So I was asked to write a comparison post on two popular women’s fitness programs. For girls who have been following Tone It Up for a while, many have looked to expand their repertoire of available workouts and have used these two programs to supplement.
I actually started writing this post a couple of months ago and in the meantime have had quite a bit of revelation as well as gained some science-based nutrition knowledge to inform this conversation.
Prefacing this whole topic, I want to remind all of my readers that more important than exactly what program you are following especially when getting started with fitness, is just that you are consistently getting out and doing it, no matter what that activity is. Unfortunately we now live in an era where you are being bombarded on every device with before and after photos promising before and after results from this program and the next. The truth is if you can honestly stick to something, you are going to see changes so rather than initially focusing on what the program offers, focus on if you’ll actually keep it up. Do you enjoy it?! Because working out actually can be really fun and empowering!
All of that said, these two trainers have emphasized two main different types of exercise and actually provide a great point of demonstration for anyone who wants to get a little bit more geeky in the science. Maybe you actually have been really consistent working out in 2018 (congrats!) and now you want to tweak your routine for more specific goals. I hope this topic might help you decide what makes sense for your next move!
So now to dive in!
You can’t be a fit girl on Instagram and not know Kayla Itsines and her Bikini Body Guide program aka BBG. Kayla is possibly the most popular trainer on Instagram and has held that title for a while. Her program has promised jaw-dropping transformations in just 28 minute workouts. Her app was honestly revolutionary and one of the most flawless fitness apps I ever used at launch. SWEAT by Kayla includes her classic BBG program as well as an expanded range of workout programs from herself and her partner trainers but it comes in at $20/month.
So what is BBG and is it really as good as it’s made out to be?
The original program is based all around High Intensity Interval Training aka HIIT. This is a great article for going more in depth on HIIT training, but in short HIIT requires short bursts of extreme energy use, tapping into different available energy stores on the body. It is effing hard. BBG might be honestly some of the most challenging workouts I have ever done and they are simple – basically 8 exercises per session, each repeated twice.
I would recommend a gym for BBG programs but they aren’t necessarily required. A few sets of dumbbells and something to use as a safe step will do the trick.
As far as effectiveness – yes these plans are very taxing on the body and you will shed body fat. However, when I personally tried to follow the BBG program to a T for 12 months (3 “resistance” workouts a week and 2 LISS [low intensity steady state cardio]) I found myself getting bored. The workouts are fairly repetitive and just cardio, cardio, cardio heavy. That also takes a heavy toll on the body and I would recommend making sure your joints are nice and strong for it too because there is a ton of plyometric exercises. The plan can be purchased as a PDF or Kayla’s app.
[Pretty sure I had just started weight lifting here with LG in November 2016 – note the flat shoes (Converse!)]
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have Lauren Gleisberg and her Weight Training programs. Although LG has a HIIT plan as well (her popular 30×30 one), I think she really came onto the scene because of her easy to follow and thoughtful weight training programs. Her story is one that many women can relate to — wanting to sculpt a lean but muscular physique and feeling intimidated by the weight room.
Although her Weight Training Plans all have Home versions, I would highly recommend a gym to be able to get the full experience of using her plans. Weight training as she explains is all about muscle hypertrophy – you constantly need to be increasing the weight you are using to continue tearing and rebuilding muscle, which is how it grows!
I love these plans, though I am going to be honest that I haven’t actually ran through them as written. Again, I get bored so easily and my personal goals are not just focused on weight training but I love to incorporate *ideally* one heavier upper body workout and lower body workout and I usually turn to one of the LG plans. The 3.0 plan is all based around 30 minute workouts and I absolutely love the format. Lauren outdid herself on that one in my opinion!
The great news here is that her plans also run at about $14 per program which is incredibly affordable. Absolutely worth checking out!
I do want to quickly note that both trainers have meal plans (of which I have both) but again I haven’t found myself personally able to stick with them.
So which plan is better?
Honestly, both are great for different reasons. At the core we have the difference of HIIT training with heavy cardio, and classic weight training. Both of these types of workouts are high-impact, results-driven and have overall health benefits but the ratios at which you use them is going to depend on your overall goals. They also absolutely both take a toll on your body if you are working out to your full capacity and therefore require adequate rest and recovery to decrease stress hormones after exercise.
[HIIT, running, yoga, dance, weights – all the things in 2018!]
They come at different price points, the trainers have very different styles, so at the end of the day if one resonates with you more than the other, just being consistent with working out in the first place is going to do a lot of good. One you have reached a general level of fitness, then you may want to start playing with different amounts of both types of exercise to see what serves you best.
You can follow Kayla and Lauren on Instagram without following their programs. You may find that one of their messages also resonates with you more than the other. I have been inspired by them time and time again and also have had moments that I find unrelatable. That’s instagram fame I guess!
Would love to hear your thoughts and if one style of workout is really calling your name right now. If you’ve tried both, do you agree with the assessment?