Hello from your friendly English teacher exercise buddy! Since I’ve now written over a dozen EXTREMELY detailed, honest, and geeky Beachbody reviews of these popular online workout programs, a request has arisen for me to summarize and shorten my 50,000 words of analysis into a simplified system for you to decide which Beachbody workouts are the best match for YOUR exercise goals, now.
Well, you’re in luck, because this is that article to help you pick your perfect path forward! Read on for fitness fun.
Why Trust these Reviews of Beachbody Workouts?
First, some important background about why you can trust these reviews: I am NOT a Beachbody “coach,” meaning I have zero financial interest in whether or not you do these programs. I am not employed by BOD in any way — I’m just a 40-year-old middle school teacher who really enjoys working out and helping others find workout plans that actually motivate you to exercise.
The other reason this ranking of Beachbody workouts is trustworthy is that I have actually completed EVERY SINGLE video of every program on this list, and I take extremely detailed notes along the way so that my reviews are honest and complete.
Of course, though adding exercise to your life is usually fabulous, we need the disclaimer to please use wise judgment with any new workout plan, and consult a medical professional if you have any doubts about what is a fit for your body. Now on to the suggestions!
See this easy, honest chart to pick the perfect Beachbody workouts for YOUR fitness goals and preferences! Click the button under any blurb to see the detailed exercise plan review for each.
Duration: 30 minutes a day, 7 days a week, for 3 weeks. (Extra "10 Minute Abs" video is added two days a week.) One day a week is Yoga, and one is Pilates, while the rest is a mix of strength and cardio.
Features: Every workout uses classic moves in the pattern of one minute of work and 30 seconds of rest at a medium pace, repeated twice. There is a clear modifier for all exercises to make everything either easier or harder as needed.
Who is This Program Best For? "21 Day Fix" is THE classic program to start Beachbody workouts because it's so straightforward yet effective. Autumn's phrase to describe it is: "Simple, not easy."
Though I didn't love the cast of "21DF" as much as other programs, I overall enjoyed the workouts and got solid results. I would continue to recommend it to others as a good early Beachbody program, but would add two notes. First, you WILL want to add extra rest days; 7 days a week is a lot. Second, do modify the "Surrenders" move early in the program, as it has potential to cause knee injuries to certain people.
Level: "All Levels" (but truly appropriate for Beginner as well as Intermediate)
Trainer and Release Date: Autumn Calabrese, 2022
Duration: 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week, for 4 weeks. (Of your 3 rest days, you're directed to use one to exercise independently in the manner of your choice: jogging, yoga, dancing, etc.)
Features: "4 Weeks for Every Body" is a fully NO-IMPACT program, meaning that there is no jumping, and everything is designed with a full-body functional training mindset that supports muscular and joint health. Three of the 4 weekly workouts are "eccentric training," which features SLOW weightlifting to a count of four, forcing the muscle to length and hold. The fourth workout is no-impact cardio at a faster pace.
Who is This Program Best For? "4 Weeks for Every Body" is one of the absolute best options on Beachbody for true beginners, as well as any intermediate exercise fans who want a no-impact, functional training program that focuses on health and feeling good. A perk is this program has far less wasted time that others; it's very efficient.
A possible negative: If you are impatient like me, having three days a week of "eccentric," slow weightlifting movements can feel slow and frustrating. I did find that I got used to it as the weeks passed, however, and overall really appreciated this additon to the BOD library.
Level: Intermediate (and potentially could work for a high beginner)
Trainer and Release Date: Amoila Cesar, 2021
Duration: Exactly 45 minutes a day, 6 days a week (1 rest day) for 3 months. Every workout starts with a full 10 minute warm-up, and one day a week is mobility and flexibility.
Features: This is a functional fitness program, so everything is designed to help your body move more effectively in everyday life. The pace is slow, with an emphasis on education and understanding perfect form for each exercise. A clear modifier makes 645 even more accessible.
Who is this Program Best For? While I was quite frustrated with the slow pace of 645, I think it's an essential program for anyone doing online fitness to do (if you can fit the 45 minute workouts into your day), because of the hugely valuable base you gain from it in comprehending how the body works, and what makes effective exercise.
Though I'm at a relatively advanced fitness level by now, I learned so much from Amoila Cesar's teaching during "645," and actually was able to HEAL an injury I got in another program (keep reading to find out which). The cast was also super fun to get to know over all those weeks.
Duration: 30 minutes a day, 7 days a week, for 3 weeks. One day a week is stretching and mobility.
Features: This effective and fun program features a "BOD Rope" cordless jump rope, and weightlifting, all set to music. Lovely Lacee provides clear modifications.
Who is this Program Best For? "Muscle Burns Fat" is one of my all-time favorite programs, and I highly recommend it to anyone trying out Beachbody! The pace and structure are excellent, and the trainer and Zoom cast are positive and exuberant. I was very impressed by the toning results I got from #mbf paired with (read on for its review) #mbfa ("Muscle Burns Fat Advanced").
Level: Beginner (but I found many of the moves difficult)
Trainer and Release Date: Shaun T, 2021
Duration: 4 dance workouts, 2 strength videos (some repeated), and one rest day a week for one month.
Features: This program takes place entirely standing, meaning you can do it outside. The dance workouts need no equipment. Emphasis is on joy and self-love, so being silly and not perfect is encouraged. #LGU features a beautifully diverse cast in a gorgeous Hawaii setting.
Who is this Program Best For? I adored "Let's Get Up" because Shaun T makes me laugh so hard! Every episode was exhilarating and motivating and got my heart rate up. You should be a person who enjoys a goofy and slightly profane (rump-shaking) sense of humor to embark on #LGU.
Another caution: though the program is labeled "Beginner," the fast side-to-side dance movements are hard for body types like mine, and the modifier only takes out some of the jumps -- not the speed. You need to be confident adding your own modifications (like moving at half-time speed) before starting this program.
Duration: 30-40 minutes a day, 4 days a week (3 rest days!), for 8 weeks. There's also a week of 20-minute workouts for before the program officially starts, and two 10-minute stretching and rolling videos.
Features: LIIFT4 is a combination of weightlifting and HIIT (high intensity interval training cardio) with simple, classic moves. Every single video ends with a "Core Component" targeting the abs, so prepare for a 6-pack.
Who is this Program Best For? Because LIIFT4 has a strong emphasis on upper body muscle building, I think it's a better match for men's fitness goals (many women like me prefer more balanced muscle targeting), but your preferences may vary. Though this program was released back in 2018, it is still one of the most popular on Beachbody because it's easy to follow, funny, and lighthearted -- and produces excellent results, especially in arms and abs.
Duration: 20-30 minutes a day, 5 days a week (2 rest days) for 9 weeks, ramping up in intensity.
Features: This program has a huge amount of equipment ("Control Track" that goes over a door, step, ball, weights, and mat), all of which is effective, but gets cumbersome. In reaction to complaints about this, a second version of this program which only requires weights was created, with the title: "Off the Wall." That program contains 3 weeks of distinct workouts which are repeated for 3 weeks each. #9WCF also has a trove of 10-15 minute "Controlled Stretch" videos meant to be done 5 nights a week.
Who is this Program Best For? I LOVED "9 Week Control Freak" (both the original and "Off the Wall") and got wonderful results in slimming and toning from it. The cast was fun, it was efficient and creative, and the combination of endurance, strength, and tabata cardio really got my heart pumping.
That said, the original version of #9WCF has two problems. First, it has a frustratingly slow start (which could be a benefit if you're closer to a beginner), but then ramps up. Second, juggling all the equipment is really a challenge. You need sufficient space and the will to think through all logistics of each workout.
The silver lining is that once you invest in the workout gear, you may be more likely to complete the program! My advice is to start with "Off the Wall," and if you like that, buy the Track and other accessories to do #9WCF.
Level: Supposedly "All Levels" (but not approrpiate for Beginners!)
Trainer and Release Date: Jennifer Jacobs (from Peloton), 2022
Duration: 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for 4 weeks. There are 5 "Overtime" videos which can be combined into an included advanced calendar which creates 40-minute workouts through doubles.
Features: "Job 1" is extremely efficient, with zero wasted time. It's fast-paced, and has a wide variety of innovative exercises for full-body results. There is no cast, so modifications are usually only verbally described, and if they're modeled, it's not until partway through the move.
Who is This Program Best For? Though it's tempting to see "Job 1" as a Beginner program because it's so short, I do NOT recommend you do it unless you're at least Intermediate level, as you'll need to know how to include your own modifications. "Job 1" is also quite fast paced, with a sizable amount of jumping and side-to-side lateral movements, so you need to be willing and able to slow things down to avoid injury.
Duration: There are three different calendars that guide you to piece together the running videos/audio with resistance training videos. Most videos are 20-30 minutes long (which are put together to form an hour in some calendars), and most of the calendar configurations have one to two rest days. All calendars require repeating some videos, and all warm-up and cool-down videos are separate from the actual workouts.
Features: The goal of the program is to build you up to run a timed 5k, even if you have no running background. The running workouts are also in audio format for you to use while outside. There are also video versions if you want to do them on a treadmill. All the videos are filmed in gorgeous nature settings.
Who is This Program Best For? While I love aspects of this program (it really did build me up to being able to do a 5k from nothing), I have some major issues with it and want to give a warning.
First and foremost, the fact that the warm-up videos are separate make it far too tempting to skip them -- and thus cause injuries. The only time I've ever seriously injured myself in my two years of doing Beachbody programs was in this program. Because I skipped the warm-up and went into running outside without proper prep, I got an Achilles tendon injury that took over 9 months to heal. Though I'm in solid athletic shape, my body was not used to running and I didn't realize how dangerous that could be.
Second, the resistance workouts in this program are not amazing. Though they are beautifully filmed, in my opinion they did not provide the pizazz needed.
In short, the running coaching in this program is excellent and very creative -- as long as you do the proper warm-up, but you might consider a hybrid calendar (there's a good one with #mbf) instead of the in-program resistance videos.
Duration: 30-40 minutes a day (though mostly 40 minutes), 7 days a week for 3 weeks, with one of those workouts being a challenging stretch sequence.
Features: "Muscle Burns Fat Advanced" is meant to be done after #mbf and though it builds on its predecessor and also uses the BOD Rope for cardio segments, it features new moves and a much more intense flow. Like #mbf, this program has music.
Who is this Program Best For? Though I liked #mbfa and got great results from it, I found it VERY challenging. Though it wasn't as impossibly hard as "6 Weeks of The Work," I got so exhausted doing #mbfa that I had to add in extra rest days periodically.
Given this, I would only recommend #mbfa if you've done #mbf at least once all the way through, and know your body well enough to add extra breaks when needed.
Level: Intermediate (though aspects are very Advanced)
Trainer and Release Date: Autumn Calabrese, 2018
Duration: 40-60 minutes a day, 6 days a week (1 rest or optional rolling and stretching day) for three months.
Features: Focus on arms, abs, and... glutes. This program is a bit more geared towards women, though men can certainly benefit from it.
Who is This Program Best For? I got INCREDIBLE results in weight loss and toning from 80DO but I actually do not recommend this program to most people for two reasons.
First, even though there is a modifier, there is a higher risk of injury than other programs because the moves are so bizarre and volume of workout time so high.
Second, this program takes a huge amount of time (hence its payoffs), so a lot of people I know have quit partway through.
Only choose this program if you are adept at listening to your body for when to take extra rest days or add extra modifications to avoid injury, and if you have the time and commitment to complete such a long and intense program.
Duration: Each week is 5 days a week of 40 minute workouts, then one day of rest and one shorter stretch video. The program contains 6 weeks of unique videos.
Features: No modifier! "Explicit" version with swears, and also swear-censored version.
Who is This Program Best For? I LOVED "The Work" because it's hilarious and entertaining to watch, and extremely heart-poundingly effective -- BUT be warned that this program is so difficult that even the most in-shape person will not be able to do all the reps.
Because of this, plus the fact that there is no modifier, I strongly caution you not to do this program until you have a very strong fitness base in place so you're able to safely and effectively modify the moves and volume.
I will also note that this program has a strong emphasis on shoulder muscles which I felt more appropriate to stereotypically male fitness goals than my specific aims, but each person's shape desires are different.
Duration: Each week is 5 days a week of 30 minute workouts, then one day of rest and one stretch video. The program contains 2 weeks of videos which you need to repeat all over again for the last two weeks.
Features: This is an easier version of "The Work" to get you ready for it, and has lower reps, a modifier, and more coaching.
Who is This Program Best For? Though I love Amoila Cesar, I do NOT recommend "4 Weeks of the Prep" because it was filmed in haste after "6 Weeks of The Work" and thus has a disjointed, awkward feel. If you're trying to build up to "The Work," I strongly suggest doing "645" instead because it will prepare you better and is a more cohesive and effective program.
This is my GIANT overview about how to best use the Beachbody on Demand workout streaming program, including tips on motivation and equipment. It also contains an explanation about why I think the workouts not listed on this ranking ("Barre Blend," "Morning Meltdown 100," "LIIFT4," etc.) are not as effective, and thus I abandoned them favor of other programs.
A Summary of Best Beachbody Workouts
To summarize: If you’re a Beginner starting out with Beachbody, I would start with “4 Weeks for Every Body” (slower weightlifting and no-impact cardio with only 4 videos a week) or “21 Day Fix” (more classic weightlifting and cardio, and 7 days a week) — though stay tuned by subscribing, because I am constantly adding to this list.
(Note: If you are an ABSOLUTE beginner and/or have concerning injuries, I would recommend getting a personal trainer to obtain a fitness base BEFORE attempting any online workout programs like Beachbody. Though trainers can seem expensive, the money you’ll save in avoiding injuries down the line makes the investment worth it!)
If you’re a high Beginner to Intermediate level, I would do “645 Beachbody” (if you can find the time) because it has such essential coaching in it about form, then move on to “Muscle Burns Fat” or “9 Week Control Freak” (starting with “Off the Wall”).
If you are truly Intermediate, you could just go right to “Muscle Burns Fat” #mbf (it’s so good!) then #9WCF. “Job 1” is tempting to do because it’s just 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week, but because there’s no real modifier, only do it if you’re really Intermediate. I would skip “The Prep” in favor of “645” or #mbf because of the problems with it explained above. “LIIFT4” is an excellent option if you’re a man and/or want a lifting and HIIT program with an upper-body focus. (Note: Joel’s new program, “LIIFT MORE” is coming later in 2022!)
Openfit Beachbody Workouts
As of July, 2002, Beachbody added Openfit workouts to their library, and the programs — which I’m still in the process of reviewing, so stay tuned — are a range of difficulty levels. I’m adding them in the Intermediate section because my initial browsing of the Beachbody Openfit program library suggests that beginners should use caution with them; many of the programs claim to be easier, but feature fast moves that could cause injury. Stay tuned for more detailed reviews of individual Beachbody Openfit workout programs.
Dance and Running Workouts
If you’re more motivated by fun, “Let’s Get Up” dance workouts can be a creative place to start if you’re a high Beginner. “30 Day Breakaway” is also an option for high Beginners who want to learn to run, but I beg of you to read my warning about it above so you don’t injure yourself as I did.
Once you get to a high Intermediate to Advanced level, you can begin looking into “6 Weeks of The Work” and #mbfa, and even “80 Day Obsession,” though I would use caution on the latter due to the bizarre moves. I hope this overview is helpful!
Which Beachbody Workouts Stand Out to YOU?
After reading this summary of the best Beachbody workouts for each preference, I’m curious: which programs most stand out to you? If you’ve done some of the programs, which did you like or not, and why? What further questions do you have 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!