Focus T25 drags unsuspecting users through three
circles of hell distinct phases: Alpha (to build a foundation), Beta (to maximize results), and Gamma (an optional third phase).
To add a little more customization into the mix, program creator Shaun T developed two versions of the Gamma cycle:
- Pure Gamma to get ripped
- Pure Strength Hybrid to build strength
But do either of these T25 Gamma workouts actually build muscle? Learn more below.
Table of Contents
- About the Creator – Shaun T
- What Is the T25 Gamma Workout?
- T25 Gamma Details & Features
- Does T25 Gamma Build Muscle? The Truth
- 6 Excellent Benefits of the T25 Gamma Workout
- 3 Negatives of T25 Gamma
- Wrapping Up This T25 Gamma Workout Review
About the Creator – Shaun T
Shaun Thompson — better known as just “Shaun T” — is a Beachbody Super Trainer and the mastermind behind hit fitness programs like Focus T25, Cize, Insanity, and Insanity Max: 30.
While attending college, the future Beachbody breakout packed on the undergrad fifty. He later found his love for fitness and switched to a health & exercise science major.
Shaun T’s career unfolded unexpectedly from there. He dabbled as a backup dancer for Mariah Carey, taught dance classes, and later had a chance encounter with a Beachbody executive.
His Beachbody programs racked up ten million DVD sales by 2015.
What Is the T25 Gamma Workout?
The T25 Gamma workout is the deluxe version of the T25 program. (Before there was a Beachbody On Demand subscription, you’d have to crack open your wallet again to buy this four-weeker.)
The inspiration behind T25 is the fact that the #1 reason for not training is a lack of time. That, confirmed by a Freeletics survey where 42% of respondents labeled it their default excuse.
In 25 minutes a day, five days a week, the legendary Beachbody trainer guarantees an hour’s worth of results in less than half the time.
Gamma is the optional third cycle of Focus T25 and leans heavily on progressive overload.
The Gamma phase dials up the intensity with four brand new 25-minute workouts. The new twist — strength, speed, and explosive sessions that’ll get you ripped and build strength.
T25 Gamma Details & Features
The beauty in T25’s Gamma cycle is that it’s 100% optional. But, if you’re still debating a switch to P90X, Hammer & Chisel, or Body Beast after completing the T25 Beta cycle, read this first.
What Equipment Do You Need for Gamma?
Focus T25 (in general) requires very little in the way of fitness equipment.
Dumbbells (The Pyramid, Rip’t Up, & Extreme Circuit)
All but one Gamma workout requires dumbbells. These workouts generally follow a high-rep scheme, meaning a light set of 10–12-pound dumbbells or an adjustable set will be enough.
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Resistance Bands (Optional In Place Of Dumbbells)
If you’re on vacation mid-Gamma or don’t have dumbbells at home, invest in a set of heavy-duty resistance bands. (Just pay attention to the background crew member doing banded variations.)
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MiniMAT (Rip’t Up & Extreme Circuit)
The Beachbody MiniMAT — or even a regular ‘ol yoga mat — will shield your wrists, elbows, knees, and lower back from excess strain during floor exercises (i.e., push jump off knees).
Chin-Up Bar (Optional In Rip’t Up & Extreme Circuit)
If you want to crank up the heat a bit, Shaun T recommends swapping out lat and back exercises for pull-up or chin-up variations (i.e., wide-grip and neutral-grip pull-ups). So you’ll need your own chin-up bar for this.
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Gamma’s Speed 3.0 workout is entirely equipment-free.
Shaun T introduces four new workouts once you graduate to the final Gamma phase. (The Pure Strength Hybrid also sneaks in a few fan-favorites from Alpha and Beta.)
Don’t let the name fool you! While The Pyramid does feature pyramid sets with slowly increasing rep counts, it’s still as fast-paced as ever and includes a few traditional exercises.
Expect to see a few classic lifts like deadlifts and upright rows. But The Pyramid also features exercises like front kicks & side lunges, up & overs, and shuffle knee Heismans.
Rip’t Up is more of an AMRAP-style — as many reps as possible — workout, forcing you to crank out rep after rep until the clock ticks down.
This workout includes over 50 moves in its line-up, such as static uppercuts, tricep kickbacks (palms down), basic shoulder shrugs, down dogs & planks, and single-leg dual curls.
Tip: Keep a set of heavy and light dumbbells within arm’s reach. Shaun T moves quickly between exercises, and there’s no time to run downstairs to grab your other weights.
Extreme Circuit is essentially 25 straight minutes of dumbbell training with the occasional burnout set squeezed in after each exercise grouping.
Shaun T guides you through exhausting exercises like walking ski abs, shoulder press twists, burpees & front kicks, weighted squats, and upright rows.
Speed 3.0 is similar to Speed 2.0 (and 1.0), just kicked up a few notches. Shaun T walks you through a dizzying two rounds of exercises in this workout, each with three intensity levels each.
Every round gets slightly shorter yet significantly faster. Exercises in this workout include burpees & push-up jacks, burpees & ski abs, burpees & pike-ups, and burpees & front kicks.
We see a trend here …
Pure Gamma Workout Calendar
The four-week “Pure Gamma” calendar is a random assortment of the four Gamma workouts:
|Speed 3.0||Rip’t Up||Extreme Circuit||The Pyramid||Speed 3.0||STATurday||Stretch|
|Rip’t Up||Extreme Circuit||Speed 3.0||The Pyramid||Rip’t Up||STATurday||Stretch|
|The Pyramid||Speed 3.0||Rip’t Up||Extreme Circuit||The Pyramid||STATurday||Stretch|
|Extreme Circuit||Rip’t Up||Speed 3.0||The Pyramid||Extreme Circuit||STATurday||Stretch|
* Pure Gamma does not include Double Day Fridays.
Pure Strength Hybrid
The “Pure Strength Hybrid” schedule combines the four Gamma workouts with a few borrowed Alpha and Beta training sessions:
|Speed 3.0||Rip’t Up||Extreme Circuit||The Pyramid||Total Body Circuit & Speed 3.0||STATurday||Stretch|
|The Pyramid||Speed 3.0||Upper Focus||Rip’t Circuit||Extreme Circuit & Dynamic Core||STATurday||Stretch|
|Extreme Circuit||The Pyramid||Rip’t Up||Speed 3.0||Total Body Circuit & Upper Focus||STATurday||Stretch|
|The Pyramid||Speed 3.0||Rip’t Up||Dynamic Core||Upper Focus & Extreme Circuit||STATurday||Stretch|
* This strength-focused schedule also marks the return of Double Day Fridays. However, if you don’t have the time or energy to do both on Friday, save the second one for … STATurday.
Borrowed Alpha & Beta Workouts
In addition to the four Gamma workouts, Pure Strength Hybrid brings back Total Body Circuit (from Alpha) and Upper Focus, Rip’t Circuit, and Dynamic Core (from Beta).
Funny enough, if you decided to begin Gamma halfway through Beta (as discussed below), Shaun T asked you to replace two of the very workouts he’s now trying to revive.
STATurdays & Sunday Stretch Days
As it was during the previous eight weeks on T25, STATurdays are for progress-tracking. Record your weight, chest, waist, arms, and thigh measurements in the calendar boxes.
On Sundays, follow along with Shaun T as he leads the weekly Stretch workout. (Note: this is the same stretching routine from Alpha & Beta.)
This dynamic stretching session includes balance and flexibility exercises like hip flexor holds, lateral lunges, prayer hands, and flat-back V-holds.
In the hamstrings, studies show that dynamic stretching can increase the range of motion by 7–10% and decrease muscle stiffness by 7.9–16.7% up to 90 minutes after the session.
Starting Gamma Two Weeks Early
Each of T25’s three cycles last four weeks apiece. However, Shaun T also gives you the option to start Gamma two weeks early while you’re still trekking through Beta.
All you have to do is replace the following workouts halfway through the second phase:
- Upper Focus with Rip’t Up
- Rip’t Circuit with Extreme Circuit
- Speed 2.0 with Speed 3.0
We’d say, “Patience, Young Grasshopper.” Unless Beta feels like a lateral move or step-down from Alpha on the intensity or results front, there’s no reason to start Gamma any earlier.
Focus T25 Nutrition Guide
The Focus T25 Nutrition Guide is one of the few constants throughout the T25 program. By that, we mean the recommendations from day one of Alpha don’t change by week four of Gamma.
If you’re currently in Alpha or Beta right now, carry on. Otherwise, for those considering taking Focus T25 through the Gamma phase, here’s a quick look at the nutritional guide:
- Five small meals per day to maximize metabolism and weight loss
- Two diet options — 1,200 or 1,600 calories per day
- Suggestions for how to divide your daily calories between five meals
- 25 “Keep It Real” foods that Shaun T regards as most nutritious
- 25 recipes, all featuring five ingredients and requiring <5 minutes of preparation
- No mention of daily macronutrient goals (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats)
If you normally eat a 2,000-calorie diet (just an example), cutting your daily intake by 400–800 calories per day can create a weekly 2,800–5,600-calorie deficit through diet alone.
That equals about 0.8–1.6 pounds of fat loss per week.
(Hint: Can’t find the Nutrition Guide? It’s not the Quick Start Guide to Nutrition. Type “T25” into the BOD search bar, scroll down to program materials, click “See all,” and there she is!)
Focus T25 Daily Journal
Unfortunately, the T25 Daily Journal doesn’t go beyond the Alpha and Beta cycle, making it completely useless for anyone daring enough to attempt Gamma.
However, since it’s basically a rehash of the program calendar, it won’t make much difference. Just mark down “Nailed It” or “Barely Made It” on your printed schedule.
Does T25 Gamma Build Muscle? The Truth
Technically, yes. Efficiently, not quite.
Gamma will feel almost entirely strength-based compared to the cardio-heavy Alpha & Beta cycles, with nearly every workout infusing dumbbells, a chin-up bar option, or both.
Yet, the fast-paced workouts, burpee overload, and plyometric blend say otherwise.
Body recomposition is still picking up a massive amount of steam. So while you can’t technically convert fat to muscle, body recomp builds mass and burns fat at the same time.
In ordinary circumstances, a strength and cardio combo like Gamma would inch you closer to “ripped” territory throughout the four-week phase. But Gamma is a different story …
The Nutrition Plan
The #1 problem lies in the T25 nutrition plan.
After answering a few questions and assigning yourself a point value for each, Shaun T recommends one of two calorie goals for the entire T25 program — 1,200 or 1,600 calories.
(Side note: these totally-not-scientific calorie calculators are silly and lazy, especially since there’s basically no mention of macronutrient goals either.)
The human body builds lean mass more efficiently when it’s in a caloric surplus. In newbie terms: you’re consuming more calories than you’re burning throughout the day.
Research into off-season bodybuilders discovered that a caloric surplus of 10–20% above maintenance — typically your TDEE — is ideal for muscle and weight gain.
Additional research proves that you can create a caloric deficit and still build lean mass.
While it’s possible to eat in a caloric deficit, lose 0.5–1% of your body weight per week, and build mass simultaneously, doing so requires a high protein intake (ideally 2.3–3.1 g/kg).
Unfortunately, the T25 diet plan almost completely ignores macronutrient intake. Unless you’re intentionally tracking your protein intake yourself, the muscle growth won’t be too impressive.
The second possible issue is the common themes across the Gamma workouts. We’re talking about aspects like the low-weight-high-rep patterns and AMRAP plyometric training.
Like the dietary caloric deficit, the Gamma workouts can widen that caloric deficit to create a surge in fat loss to the tune of several pounds per week.
However, according to a systematic review from 2019, the muscles grow best with moderate to heavyweights and 8–12 reps per set while training at 70–85% of your 1RM. (Not Gamma.)
You may notice growth. But with such a steep caloric deficit, what you’re actually seeing is likely improved muscular definition or extra tone caused by fat loss.
6 Excellent Benefits of the T25 Gamma Workout
- If you follow the T25 nutrition plan and complete every workout the best you can, you’ll end the final phase fitter, with more stamina, and stronger.
- The two program options — Pure Gamma and Pure Strength Hybrid — allow you to better tailor this final cycle to your physique and fitness goals.
- The “I don’t have time to workout” excuse is basically dead on arrival.
- It’s only four weeks long, and, assuming you didn’t absolutely despise Alpha & Beta, Gamma shouldn’t feel like complete hell on Earth.
- The only equipment you really need is a set of dumbbells, though various weights, a resistance band set, yoga mat, and chin-up bar can shake up the four Gamma workouts.
- It’s a combination of cardio, circuits, pyramids, weight-lifting, plyometrics, and more.
3 Negatives of T25 Gamma
- Gamma can help you look more muscular because of fat loss and enhanced muscle definition, but the lean mass gains won’t be too significant.
- Eating 1,200 or 1,600 calories per day with zero emphasis on macronutrient intake is a bit silly and unsustainable long-term.
- Burpees are great for all-around strength and endurance, but was it really necessary to make Speed 3.0 essentially 25 minutes of nonstop burpees?
Wrapping Up This T25 Gamma Workout Review
T25’s optional Gamma cycle is a huge step-up for the normally cardio-rich program, ending the program with a satisfying amount of resistance training.
To be completely honest, T25 Gamma is not great for building muscle. The low-calorie diet, plyometric focus, and low-weight exercises effectively limit how much lean mass you can gain.
However, Gamma is far from a stain on Shaun T’s career.
This four-week program will still improve your physique (likely through added definition and weight loss), requires little time and equipment, and includes four exciting new workouts.
Will you end T25 Gamma in better shape than before or even ripped? Our Magic 8-Ball says, “Signs point to yes.” Significantly more muscular, and the answer changes to “don’t count on it.”
(Body Beast is much more effective for building lean mass.)
Rating: 8.8 out of 10