In a world full of PBs and slamming deadlifts, it can be intimidating to step foot in the gym – I get that.
This is even more common among those who prefer some kind of step or aerobic training style. Shaun T has apparently found the solution to this problem – Transfor 20…
Let’s see if it really is a saving grace.
Table of Contents
About the Creator – Shaun T
Shaun T is one of the most famous faces over at Beachbody, and for good reason. Not only did he design programs like Transform 20, but he also has various other programs available.
They all have something in common though – Step and Aerobic work.
This is where Shaun finds his passion, as he has been active in this style of training since college. He grew up with an awful childhood, and on his website called www.shauntlife.com, he goes more into detail about how he was abused, and how finding food was hard.
Shaun soon realized he had an affinity for track events, and quickly rose to the top when he was in high school. His coaches were supportive and hopeful about his success. Unfortunately, his past soon caught up with him.
In college he was given a “food card”, and since food was rather scarce growing up, and so this abundance of free food, unfortunately, led him to overindulge. This led to quite a bit of weight gain, which in turn, made Shaun pretty depressed.
At some point, Shaun got a bit fed up with this, hopped on the treadmill, and started changing his life for the better. After he lost some weight he actually changed his major to Sports Science and Health Promotion, and this is where the Shaun we know today was born.
He soon started giving classes and found a great affinity for group exercise classes focused on dancing or aerobic movements. He soon rose to fame quickly after and even landed his own Saturday morning fitness class at Equinox in West Hollywood.
Today Shaun is on a mission to uplift the world through fitness, via the dance medium that he loves.
Check out our review of Shaun T’s popular Insanity program here: www.noobgains.com/insanity-workout-review
Transform 20 Overview
The Transform 20 program is centered around the idea that you do not need fancy equipment or bending barbells to get fit and healthy. You simply need grit, determination, and a step. All of Shaun’s workouts are cardio-driven, and these workouts are no different.
That said, there is an option for you to actually make use of dumbbells if you want to add resistance. The goal(s) of the plan kind of overlap with one another, as the goals are fitness, getting healthy, and losing weight all at the same time.
- Fitness level: Advanced
- Duration: 6 Weeks
- Workouts per week: 6 Workouts per week
- Average workout duration: 20 Minutes
- Equipment needed: Minimal equipment
- Goal: Lose weight, get fit, and improve athleticism
The very first thing you need to know about this program is that it isn’t like other training programs you might have found online. It’s more structured than Shaun Week, but there are not going to be sets or reps in these workouts, as you will be working with time.
This means you will have to pace yourself to avoid burnout 30 seconds into a specific movement – guess that’s why Shaun advises you to be “advanced” before tackling this program. The whole plan is focused on cardio, there is almost zero focus on progressive overload or mechanical tension. This does mean there are certain benefits to this plan:
- Cardio has been shown to be good for blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- This program can be done at home
- You do not need to run the increased risk of injury due to free weights
Every week there will be six workouts, and Shaun is even kind enough to attach an extra workout for you to try out as well. Shaun is also kind enough to provide you with ample information about altering the workouts to suit your needs and current situation.
Transform 20 Details
Like a lot of other Beachbody programs, Transform 20 is split up into three different phases, all lasting two weeks each. That being said, every week will contain a workout with the same name, but are still different from one another:
- Day 1: Burn
- Day 2: Faster
- Day 3: Stronger
- Day 4: Powerful
- Day 5: Cut
- Day 6: Balanced
Each of these days will contain three “1-minute Transformers” in which you need to do a certain movement for 1 minute, and see how many reps you can do. This is one of the tracking methods Shaun wants you to make use of.
Phases 1, 2, and 3: Commit, Climb, and Conquer
As mentioned, all of these phases will have the same style of workout, but they will actually differ from one another. That said, you will still be tracking your progression with the 1-minute transformers every single day.
The idea of using a step just immediately created images of cardio upon cardio in my mind, but taking a look at the program you notice that there is quite a bit more that can do with the step – for instance alternating single-hand elevated push-ups.
That said, you’re not really going to be trying to gain muscle mass with this program. Overall, you can expect movements like:
- Side-to-side steps
- High knees
- Alternating curls with high knees
- Lots of abdominal movements
Shaun directly advises you to feel the squeeze on movements when you do them. Combine this with high-intensity training, and your heart is going to be pumping! The nice thing about this training is that Shaun does it with you.
Each workout has its own video, and even every week has its own video where Shaun sits down with you to chat about fitness in general. About dieting, training, and overcoming obstacles, or simply reminiscing about the past hardships we conquered.
The “episodes” as they are called make the whole program a lot more engaging, and I can see how that would make it feel less like a training plan because you somehow get to know your coach.
There are More Than Just Normal Workouts?
Besides the actual weekly workouts for you to do, there are also other workouts you can do! Yup, even when you’re heaving for air and begging for rest, Shaun is ready for those who want to push even further…
These seem to be a bit more focused. This means they will specifically target a muscle group or a certain protocol like focussing on recovery. Some of the bonus options include:
- Bonus Abs
- Bonus Best Butt
- Bonus Recovery
These are all going to be 10 minutes, which is slightly shorter than the regular workouts. These can probably be done after the 20-minute workout of the day, or can actually be stacked with one another on your rest days.
The other training option is, of course, adding two dumbbells to your workout! These are called “Rip n cut” and “Built Stronger 2.0”, and they aim to use the extra resistance to increase muscle mass slightly.
This would be highly beneficial as a beginner, as even the slightest amount of resistance will help you to build lean mass. They are still focused on cardio as a whole, so don’t be afraid of looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger anytime soon.
That being said, you will soon run the course with the resistance training part. Unless you consistently purchase new ones repeatedly, your muscles will grow accustomed and you will not be developing new ones anytime soon.
Other than these options, the plan also includes a nice nutrition guide called the Quick Start. This sounds great but is simply a marketing ploy. The whole guide is filled with supplements you need to buy, or statistics (with no citations) that somehow support their products.
This is very disappointing. Supplements are called supplements because they supplement a good diet, and you don’t need them. Some macro education or calorie guides would’ve meant a lot more to a client.
3 Transform 20 Pros
- Variation: I have seen some of the other programs made by Shaun, and compared to those this one has a lot more variety. This does make the plan a lot more exciting, and people are less likely to become bored
- Companionship: As with the other programs by Beachbody, Shaun does all the workouts with you, and there are episodes where he simply chats to you about progress in life. This makes the whole program feel more rooted within, and less like a training plan
- Cardio-Weight combo: The synergy of resistance training and cardiovascular training means you get the best of both worlds when training with Shaun (although cardio is definitely the main goal)
3 Transform 20 Cons
- Nutrition is a lie: This was extremely disappointing. The nutrition guide is simply a ploy for the consumer to spend more money and it is no scientific or real information in there that’ll get you closer to your goal
- Progression is lacking: While there are methods to track progress, there’s no progressive overload on any of the exercises weeks to week. This means the body will simply adjust and then refuse change until there is a novel stimulus
- Repetitive: While I understand that training at home is the overarching goal here, the training is so similar from one session to the next – simply changing the names won’t do much. For the best effects, you’re better off at a normal gym with a range of equipment
Transform 20 – Final Thoughts
This is a fairly okay program. Nothing too flashy and no massive promises that will make you sit and think, “wow that’s a bit unreasonable”. In that sense, it hits the mark… almost perfectly. I do have one very big, robust problem.
They claim that this program will make you lose fat. As we all know, fat loss comes 90% from your diet, and not your training – especially at 20 minutes per day. Does this mean that they must have surely given some form of nutrition guide on how to calculate calories or macros?
But they don’t. In fact, they simply want you to buy more and more supplements that are going to magically solve all your problems. Well, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it ain’t happening.
See, losing weight isn’t hard, but it is particular. If you miss a few days by a large margin, you might have messed up your entire week. You miss your protein mark for a month and you actually might end up losing muscle mass – which is bad people!!
This is almost a good training program. It’s solid, it’s engaging, and it’s fun (to some). That said, a coach yelling and good videos do not maketh a good program. It needs more. In fact, it needs:
- Some form of progression week to week
- Some form of nutritional guide to teaching people about healthy eating habits
- Better means to track progress
That last one, honesty, is a big one. See, while the claims are not outlandish, if I followed this plan and had 7 Big Macs for breakfast every single day – would I lose weight simply because I stepped for 20 minutes a day?
No. A very big, full-bellied, no.
This has the makings of a good plan. If they simply said no to more money and rather spent effort on helping people correct their eating habits, not only would it be a better program, but people would have even better results.
Rating: 2.0 out of 5