Is T25 an Effective Workout Program?

Making the Most of 25 Minutes to Get Fit

muscular african american woman sweating from work out in home gym
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Finding an exercise program that works best for you is an important part of getting fit. Fortunately, there are many options and different workout methods to choose from. Factors to consider include program effectiveness, enjoyment, and convenience.

The greatest exercise barrier for most people is lack of time. Having a busy calendar remains the primary reason not to participate in a regular exercise program. What if not having enough time could no longer be an excuse? Does this sound appealing?

A popular workout called the T25 promises to deliver an hour’s results in only 25 minutes. The short duration is said to eliminate all excuses for not having time to workout. The infomercials are amazing along with personal success stories. Can a program like this really be effective?

What Is T25 Workout Program?

The T25 Workout, also called FOCUS T25 was created by elite fitness trainer, Shaun Thompson. Shaun T is famous for developing fitness programs including Insanity, Insanity Max:30, and the T25 Workout. He is also one of the coaches for Beachbody, the popular fitness company behind P90X. Shaun T received a bachelor's degree in sports science with a minor in theater and dance from Rowan University. He is no stranger to putting together exercise programs that are shown to achieve results.

The T25 is based on the high-intensity interval training (HIIT) model that continues to grow in popularity, according to Tony Maloney, an ACSM-certified exercise physiologist. The goal is to work at a greater intensity for a shorter amount of time to lose weight and body fat, increase lean muscle tissue, and improve health and fitness.

HIIT workouts include brief bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by short periods of rest or lower intensity movements. This type of workout pattern is cycled several times for a specified duration. The T25 exercise program challenges you for 25 minutes using the HIIT method. However, the T25 specifies there are no breaks during the workout.

How Does T25 Work?

The T25 is a DVD series and 10-week complete home workout program. It’s considered an intense full-body routine applying the HIIT principles of exercise training.

Like most HIIT programs, T25 general structure consists of short bouts of high-intensity work followed by varied recovery time, according to Maloney. A multitude of movements, exercises, and an array of equipment is used during the circuit-style workout where the instructor targets one body part at a time moving onto the next for the following interval.

The T25 program includes 10 different 25-minute workouts. The workouts are broken down into phases allowing you to progress as follows:

Alpha Phase
Part one of the exercise series and contains five workouts. No equipment is required. You perform a workout each day for four days and complete two workouts on the fifth day. You would take a rest day on the sixth day followed by a stretch video on the seventh day. The first phase lasts for five weeks. Each 25-minute training program focuses on a different physical challenge as described below:

Beta Phase
Part two of the exercise series is more challenging and contains five workouts. No equipment is required. However, light weights can be added for more intensity. The per-week training session directive is the same as the Alpha phase. The second phase lasts for an additional five weeks. Shaun T focuses on one area at a time in each 25-minute video as follows:

  • Core cardio
  • Rip’t body circuit
  • Dynamic core work
  • Upper body focus 
  • Speed training 2  

The goal of both the Alpha and Beta phase is to work each body part for approximately 30 seconds to one minute until the muscle is fatigued. You then move to another body part and continue this cycle until the program is complete. There is an optional phase available with the T25 program which focuses more on strength training.

Gamma Phase
The optional 3rd phase of the fitness program includes four DVDs. Weights are required. It’s considered an advanced daily workout for those who have developed a strong fitness base. This program also includes a workout calendar to chart fitness levels and progress. Each 25-minute video focuses on different fitness challenges including:

  • Rip’t Up upper body intervals
  • Extreme body circuit
  • The Pyramid (cardio and strength endurance test)
  • Speed training 3

The T25 workout program also includes a recommended diet to help you lose weight faster.

Is T25 Effective?

Several studies indicate high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is an effective way to improve overall fitness, reduce fat, and enhance muscle development.

The T25 Workout is an effective program, according to Pete McCall MS, CSCS, ACE-certified personal trainer and All About Fitness podcast host. What makes it a valid workout is that it challenges the body at a high-intensity level. It can be considered a smarter program because it makes you exercise harder but for a shorter period of time. It’s not the duration of a workout but the intensity that produces great results. This program offers that.

The T25 isn’t considered a fad workout because there is enough evidence to support the effectiveness of high-intensity training (HIIT). It can be considered a popular trending workout due to smart marketing, says McCall.

Maloney indicates high-intensity interval training (HIIT) continues to be supported by research. He has witnessed the results from this style of training. So the HIIT model is effective, and T25 is a commercial program utilizing the HIIT method. The principles and methods, when followed correctly, are sound so it can’t really be considered a fad workout.

Can Anyone Use T25?

The T25 workout is an intense, high-impact workout not allowing for breaks during the 25-minute training session. The program does offer a modification to the exercises performed, but this may not be enough for an individual new to fitness training.

There is potential for everyone to use the T25 workout, but it needs to be applied correctly, says fitness expert, Pete McCall. Regular exercisers under age 40 for a male or 45 for a female should be able to use the program. If you have been working out regularly, then it could be a great challenge program to step up your fitness.

T25 may not be the best beginning workout program due to its advanced intensity level, according to McCall. Exercise is good, but too much exercise performed too quickly or without enough recovery could result in injury. Exercise is stress on the body and needs to adapt to this type of physical demand before using high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

Scaled appropriately to the individual's fitness level, and devoid of disease, most individuals can participate in HIIT, according to Maloney. However, the issue with these types of commercial programs is that they fail in their ability to be individualized according to different fitness levels.

Individualizing a commercial program would be a very hard task when wanting to reach a mass audience, says Maloney.  So, a typical response from someone who comes across the commercial will give it a try, it will be too difficult (because it’s not necessarily set for their level of fitness), and the compliance will suffer.

Health assessments for exercise indicate males aged 40 and women aged 45 have one risk factor for heart disease. So, before using the T25 Workout or any exercise program, it’s important to consult a physician to rule out any other underlying risk factors, suggests McCall.

Is T25 Expensive?

The T25 DVD workout costs about $74.00 on Amazon. Beachbody offers the program at approximately the same price and usually, bonus offers are provided. This could increase the cost and you may be responsible for shipping and handling. 

The best question to ask yourself is how much do you want to spend on a home workout program and does it fit into your budget.

T25 Pros and Cons

The pros supporting the T25 workout are that it burns a lot of calories in a short amount of time, according to McCall. The program is easily done at home with access to an online community to support your progress. Community-oriented programs make people feel part of something important. This promotes motivation as individuals are able to share success stories and frustrations with a workout community. The T25 workout may be challenging but you feel like you’re not exercising alone.

Maloney suggests the pros for the T25 workout include the program being time-efficient, and HIIT provides results when practiced properly. Fun and energetic workouts can be done with minimal equipment and space.

The cons of the T25 exercise program are that it has the potential to be dangerous if not a regular exerciser, according to McCall. Because of this, it may not be the best start program for an individual new to exercise.

Another unfavorable opinion for the T25 workout is that progressions and regressions of exercises are typically not covered in these commercial programs, suggests Maloney. This makes it hard to individualize workouts to maintain safety and best results (people respond differently to any style of training). Because of this, there would be a decrease in socialization, which is proven to be a motivator for health and fitness.

A Word From Verywell

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is shown to be effective. This is the method used in the T25 workout. It may be right for those who exercise regularly but not the best consideration for newcomers. Regardless of what exercise program you choose, health and fitness goals are directly correlated to the total movement of the day, according to Maloney.

The bottom line is we need to move more throughout the entire day to reach and maintain a healthy life, he says.