These days, you only need to mention the word “exercise” within hearing distance of your smartphone to trigger an endless stream of ads. Suddenly exercise apps, diet plans, and fitness challenges fill your news stream. They all come with different buzzwords and price tags, but those that work all rely on three central pillars: moving more, eating healthier, and staying consistent.
That said, getting started can be incredibly daunting. It’s challenging to find a program that works for you, keeping you motivated and offering both variety and a healthy routine that inspires commitment.
The recently revamped Beachbody on Demand (or BOD) now offers a flat-fee solution for this. Often touted as “the Netflix of exercise videos,” BOD offers unlimited access to over 80 different at-home fitness routines, as well as meal plans and support systems. So, how does Beachbody on Demand stack up to other custom fitness programs? We’ll share all of the details.
- One flat fee gives you access to the entire catalog
- Most exercise programs come with personalized nutrition plans, shopping lists, and modifications
- Exercise programs require little or no equipment
- New app helps you integrate all the different content, trackers, and reminders in one place
- Videos stream from smartphones, tablets, computers, and smart TVs
- Our readers can get a 14-day free trial
- It’s not very social, so accountability will be up to you
- The calorie-burning tracker only works with a heart rate monitor
- Focus is highly on weight loss
If you are self-motivated and committed to your fitness and health goals, we recommend giving Beachbody a try. With various workout options, recipes, and nutritional guidance, it offers a very efficient weight loss plan for a fraction of what a gym would cost. Naturally, the main roadblock to success is the lack of human contact. With no gym buddy to push you and hours of content to navigate, it will be up to you to get started. However, if you use all these tools properly, Beachbody on Demand can bring your body where you want it to be.
With a huge library of workouts and helpful recipes, Beachbody on Demand excels in helping self-motivated people get fit.
Beachbody isn’t the most social fitness program, but it’s straightforward and a good value -- particularly good for those looking to lose weight while toning muscle. With a 14-day free trial, the question becomes: why not give it a try?
Innerbody Research recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary online. Over the past two decades, we have helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions involving staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.
We extensively test each health service we review. We try our best to give you, our readers, an unbiased exploration of at-home health services, free of marketing jargon or gimmicks. We evaluate the service based on our adherence to quality, the latest medical evidence and health standards, and a simple question: would we buy the product or service ourselves if it weren’t part of our job, and would we recommend it to family and friends?
Additionally, this review of Beachbody on Demand, like all health-related content on this website, was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.
Beachbody on Demand works under a straightforward system: you pay for a subscription and get full access to all of its videos and services.
This streamlined business model is the result of over 15 years of constant evolution. The original company, Team Beachbody, actually dates back to 1998. It started as a brick-and-mortar fitness store but made the jump into online services in 2007. At first, its programs consisted of basic exercise video series, which you would buy individually.
The company completely redesigned its business model in 2015, after rebranding its online services as “Beachbody on Demand.” Its simplified subscription now gives you access to:
- A video library
- Customizable meal plans
- Access to a free coach and support group
- The Beachbody smartphone app
With over 1,000 individual entries, Beachbody has organized its workout library into fitness programs that progressively challenge you. These programs target specific exercise types (such as yoga-based moves or weightlifting) and vary in difficulty levels.
You can stream these videos directly from the smartphone app (both on Android and Apple), a PC or laptop, or a smart TV (Amazon Fire, Apple TV, or Roku TV).
The video library also includes a cooking show and even a fitness reality show.
Customizable meal plans
Beachbody’s meal plans take into account your age, gender, current weight, and fitness level. In addition to a simple eating schedule, the plans include shopping lists and substitution suggestions. Many also feature recipes from Beachbody’s cooking show (which you’ll find in the video library).
Access to a free coach and support group
When you first sign up for Beachbody on Demand, you are assigned a coach to help you stay motivated. Engaging with your coach is entirely optional, but if you are the kind of person who needs the occasional push, it will probably give you a significant boost.
Coaches hold frequent Q&A sessions to help you reach your goals. They also run support groups (or “BODgroups”), where you can meet other people with similar goals and share workouts. Some coaches also offer extra nutritional guidance, send inspirational quotes or emails, and even provide moral support.
The Beachbody smartphone app
The Beachbody app is available for both Android and iPhone. It serves as a portal from which you can access all Beachbody services and currently ranks as one of the top five fitness apps in both the Play Store and Apple Store.
This app includes several exciting features that can help you make the most of your workouts:
- You can use it to stream workout videos directly or download them for later.
- If you want to follow a specific program, it can add reminders to your calendar to complete your daily routine.
- It lets you access your meal plan and generates grocery lists for it.
- If you have an Apple Watch or a Wahoo Heart Rate Monitor, you can sync them with the app and track how many calories you burned during the workouts.
- You can order other affiliated products (such as Shakeology nutrition supplements) directly from the app.
Purchasing a Beachbody on Demand membership may be the easiest part of your entire fitness journey. Simply head to the Beachbody website and click on “Get Started” to buy a subscription.
Beachbody offers three different options for new clients:
- A three-month membership for $59.85. New clients who buy this option will get a 14-day free trial. Beachbody will bill you on day 15, and your subscription will renew automatically after 90 days.
- A six-month membership for $77.70. If you buy this option, Beachbody bills you immediately, and your subscription will renew automatically after 180 days. However, it comes with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. If you cancel your subscription during the initial 30 days, you will get a full refund.
- A one-year membership for $99. This plan nets you the lowest price per month, but billing occurs on the first day of your membership. However, it also comes with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.
Like any fitness program, the primary key for results lies in your day-to-day behavior and consistency. A significant drawback of subscription-based services is that merely having access to it doesn’t guarantee you’ll use it.
Additionally, having too many options can be daunting for absolute beginners. Because of this, we’ve included a closer look at the full catalog and many perks hidden within the program. Hopefully, this will turn your Beachbody on Demand membership into something that resembles an in-person trainer as much as possible.
Exercise programs for beginners
The different exercise programs included with Beachbody on Demand are all rated as “beginner,” “intermediate,” or “advanced.” You can see the recommended time commitment for each program’s description, ranging from 30-60 minutes a day, between 4-6 days a week.
If you’re starting with zero experience, begin with one of the easier beginner programs that only require 30 minutes a day. Look for the label “real-time,” as these videos will show you the right pace for each exercise and all its repetitions. If you are unsure how to make a particular move, pause your workout, watch the full action first, and then try it yourself. You can always resume the stream later.
Most of the beginner workouts progress over 21-30 days. It’s best to complete the full first program before you start browsing around and increasing the challenge. Fitness is a long-term game, and it pays off to have a solid foundation.
How to continue improving
If the beginner programs no longer feel challenging, you can simply move to a more demanding “intermediate” one. Or, you can also try out a few tricks to mix things up:
- Most basic moves have an “advanced” modification that can increase the challenge discreetly.
- Try combining two different programs. For example, add a yoga or flexibility routine before your main cardio program.
- Alternate between lighter beginner days and more demanding intermediate days to prevent fatigue. If you are using the app, try generating a “Hybrid Calendar” to tell you what to do each day.
Keeping it fun
One of the secrets of sticking to a fitness program is ensuring that it remains fun and enjoyable. Some find it best when there’s a dash of unpredictability. Beachbody’s huge library lets you choose among:
- Dance-based programs, including Zumba, salsa, country, and hip-hop-based moves.
- Yoga-based programs, including gentle stretching and real-time guided meditation.
- Advanced HIIT programs, which can often be completed in less than 30 minutes, but provide an intense experience.
- Programs with specific trainers. If you want to follow a specific personality, Beachbody features many fitness experts, including Autumn Calabrese, Shaun T, and Tony Horton.
Using the meal plans
Beachbody’s meal plans are a great way to eliminate the guesswork involved in any weight loss effort.
When you first sign up for Beachbody on Demand or download the app, you’ll enter your age, sex, weight, height, and current activity level. This information will become the basis of your custom meal plan and your daily recommended nutrient intake.
You also have the option to adjust your personal goals and specify if you are following a special diet (such as vegetarian, vegan, paleo, or gluten-free).
The focus on weight loss is where some of the program’s significant drawbacks lie. The company doesn’t shy away from its “looks over function” approach to fitness. It is named Beachbody, after all. The bias toward weight loss becomes more emphatic if you take a look at the meal plans and shopping lists available.
Also, the company’s connections to Shakeology can be overbearing. While tasty, well-made, and undoubtedly nourishing, Shakeology’s meal replacement shakes are also relatively pricey compared to similar alternatives. Some coaches are notorious for continually pushing them or treating them as an “essential” part of any BODgroup challenges.
Beachbody on Demand uses sufficient commercial encryption standards to protect your payment information. However, some aspects of its business model and services can make it a bit hard for you to control the information you are putting out there.
There are two ways to accidentally expose yourself or your personal information while using Beachbody on Demand. One relates to the social aspect of its BODgroups: your assigned coach will have access to your biometric data (such as height and weight). If you join a coach’s support group, other group members can also see this information if you choose to make that part of your profile public.
Finally, keep in mind that many coaches rely on commissions from Shakeology sales as a source of income. You will get a coach assigned to you automatically. Even if you never interact with them, they will still see which of their trainees are buying Shakeology products. They will never see your payment information or billing address.
At Innerbody Research, we customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the health-related service. For Beachbody on Demand and other health services and products, we have five areas that we use for our evaluations, including:
Quality: How well does the company deliver its core service(s) to the customer? For testing services, does the company adhere to the latest and most advanced testing technologies and achieve a very high degree of accuracy? For non-testing telehealth services, is the quality of the service high enough that we would recommend it to loved ones without hesitation? If not, why not?
User-friendly: How intuitive and user-friendly is the service? Does the product, program, app, or website achieve a good degree of user-friendliness for its customers?
Value: Are you getting your money’s worth? Are there any hidden costs or charges? Does the company offer discounts?
Privacy: If health data is stored, will your data be stored securely? Are payments secure?
Customer support: Particularly in situations where ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t make sense, how well does the company help to make the service ideal for you?