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Studio Tone It Up Review

I’ve shared a few thoughts here and there regarding the Tone It Up App since it was released and after spending almost a year using it, I figured it was finally time to share some overall thoughts and impressions. In addition, I’ve been working in software as a service for more time as well and have a personal interest in the intersection of technology and health and fitness. I hope to play around with more apps and review them in the future so if you have any suggestions of ones I should try (or want me to be the guinea pig!) I’m happy to. This is just the one I am probably most personally familiar with and worth having a discussion around.

What is Tone It Up?

I’ve posted about the program many times on this blog and I think that’s a helpful starting point in reviewing the app. In addition to the TIU Nutrition Program, TIU has been producing free fitness content since about 2009. This was mostly over YouTube and their website/blog. Over the years, the workouts have obviously changed but the general thread is fun, female energy and typically lower weights with higher repetitions.

Major Pros of TIU workouts are that in general they are pretty approachable for all fitness levels and can definitely be done at home. They also are shorter than many programs and pair nicely with your favorite exercise — whether than be yoga, running, rock climbing, barre etc. for some added toning and muscle definition.

So what is Studio Tone It Up?

One of the best aspects of the TIU brand is the dedication to connecting like-minded women from all over the globe. Studio Tone It Up is a virtual location for TIU girls to meet and workout together — aka the TIU App.

The workouts continue to follow the vein of those that TIU has been offering for years but the biggest difference is that Karena and Katrina (the co-creators of the brand) brought in a lot of new faces to lead many of the workouts. This completely makes sense from a business-perspective because K&K can’t be relied upon to be the sole faces of the company forever and their bodies are obviously going to grow and change over time.

Really exciting is some fresh variety with more athlete-style tabata and kick-boxing workouts. The new trainers are lovely and fun to watch but as a longtime TIU girl, it’s weird not having K&K in every workout video. Still an adjustment.

The amount of new content coming out is also insane compared to the usual one new workout per week and a once-yearly DVD that TIU use to do. I don’t use the App daily but when I do use it, I notice predominantly new workouts that I have never done before and only a few oldie but goodie workouts thrown in.

Some of the new workouts are better than others. For example, I am not a fan of the cardio dance workouts (and I know I’m not the only user to feel that way) and in general I love cardio dance. The energy just isn’t right coming through the app and the music is just generic background noise, not songs I can recognize and get excited about.

Also, there is something to be said about many of the workouts still being the same type that TIU used to release for free and now there is a subscription fee associated with them. So much of their free content is still accessible that in many ways it can seem silly to being paying for something very similar that has an additional cost.

What makes the app special?

There are a few features to the TIU app that make it different than anything I have ever seen before. Namely, I love the idea that there are scheduled daily videos and you can sign up for them like you’re signing up for real, live classes. To add to that feeling is the ability to actually chat before, during and after class with the other users who are in your class. This might be my single favorite feature because as someone who did TIU videos alone for years and felt like the only person who knew who K&K was, that global connection is really, really incredible.

On average, the daily suggested Studio workout is about 30 minutes. Sometimes this is all one video or several shorter ones spliced together to make a longer workout. I prefer the single video because I personally don’t always think the mix-matched videos work well together, but I’m very picky years into my own fitness journey.

How do I use the app?

Besides occasionally accessing the Daily Moves which are free and don’t require the subscription, I probably use the Studio on average twice a week. Typically I schedule all of my workouts out for the week and will take a look at the Studio schedule on the days I have decided are for TIU workouts. If the class of the day looks good, I sign up for the best time for me, otherwise I have a pretty good library of my favorite TIU workouts and will check to see if they are available On Demand through the app or if I need to find them on YouTube.

I have found myself using the TIU app way more when I’m traveling. It’s so easy to squeeze in a 20-30 minute through the app, whether scheduled in the Studio or using their On Demand feature which gives you access to so many workouts at your fingertips. One awesome feature that was pointed out to me by a friend, is that you can search “bodyweight” in the On Demand section and find a ton of workouts that don’t require a single piece of equipment so you can literally do them anywhere. However, most TIU workouts can be done just with a set of dumbbells – very easy for someone starting off by working out at home. 

For the time being, Tone It Up workouts still fit very well into my goals so I continue to find use for the App. They have helped me build strength over the years but still maintain a long and lean figure which has always been my goal. The workouts target muscles in a way that are an ideal complement to yoga and running which have been my two other primary forms of exercise.

Many women I know who have followed TIU for years have eventually “moved on” in favor of more traditional weight training aka heavier weight and less reps. I do these types of workouts as well to really build muscle, but I typically only do them at my office gym and maximum 2 times a week for my own personal goals. Again, TIU is a great starting point or “fill in the gap” for consistency when it comes to any fitness routine. The workouts genuinely bring me joy and it’s amazing to have them to always go back to.

The TIU Nutrition Plan is a totally different story and topic for another post 🙂 I still think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for my body and truly live those guidelines daily.

The Tone It Up has a free seven day trial so I would definitely recommend checking it out if you are curious! I think having an idea of what the workouts are like going in is a great way to start and again you can find tons of available workouts on ToneItUp.com or their YouTube channel. If you like what you see and want to take advantage of some of the other features of the app itself, it might be worth trying and seeing if the subscription works for you!

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