When I was preparing for my wedding just over a year ago, like every other bride in the world, looking slim and beautiful in my amazing wedding gown was the ultimate goal. I’ve always been rather big size all my life, especially for an Asian woman, and my husband is very skinny – I was nearly 20kg heavier than him, so there was a lot to be done.
My goal wasn’t to be super skinny, just slimmer so that I don’t overshadow the husband with my big gown. I was also really out of shape and I wanted to be healthier. At that time, my job was completely sedentary, and my favourite pastime was eating. I was quite lucky that my body shape looked smaller than I weighed – I was nearly 80kg (~175lb) at a height of 5’3, but a UK size 12. That said, I was really flabby so I wanted to tone up areas that the gown wouldn’t be covering – namely the arms, and hopefully trim down the tummy a little.
I found the Tone It Up program which is run by 2 really hot and sexy women, Karena and Katrina. I started out following a couple of their Youtube videos, but there was a 8-week bikini challenge starting and I thought I might as well go all out and follow the program! So I signed up for the challenge and bought the Nutrition plan + Premium Workouts set for USD160. You don’t have to buy the plan to follow the bikini challenge, but I was desperate and wanted something that I could easily follow rather than have to plan out for myself.
– It really did worked for me.
– Structured plan; no thinking involved. Even the grocery list is written out.
– All future updates to the Nutrition Plan will be free, as well as all older versions.
– It’s not very difficult to follow, both the Nutrition Plan and the exercises.
– A community of other women with similar goals to encourage each other.
– It is very expensive.
– Honestly the health plan is nothing that special.
– The nutrition plan and its recipes often calls for ingredients sold by Tone It Up, such as the protein powder. If you follow it strictly, you will be paying a lot more.
– The recent updates are much harder and too punishing, and the message seem to have shift from “healthy” to “very skinny and sexy”.
Initially I loved the 8-week challenge, because I was preparing for my wedding (which was 4 months away) and 8 weeks seem like a time frame that I could follow through and yet see visible results. I didn’t follow it strictly because I could barely move after the first week and I skipped the runs because it’s painful for me. But just following the daily exercises, combined with 50% of the nutrition plan (I love good food, so there was no way I was going to stick to it 100%), I was able to drop 10kg in 8 weeks and a few more in the following weeks.
I have now gained half the weight, although I blame it all on my very happy post-marriage state. I think if you maintained a relatively healthy lifestyle, even if you cut back from the 8 week program and moved a little every other day, you would not rebound like me. I really went from running around everyday to prepare for the wedding to sitting down most of the day and planning meals and parties, so there was a huge shift in my lifestyle.
However, lately I’ve been trying to get fit again so I checked on the program once again. I find that instead of a healthy and active lifestyle that Katrina and Karena used to advocate, the newly updated versions seem extremely tough and punishing, and beyond what a healthy person should be doing. I also find the models on their advertisements now to be extremely thin and unhealthily so, verging on gaunt in the afters photos.
To be honest, I think the program is very expensive for what it is. I did enjoy it because it gave me a clear structure and everything was at hand for me – I don’t have to search the internet for healthy meals to prepare and I don’t have to think about what exercises to do that day. The challenges provided a goal to aim towards, and Karena and Katrina looks very fit and hot so that was something that I hoped I would look a fraction afters; I never once thought of winning the challenge – just the fact that there was a very structured 8-week plan with exercises for the day and every single meal planned out took out things that I could have procrastinated over until I had no more excuses but to just get to it.
If you have the money with very little self-discipline and that’s what you’re looking for, then go for it. If you’re tight on cash, I suggest just following one or two videos a day from their youtube channel which is free, followed by 3 healthy meals – and you can google for healthy recipes rather than pay the exhorbitant price for the nutrition plan which is just a compiled list of healthy meals and an advertisement for their own protein powder. For me, because it helped me achieve my goal and I am extremely lazy and full of excuses, so this was worth it – it was definitely cheaper than paying a personal trainer to kick me into taking action.
I would also recommend following the older challenges or exercise plans. I wish that they would revert back to what they used to be – attainable goals and healthy lifestyle images.
Photo credit: Tone It Up website