What is the Hardest Beachbody Program?

  • Updated 12/8/16 to include Core De Force
  • Updated 8/15/16 to include the original 21 Day Fix

I get asked all the time, “is this Beachbody program harder than that program?”  That’s a difficult question to answer because the hardest Beachbody program for one person may not be the hardest program for another depending on their physical condition, limitations, and interest level.  But it is possible to compare programs’ intensity level by using objective data like heart rate monitor (HRM) data.  Being the engineer and data junkie that I am, I’ve been cataloging my Heart Rate and Calorie Burn data for the past several years.  If you would like to see how some of the most popular programs stack up, you came to the right place.

Popular Beachbody Programs Evaluated

Back in the summer of 2014 I created my “Beachbody Bracket” to determine what the “best” workouts were from this list (read about the Best Beachbody Workout here). I recorded HRM data at least once for every workout:

  • P90X
  • P90X2
  • P90X3
  • Insanity
  • Focus T25
  • Rev Abs
  • Les Mills Combat

Since 2014 I have added this list of new programs to my database:

  • 21 Day Fix
  • 21 Day Fix Extreme
  • Insanity Max:30
  • Body Beast
  • Master’s Hammer and Chisel
  • Insanity Asylum Volume 1
  • 22 Minute Hard Corps
  • Core De Force

Heart Rate Monitor Data Recorded

I’ve been using the same $40 Timex Analog HRM since I started my fitness journey with Insanity over 4 years ago.  The only thing that’s changed over the past few years has been my age 🙂  Here is a definition of what I record:

  • Date: date of the workout.
  • HRM Time: the total elapsed time from the very start of the workout until I stop it at the end, inclusive of any pauses or breaks during the workout.
  • Avg HR: average heart rate over the total HRM Time as reported by the HRM; I have my HRM set up to record data 100% of the time between Start and Stop, not only in a specific HR zone.
  • Max HR: the maximum reported HR during the workout; a good estimate for your maximum possible heart rate is 220 minus your age–for me that would be 168 right now.  An intense cardio program like Insanity should get your maximum HR up near this level.
  • Calories: the total calculated calories burned over the elapsed HRM Time of the workout; in an absolute sense this is a very useful number, but you can’t use this to determine which workout is more intense than another–longer workouts by nature will burn more total calories.
  • Calories/Hour: calories burned divided by the HRM Time; this ends up being almost analogous to Avg HR but is another good way to compare relative intensity levels between workouts.

The Hardest Beachbody Programs

My complete database is available below, but here are how the 13 15 programs stack up for three of my metrics.  For the purpose of creating the charts (which are “averages of averages”), I only used each program’s typical full-length workouts in the calculations.  I omitted the shorter ab routines, the yoga and stretching workouts, as well as any of the Deluxe or free Team Beachbody Bonus workouts that were not typical length (for example, I omitted workouts like Hammer & Chisel 15-Minute Leg Hammer and Glute Chisel).

Average Heart Rate

Average Heart Rate is a great measure of relative intensity or difficulty, and according to this metric Insanity Asylum Volume 1 is the hardest Beachbody program that I’ve done.  Surprisingly Core De Force is right up there with the Shaun T programs. One thing to note however is that the four programs on the low end of the chart (P90X, Body Beast, P90X2 and Rev Abs) have lower averages in part because they are longer, have somewhat longer warmups and cooldowns, and have longer breaks than the other programs.  Trust me, you still get work out of these four programs as shown in the next two charts.  (NOTE: as of this post I just started doing Asylum Volume 1 workouts and have only recorded data for 3 workouts.  I will come back and update my charts after I record data for the remaining routines; 8/15/16 added 21 Day Fix; 12/8/16 added Core De Force)

Beachbody Average Heart Rate Rev 3

Total Calories Burned

Average Total Calories Burned paints an entirely different picture, although Asylum still comes out first as the hardest Beachbody program.  The conclusion here is pretty simple–the longer the workouts, the more total calories you burn.  The chart is a little misleading for programs that have variable length workouts like Insanity, Body Beast and Core De Force since I average the shorter and longer workouts together.  That’s why in the last chart I normalize them over workout time. (8/15/16 added 21 Day Fix; 12/8/16 added Core De Force)

Beachbody Average Calories Burned Rev 2

Calories Burned Per Hour

In my opinion Average Calories Burned per Hour is a pretty good representation of the level of intensity you must maintain over the course of the workout from start to finish.  Using this metric Max:30 is the hardest Beachbody program.  Just remember though, you will not actually burn this many calories in programs like Max: 30, T25, and 21 DFX unless you do two 30-minute workouts back to back (see previous chart for single workout burn).  What this chart doesn’t take into account, however, are the long warmups and cooldowns of the longer workouts on the right side of the chart.  In fact I could argue that P90X2 is the hardest Beachbody program because of the complexity of the moves, but I’ll leave that opinion to you 🙂 (8/15/16 added 21 Day Fix; 12/8/16 added Core De Force)

Beachbody Average Calories Burned Per Hour Rev 2

Beachbody Heart Rate and Calorie Burn Database

What do you think?  If you have a different opinion please let me know in the Comments below.  Here is my complete database, enjoy scrolling, searching and comparing different workouts and programs.  A few notes to get the most out of the data:

  • “TBD”  under Date means I have not yet recorded HRM data for that specific workout yet
  • To sort any column, click on the small up and down arrows at the top of the column
  • To Search or Filter for a specific program or workout, enter the name or keyword in the Search box
  • You can Show 25, 50, 100 or All Entries at one time
  • If you do not see all columns, look for the horizontal scroll bar
ProgramPhaseWorkoutDateHRM TimeAvg HRMax HRCalsCal/Hr
Body BeastBuildChest & Tris10/27/20140:55:39108145420453
Body BeastBuildLegs10/28/20140:48:21120152464576
Body BeastBuildBack & Bis11/5/20141:00:31120167581576
Body BeastBuildShoulders5/8/20160:41:11113142335488
Body BeastBeastCardio10/30/20140:30:00127151324648
Body BeastBeastAbs10/30/20140:10:3511313689505
Body BeastBulkChest12/14/20140:35:25112147292495
Body BeastBulkLegs12/15/20140:47:49132157557699
Body BeastBulkArms12/16/20140:44:42112143368494
Body BeastBulkBack & Bi12/17/20140:38:31125155380592
Body BeastBulkShoulders12/18/20140:39:24113151331504
Body BeastBeastTotal Body12/23/20140:43:43128156479657
Body BeastTempoChest & Tris12/29/20140:55:59102134366392
Body BeastTempoBack & BisTBD
Body BeastBonusLucky 75/10/20160:23:45122142228576
Insanity Max: 30Month 1Cardio Challenge12/11/20140:29:24151167461941
Insanity Max: 30Month 1Sweat Intervals12/13/20140:31:43154168489925
Insanity Max: 30Month 1Friday Fight 112/18/20140:32:15144168442822
Insanity Max: 30Month 1Tabata Power1/3/20150:32:21134162388720
Insanity Max: 30Month 1Tabata Strength5/7/20160:32:03137158388726
Insanity Max: 30Month 2Max Out Cardio4/19/20160:32:32144164431795
Insanity Max: 30Month 2Max Out Sweat4/28/20160:32:25143164424785
Insanity Max: 30Month 2Max Out Strength5/3/20160:32:48122142315576
Insanity Max: 30Month 2Max Out Power5/1/20160:32:16126149332617
Insanity Max: 30Month 2Friday Fight 24/16/20160:33:00149167465845
Insanity Max: 30BonusSweat Fest5/9/20160:30:47139166383747
21 Day FixBaseUpper Fix8/9/20160:31:32116140272518
21 Day FixBaseLower Fix8/10/20160:29:28123147288586
21 Day FixBasePilates Fix8/11/20160:32:5091110147269
21 Day FixBaseTotal Body Cardio Fix8/8/20160:29:37124154294596
21 Day FixBaseCardio Fix8/5/20160:31:14133153357686
21 Day FixBaseDirty 308/7/20160:27:33114140228497
21 Day FixBaseYoga Fix8/8/20160:30:3592122142279
21 Day FixBonusPlyo Fix8/12/20160:31:34138163387736
21 Day Fix ExtremeBaseCardio Fix Extreme9/11/20150:31:25138157385735
21 Day Fix ExtremeBaseHardcore9/11/20150:10:4711613893517
21 Day Fix ExtremeBasePlyo Fix Extreme9/14/20150:30:00136159358716
21 Day Fix ExtremeBaseUpper Fix Extreme9/15/20150:34:32123143338587
21 Day Fix ExtremeBaseLower Fix Extreme9/17/20150:35:30138157435735
21 Day Fix ExtremeBaseDirty 30 Extreme9/19/20150:30:16133158346686
21 Day Fix ExtremeBonusThe Fix Challenge8/15/20160:29:04141167371766
Insanity AsylumVolume 1Vertical Plyo7/9/20160:38:55142163503776
Insanity AsylumVolume 1Speed & Agility6/20/20160:45:32148168634835
Insanity AsylumVolume 1Strength6/18/20160:47:04134157546696
Insanity AsylumVolume 1Game DayTBD
Insanity AsylumVolume 1Back to Core7/13/20160:42:20107141303429
Insanity AsylumVolume 1Relief6/23/160:23:318710390230
Insanity AsylumBonusOvertimeTBD
Insanity AsylumVolume 2X TrainerTBD
Insanity AsylumVolume 2Upper EliteTBD
Insanity AsylumVolume 2Power LegsTBD
Insanity AsylumVolume 2Back & 6-PackTBD
Insanity AsylumVolume 2ChampionshipTBD
Insanity AsylumBonusPure ContactTBD
22 Minute Hard CoreDisk 1Cardio 13/22/20160:21:04134151244695
22 Minute Hard CoreDisk 1Cardio 23/24/20160:22:32131154250666
22 Minute Hard CoreDisk 1Carido 33/29/20160:22:06134149256695
22 Minute Hard CoreDeluxeSpec Ops Cardio4/21/20160:22:16130148243655
22 Minute Hard CoreDisk 2Resistance 13/31/20160:21:57130155240656
22 Minute Hard CoreDisk 2Resistance 24/4/20160:22:03128156234637
22 Minute Hard CoreDisk 2Resistance 34/12/20160:21:53121148207568
22 Minute Hard CoreDeluxeSpec Ops Resistance4/23/20160:22:01128152233635
22 Minute Hard CoreDisk 1Core 13/22/20160:09:2910011556354
22 Minute Hard CoreDisk 2Core 23/24/20160:11:399410958299
22 Minute Hard CoreDeluxeSpec Ops Core4/20/20160:15:54114135132498
22 Minute Hard CoreBonusBattle BuddyTBD
Hammer & ChiselChiselIso Strength Chisel1/6/20160:35:12126157362617
Hammer & ChiselChiselChisel Endurance1/9/20160:37:46136165451717
Hammer & ChiselChiselChisel Agility1/13/20160:38:06133160436687
Hammer & ChiselChiselChisel Cardio1/27/20160:39:09135160461707
Hammer & ChiselChiselTotal Body Chisel2/1/20160:35:31133158406686
Hammer & ChiselChiselChisel Balance2/3/20160:40:54124152407597
Hammer & ChiselChisel10 Minute Ab Chisel1/16/20160:09:569712254326
Hammer & ChiselHammerHammer Plyo1/5/20160:28:26135163335707
Hammer & ChiselHammerIso Speed Hammer1/8/20160:23:58119159218546
Hammer & ChiselHammerTotal Body Hammer1/10/20160:47:21135163558707
Hammer & ChiselHammerMax Hammer Strength1/12/20160:39:52130160436656
Hammer & ChiselHammerHammer Power1/15/20160:41:41124161415597
Hammer & ChiselHammerHammer Conditioning1/17/20160:32:25125155329609
Hammer & ChiselHammer10 Minute Ab Hammer1/10/20160:12:009611763315
Hammer & ChiselBonusMaster's Cardio1/19/20160:16:33121146156566
Hammer & ChiselDeluxe15 Minute Glute Chisel1/13/20160:18:06132155204676
Hammer & ChiselDeluxePower Chisel1/16/20160:35:30130155389657
Hammer & ChiselDeluxe15 Minute Leg Hammer1/17/20160:18:02133156206685
Hammer & ChiselDeluxeHammer Buildup1/29/20160:39:12118145351537
1 on 1Volume 1Fountain of Youth4/19/20140:49:1097124279340
CombatDeluxeWarrior 1: Upper Body5/1/20140:25:54125149271628
CombatDeluxeWarrior 2: Lower Body7/5/20140:30:18129164337667
CombatBaseCombat 30TBD
CombatBaseCombat 60 LiveTBD
CombatBaseCombat 457/11/20140:47:27130164537679
CombatBaseCombat 607/12/20140:54:36135157665731
CombatBaseHIIT: Plyo4/18/20140:35:00120160350600
CombatBaseHIIT: Power7/6/20140:29:43133157351709
CombatDeluxeCore Attack7/5/20140:18:21114130157513
CombatDeluxeInner Warrior7/21/20140:18:319111086279
CombatBonusCombat 30 LiveTBD
InsanityMonth 1Cardio Recovery8/18/20140:38:00100119231365
InsanityMonth 2Max Recovery8/21/20140:47:06102129308392
InsanityMonth 1Pure Cardio4/22/20140:38:22142168513802
InsanityMonth 2Max Interval Circuit7/15/20141:00:30145165840833
InsanityMonth 2Max Cardio Conditioning8/1/20140:48:00144166658823
InsanityMonth 1Plyo Cardio Circuit4/15/20140:44:18137164554750
InsanityMonth 2Max Interval Plyo7/3/20140:54:52138161694759
InsanityMonth 1Cardio Power & Resistance7/9/20140:41:09145163571833
InsanityMonth 1Core Cardio & Balance5/3/20140:40:07119147378565
InsanityMonth 1Cardio Abs4/22/20140:17:52131160205688
InsanityBonusFast & FuriousTBD
InsanityDeluxeInsane Abs4/24/20140:13:57137157174748
InsanityDeluxeMax Interval Sports Training11/29/20150:54:27135160641706
InsanityDeluxeUpper Body Weighted WorkoutTBD
P90XBaseChest & Back4/14/20140:55:34127160600648
P90XBaseChest, Shoulders & Triceps6/5/20140:56:33120150543576
P90XBaseShoulders & Arms5/5/20141:00:16119152568565
P90XBaseBack & Biceps6/19/20140:54:56123158556607
P90XBaseLegs & Back4/25/20140:57:29123164582607
P90XBaseKenpo X6/15/20141:00:00135160730730
P90XBasePlyo X6/27/20140:58:24132163681700
P90XBaseCore Synergistics4/21/20140:58:05118153538556
P90XBaseAb Ripper X7/16/20140:16:00102122104390
P90XBaseYoga X4/16/20141:30:2594126467310
P90XBaseX Stretch7/12/20140:44:4086127169227
P90X2BaseX2 Shoulders & Arms4/17/20140:53:46119154507566
P90X2BaseChest & Back & Balance5/8/20140:56:47115155497525
P90X2BasePAP Upper6/30/20140:52:21126162557638
P90X2BaseBase & Back4/27/20140:58:02118162537555
P90X2BasePAP Lower5/23/20141:02:16116155555535
P90X2BasePlyocide7/4/20140:53:56134165647720
P90X2BaseX2 Total Body6/29/20141:01:27125157643628
P90X2BaseX2 Core8/9/20140:46:02110154363473
P90X2BaseX2 Balance & Power4/30/20141:04:22111147519484
P90X2BaseX2 Ab Ripper7/21/20140:16:42101120105377
P90X2BaseX2 Recovery & Mobility7/9/20140:56:2888112233248
P90X2BaseX2 Yoga5/12/20141:07:1995129359320
P90X2DeluxeV-SculptTBD
P90X2DeluxeChest, Shoulders & TrisTBD
P90X3BaseThe Challenge6/12/20140:32:28131159373689
P90X3BaseEccentric Upper7/3/20140:36:18130157410678
P90X3BaseIncinerator8/8/20140:35:37126154378637
P90X3BaseEccentric Lower5/22/20140:34:27116143307535
P90X3BaseAgility X4/29/20140:31:46119156299565
P90X3BaseCVX7/29/20140:34:38134159415719
P90X3BaseMMX6/16/20140:32:13136164397739
P90X3BaseTriometrics7/1/20140:32:30128156375692
P90X3BaseTotal Synergistics4/24/20140:34:20127162371648
P90X3BaseThe Warrior7/30/20140:32:04127150346647
P90X3BaseX3 Yoga5/8/20140:30:5792116149289
P90X3BaseDynamix7/16/20140:30:0096117165330
P90X3BaseAcceleratorTBD
P90X3BaseDeceleratorTBD
P90X3BaseIsometrixTBD
P90X3DeluxeComplex Upper8/6/20140:34:01134155408720
P90X3DeluxeComplex Lower8/19/20140:33:30130157379679
P90X3DeluxeX3 Ab Ripper8/19/20140:17:03111129137482
Rev AbsBasePower Intervals 25/2/20140:33:05124161340617
Rev AbsBaseFull Throttle Intervals5/13/20140:41:12124161424617
Rev AbsBaseTotal Strength5/12/20140:44:19116153395535
Rev AbsBaseStrength & Endurance5/15/20140:38:12123158386606
Rev AbsBaseFat Burning Abs7/22/20140:39:22111149317483
Rev AbsBaseFull Throttle Abs7/23/20140:41:2398131242351
Rev AbsBaseMercy Abs5/12/20140:17:4798121104351
Rev AbsBaseMerciless Abs5/15/20140:15:31108131117452
Focus T25BonusCore Speed5/14/20140:29:28138163373760
Focus T25AlphaSpeed 1.0TBD
Focus T25AlphaLower Focus7/2/20140:30:20136160374740
Focus T25AlphaCardio4/27/20140:29:05136164359741
Focus T25AlphaTotal Body Circuit6/27/20140:30:06144162412821
Focus T25AlphaAb Intervals7/2/20140:29:29135157359731
Focus T25BetaCore Cardio5/7/20140:29:51133160353710
Focus T25BetaSpeed 2.07/18/20140:27:56142164373801
Focus T25BetaRip'T CircuitTBD
Focus T25BetaDynamic Core8/7/20140:28:54119150272565
Focus T25GammaThe Pyramid4/28/20140:30:42123154310606
Focus T25GammaSpeed 3.05/10/20140:28:52148165415863
Focus T25GammaExtreme Circuit8/2/20140:30:04130156340678
Focus T25GammaRip't UpTBD
Core De ForceBaseMMA Speed11/14/20160:25:47142167333775
Core De ForceBaseDynamic Strength11/15/20160:46:50120146435557
Core De ForceBasePower Sculpt11/17/20160:36:04137163437727
Core De ForceBaseMMA Shred11/21/20160:36:59142163478775
Core De ForceBaseMMA Power11/25/20160:46:59145163631806
Core De ForceBaseMMA Plyo11/27/20160:46:52132157529677
Core De ForceBonusMMA Mashup11/23/20160:25:37140163322754
Core De ForceDeluxeAgility Strength11/24/20160:36:18149167511845
Core De ForceDeluxeAgility Power11/26/20160:26:09144165347796
Core De ForceDeluxeMMA Kick Butt11/28/20160:36:38131152407667
Core De ForceBOD OnlyMMA Speed 2.01/10/20170:26:12147167360824
Core De ForceBOD OnlyMMA Shred 2.01/21/20170:36:40152169535875
About

I am an Independent Team Beachbody Coach who found success using Beachbody's fitness programs and nutriton guides. I'm here to see that you have the same success I have had using Beachbody programs.

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2 comments on “What is the Hardest Beachbody Program?
  1. Daiane says:

    This is awesome! Thank you for putting this together

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