Listen — I’m a positive gal… but I’m also honest, and the review you’re about to read for the new BODi Blocks online workout programs on the rebranded Beachbody fitness platform is going to be… scathing. I’m sorry, but all I could type in my notes after completing today’s was: “What the heck did I just watch?!”
How is BODi Different from Beachbody?
Let’s start with some background on the concept of BODi. In early 2023, the Beachbody on Demand workout streaming program (famed for “LIIFT4” with Joel Freeman, “Insanity” with Shaun T, “P90X,” and so on) announced that it was rebranding as BODi: a more interactive, inclusive “Health esteem” platform. Awesome!
Well, it is awesome except for one thing: the hallmark of Beachbody has been extremely polished, edited programs like “Muscle Burns Fat” with Megan Davies, and “645″ with Amoila Cesar. Unfortunately, this new interactive, live workout pivot tosses that fabulous element of highly professional programs to the side, in favor of a mess of mostly live weirdness.
Will BODi Release New Workout Programs, Post-Beachbody?
Yes, BODi will still release full programs in the future, but under this plan, only two polished programs will come out a year. Eek! Previously, there was enough frequency that a gal could just move from one new program to the next. You could see this in the fact that I continuously reviewed 18 Beachbody workout programs over the course of three years, from 2020 to 2023.
With this new timeline, users will be encouraged to do the new live-recorded BODi Blocks between programs, if they don’t want to just repeat the program they recently completed. Read on to learn why this could be a problem… But before that, we need to talk about money.
How Much Does BODi Cost vs. Beachbody?
Financially, as Beachbody transitions to BODi, the price of membership is also going up by almost double: from $99 a year to $179 a year. Users are up in arms about this, but honestly, I think it’s still a worthwhile deal because of the quality of the entire Beachbody workout program library that it provides access to.
Think about it this way: The new price works out to merely $15 a month — far less expensive than any gym I know around Boston, which helps my workout motivation for continuing to press play on this platform. And yet! My issue with BODi is not the pricing: it’s with quality and safety. Allow me to lay out the problems, starting with the overview.
BODi Block Background
The new BODi Blocks format works as follows: In each month-long “Block,” there are 3 weeks of 5 live-recorded workouts per week. Week 4 is an “UP Week” — Unlimited Progress — with a few extra workouts. Though each video is filmed live, the recordings remain on the platform to view at any time within the Block format.
The idea is that these month-long blocks release at the start of each month with new live-recorded workouts, so you join for fresh content each round. Most BODi Blocks are run by a mix of Super-Trainers from Beachbody glory (like Joel Freeman from “LIIFT More”), alternating with Openfit instructors, and others.
There are three basic BODi Block types each month: an “All-BODi Block” (30 minutes a day, total body mix of weights and cardio), an “Iron Block” (40-ish minutes, with a focus on weightlifting), and a Bike Block, (which I didn’t try, since I’m bike-less). Then, there are “Super Blocks…”
What are BODi “Super Blocks?”
In addition to the monthly-repeating, live BODi Blocks, there are periodically-released “Super Blocks” that are slightly more polished, but still live-ish, run by a single trainer. They riff off of established programs like “21 Day Fix” with Autumn Calabrese.
These “Super Blocks” cost additional money ($29), with the exception of the Lacee Green option, “For Beginners Only,” which at the time of this writing is included with BODi membership. The bulk of my concerns with BODi are around the standard BODi Blocks, but “Super Blocks” share some of the problems. What are these issues I’m referring to? Buckle up.
Problems with BODi Blocks
Now that you have the context, I’m going to just dive into the concerns I have with the new logistics of Beachbody turning into BODi. My strong hunch is that others will echo these worries, and that the platform will pivot again in the near future — but we’ll see what happens.
1. The live BODi Block workouts are MESSY.
I have no words for how unprofessional some of the BODi Block workout videos are. Because they are recorded live, the trainers flub lines, awkwardly pause, miss cues, and go on (sometimes inappropriate) tangents. These videos blow the strange moments in “4 Weeks of the Prep” out of the water.
If I wanted the low level of production quality that live-filmed BODi Blocks provide, I would just do one of the zillion free workouts on YouTube. If BODi has provided me with anything, it’s a newfound awe for the editing staff that makes the polished programs look so much better than this jumble.
2. BODi Block workouts are confusing to follow.
Most of the BODi Block workouts have only one trainer on screen, and so when the trainer stops doing a move to explain something (even though you the viewer are supposed to continue doing it), there’s no further visual guidance for what to do, except for the choppy Zoom participants. Confusion ensues.
Here’s actual footage of my experience in today’s workout: “Wait — did the 30 second rest break start yet? No, some Zoom people are still moving. But wait, did the trainer say stop yet now, or is he just rambling? WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?! I just want a clear workout!”
3. The “BODcast” wall of amateur exercisers on Zoom is not good.
This brings us to the two giant walls of tiny people working out at home via Zoom, replete with choppy Wifi, hazy visibility, and poor form. Um, ugh. So I think the idea here is to be really exciting and interactive? Is this like Peloton? Are we thrilled about random people we don’t know getting shout-outs that stop the trainer from teaching the workout? Booooo. Not I. Sorry.
4. There is increased risk of injury with BODi Block workouts.
Remember how the problem with “Job 1” was that Jennifer Jacobs is the only trainer on screen, and thus she was not able to safely explain modifications before and during each exercise? BODi Blocks have this problem, too — but it’s multiplied, because the trainer is also frequently stopping all movement altogether in order to shout out BODcast folks. This is a major risk for injury, especially when paired with the next problem…
5. What level and background are BODi Blocks even for?!
I think BODi Blocks (besides “For Beginners Only”) are supposed to be “All Levels?” Listen — the polished Beachbody program “Fire and Flow” IS truly all levels because it has clear modifications and a thoughtful, supported progression of moves. However, the hodgepodge of moves I witnessed in the first All-BODi Block is most certainly NOT All Levels.
Further, many of the trainers in the All-BODi Block make references to their past programs, catchphrases, or exploits, assuming viewers are hip to them all. Nope! It’s all just a little awkward.
6. The user interface to upgrade from Beachbody to BODi is problematic.
With multiple jobs and two young kids at home, my time is a precious commodity. Thus, when I finished “Sure Thing” and went to start my next workout option, the fact that it took over an hour to figure out how to upgrade from Beachbody to BODi was not fabulous. (Tip: Depending how you registered for BOD in the first place, you may need to do the upgrade through Apple Subscriptions on your phone.) I hope this interface is streamlined in the future.
7. BODi Blocks feel all over the place.
When I do a polished Beachbody program like “4 Weeks for Every Body,” I feel safe and taken care of. Why? Because there is a clear and meticulous flow to the exercise progression. In contrast, BODi Blocks make me feel sort of flailing wildly at sea, because they’re disjoined. Though I understand that the overarching concept is supposed to provide a predictable pattern, the combination of varying instructor quality, plus live-filmed messiness, does not instill confidence.
Positives of BODi Blocks
Now that I’ve unleashed my rant about my poor experience with BODi Blocks so far, I do need to acknowledge some positives.
A. The workout music is cool.
In contrast to the polished Beachbody programs that have original music (which is often somewhat odd, with the exception of “Let’s Get Up“), BODi Blocks feature real songs by artists like Beyoncé. There’s also a neat tech feature where you can adjust the volume of the music independently from the audio of the instructor. I wish real workout classes had that!
B. Yay for inclusive community.
It’s great that BODi is embracing the power of an inclusive community — epitomized by everyone cheering for each other on the BODcast Zoom videos. The idea of lots of people launching each new BODi Block at the start of each month is also sweet. Positive peer pressure! Further, it’s nice that BODi is opening its doors to new trainers — especially Lacee from #mbfa.
C. The short 5er workouts are solid.
When you finish a BODi Block workout, a pop-up poofs onto the screen and asks you if you’d like to try a “5er” five minute workout in a targeted area like abs or arms. I like the concept and solidly enjoyed the ones I tried. Oh, and Monique Bell’s arm muscles are such an inspiration!
What’s smart about these bite-sized workouts is that they trick you (in a positive way) into doing longer workouts because once you do one 5er, you’re often tempted to do another. There is also a big on-screen timer, and no distracting BODcast, so the workouts are nice and focused. Unfortunately, the quality is still not to the level of the polished programs, but is higher than the All-BODi Blocks.
D. Kudos for trying something new.
Hey, it’s important to innovate and evolve, right? One has to commend Beachbody on trying new things — and certainly on its long-overdue name change to BODi. It’s also nice that Beachbody bought the Openfit workout platform, adding in programs like “XB Pilates” and the ballet-inspired “Xtend Barre” by Andrea Rogers.
Beachbody vs. BODi Blocks, in Sum
So, after this scathing review, what’s a gal to do? I’ve already paid my membership, so I’m going to stick with BODi for a time, at least, and see how this all develops over the coming months.
However I’d like to close with this message to Beachbody BODi: Your strength as an online fitness platform is in your polished, full-length programs. Put more energy back into those… not in flubbed lines and blurry people on Zoom. I’ll be waiting with bated breath for “Chop Wood Carry Water” to come out this summer!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is a 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!