I’ve now completed and thoroughly (I mean THOROUGHLY) reviewed sixteen Beachbody on Demand exercise programs in their entirety. I therefore now have enough data to reveal… the best Beachbody workout for beginners!
Beachbody for Beginners Tips
Yes that’s right — if you’re new to the world of online streaming fitness, this highly honest chart will guide you towards the best fit for your first Beachbody program. Why? I am not affiliated with BOD in any way — I’m not a Beachbody coach, nor compensated by BOD, so I can be completely unbiased in my writing. In this chart, I also include warnings for which supposedly “Beginner” or “All Levels” Beachbody workouts I do NOT recommend for beginners, with why.
True Beginner to Exercise?
Now, an important disclaimer: This Beachbody for beginners article is really most appropriate for people with at least some base in exercise. If you are a TOTAL beginner to working out at all, first, I’d like to say, “Yay! You are taking such an important step for your health in launching exercise motivation!” And second: rather than doing online Beachbody workouts, I highly recommend that you invest in at least four sessions with an in-person personal trainer instead of immediately diving into home exercise.
Why opt for a personal trainerbefore Beachbody workouts if you’re new to home fitness? Though trainers seem expensive, they will help you understand body mechanics, and build a foundation of strength and knowledge that will be priceless in avoiding injury through the rest of your life. Even the absolute easiest Beachbody on Demand workout, fully modified, can hurt you if you don’t have some training in how to listen to your body during exercise, in order to further adapt moves as needed.
Now, even if you’re not an absolute newcomer to working out, please always use wise judgement in following your body’s guidance, even consulting a doctor if needed before starting a new fitness program, in order to avoid injury. Had enough disclaimers, and ready to start the chart of best beginner workouts? Let’s go!
Best Beachbody Workout for Beginners
What is the best Beachbody workout for Beginners? After completing 16 BOD programs, I've compiled this very honest ranking for you to find the best fit for your goals and desires. To see my full review of any of the programs mentioned, click the "Continue Reading" button below any blurb.
The 2022 BOD program, "Fire and Flow," is my new top pick for best first Beachbody workout for beginners! Why? It's 6 days a week, 30 minutes a day, alternating between cardio and weightlifting "Fire" workouts with Jericho McMatthews, and slower, yoga-dance "Flow" videos with Elise Joan, meaning it's well-rounded and not overly intense -- yet effective.
"Fire and Flow" is truly "All Levels," in that every workout features a modifier to make moves easier, and a mod up as well. The fitness results of slim, lean muscle and body mobility from this program are excellent, and I highly recommend trying it.
The beloved 2019 Autumn Calabrese "Beginner" level program, "21 Day Fix," is 3 weeks long, at 30 minutes a day, for 7 days a week (with one yoga and one pilates day, which are easier than the cardio and weightlifting days).
"21DF" is THE classic first Beachbody program because it has such simple yet effective moves, and an easy-to-follow strucutre. It's so popular and enduring for a reason: it provides great results in an accessible way.
The warnings I'd give if you do it, however, are to add extra modifications to not do the the intense "Surrenders" exercise in Week 1, and to add in extra rest days.
Looking for NO impact workouts? "4 Weeks for Every Body" is a 2022 "All-Levels" program by Autumn Calabrese that runs just 4 days a week, 30 minutes a day for four weeks. (One of the three rest days, you're directed to do another style of workout of your choice, such as going on a walk.)
What I liked about "4WFEB" is that it is truly appropriate for beginner levels because it's slower, zero impact, and has many modifications.
My concern, however, in recommending it, is that its slow "eccentric" movements (where you're holding lighter weights for longer time) can drive impatient people like myself batty. If you've never done a Beachbody program before, this may not provide the zesty "cleansed" feeling that a good cardio and classic weightlifting program does.
Though "645" is technically an "Intermediate" program, if you already have some base in fitness, and are just a beginner to online workouts, this is a wonderful program to try. Why? Because of its slow pace, huge emphasis on fitness education (learning how your body works), and undeniable results.
I also adore Amoila Cesar and his banter with the cast -- though his irreverent style isn't for everyone. A warning: you do need to be able to put in the time commitment to complete "645" -- it's a full 45 minutes, 6 days a week, for 3 months! Given the slow pace (with long speeches about correct form), you'll need patience and fortitude to finish -- but the outcome is worth it.
When people ask me what my favorite Beachbody program is, I usually say "Muscle Burns Fat" #mbf, the 2020 program with Megan Davies. Again, this is technically an "Intermediate" program, but if you have some base in fitness, you will likely be able to complete it -- and be motivated to do so, because the trainer's spirit and the music and moves are so good!
"Muscle Burns Fat" runs for 30 minutes, 7 days a week, for 3 weeks. It features a "Bod Rope" cordless jump rope, which I found added great pizzaz. As with any 7-day Beachbody program, I do advise adding at least one extra rest day, especially as a beginner.
So... "Job 1" with Jennifer Jacobs (2022) is technically "All Levels," and runs just 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for 4 weeks -- so why did I rank it below several "Intermediate" programs? I feel strongly that "Job 1" needs to be used with caution for beginners, and in fact is much more appropriate for higher levels.
Why? There is no cast -- just the trainer -- so modifications down are often first just verbally explained, and demonstrated too late to be safe for someone who needs them. Further, the short 20-minute time frame means moves are sometimes rushed, and thus "Job 1" became one of the few Beachbody programs that injured me; I tweaked my back in the last week from a speedy move that didn't have adequate warm-up. This program isn't terrible, but it needs to be used carefully.
Shaun T's 2021 dance fitness program, "Let's Get Up," is technically a "Beginner" program, but I actually found it very chalenging to keep up with the fast side to side moves set to music -- even though I adored the program, and it made me smile, and feel great!
I would therefore only recommend "LGU" to a beginner if you're ok adding your own modifications (ex: doing a dance at half speed), because the on-camera modifier wasn't enough to make the pace manageable. The program is six days a week for a month, and is joy incarnate -- and a little spicy.
Like "21 Day Fix," the 2018 Joel Freeman weightlifting and HIIT program, "LIIFT4" has stood the test of time, and remains incredibly popular, years later. It runs 30-40 minutes a day for 4 days a week over 8 weeks, and contains a "core block" of ab work every video.
Now, if "LIIFT4" is "Intermediate" level, why am I adding it to this list of beginner options? The reason is that the moves are extremely simple and straightforward, and repeat in similar forms every week. Like #mbf, if you have some base of fitness, you'll be able to do this program and get good muscle-building results. I will warn that the HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) can get intense, though, so don't hesitate to add your own modifications.
Update: I just finished "LIFT MORE," the sequel, which is "All Levels," and in many ways is an even better fit for beginners than "LIIFT4." See my full LIIFT MORE Beachbody review here!
Though "30 Day Breakaway" with Idalis Velazquez is categorized as an "Intermedidate" program, I'm adding it to this list of beginner options because it's Beachbody's only running program, and if ramping up to run a 5k is your jam, this is the program for you. It's also gorgeously filmed outside.
I need to give a big warning about "30DBA," however. It was one of only two BOD programs that injured me, and the reason is that its warm-ups are mostly housed in separate videos than its workouts. Unfortunately, this means that many people (my foolish self included) will skip them, and thus not be adequately limber -- causing injury. Use ample caution with "30 Day Breakaway," listen to your body, and don't skip the warm-ups and cool-downs.
I was on the fence about including this 9-week, 5 days a week for 20-30 minutes a day "Intermediate" level program, but the first weeks are really closer to "Beginner," and difficulty ramps up over time, so it fits here.
The main issue with "9 Week Control Freak," a program which I overall loved, is that it requres a LOT of equipment, and for that reason, I'd suggest that this be a second Beachbody program at the earliest -- not one's first. It would actually go quite well after "21 Day Fix," if you decide you like Autumn.
The good news is that this program comes with another version of the workouts which require less equipment, entitled, "Off the Wall" -- but there are far fewer videos for that version, and they require repeating.
I'm adding "4 Weeks of The Prep," a 4-week "Intermediate" program with Amoila Cesar, into this list because you may be tempted to try it... but it's not worth it! "645" is a much better program; "4 Weeks of The Prep" was filmed in a rush after the excellent "Advanced" level program, "6 Weeks of The Work," and is just awkward.
Here is my extremely long and detailed overview of using Beachbody on Demand for home workouts, and it includes a list of programs that I started but didn't finish, with explanations for why I found them not as good at fit for my goals and style (ex: "Barre Blend" and "Morning Meltown 100"). Check here if there's a program you've been wondering about for beginners which isn't on this list.
Want a handy chart of every Beachbody on Demand workout I've reviewed in detail, with overviews, features, and a summary of the pros and cons of each? Here it is -- and I'm always updating it as I finish new programs.
The chart linked here includes the more difficult -- and even "Advanced" level programs, so if you graduate past the beginner state, click on over there for the next chapter of your fitness development.
This article lays out some highly effective tricks to keep up your exercise motivation, and to stick to your workout plans -- whether you choose to do Beachbody, or a totally different fitness path.
Best Beachbody Workout for Beginners, in Sum
There you have it: the full chart you’ll need to ascertain the best Beachbody workout for beginners. Now, you’ll notice there are several Beachbody on Demand workouts which are labeled “Beginner” on BOD, but are not included in this ranking. Why is that?
First, let me say that any form of exercise is better than nothing. Explore the other programs on BOD that aren’t mentioned here if they call to you, because everyone’s taste is different. That said — there’s a reason I didn’t finish the other programs labeled “Beginner” on Beachbody: I either found them not engaging or effective, or I became concerned that they would actually cause injury. In other words, I don’t recommend them.
I’m willing to be proven wrong, however, so do write in the comments if there’s a program I left off this list which you think I should try in its entirety and add in! I’m also happy to be proven right, so if you’ve tried any of the beginner Beachbody workout programs in this chart, I’d love to hear how they were for you. 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!