Results: Does “80DO” Work?
After completing the full “80 Day Obsession” home workout program on Beachbody on Demand with trainer Autumn Calabrese, I shall sing from the treetops that yes indeed, “80DO” is exceptionally effective at transforming how your body looks and feels — with a fabulous focus on strong, flat abs, a lifted rear, and toned arms. (All desirable things, eh?)
That said, I have a number of warnings about this program that are key to keep in mind if you’re going to get the most out of it. In particular, “80DO” is labeled as “Intermediate” level, but in fact it contains some of the most complex — even bizarre — exercises that I’ve ever seen in my decades of working out.
Read on to learn how to reap the benefits to your body from this overall excellent fitness program (and see some surprising Before and After pictures), while avoiding the dangers that lurk within. Note that this article contains affiliate links which provide a small commission to me at no cost to you if you choose to purchase. Enjoy!
Is Beachbody on Demand Worth It?
Before reviewing “80 Day Obsession” specifically, let’s address the platform it’s on. Is it worth it to subscribe to Beachbody on Demand? Heck yeah! The cost is just $12 to $8 a month depending on which plan you get, which is basically half of the price of a SINGLE workout class in an in-person gym — and it contains thousands of workouts.
If you’re not sure if it’s for you, try the 14 day trial. You can always cancel… but after seeing what’s on there, you likely won’t want to! (Note: I have not been paid by BOD to say this — I have simply really enjoyed the programs I’ve done on the platform, and love encouraging others to work out in effective ways.)
What Qualifies Me to Write This Article?
I am a fitness enthusiast who was a Division I college athlete for high jump. After graduating in 2003 (yes, I’m almost 40 years old), I got heavily into in-person exercise classes, starting a local workout motivation group — now 700 members strong! — to encourage others in Boston to exercise regularly.
In 2020 when my favorite two gyms closed, I pivoted to online workout programs. Over the course of this year, I’ve sampled 15 different Beachbody and DailyBurn workouts (see the overview here) and have started using this blog to write the kind of review articles about each program that I wish I had been able to find before starting this exercise journey. It can be tough to pick a program that’s the right fit for you, and honest reviews can help!
To research this “80 Day Obsession” article, I completed every single “80DO” workout over the course of four months (I took extra rest days — more on that soon), taking notes and corroborating everything for accuracy. I hope you find this review useful on your fitness journey!
How Hard is “80 Day Obsession?”
“80DO” is supposedly an “Intermediate” program, but in many ways I found it harder than “6 Weeks of The Work” (an “Advanced” Beachbody program which I absolutely loved).
What makes “80DO “harder? For one, it’s longer in daily duration than “The Work,” with many of the days being almost hour-long workouts. It’s also 6 days a week, which I ended up modifying because… life. (More on that later.) The total length of the program is longer, too, but that didn’t bother me since it’s nice to have a long-term project for mental clarity.
The second thing that makes “80DO” hard is the style of moves. It has a very wide variety of surprising body movements that challenge strength, flexibility, balance, and endurance. I’ve been working out for MANY years, but “80DO” features exercises that I’ve never seen or even dreamed of, and because they are so unique, they target muscles I’d completely ignored.
In other words, these unique moves are worthwhile because they are hitting neglected areas, but are highly challenging while those puny hidden muscles are being built. The hardest moves are often the ones you need the most!
Perhaps what makes “80DO” fall in the “Intermediate” category are two elements: First, there is always a clear modifier for every move. I tried not to use it, but when I did, I found the moves much more doable. Second, the overall pace of the program’s workouts is slower and less breathless than “The Work” or “Insanity,” and has less explosive jumping — though it certainly did make me sweat and breathe heavily!
Avoiding Injury During “80DO”
IMPORTANT: If you have any health concerns, do consult your doctor or another qualified professional before starting “80 Day Obsession, and do NOT attempt “80DO” if you’re the type of person who will push through pain to the point of injury without adding needed modifications — especially around your knees and the back.
“80DO” has a number of exercises which WILL injure a person who doesn’t use correct form, and who doesn’t listen meticulously to any twinges in the body that are signaling that a modification is necessary. The modifications suggested by the program are NOT enough to fix each move for knee issues in particular, so you must be 100% in touch with your own body, and must be fervent about altering a movement that doesn’t work for you. (I strongly recommend doing the 645 Beachbody program before or instead of “80DO” if you’re worried about injury — 645 is brilliant about educating you on functional movement and keeping your body safe.)
Modifying “80DO” For Knee Issues
Since I was a high jumper for years, and since I’m a gangly 6 feet tall, my knees are… delicate. Throughout “80DO,” there were moves such as “Surrenders” (kneel down then step back up), twisting lunges, “Bears” (on all fours with knees lifted), and “Buddhas” (up and down kneel-sitting) which put tremendous strain on my knees to the point of shooting pain.
Over the months I did the program, however, I became expert at listening to my body to decide if I needed to alter my form, or fully change the exercise to keep my knees safe. What surprised me was that I WAS able to do more of these moves than I thought, as long as I moved slowly and kept the angles perfect.
I soon realized that there is a specific alignment I need to hit (with my knee over the foot/ankle area in a very particular spot) that causes zero pain — but the moment I miss that alignment — OUCH! Once I mastered that leg alignment, many more moves were possible for me than I ever previously imagined, given the state of my knees.
Before “80DO,” I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be able to do ONE single “Buddha” — let alone dozens. (See the video for live action of me doing it without collapsing in pain.) Part of the power of this workout program is that it helps build the small, ignored muscles that support greater joint strength and functional movement. For that I’m thankful.
Bottom line: “80 Day Obsession” can actually HELP knee issues if done correctly, but you must be willing and able to modify exercises when your body calls out for it. The modifier on screen will not be enough.
Is “80 Day Obsession” Cardio or Strength?
Because of the slightly slower pace of “80DO” compared to other programs like “Insanity,” I didn’t feel the same breathless cardio “cleanse” and “high” that every day of “The Work” provided. That was sometimes a bummer.
That said, “80DO” does indeed hit some cardio, along with strength, balance, AND flexibility. How much cardio you get from this program also depends on how hard you push yourself. Pushing yourself may include pushing the “fast forward” button, though, because…
My biggest gripe with “80 Day Obsession” is that it has way too many talking breaks. By Phase 3, I was so annoyed with the slow pace that I would run over to my computer and fast forward the monologues. By the end of the last phase, Autumn (who does all the exercises with you) was so exhausted, herself, that she was taking extra long talking breaks to catch her breath.
On the days when there WAS a sustained cardio-level pace (randomly scattered throughout the program), I loved the endorphin high and wished there was more of that. This leads to the question of what kind of extra cardio a person might pair with “80DO” to make up for its breathlessness deficit.
Does “80DO” Pair Well With Running?
Unlike programs that utterly exhaust your body with cardio, “80DO” pairs well with extra outdoor running and walking because it’s a slower pace than other Beachbody workouts like “The Work.”
I dislike running, but I did pair “80 Day Obsession” with an outdoor walk of at least an hour every day, and that combination worked really well. It’s nice to make time to get fresh air and sunshine, and the meditative movements of walking help keep my muscles loose.
It is worth noting that even though I don’t like to run, one day when I got caught in a downpour three miles from home, I jogged all the way back and barely broke a sweat, suggesting that the cardio work of “80DO” is effective, and transfers beyond the indoor workout mat.
Equipment Needed for “80DO:”
A range of dumbbell sizes are necessary for “80DO.” I did the whole program with just 10 pound and 25 pound weight sets because I couldn’t find others in stock, but I wished I’d had 5s, 15s, and 20s. Right after the program, I ordered the MX55 adjustable dumbbells set (10-55 lbs), which I am mostly enjoying now that I’m doing “LIIFT4.” Just know that some of the moves in “80DO” would be harder with adjustable weights because of the odd side grips in some of the moves.
2. Resistance Loops:
You can find loops affordably bundled with sliders here. Autumn will often cue by the color of the band, so if you get different colors than the standard Beachbody set, take time to look up which colors mean which resistance levels so you can “translate” them to your set.
Honestly, I found it much easier to use baby burp cloths on an uncarpeted floor than to use sliders, but your mileage may vary. I work out in just compression socks (without shoes), so sliders probably work better paired with sneakers than they did for my stocking feet!
4. Thick Foam Mat:
This cushioning is a MUST, especially with all the ab and kneeling exercises in the program. I have this one and love it. I also have a wider pad (interlocking foam puzzle pieces) that goes under it and stretches further out, which is key because some of the moves need more space. You can see it in action in the video.
5. Workout Clothes:
Do you like the leggings and tank pictured here? Find them at my friend’s woman-owned, ethical company, Wanderbabe! I also love these armor leggings. I’ve found these compression socks make a big difference in feeling supported and keeping veins happy.
6. Protein Powder and Bars:
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to get enough protein while doing this intense workout program. 100% of the time, I used this these hydration and protein powders during and after doing the day’s workout, and it is recommended you take your protein 30 minutes or sooner after finishing exercise.
On days when I felt hungry before a workout, I find that these protein bars give me energy to exercise without causing cramps or too much fullness. That brand (Shaklee) is a little more expensive, but my whole family swears by it, and the protein quality is worth the price.
“80DO” Workout Summary
“80DO” is divided into three phases of one month each, concluding with one Peak Week. Within a single phase, the same 7 workouts are repeated by week (in different orders for each phase). The exercise groups are as follows.
1) Total Body Core: An hour of full body movements using both weights and resistance loops. I enjoyed the moves in this series, though they become increasingly complex and compounded as the program goes on.
2) Booty: About an hour of glue-focused moves that I found really doable and enjoyable. In Phase 1, most are done with resistance loops while lying down on the mat, so that’s a more relaxing perk!
3) Cardio Core: About 35-40 minutes of cardio bodyweight moves alternated with ab moves (some of which use sliders). I found this workout doable, fun, and pretty quick.
4) AAA (Arms, Abs, A**): About an hour of eccentric moves, meaning you do the first part of the move fast, then release in three slow steps. These were fun, though I wished for weights lighter than 10 lbs for some exercises.
5) Legs: Around 50 minutes of leg-focused moves, mostly featuring heavier weights. I was soooo sore after this workout every week!
6) Cardio Flow: Ok, we need to talk about this one. It is EVERY WEEK, EVERY PHASE, and it is brutal. It’s 30-40 minutes of super awkward bodyweight movements (two made it into the video here), and because it builds up (adding one exercise each round), you end up doing approximately ten zillion inchworms, which frankly felt unnecessary and repetitive. That said, I did truly see the benefit to my muscles and functional strength from all the weird crawling and jumping in Cardio Flow, so do it as well as you can, and modify when needed.
7) Rest/Stretch/Roll Day: There is no video for these after the first two weeks, but you can go back and re-watch the 15-minute Stretch and Roll tutorials (which I didn’t do because I dislike repeating videos). On these days, I would usually just take a really long walk outside and do a little independent stretching.
“Weekly Obsession:” There is a 20-minute “show” at the end of each week with a check-in with the cast members about their exercise and nutrition progress. I usually skipped these, but they have some fun moments from the sections I did see. What’s confusing is I didn’t realize these videos existed, and when I first opened the last workout of the week, I was really befuddled about why it said 50 minutes even though it was supposed to be 30!
Overview of Weekly Rep Structure
In the four weeks of an “80 Day Obsession” phase, the workouts go like this (not including the two cardio workouts):
Week 1: Two times doing all the exercises 15 times.
Week 2: Three times doing all the exercises 10 times.
Week 3: Two times doing blocks of the exercises 15 times. (The blocks are 3 or 4 moves that you do twice. This is harder than Week 1 because there’s less rest time before doing the same muscle move.)
Week 4: Three times of doing blocks of the exercises 10 times.
Adding Rest Days to “80DO”
I ended up adding in at least one extra rest day per week, which I think is a good idea. “80DO” can feel relentless because of how long it is (in a daily and monthly sense), and bodies need time to heal and rebuild.
Usually around mid-week, I found myself utterly exhausted — and also crunched for time because I have two jobs and two young kids — so I’d just declare a rest day and do a long walk instead, thus delaying the next workout one day. Listen to what your muscles and energy level are telling you, and do what your body needs.
The “80 Day Obsession” Meal Plan and Abs
This article is only about the exercises in the program — not the meal plan — because I didn’t do the “80DO” nutrition part. I’ve heard good things about it, but didn’t need it on my end because I am already obsessive about eating veggies and whole grains and drinking a ton of water, and am clear that “abs are made in the kitchen.”
I will highlight one big nutrition thing, though: I quit all alcohol around the same time I started this program, and noticed a major positive difference in my body shape and function as a result. Teetotaling might be worth a shot for you to try, too, even if just for a short time.
Let’s talk about the effect of nutrition, “80 Day Obsession,” and quitting booze in total on my abs, using the awkward but truthful “Before” and “After” photo set above. As background, I’m a mother of two kids, and during the third trimester of both pregnancies, I not only gained 40 pounds each time, but also developed a pregnant triangle belly, which may indicate I had some damage to my core muscles. 5 years after having my last child, however, all of these exercises and this nutrition are paying off in regaining ab strength!
PROS: What I Liked About “80DO”
1. “80 Day Obsession” really, truly works in reshaping your body to look and feel great! I was quite fit to begin with, but the results I’ve seen in the program — most notably in the arms, abs, and glutes are astounding, and worth the time.
2. “80DO” strengthens muscles that have been neglected. The exercise moves in this program are so unique that you’ll find yourself flexing and building parts of your body that have badly needed some attention. This means that your body will start to work better in everyday moves, which is a big quality of life boost. The simple acts of getting out of bed or picking up my children have been two places I see an ease of movement that wasn’t there before.
3. Autumn is excellent at cueing. She never fails to suggest the weight amount or to explain the move and timing. This is a contrast to other programs, which often forget these reminders and leave me scrambling to guess dumbbell size.
4. “80DO” is particularly perfect for women. This program is good for all genders, but I found it especially fitting for the feminine body and goals.
5. Though I complained about it, I actually appreciated that each workout was nearly an hour. It meant I really felt like I was doing something, versus other Beachbody programs which sometimes feel too short, and spur me to do a second workout the same day just to get that “cleansed” feeling. Also, having an hour every day for my workout actually felt like a mini “Momcation” because my family got into the groove of supporting my 3-4pm ritual. (My laundry room ain’t exactly the ABC Islands — but it’s a small sliver of peace!)
6. Speaking of rituals, “80DO” gets you in good exercise habits because it’s so relentless and long. In the past, I worked out 3 times a week, but with 6 days a week as the benchmark, my body began to crave more exercise — a flow I hope to hold onto — and the results came much faster! Autumn is a good influence.
7. It’s useful that two of the six workouts each week don’t need weights, meaning I could do those in the playroom while watching children, if need be — I just had to bring down my mat and sometimes loops or sliders.
CONS: What I Disliked in “80DO”
A) So much talking!
The pace of “80DO” is slower than I’d like because of the breaks for chatting, breathing, etc. This got me in a bad habit of checking my phone and texting between moves, which is now hard to break since I’ve started a faster program! As mentioned previously, I started fast-forwarding the “80DO” monologues.
B) Workouts are LONG.
An hour (or close to 60 minutes) every day for 6 days a week is doable, but it’s a lot. The length makes it a particularly frustrating fact that there are so many talking breaks, because if that slowness were cut out, the workout would be shorter.
C) No music or countdown counter.
Some days I put on music in the background, and Autumn has a Spotify playlist you can use, but I missed having an easy beat — and countdown timer on the screen so I’d know when exercises would end — right there.
D) Cast members have no mics.
Because of the sound setup, almost every episode has these weird exchanges where Autumn is talking to someone you can’t hear — and often she’ll start cracking up, and then only later explain why. I far prefer how “The Work” has every cast member audible so you get to know them and enjoy their banter with the trainer.
E) Risk of injury.
See the earlier section about how crucial it is to modify this program when things hurt. Because the moves in “80DO” are so bizarre, I feel less comfortable recommending this program to friends without reservation, as I want to ensure first that they understand how to alter exercises to avoid injury.
F) Your body will do weird things.
During “80DO,” your energy level will fluctuate as your system gets used to the new moves and long workouts. Be prepared for periods of total exhaustion. Make sure you’re getting enough protein, sleep, and calories, and consider adding an extra rest day if you become totally fried.
“80DO” vs. “21 Day Fix” or “4 Weeks for Every Body”
I’m adding in this section in 2022 after completing all these Autumn Calabrese workout programs, and I’d now recommend doing “21 Day Fix” (classic, straightforward lifting and cardio) or “4 Weeks for Every Body” (no-impact) instead of — or at least before — “80 Day Obsession.” Both these newer programs are shorter in daily duration, and have a lower risk of injury.
“80DO” vs. “The Work”
Reflecting, I enjoyed the “6 Weeks of the Work” exercise program more because Amoila Cesar and the cast were awesome and the cardio left me feeling cleansed after every workout, BUT… I actually think that the results in “80 Day Obsession” were better.
Why? “80DO” is a more “female” program, meaning the gains are in areas that a woman like me desires: abs, arms, and glutes. “6 Weeks of the Work” is very shoulder-heavy, and that’s not where I want my bulk.
If I were to give a recommendation, I’d say start with “The Work” to build big base muscles and cardio (and have a great time laughing!), and then do “80DO” afterwards to really refine those smaller target areas with Autumn’s highly creative moves.
“80DO” vs. #mbf “Muscle Burns Fat”
I have a very long and detailed answer to this question on my new #mbf Muscle Burns Fat review (click to see it), but I’d actually call this one a tie, with the recommendation to start with #mbf and “Muscle Burns Fat Advanced” #mbfa and move to “80 Day Obsession” afterwards.
“80 Day Obsession” vs. “LIIFT4”
Now that I have my adjustable weight set, I am several weeks into Joel Freeman’s famous and beloved “LIIFT4” program, which is 4 days a week of lifting and HIIT: high intensity interval training — and I love it. (No, I don’t stay in that “liminal space” of pausing between workouts for long!) Naturally, I’m constantly comparing this new program with “80 Day Obsession.” Here are my observations.
Ways “LIIFT4” is better than “80DO:”
1. I love that Joel does NOT actually DO the workouts while he explains them. Sure, it was fun that Autumn did everything with us in “80DO,” but frankly it contributed to the slow pace because she needed time to catch her breath before explaining the next exercise. It’s much more efficient to just have the trainer explaing the moves and coaching the cast in form.
2. “LIIFT4” is very basic, and I say that in the most loving and appreciative way possible. After 80 days of the most bizarre moves under the sun with Autumn, it’s refreshing to just do basic squats and chest presses with Joel. Even the numbers in “LIIFT4” are basic: 3 sets of 10 for everything. The humor in the program is also more straightforward. Some of the jokes in “80DO” are hard to hear.
3. “LIIFT4” is shorter in every sense: shorter in duration of each workout (oh, and the cardio parts have on-screen count-downs!), in number of days per week (THREE rest days?!) and in total duration (8 weeks versus 12). It’s way easier to fit a 35-minute workout into your day than a 60 minute one! But this comes with downsides…
Ways “80 Day Obsession” is better than “LIIFT4:”
Often, “LIIFT4” feels incomplete — especially for legs and glutes. If you look at the workout plan schedule, you’ll see that there’s only one (JUST ONE!) leg day a week, and though legs are targeted two of the other three days in the HIIT section, this is still a far cry from the DAILY focus on your lower half in “80 Day Obsession.”
Given this, if you do “LIIFT4,” I’d strongly recommend supplementing it with running, long walks, and/or extra leg and glue lifting at least once a week, and/or removing rest days to compress the schedule.
Sheesh — I never though I’d be nostalgic for Autumn’s torture, but seeing other programs makes me realize what an effective total body powerhouse “80 Day Obsession” is!
Summary of this Beachbody Review:
Does “80 Day Obsession” Give Results?
To conclude this review of “80 Day Obsession,” we must ask: is this workout program worth it? Is it worth all the hours (many, MANY hours) and all the days and weeks? Is it worth braving the bizarre mule kick jumps and side planks? Is it worth pushing past the long monologues?
The answer really depends on YOU: on your own fitness background, schedule, and desires. In short, if you want your body to look and feel fantastic, AND are willing to put in the time and modify to avoid injury, then YES, “80 Day Obsession” is one of the best and most effective total body workout programs on the whole Beachbody on Demand platform. (See all my Beachbody reviews here.)
In short, you just have to be open to bizarrely unique new exercises, and willing and able to alter them if your body needs you to. For me, I’m so thankful I did this program… and might even do another round in the future!
So what about you? If you’ve done some or all of “80 Day Obsession,” how was your experience? If you haven’t done it, does it seem like a program you’d enjoy? Do share!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 4.2 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!