Focus T25, Uncategorized

Focus T25: Speed 1.0 Review

On to Focus T25 Day Two – Speed 1.0. All things considered, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this workout. It’s a bit of an odd mix of the sort of heavy cardio/light plyo we experienced in yesterday’s Cardio, some boxing moves, some dance-type moves, and stretching at regular intervals.

The cardio was solid. Much like yesterday, it got my heartrate up without making me feel like I was going to die! Where the moves started to feel a bit more dancey or just more complex in their sequencing, I struggled a bit, because I’m just not that coordinated, though there was nothing too complicated here. I hate that feeling when you’re so busy trying to understand a cardio move and do it right that you slow down and your heartrate drops, and that didn’t happen at least.

Probably my least favourite aspect was the boxing. Whenever a fitness video inflicts martial arts type moves on me, I tend to flail my arms around wildly, make my husband laugh his head off, and don’t really getting much benefit. This wasn’t as bad as some experiences I’ve had (Les Mills Body Combat anyone?) partly because it made up a relatively small part of the workout, partly because the moves were relatively straightforward, but I still spent most of those segments wishing they were over.

The oddest bit of the workout was the stretching. Now, I love a good stretch. I do a lot of yoga, I always do the restorative rest day videos during any exercise programme, and I moan when cooldowns are too short. But I still found it a little odd to be pausing every three minutes or so in a fairly short workout to take 30-60 seconds to stretch. My body and the lazy part of my mind appreciated it, but it felt like a bit of a cop out, and it meant that until close to the end, I never got to the point where my heart was pounding and I was dripping with sweat. Which let’s face it, is what you want from a short, cardio-focused video, and what yesterday’s workout delivered in spades. Most of the individual exercises were a bit more intense than yesterday’s, so I can see the logic in some breaks, but the ratio didn’t feel quite right.

Somewhere after the ten minute mark though, you go into a burnout round that lasts until very near the end, and at that point, the stretching fell away and the intensity ramped right up. Be careful what you wish for, I guess!

There was then a quick, simple cooldown that was more or less identical to yesterday’s.

Overall, I felt like I’d had a good workout, but I think I’d have had a better one with a bit less boxing and a lot more stretching.

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Focus T25, Uncategorized

Focus T25 – Cardio 1.0 Review

So, as promised, with 80 Day Obsession out of the way, it’s time for Focus T25 Day One. Unlike 80DO, workouts are repeated several times, so I’m not going to attempt a day by day diary, just a review of each workout the first time it appears in the schedule. Also, despite their short length, the rapid pace means these workouts all contain an absolute ton of moves, so I’m going to aim to give a flavour, rather than a full moves list.

Anyway, on to today’s workout: Cardio 1.0 (Cardio 2.0 comes in the second month). Now, this programme is pretty cardio-focused across the board, but this workout is dedicated to it.

There’s no official warm-up, but it starts relatively slow, with some knee raises that progress into high knees. From then on, the intensity ramps up, and there are absolutely no breaks, and very few gentler moves. It’s exhausting, but it goes by very fast, particularly if you’re used to longer workouts and/or ones with more pauses for breath.

Most of the moves are fairly straightforward, which suits me, as I’m not wildly coordinated or rhythmic. There isn’t too much wild, throwing yourself in the air type jumping (though there are a couple of moves of that kind), but there are lots of smaller jumps and tons of squats and lunges, often combined with the gentler jumps. It all combines to really get your heart rate up while also working your leg and glute muscles like crazy. I’ve said a million times on this blog that cardio is traditionally neither my favourite nor my strong point. I suspect I’d have really struggled with this a few months ago, but post 80DO, it felt challenging but manageable, particularly once the short duration is factored in.

Definitely a good choice for some rapid, no nonsense cardio and a bit of body-weight strength training for the legs.

Focus T25, Uncategorized

80 Day Obsession is over, let’s start Focus T25

After having finished 80 Day Obsession, I gave myself a week to recover, then decided it was time to start my next programme. I debated what to do, and eventually settled on something that in many ways, couldn’t be more different: Focus T25.

FOCUS T25

The workouts are short (25 minutes, hence the name) where 80DO’s were long, they’re cardio-focused, where 80DO’s were varied, but skewed towards strength, and they require no equipment whatsoever, where 80DO required not just the usual weights, but the special sliders and bands.

I made this decision quite deliberately.

Firstly, 80DO did an amazing job of increasing my strength, building my bum, tightening my abs, and increasing muscle tone. But I didn’t lose much weight, and while that’s not my primary concern, I thought it’d be great to lose a few pounds so all that extra muscle can really shine through.

Secondly, I really don’t have time to work out for an hour 6 days a week. I made myself do it for 80 Days, and my body thanked me, but I only achieved that by prioritising the workouts over almost everything else, which isn’t viable in the long term. I want to keep my exercise routine ticking over, while spending more of my very limited non-working hours on my writing.

Thirdly, I’ve always shield away from cardio. I’m much more of a weights and yoga girl. Following 80DO to the letter forced me to do more cardio than I’ve done in a long time, and it’s left me feeling better at it, more positive about it, and hoping to build on that foundation. So I thought it would be interesting to do a programme that really focuses on that side of things, by an instructor known for his challenging cardio routines. Who knows, maybe I’ll give Insanity a whirl afterwards…

I’m a little less enthused about the total lack of equipment. I trust Shaun T to keep my legs in great shape, but I’m nervous about losing all some of the work I’ve done on my shoulders, backs and arms, without some weights to help things along. I’m also worried I’ll simply miss playing with my weights. This will, however, make it easier for me and my husband to work out at the same time, as we only have one set of adjustable weights, so if he’s doing Body Beast and I’m doing something strength based, we have to do one after the other, which is another timing constraint.

It’s a ten week programme, split into two phases, Alpha and Beta, with an optional Gamma add on that you can either do afterwords or do in place of the last two weeks of Beta. Incidentally, I find that naming system incredibly confusing. I’d expect Alpha to be harder than Beta – Alpha men and all that – but it’s basically just alphabetical ordering.

Each week, you do five days of “proper” workouts, and then have one day with a stretch routine and one day totally off.

For the first phase, the workouts are: Cardio, Speed, Total Body Circuit, Ab Intervals, Lower Focus, and Stretch.

The second phase has: Core Cardio, Speed 2, Rip’t Circuit, Dynamic Core, Upper Focus, Stretch, and Core Speed – so similar, but more of a focus on the core throughout, and an upper focus instead of a lower one.

All the workouts are 25 minutes long, but the idea seems to be its intense movements and no breaks at all, so that you’re effectively getting the best part of an hour’s workout done in the time available. Which would be nice. It’s all very cardio focused, but with lots of body weight strength work and core stuff thrown in.

Review of each workout to come…