Fitness update and a T25 review.

It’s been awhile since I talked about wanting to get in shape with T25. I started with the program sometime in April and have since finished a full round of it. I’d meant to do an update after completing the first phase, but we went on vacation right after, then had to recover from the vacation as soon as we got home. I’ve really enjoyed the workouts and I wanted to share my experience incase anyone was contemplating giving T25 a go, but you weren’t sure if it was right for you.

T25 is split up into two phases: Alpha and Beta. Alpha is where you “build your foundation” and Beta has a stronger focus on strengthening your core to get you those abs you’ve always dreamed of (insert wistful sigh here). Each workout is 25 minutes long, BUT there is an added roughly 3 minute stretch at the end of each one so you’ll technically be working out for almost a half hour. Sunday is ‘stretch’ day and is the most relaxed, I like that he incorporates a little yoga into his stretches. Monday through Friday the workouts focus on building strength and cardiovascular fitness. The DVDs come with a schedule that tells you which workouts to do and they mix them up so it keeps you on your toes and your body doesn’t get used to do the same thing everyday. Fridays are “double days” if you so choose and you get the option of doing two workouts, but it’s not mandatory. Obviously it will improve your results if you do. During the Alpha phase, the only equipment you really need is a yoga mat, during Beta you also need either a resistance band or a couple of hand weights. The DVD set actually comes with a resistance band. I’ll also say that there is a good amount of high impact exercise going on so good supportive sneakers are a must. I have bad knees (I’ve had surgery on my left already) so this was especially important for me.

Let me start by saying that don’t be fooled into thinking the Alpha phase is the ‘easy’ beginner phase. It’s no joke. I hadn’t worked out at all since even before getting pregnant, but I thought, “Hey, it’s just the beginning. How bad can it be?”  Real bad, but so good. I actually questioned how I was going to make it through to the end of that first cardio session. I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest. There is one person who is the modifier who does low impact versions of each exercise, but me being the overachiever had to go all out. I survived, stopping a few times when necessary, but I powered through and cursed Shaun T for making me workout harder than I ever had in my life. M was my workout buddy and I think that also helped to keep me committed and make it more fun. Although I was dripping with sweat and felt like my knees were going to give in, I actually felt a sense of accomplishment when I’d reach the end of a workout. I also felt extremely uncoordinated for the first week, but after the first couple of days it got smoother. Each day, my endurance improved. By the time we’d finished Alpha before going on vacation, I’d lost 4 pounds and felt stronger. I was still doing all the push-ups modified, but overall the moves felt much easier.

So after returning from vacation, we didn’t jump right back in to start Beta. M tweaked his back and couldn’t work out and I was exhausted after the travel day from hell. But by the 3rd day of being home I was actually craving my 25 minutes of Shaun! I ended up doing a few of the workouts from Alpha for the rest of the week before starting fresh with Beta the next. M’s back was still out of commission so I pushed through on my own. Beta is definitely more challenging and feels more fast-paced, but since some of the moves carryover from Alpha it’s much easier to follow along. During Beta you also start doing more resistance training with either a band or free weights. I’d recommend free weights because it’s harder to keep up and position the band before starting the exercise.  I used the band the first time, but immediately got free weights for the next strength training workout. Shaun also reminds you throughout each workout to “use your core!”, which took awhile for me to focus on when I was just trying to figure out the moves. But again, it gets easier. By the end of Beta I was doing regular push-ups, something I didn’t think I was ever going to be able to do. I could also see more muscle tone in my arms & stomach (there are abs under there!) and I was feeling great. I was really proud of myself for completing the 10 weeks and I was amazed at all that I could now do (I never in my life thought I’d be doing burpees).

BUT.

I didn’t keep up with the clean eating during Beta and I didn’t bother weighing myself. The overindulgence during vacation, dinners with friends, and summer BBQs really weakened my resolve in terms of my diet. It’s just a testament to the fact that exercise isn’t enough, what you eat is just as important. I also didn’t do the stretch on two of the Sunday’s, and they really are important. I noticed my flexibility seemed worse if I skipped it.  Needless to say I gained back the 4 pounds I’d lost during Alpha. But, honestly I think at least a pound of that gain is muscle (I hope). I knew I needed to get back on track with my diet, but it was just not happening for more than a day.

Fast forward to where I am now. I decided to do another round of T25. And let me tell you, Alpha is still freaking hard! I thought I’d be breezing through, but it’s just as challenging because I’m not modifying at all. I’m also only doing one workout on Fridays now, I’m not really trying to lose weight a ton of weight, I just want to stay in shape.  I also started another round of the Advocare 24 Day Challenge. I realized I needed something to get my back on track with healthy eating and it had been a year since I’d done my first challenge. M is doing it with me which is so helpful. I’d done the challenge when I first tried to lose the baby weight, if you want to read about that, you can here. I’m about 10 days in and I already feel so much better. And I’ve already lost the 4 pounds I’d gained. I’m not surprised because I was eating potato chips like every single day. 

What’s actually important is that I feel better. I’ve been consistently exercising 5 days a week for the past 3 months which is probably a world record for me. Doing T25 has made me want to workout, instead of dragging my feet to the gym or coming up with excuses not to go. There is no good excuse. You don’t need any fancy equipment and you don’t even need to leave your house. And it’s only 25 minutes a day. And Shaun is very motivating. My favorite saying of his is, “Don’t run from the burn, feel the burn.” He actually makes me work as hard as I can. And don’t get me wrong, I do have days when I think, “Ugh, not today! Just skip it.” But I do it anyway and I’m always happy I did. And feeling happy is better than feeling guilty.

I wholeheartedly recommend T25 to anyone looking to improve their fitness levels, without a huge time commitment. Once I’m finished with this round of T25, I’m definitely going to be trying another one of his workout programs. I hope this was helpful to anyone looking to start exercising and wants to do something quick and effective!

And thank you for reading, especially if you made it to the end of this long post!

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