base (cardio only, no equipment), Beta takes it up a notch (adds in resistance training, dumbbells/bands required), and Gamma focuses on building muscle (dumbbells/bands required). Modifier available. This is a stepping stone to Insanity. Overall Thoughts: This was one of my favorite programs and I believe it was one of the first ones I actually followed by the calendar. I did this one after Insanity, but definitely recommend doing T-25 first as it's a great way to ramp up your fitness level before beginning Insanity. These are by no means easy, but they're super quick. 25 minutes is nothing! Get in and get it done. My only drawbacks are that the exercises are completed so quickly that it makes transitions difficult and therefore can compromise safety. I also experienced a lot of foot discomfort with these workouts due to the amount of jumping and still to this day have to do these workouts barefoot. Best for intermediate to advanced fitness levels.
Core De Force
Rating: 3.5 Stars Trainers: Joel Freeman and Jericho McMatthews Summary: 30 days of mixed martial arts inspired workouts ranging from ~15-47 minutes. No equipment required. Cardio and core-focused with some body weight resistance training involved in a few of the workouts. Higher intensity, moderate impact. Modifier available. Overall Thoughts: I love these for cardio! It's tough and will definitely get your heart rate up but goes by super quick and makes you feel like a total badass with the martial arts combinations! Not to mention, if you're home alone you can definitely belt out some "HUH!" and " Hi-YA!" sound effects just for the fun of it. These are great to do when traveling! I'm giving it a 3.5 because some moves can be a bit tough to catch onto due to the complexity. Best for intermediate to advanced fitness levels.
21 Day Fix
Rating: 4.5 Stars Trainers: Autumn Calabrese Summary: 21 days, 30 minutes long. Workouts include cardio and weights. Nutrition plan with portion containers included. Equipment required includes dumbbells, yoga mat, and resistance bands. Low impact, moderate to high intensity. Modifier available. Overall Thoughts: I would go as far as to call this the G.O.A.T. of all fitness programs for beginners. This was the first program of Autumn's that I completed and I fell in love with her. She seriously knows her stuff and is a great motivator. The program is only 21 days, but the idea behind it is the popular belief that it takes 21 days to form a habit. The nutrition regimen is super easy to follow with the color coated meal containers and this program is a great kickstart to any fitness routine. If you've never done any type of weight training before, this is an awesome place to start. They're only 30 minutes and are extremely easy to follow. Best for beginner fitness level. My only wish is that the program was a little longer!
21 Day Fix Extreme
Rating: 4.5 Stars Trainers: Autumn Calabrese Summary: The sequel to 21 Day Fix! 21 days, 30 minutes long. Like 21 Day Fix, these workouts include cardio and weights. The nutrition plan with portion containers continues. Equipment required includes light and medium dumbbells, yoga mat, and resistance bands. Moderate to high impact, moderate to high intensity. Modifier available. Overall Thoughts: Autumn definitely takes it up a notch with this program. The workouts are significantly more difficult with more complex movements, but they're still fun and quick. When paired with the nutrition program, you can seriously see some great results in just 6 weeks completing both 21DF and 21DFX back to back. What's great is that these workouts are still easy to follow along with. This program is best for intermediate to advanced fitness levels.
The Master's Hammer & Chisel
Rating: 4 Trainers: Autumn Calabrese & Sagi Kalev Summary: 60 days of resistance training and cardio workouts ranging from ~10-45 minutes long. Equipment required includes a yoga mat, light, medium, and heavy dumbbells, a weight bench or stability ball, a medicine ball, and pull up bar or resistance bands with door attachment. Modifier available. Overall Thoughts: I enjoyed this program as it seemed to be the first program that Beachbody released that actually focused on muscle building. The workouts are tough and you will most definitely feel sore from them if you're not used to lifting weights regularly. The major downfalls to this program are that it requires so much equipment that isn't always feasible and Sagi just happens to be the most annoying person on the planet. I kid you not, many of the workouts could have been 5-10 minutes shorter in length if it weren't for his rambling on about random topics and his tendency to goof off during the workouts. Autumn clearly becomes visibly frustrated with him in some of the partner workout videos and it makes the whole thing difficult to watch. If you can get past that, this is a great intermediate to advanced program!
Rating: 4 Stars Trainers: Chalean Johnson Summary: 60 days of low impact, body weight workouts ranging from ~20-45 minutes long. No equipment required. Modifier available. Overall Thoughts: Pilates/Yoga fusion was all the rage when this program came out. I didn't complete the entire program, but from what I did complete - this program isn't any fru-fru feel good yoga program. It's insanely difficult if you're extremely inflexible like myself. It's a great program for building up core strength and stability and balance It's also low impact, making it a great alternative for those with bone and joint issues. Recommended for any fitness level but great for beginner to intermediate fitness levels.
Rating: 4.5 Stars Trainers: Shaun T Summary: 6 weeks, 10-20 minutes long. Main workouts are cardio-core focused with weighted options for the bonus workouts. High intensity, higher impact. Equipment required includes a beach body step with risers and dumbbells are optional. Modifier available. Overall Thoughts: This is Shaun T's newest workout program on Beachbody on Demand and I'm currently adding these quick, 20 minute workouts to my other workouts as a finisher! I'm not too far along, but so far these workouts are kicking my butt. Who knew that adding a step with risers could make the simplest of moves so much more difficult? These are definitely classified as HIIT workouts and are tough enough that you can easily do one of the 20 minute videos and call it good for the day. Great options for those busy bees that are always searching for a quick sweat sesh! I usually burn at least 200 calories in just 20 minutes! I'm gonna go ahead and say that Shaun T knocked it out of the park with this one. I've been sore since day one. The best part? The workouts are never the same! Great for those of us who can't stand doing the same thing twice (guilty!). This program is best for upper level intermediate and advanced fitness levels without any presence of bone/joint disorders or cardiovascular issues.
80 Day Obsession & A Little More Obsessed
Rating: 5 Stars Trainers: Autumn Calabrese Summary: 80 days, ~30-60 minutes long. Workouts include cardio and weights. Timed nutrition plan included, complete with carb cycling/refeed days. Equipment required includes dumbbells, yoga mat, resistance loops, and floor sliders. Low to high impact, moderate to high intensity depending on modifications. Modifier available. Overall Thoughts: Autumn hits the nail on the head with this program. From the length of the program, to the cast, to the workouts, it's all amazing. This program was filmed live so it's not scripted like the others, which makes a huge difference! You really get to know each cast member, you struggle with them, laugh with them, and grow with them. They almost become your own little family and actually look forward to seeing them every morning for your workout. The way Autumn creates the progressions for this program are spot on, helping you to keep seeing progress throughout the 80 days. I completed this program twice already, with the last round right before my wedding. It got me into great shape and made me so much stronger! The workouts are extremely tough but it's a love/hate relationship because they're fun and believe it or not, it really does become an obsession once you start to notice the progress! The only drawback in my opinion (in true ex-trainer fashion), I felt that some of the movements were straying too far from the "simple & effective" basis and could be deemed as non-functional and possibly unsafe if performed with improper form. Just be safe with it and modify as necessary. You’ll love this one! This program is designed for advanced fitness levels.
4 Weeks of The Prep
Rating: 5 Stars
Trainers: Amoila Caesar
Summary: 4 weeks, ~30-40 minutes long. Workouts include cardio and weights. Nutrition guide included. Equipment required includes dumbbells, chin up bar or chin up max (I modified with these resistance bands + door anchor), yoga mat, resistance loops, and floor sliders. Low to high impact, moderate to high intensity depending on modifications. Modifier available.
Overall Thoughts: This is the preparatory workout program for Amoila's 6 Weeks of The Work (hence, the name The Prep). This 6 day/week comprehensive program focuses on functional movement patterns to build muscular strength, endurance, & power while throwing in speed and agility drills as well. This program was challenging but I would still consider it an "intermediate" level, and beginner exercisers could definitely complete these workouts with the modifier. It's nice that the workouts are quick (most ~30 minutes) and still feel like you got a solid workout in. What I loved most about this program was that the cast is very diverse, including a dancer, a dad, a grandmother, etc! Everyone can do this program. I also appreciated the 40-minute stretching video that this program offers. I am awful about stretching so this was much needed! Amoila is an awesome motivator and this program is a really effective stepping stone to The Work. I definitely felt that it conditioned me to progress to the next level.
6 Weeks of The Work
Rating: 4.75 Stars
Trainers: Amoila Caesar
Summary: 6 weeks, ~20-50 minutes long. Workouts include cardio and weights. Nutrition guide included. Equipment required includes dumbbells, chin up bar or chin up max (I modified with these resistance bands + door anchor), yoga mat, resistance loops, and floor sliders. Low to high impact, high intensity. Modifier available.
Overall Thoughts: This has been my all-time favorite program released by Beachbody to date. When I saw Amoila was releasing this program, I was very intrigued because the style of training closely mimicked how I typically program my own workouts. I was expecting hard, but not to this extreme. This is by far the most difficult program I have ever completed by Beachbody, and I must say, I'm very impressed! This program is 6 days/week of strengthening, endurance, power, and agility training. It is derived from movements that Amoila puts his professional NFL players through and it's really no joke. I've done the program twice, once before completing "The Prep" and again afterward. The first time through, I couldn't keep up with the cast. They're all rockstars and I felt very unprepared. After completing The Prep workouts, I was able to hold my own throughout and ultimately noticed less soreness & improved ability to get through the workouts. The workouts get harder every week but you truly build yourself up to complete them. It's definitely an advanced program, and I recommend doing The Prep before! Besides the fact that I felt truly challenged by this program, I loved the cast - so funny to listen to! - and I achieved great results. Amoila is very motivating and it really feels like he's standing right in your living room! The only reason I took off 0.25 stars was because I think the program is heavily upper body focused and wished there was a little more lower body incorporated. I also didn't care for the explicit language, but luckily they have a censored version of all the videos as well. I will 100% do this program over and over again, because I don't remember the last time I was this excited to get up at 4:00am to work out!
Hopefully this gives you a better idea of the Beachbody programs & can help you choose which one is right for you!