It’s not just what you do, but how you do it, that matters most for achieving results. Part 2 (read part 1 here) of our look under the hood of Focus T25 will cover the Alpha series: your wade in point on the T25 journey.
The Alpha workouts require no equipment. Like Insanity, resistance work (vital for efficient body composition change) is accomplished through creative body movements using only the floor and gravity as “weight”. Unlike Insanity, however, T25 is appropriate as an entry-level fitness program. That said, it would also serve to improve the fitness of elite exercisers and Insanity grads alike. This requires some explanation. First…
Nervous system training
T25 works on something called proprioception. You might equate this word with coordination as you struggle to keep step with Shaun and the kids, and you’d be right, but it’s place in the program is not to teach you how to dance or move to a rhythm (it’s not Hip Hop Abs) but to force your neuromuscular system to react to unfamiliar terrain.
The moves in T25 are not difficult. Even with a complete lack of rhythm you’ll master them. The goal is that you master them with speed over time that will re-program your central nervous system, leading to changes in hormonal cascading, which is the primary key to your body changing its metabolism (the real key to weight loss). Athletic trainers often refer to this as ground work, and it’s on display front and center during the Alpha phase of T25.
This training will have the same affect on your body, whether you’re fit or not. There are modified versions of each move, so you can proceed at your own pace, but even masters of Insanity or Asylum will re-program themselves to a degree during Alpha and, thus, find a benefit from doing this phase.
In shape vs out of shape
It differs, however, just where the program plays in your periodizational schedule of training based on fitness. This may seem obvious (even if you don’t know what perdioizational training is [click if you want to find out]) as fitness level always changes your approach to any training schedule. Here’s a simple guideline:
Out of shape users will find T25 very difficult. It’s hard. I mean, I’m quite fit and train for a living and it’s hard for me. Not necessarily at my max but I finish each workout dripping with sweat and often fail on strength movements (which we haven’t gone into yet). But the real beauty of T25 is that it’s set up so that you can start slow and progress at your own pace.
If you’re new to training follow Tania (above) until you can master everything she’s doing. No need to rush this process. They key to getting results with T25 is mastery. This doesn’t mean doing the hardest movements you see on the screen but the hardest movements that you can do. This is important. I’d tell you to repeat it but, instead, just think about that sentence for a second.
Furthermore, feel free to modify further if you can’t follow Tania. You may need props (couch, chairs, etc) to aid you through movements in the beginning and that is just fine. Use ‘em! Whatever you can do that will keep you following along is completely fair game.
On this note I almost made a modified cool down video because some of you won’t be able to stand on one leg and stretch like Shaun does. But then I realized it can be explained in a sentence. Use the other arm to hold something for balance whenever necessary. Your goal is to be able to stretch on one leg but don’t rush it. Instead focus on getting the most out of each stretch, using props whenever necessary until it’s natural to let go.
Finally, you don’t need to adhere to the Alpha schedule. If you finish it and feel like you need some more time to master the workouts keep going as long as necessary. By allowing your body to fully adapt to Alpha you’ll maximize your results curve.
by Steve Edwards
Steve Edwards is a member of the Beachbody fitness team and is a knowledgeable fitness expert. Check out his blog at steveedwardsfitness.com