If you haven’t read my page about the benefits of working out at home, I’d suggest you do that now.
But let’s say that I’ve convinced you. Or that you’re already a convert to the world of workout videos. There are free Youtube exercise videos. There are celebrity offerings for £10 a go. Beachbody programmes are super cheap in comparison to the gym or to fitness classes. But they are pricier than many other home workouts. I do have some other videos I’ve enjoyed, but Beachbody has been the cornerstone of my home workout regime for the past five years for several very good reasons.
EXPERIENCE AND BRAND
If you play around on Beachbody on Demand, you’ll find some old videos described as Beachbody Classics, which were created in the early days of the company. There are some worthwhile workouts in there, and it’s a delight to see a young Tony Horton. But there’s no getting away from the fact they are nowhere near as slick, as effective, or as enjoyable as the workouts from the last ten years or so.
And that’s because Beachbody has been going for a while, and it’s seemingly developed a formula for what really makes a workout programme work. And on a cynical level, they’ve got an established brand to maintain, so – unlike some “celebrity” trainers – there’s no way they’d rush out something half-hearted to make a quick profit.
There are some new releases I don’t have much personal interest in, because they are designed for total beginners or they’re just not really my style. But I’m totally confident that whether it’s a lighthearted dance routine or the sort of cardio that makes you feel like you’re going to die, it’s all slick and polished and effective.
THE SUPER TRAINERS
Despite the large cast that goes into make each Beachbody video a success (see below) they are ultimately all fronted by one of a select group of individuals: the Super Trainers. They all have quite different personalities and workout and teaching styles, but they have a few things in common: tons of experience as fitness instructors, amazing bodies, and so much energy and inspiration and motivation.
Ultimately, whether you’re watching a fitness DVD or you’re attending an expensive studio, a class stands or fails on the quality of the instructor. And these are all world class.
PRODUCTION VALUES AND THE BEHIND THE SCENES TEAM
On Beachbody on Demand, there’s a fascinating Apprentice-style reality show called “The 20s” about some fitness trainers competing to be the next “Beachbody Super Trainer” ie. an instructor in a new programme. It’s a fun watch for anyone who enjoys fitness and reality TV. But what I found really fascinating was the segments where the competitors are tasked with making their own video. In my head, I imagined there was just Tony/Chalene/Autumn/Shaun and a camera-person. From watching that series, it became clear there are tons of people involved with every programme. Choreographers. Sports scientists. Nutritionists. Scriptwriters. Music producers. All sorts of filming and production teams. Costume designers. Hair and make-up. The list goes on. It’s not far off what you’d expect from a Hollywood film. And it’s a million miles away to what you get with a home-produced Youtube video and even with most professional videos made by other companies.
What this means for the viewer/exerciser is three things. Firstly, a video that’s pleasing to the eyes and ears. Secondly, a workout that’s well-choreographed and easy to follow. And thirdly, a workout that’s safe, well-designed and gets results.
PROGRAMMES AND STRUCTURE
Lots of videos out there are just a single workout or at best a handful of workouts, with no guidance on how to bring them together and lots of risk of boredom. Beachbody programmes are all designed to be followed over a set time period, from 21 days to 3 months. It’s made very clear exactly what workout you’re meant to do on what day, with the result that over the course of a week, you work your whole body without over-training and risking injury, you get a good mix of strength, cardio and flexibility training, and over the course of a month or two, you build your fitness and strength levels. There’s no need for second guessing and no chance of losing interest – just follow the calendar and it’s easy.
Beachbody really does have something for everyone, whether you can barely walk upstairs and have a ton of weight to lose, or you’re already really quite fit and in shape and are hoping to move from good to great. I don’t think any other company runs such a full spectrum of programmes from total beginner to seriously advanced, or has such a wide range of options in the middle bracket.
Tai Cheng is suitable for the elderly. You V2 is great for someone who’s never really worked out before. Body Beast can get you in shape for fitness competitions. Insanity is notorious for being the hardest workout put on video. And no one can go wrong with 21 Day Fix.
The best thing is that you don’t even have to choose. Beachbody on Demand gives you access to all these programmes and loads more for £99 a year, so you can find the perfect programme for you or enjoy mixing and matching. More on the benefits of that here.
COACHES AND LEVEL OF SUPPORT
Finally, one of the best things about going a Beachbody programme is that you don’t have to go it alone. At the lighter end of the spectrum, you can Google any programme – generally, any individual workout – and find reviews and tips and motivation from people who’ve done it before. It’s the sort of internet-wide community you just don’t get with smaller-scale programmes.
And better still, there’s a whole infrastructure of Coaches and Challenge Groups. A coach – like me – will help you pick the right exercise programme and nutrition plan for you, get started, and stick with it. In addition, most of the time, we have Challenge Groups running. In these, a few people, led by a Coach, gather together to complete a programme and stick to a diet. With advice from the Coach, support and encouragement from your fellow participants, and accountability from the group, it massively increases the change of your following a programme all the way through and achieving the results you desire.
Information on signing me up as your coach here