Body Beast is a good choice if you’re experienced with Beachbody and want to get into bodybuilding. It’s fast-paced, has fresh workouts, and requires minimal gear. However, the constant “bro talk,” confusing program materials, and randomness of the workouts knock the program down a few pegs. Overall, if you have the brains to figure out the program and can dedicate 90 days to strength and mass, Body Beast Workout is a rock-solid choice.
|Experience Level||Beginner, Intermediate|
|Home/Gym||Home (with equipment)|
- Easy to use mobile app
- Facebook group support
- Provides workouts for both gym and at-home
- Misleading supplement advertisements
- Potential muscle loss due to lack of macronutrient advice
The Body Beast Workout made the rounds on TV paid programming in 2018, creating a ton of buzz in the lifting, fitness, and bodybuilding circles.
The commercials hyped the program up as an ab-carving, fat-incinerating, and muscle-building beast that can turn you from “regular Joe to jacked” or — wait for it — “mommy to hottie.”
The before-and-after pictures and success stories are impressive.
But is this 90-day program any good? And, by “good,” we mean will you have a muscular, trim, and aesthetic physique just three months from now?
This is our top-to-bottom review of the Body Beast Workout.
Table of Contents
- About the Creator – Sagi Kalev
- What’s the Body Beast Workout?
- Body Beast Workout Details & Features
- 10 Impressive Benefits of Body Beast Workout
- 4 Negatives of Body Beast
- Body Beast Workout Review – The Final Word
About the Creator – Sagi Kalev
Sagi Kalev is the mastermind behind the wildly successful Body Beast Workout (2012), making him Beachbody’s pioneer on the bodybuilding routine front.
The former two-time Mr. Israel set off on a 27-year fitness industry career that included:
- Gracing the covers of more than 50 magazines
- Earning two degrees: one in physical education & another in personal training
- Seemingly endless fitness & nutrition certifications
- Famous followers (Eminem is a Body Beast fanatic)
What’s the Body Beast Workout?
Plain and simple: it’s a bro split (not knocking the results, just calling a spade a spade).
Sagi Kalev’s Body Beast Workout launched in 2012 by Beachbody (now available on the Beachbody On Demand digital streaming service).
This 90-day, 19 workout program is a classic weightlifting split for those hoping to sculpt lean muscle, slim down to uncover already-there well-defined muscles, or a combination of the two!
Workouts generally last between 11 and 53 minutes and require minimal equipment (typically, a set of dumbbells and a weight bench will do, though a pull-up bar or bands are recommended).
The expansive video collection divides all 19 videos into three distinct phases — Build, Bulk, and Beast — while also highlighting the more intense Beast Up and Tempo workouts.
The chart below outlines the Beast Body workouts:
If you’re still on the fence about this 90-day commitment, take it from those who’ve followed this program from start to finish (sometimes multiple times back-to-back).
The workouts are quick-paced, thrive in home gyms, build mass (some packed on 7+ pounds of mass), far shorter than P90X, deliver beginner modifications, and live up to expectations.
It’s worth a try if you’re stuck in a plateau or want to fill your sleeves with chiseled gains.
Body Beast Workout Details & Features
Sagi Kalev’s Body Beast Workout earns rave reviews, described by at least one user as “Beachbody’s best program by far.”
Here’s what you need to know about this Beast of a workout:
After you find Body Beast in BOD, you’ll crash land onto the “Start Here” tab. This is where you’ll discover a program overview, a link to the Nutrition Center, and a short Sagi Kalev bio.
It’s nothing earth-shattering, and by week one, when you’re a Body Beast expert, it’s simply a landing page for what’s truly important: your next workout and your tally sheets.
Now, this Beachbody program is chock-full of materials, workouts, and dizzying information. We know Body Beast is the rare Beachbody weightlifting/mass-building/aesthetic routine.
But let’s finally demystify what’s hidden in the Workouts tab.
Types of Body Beast Workouts
If you click to the Workouts section by impulse (who wouldn’t?), confusion will settle in pretty quickly. That’s because you’ll discover three types of workouts, all with different names:
- Body Beast: This is where you’ll find your basic Bulk, Build, and Beast workouts (more on that later on!). There’s also a 5-minute Rock-a-Bye Beast: Bedtime Stretch and a 24-minute Lucky 7 workout (no word on when to infuse these, though).
- Beast Up: If you crave a completely draining workout that’s even more intense than the regular-old Beast Body, these two workouts are for you. Oddly enough, they neglect the back, biceps, and abs.
- Body Beast Deluxe: When you survive blocks one and two, you’ll have a little more freedom in workout choice. Here, you’ll find two tempo workouts. And, just like the Beast Up workouts, some muscles get the backburner (in this case, the legs).
There are 19 videos in total.
But first, let’s make one thing clear: the Body Beast workouts are not organized in chronological order (don’t just follow them the way they’re laid out unless you live life on the edge).
Click over to the calendar hidden in the Program Materials tab to learn which workout is on your schedule today!
More About the Videos
If you’re a film buff or video snob, you’ll enjoy the Body Beast workouts a bit more than the old-school (and pixelated) P90X. In other words, it has a more modern touch video-wise.
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About a few minutes into your first Body Beast workout, you’ll notice a few Kalev-isms. And, some users wind up muting the TV or computer after they realize it’s 35-straight-minutes of them.
The background noise feels like basic “gym bro” phrases on repeat: “Let’s get pumped!” “We’re gonna get huge!” and the occasional “Nice” in between sets and reps.
But there are a few high points.
For one, you’ll find everything you need at the bottom of the screen. When you’re approaching a new exercise, you’ll learn which exercise, how many sets, what type of set, and how many reps.
There’s also a countdown timer and rep counter in the bottom-right corner.
Knowing how many seconds or reps remaining might be all it takes to motivate you and finish out the set without resorting to half-ass reps.
What a Typical Body Beast Workout Is Like
None of these 19 workouts are the same, but Kalev designed the entire program around his own workout strategy called “Dynamic Set Training.” (It’s a new-school and old-school hybrid.)
In other words, you might come toe-to-toe with circuit sets (no rest in between), tempo sets (holding contractions), supersets (bouncing between two exercises), and more.
Here’s what a Body Beast workout might feature
- About a 2-2:30 dynamic warm-up (Kalev is winded by the end, but it’s nothing crazy)
- Force sets, giant sets, combo sets, and more
- About two minutes of rest between exercises
- 45 or so seconds between sets (unless it’s a superset-style set, of course)
- Around 3-4 sets per exercise
- A theme of 8-15 reps (often cycling down from 15 to 8 as you progress)
- An emphasis on compound movements and progressive overload
It’s your stereotypical “bro split,” reinforced by Kalev shouting about the “pump” every few minutes. If you want a cheat sheet for what to expect, check out the Body Beast Worksheets.
Exercises include single-leg calf raises, dumbbell shrugs, EZ bar curls, deadlifts, squats, pullovers, and reverse flyes. Translation: it’s nothing out of the ordinary.
This Program Materials tab features every written document and PDF you’ll need during your Beast-ly journey.
We’ll admit, there should be more detail in some of these materials. If you don’t read the Fitness Guide end-to-end, you’ll find yourself questioning “now, what does that mean?” often.
Here’s what you’ll find in the Program Materials section:
The Quick Start guide is a single page and isn’t what you might imagine. In four steps, it tells you to use a hashtag, watch a video, and visit the Beachbody forums.
Skip this one.
The Program Materials section can be overwhelming, with hundreds of pages to gloss over. But, if there’s one doc you don’t skip, make sure you at least skim through the 35-page Fitness Guide.
It’s essentially the play-by-play of the upcoming 90 days.
The emphasis on progress is abundantly clear from the get-go, explaining how to snap before and after pics and record body measurements. (Those pics could earn you a free Beast tank top.)
The bad news is that the table of contents doesn’t match up with what’s in the guide (the pages aren’t accurate, and it seems to feature 50 extra pages that aren’t there).
Just scroll past it.
Now, here’s a quick glance at what’s in the fitness guide:
- An explanation about what Body Beast is
- Some guidance on what equipment you’ll need
- How to decide which training program is right for you (introduced with the phrase “It’s probably obvious,” ironically)
- A run-through of the different types of sets you’ll encounter (force, tempo, etc.)
- Workout tips to prevent injury and guarantee results
- How to prep for a competition or photoshoot (seems more like an excuse for Kalev to include pics of him on the bodybuilding stage, but fair enough)
And, if you were expecting an ad-free document … well, this section will let you down.
Quick Start Guide to Nutrition
The nutrition guide is confusing because there’s also an eating plan when you read into the next section. If you’re a Beachbody newbie, you’ll wonder which to follow.
Hint: it’s not this one.
This guide is an 84-page magazine-like eating guide filled with a slew of Beachbody and Shakeology ads from cover to cover.
It suggests two meal plans — 2B Mindset or the Ultimate Portion Fix — which require you to visit another website and aren’t in line with the Beast eating plan.
Aside from the waiting room magazine vibe and suggestion that you follow either a 1,500 or 1,800 calorie diet (that’s it), the nutrition guide does have a few high points.
Unfortunately, it takes 46 pages to find them.
You’ll find somewhere between 30 and 40 recipes, most of which sound and look pretty tasty.
(One of the recipes is a Beach Bar that takes 10 seconds to make. The cooking instructions include eating the bar as a snack and then — wait for it — throwing the wrapper away.)
Designed to “take the guesswork” out of your diet, the Body Beast eating plan is a 62-page beast of a PDF (literally).
The guide starts with the low-down on how to calculate your caloric baseline.
Then, depending on whether you’re on the mass or ripped plan (or somewhere in-between), you’ll calculate your caloric needs for each phase.
To get a taste for what’s in the eating plan, here’s a rundown:
- This is the first appearance of those mysterious, colorful boxes you’ll find in the tally sheet later on. Each color stands for a type of food (ex: fruits, carbs), with a neat chart detailing how many servings of each you need per day, depending on your calorie goals. The bummer is that you either need the color-coded Beachbody Portion Fix containers or to compare everything you eat to the food lists (starting on page 19).
- There are a few tips about how to eat like a beast without breaking the bank.
- The food lists describe what makes a serving of each food. Fortunately, there are some “free foods,” meaning you can get a little reckless with mustard or hot sauce.
- In true Beachbody fashion, there’s an entire section hyping up Beachbody supplements and Shakeology. And, again, regular-old creatine and recovery supps will do.
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The guide closes out with some 30 pages of recipes. If you’re no master chef and need a step-by-step guide on making banana pancakes or protein salad, the answers are here.
Workout Calendar & Beast Up Workout Calendar
If you’re a complete newcomer to the Beachbody On Demand sphere, you likely looked at these two sections questioning, “What’s the difference?”
The answer lies in the Fitness Guide (if you skipped that, you’ll be at a loss).
The Beast Up Calendar holds the 4-week Beast Up plan. The standard “Calendar” has six 12-week calendars available:
- Huge Beast (for bulking up and packing on mass)
- Lean Beast (for chipping away at body fat while building muscle)
There’s an English, Spanish, and French version of each. If you’re a non-native English speaker, this swings the Beachbody On Demand door wide open.
Body Beast Tally Sheets
The title of this material sounds extraordinarily vague, but let’s clarify: it’s nothing more than a dietary thing. Does that mean it makes logical sense? Of course not.
This document reveals what lies ahead in the week out, but if you skip the other supplemental materials, this PDF will mean approximately nothing to you.
Without any other research, this sheet is pretty vague. At first glance, we even wondered: what the hell do one purple square and two grey splotches a day mean?
For this to mean anything to you, you need to scroll through “The Body Beast Eating Plan.”
Beast Up Workout Tracker & Body Beast Worksheets
The Beast Up Workout Tracker and Body Beast Worksheets are where you’ll record your weight, reps, and week for almost any exercise in your path.
The glaring downside is that it’s a printable form, not a fillable PDF. In other words, unless you’re among the 62% of Americans that own printers, this “material” is worthless.
To be 100% honest, if you have any Google Sheet (or Microsoft Excel) know-how, it’d probably be easier to craft spreadsheets and track your weekly progress than use this outdated PDF.
As you might expect, the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) clears up any confusion along the way. But does it clarify every question you have jostling through your mind?
That’s a long shot.
But it does explain what equipment you need, whether or not it’ll make you “bulky,” and the most logical next step. Hint: the “perfect” step-up is yet another Kalev program in the future.
Everything you’ll “discover” in the FAQ section we either detailed above or is self-explanatory if you read about the Body Beast in its entirety.
These might be frequently asked questions, but they’re not earth-shattering.
This 76-song Spotify playlist, appropriately dubbed “Cardio Workout Mix,” lasts some four hours and 31 minutes, which tosses up a red flag if you’re expecting <60-minute workouts.
(We’ll admit, this is misleading!)
Now, we have to confess.
We can’t imagine a world where “Honey I’m Good” by Andy Grammer or “Cake by the Ocean” by DNCE hypes anyone up during a workout guaranteeing a chiseled physique.
No offense if you’re a fan.
But if listening to Impractical Jokers or bustling highway traffic in the background isn’t enough to get you in “the zone,” any playlist is better than nothing.
Fair warning: the playlist features Ariana Grande, Maroon 5, and Demi Lovato (I love all three of them, but your downstairs neighbors might not be eager fans).
You also need a Spotify account.
It’s free … but still.
Body Beast Schedule
The Body Beast schedule depends entirely on which Body Beast path you’re following: Huge Beast or Lean Beast.
Huge Beast consists of three blocks:
- Build: three weeks long & six workouts a week
- Bulk: six weeks long & six workouts a week
- Beast: three weeks long & six workouts a week
The Lean Beast program also has three blocks with slight differences:
- Build: three weeks long & six workouts a week
- Bulk: five weeks long & six workouts a week
- Beast: four weeks long & six workouts a week
Whether you’re hoping to get ripped or simply attempt a new bulking strategy, Body Beast is a 12-week program with six workouts (and one much-need rest day) per week.
It’s an intermediate program, but the schedule alone could be a turn-off, especially if that means doubling how many days you already hit the gym per week. Fortunately, it works! (Unlike some criticism about 10 Rounds)
The Body Beast workouts all have labels describing the training block: Build, Bulk, or Beast. But you’ll also see an occasional “Tempo” thrown in there for good measure.
A word to the wise: don’t assume anything with Body Beast. Every week follows a different schedule, and being in the Bulk phase doesn’t guarantee all workouts are “Bulk.”
The week ahead might look something like this:
- Cardio & abs, total body & abs
By the Beast block, you’ll have a choice between two or three workouts. If you prefer the Tempo to Build workouts (or vice versa), there’s a little more wiggle room!
If you’re daring enough to attempt the 4-week Beast Up program, your weekly schedule might feature Bulk, Build, and Beast Up workouts! It’s worth trying if you want to spice things up.
Body Beast Equipment
Perhaps the biggest surprise in the Body Beast program is that, unlike P90X, the required gear list isn’t a not-so-subtle nod to buy Beachbody equipment.
Here’s what you need gear-wise:
- Dumbbells between 10 and 70 pounds (however, an adjustable dumbbell set can save you cash, space, and transition time)
- Resistance bands (optional; to replace the dumbbells)
- EZ curl bar (optional)
- Weighted bench or balance ball (if you choose a ball, guarantee it’s anti-burst)
- Chin-up bar (optional)
- Exercise mat (optional; a resistance band & door attachment duo work well too)
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Which is Better – P90X or Body Beast?
That depends on a few things, including
how much you enjoy torturing yourself your physique goals and how much time you can dedicate to near-daily workouts.
Choose P90X if you …
- Have 60-90 minutes to spare daily
- Want to torch stubborn body fat quickly (20+ pounds in 90 days)
- Crave exercise variety in your workouts (hundreds of exercises spanning the full program)
- Don’t want to settle for a strict weightlifting routine (features yoga, stretching, etc.)
On the other hand, select Body Beast if you …
- Can admit that packing on mass sits at the top of your to-do list
- Are short on time (workouts hover around 35ish minutes)
- Want to customize your workouts (swap in bands and pull-up bars at your leisure)
- Desire less outdated video (maybe that’s petty, but P90X is 16 years old)
Both routines have their pros and cons and can produce results (though your physique will be starkly different after each).
10 Impressive Benefits of Body Beast Workout
- The 3-4 sets and 8-15 rep range fits within the ACSM’s guidelines for mass-building (more specifically, for beginners, the recommendation is 1-3 sets of 8-12 reps).
- The 45ish seconds between sets follow the hypertrophy science (literally). In a 2009 review, researchers discovered that sub-one-minute rest periods were ideal for sculpting mass and boosting growth hormone. The quick-paced vibe is simply a bonus!
- While you’re not hitting each muscle group exactly twice a week, it’s close enough to spark head-to-toe lean mass gains. The general consensus in the exercise science community is that targeting each muscle group twice a week can spur hypertrophy (according to 2016 research).
- The program goes beyond what other Beachbody programs offer. For example, there’s a linked Spotify playlist, clear block calendars, and tally sheets to monitor your diet.
- There’s no disputing this one: it produces results. Success stories include shedding 82 pounds, carving out stubborn abs, boosting confidence. (One guy lost 42 pounds and reunited with his estranged daughter, but let’s clarify: Body Beast won’t fix your struggling personal relationships.)
- You don’t need a gym membership or even a home gym. All you need is an adjustable bench (these days, you can fold them and tuck them into a closet), dumbbells, and — ideally — a pull-up bar or resistance bands.
- The workouts are more reasonable if you have a busy schedule. Where P90X requires 60-90 minutes of commitment a day, Body Beast is closer to 35-50.
- There are two paths you can follow: Lean Beast or Huge Beast. In other words, it’s not a one-size-fits-all program, and there’s even a bit of leeway in terms of workout choice (sometimes you’ll have the choice between two workouts).
- It’s almost pure weightlifting. Aside from the occasional cardio workout, this routine is very different from your classic Beachbody program (weight loss).
- It doesn’t reinvent the wheel. These are the same compound and isolation exercises you likely already do (unless, of course, you skip leg day).
4 Negatives of Body Beast
- The emphasis on various types of sets adds an exciting vibe to long weightlifting workouts. But the benefits might start and end there. A 2017 controlled trial found that after 12 weeks of resistance training, there was almost no difference between traditional sets and drop sets or pyramid sets (among others).
- The Program Materials section is a hot mess. The workout trackers aren’t fillable (it’s 2021, come on), the documents aren’t self-explanatory on their own and don’t feature directions, and most guides feel like a long-winded Beachbody or Shakeology ad.
- There’s nothing wrong with Body Beast being your traditional “bro split.” But the constant chatter about feeling “pumped” or “getting huge” is overkill, especially after one set. We suggest muting the TV if it bothers you.
- Some things within the platform aren’t immediately clear. For example, if you skip over the eating plan, the tally sheet is worthless to you. A better step-by-step checklist that doesn’t require you to read a 35-page guide would’ve been a better call.
Body Beast Workout Review – The Final Word
The Body Beast program from Beachbody (and Sagi Kalev) should be your #1 choice if you’re a Beachbody vet looking to get ripped with a traditional bodybuilding routine.
It’s fast-paced, the varying sets keep workouts “fresh,” it requires minimal gear, and there’s no doubt it leaves behind a trail of happy customers.
But it’s a little ways from perfect.
Factors like the constant “bro talk,” the Program Materials section confusion, and the implication that the seemingly random sets spur greater growth knock the program down a few pegs.
Overall, if you have the brains to figure out the program and can dedicate 90 days to strength and mass, Body Beast Workout is a rock-solid choice.