I get asked by a lot of people who follow my Instagram @themermaidbre how I first found Tone It Up. The story is pretty similar to many women in that I originally found them because I think I searched for “Ab Workouts” on Pinterest and came across their blog. It is pretty laughable to think about what the site looked like compared to where it is now but I was so drawn to Karena and Katrina’s teals and corals, west coast vibe, and fun workouts.
Fast forward to post-study abroad in Italy and I hit the first time in my life where I actually felt sick and uncomfortable in my own body. I had gained a considerable amount of weight (as many women do) after four months of pasta and binge drinking wine. I needed a change.
I rediscovered Tone It Up and with little to no money spent, I could set up my own workout routine. I used water bottles and textbooks to weights and I found some decent tennis shoes for running and I began following Tone It Up’s Free schedule from their website.
Slowly but surely, I gained enough confidence to transition to working out in larger groups and owning my routines in the gym. But I think there is something really powerful to be said for the internet giving access to fitness knowledge that once felt unwelcoming or intimidating. The following bloggers are several bad*** women bosses who I have enjoyed following and want to share my thoughts about. They may not be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s perfectly fine! The internet is pretty limitless in possibilities and free content so if none of these spark your fancy, scour YouTube for a few hours and I’m sure you’ll find something that does.
Tone It Up
The first fitness bloggers I ever followed, and some women I supremely admire (and have the honor to say I have met!!), Karena and Katrina have some really amazing things going for them. As I mentioned, I got hooked on their free workout videos which are short and sweet but fun and very accessible. With a pair of dumbbells and a yoga mat, you can accomplish 90% of their workouts. I now own a yoga ball, two kettlebells and their workout bands and feel like I have a pretty set home gym.
Pro Tip: If you can, take some of their videos to the gym and suddenly you’ll have the ability to really ramp up results with many weight options for different parts of your body.
Pros: Hands down, best nutrition plan out there for guidelines and tasty recipes. Worth it.
Cons: I don’t love their new workout schedule format and without having access to heavier weights, some of the moves become pretty easy over time.
I found Cassey Ho of Blogilates not long after discovering TIU. I loved the mat style ab workouts from the start and Cassey’s story of becoming a minority fitness superstar (much to the initial chagrin of her parents) is really inspiring. She also has insane amounts of free content and recently came out with PIIT28 (a 28 day pilates/cardio plan) and a meal plan, though I haven’t tried either of those.
Pro Tip: Want something short, sweet and targeting a specific body part? Blogilates is a go-to!
Pros: Very few of Cassey’s videos require anything other than a mat and internet. Really accessible. And they burn!
Cons: Her target audience seems to be more in the teens-early 20s bracket. Also if you follow her workout calendar (free to download with an email subscription and syncs nicely with her app) you’re looking at close to an hour every day of workouts in front of a screen.
Sweat with Kayla/Bikini Body Guide (BBG)
Kayla Itsines is an social media star. With over 5 million followers, she is a force to be reckoned with and undeniably has changed lives. I’m currently making my way through 12 weeks of her Sweat with Kayla App and while I admittedly have mixed in some other workouts, I definitely have gotten a sense of what she has to offer and why she has such a die-hard fandom.
Pro Tip: Start with the free trial of her app. If you like it, figure out if you need the timer function or if you just want the workouts and you decide whether to continue her subscription for the app ($20/month) or pay 1 time for her BBG e-book.
Pros: Fast, insane sweat-inducing workouts. 28 minutes of #deathbykayla and really that’s all you need which is incredibly for busy folks. Also could be modified for little to no equipment.
Cons: Skip the meal plan for a variety of reasons including outdated nutrition info. Also a case can be made that all of her workouts are extremely cardio based and lack a balance of strength training.
While not technically a blog, Cody App is a Seattle-based startup that creates really high quality fitness content that is available online and immediately with a one-time fee. They do an amazing job of hiring some “big names” in the fitness and especially yoga world and provide some really great at-home options to mix things up.
Pro Tip: Check to see if your favorite Instagram fitness star happens to have a video series with them. Also, with a purchase of any program (wait for a sale!) you get a pretty awesome trial bundle that includes a sample video from a lot of programs.
Pros: 1 time fee for lifetime ownership over professional quality fitness videos that you can access anywhere. Could replace your yoga studio membership if it serves your needs!
Cons: The programs are really just repetitions of about 4-6 videos, several times through which would be really repetitive, for me at least, if that was all I was doing. Definitely use as a supplement.
I can’t do a full review of LG’s program quite yet because it’s actually the next thing I will be starting once I’m done with Sweat with Kayla! I’m really excited to take full advantage of my gym and shift to her much more traditional weight training style of workouts. While I have enjoyed running in the past, I would like to find a balance of way more weight training plus fun cardio like HIIT and definitely more dance so I’m curious to see if I can achieve that and gain lots of strength with her program.
That’s all for now! Let me know if you have any questions or if there are any other products/programs you would like me to review. Thanks for reading!