The person behind
The person behind the Sweat App is Kayla Itsines – an Australian personal trainer who’s well known for her Bikini Body Guide ebooks built for women looking to loose weight. And just as technology developed, Kayla went from e-books to fitness app that claims to join one of the largest female audiences in fitness.
Honestly, I think it’s best if we kick this Sweat review off by looking at the app’s cost and what you’ll can get for it.
The SWEAT app costs $19.99 a month or $119.96 a year. The price might seem a bit steep at first, but after the purchase, you get access to 8 different workout programs and a food plan. Alongside the two, there’s also an online community, progress tracker and Planner or Calendar where you can organize your workouts. All programs incorporate a different style of training so each fitness goal should be covered. And before listing the available workout programs, it’s worth highlighting that Sweat is lead not just by Kayla but also other empowering women, each one an expert in their field.
These workout programs are:
- BBG (Bikini Body Guide) with Kayla Itsines is more for weight loss;
- BBG Stronger also with Kayla Itsines is more for gaining muscle;
- PWR (Power) with Kelsey Wells is designed to make us stronger and building lean muscle;
- PWR at Home also with Kelsey Wells is suitable for getting fitter;
- Last program lead by Kelsey Wells is Post-Pregnancy;
- BAM or Body and Mind is together with Sjana Elise – this is all about getting flexibility;
- FIERCE with Chontel Duncan is a blend of high-intensity & strength workouts;
- Lastly, BUILD with Stephanie Sanzo is mostly designed around power-building (a mix between bodybuilding & power-lifting).
In the food plan section, you have the option to select one of the 4 groups – Standart, Vegetarian, Vegan or Other (Pescetarian, Lacto-Vegetarian, Ovo-Vegetarian). Most recipes are labeled as easy with photos so you’ll see how the food will look like at the end.
The food plan is tailored to your goal and designed to meet your micronutrients via 4 meals throughout the day (breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner) together with an extra snack in the morning. Quite easy and adaptable. It also comes with a shopping list for extra comfort.
The actual workouts are tough and guides you through the week of training. Your typical week would look something like this:
Strength workout –> Cardio –> Active recovery –> Strength –> Rest
All different in style, the programs follow the reps principle (repeated repetitions and/or time-based A/B format). The quicker you finish the number of repetitions, the more intensive and sweaty the training gets. Naturally, the HIIT-principle is widely used by most if not all fitness apps today as it’s the most effective training method so you won’t see anything new here. But for women looking for effectiveness, Sweat won’t let you down.
User Friendliness and Interactivity
Subjectively, I felt like it’s a bit too much of everything, making it not so user-friendly. Maybe this is how they try to back up the expensive monthly subscription by giving us many options to choose from.
At the time of writing this Sweat review, the app had a few small bugs like not being able to change the first day of the week as all programs start on Sunday at midnight or I could not go back during my workout in the case of a sudden pause. Obviously, this is something that most fitness apps face, but for the price we’re paying, a bit more flexibility would be nice.
During workouts, you hear sirens that indicate that a circuit or workout is complete and a trainer’s audio that repeats the ongoing exercise.
Although I do think that sirens are superb, the trainer’s audio is quite limited and there’s not much interactivity going on. You’re basically left alone going through your circuit workouts so you really need a strong motivation to continue. At least you can add music to your workout and the time tracking is also handy.
Every time you finish your reps session, you must tap the screen. For me it interfered with the intensity level and stopped me from going all-in on my workouts because I needed to keep reaching for my phone every time I finished the section. Therefore, here I would suggest apps like Peloton or Aaptiv that offers live classes and couched workouts.
It’s quite feasible to follow the training plan with a busy work schedule. Resistance workouts vary from 28 minutes to 1-hour in length. If time is important to you, then you can also find quick workout sessions 15-20 minutes long.
You can also combine workouts to fit in one day. Then the weekly Planner is super useful in such cases.
You can also access the online community. Highly-active questions from peers regarding nutrition & tips to share progress & support. In 2018 Forbes estimated Kayla Itsines’ online community to be millions of women around the globe. And from the various topics discussed and frequency of responses it sure does feel huge. This is what makes the Sweat so special. For people who’s on a tight budget, but the community is important then check out Fitness Blender.
From experience, when starting out, most women have the goal of losing weight. Muscle building, weight lifting, and strength come in later when you see progress, have the motivation & drive to proceed. Even their easiest workout program BBG (labeled under ‘’Suitable for women of any fitness level‘’) is intense and highly technical.
What I lacked was an introductory phase; otherwise, people who have just started out might over-train and give-up. There are better workout programs out there for people who are beginners, like Workout for Women.
That being said, I can totally see the Sweat app being used by intermediates and advanced individuals who have managed to make fitness as part of their daily routine and wants to keep-fit & progress.
You should definitely see results if you keep on following their food and workout program.
What’s more, is that the Sweat app team keep increasing their workout programs. Back in January 2018, the Sweat app offered only 4 workout programs – now the amount has doubled. It won’t get boring because you can diversify the training plan.
Level of Injury Risk
The programs are not customized to accommodate injuries. Also, in my opinion, the injury risk is higher for beginners if they underestimate the importance of warm-up and correct form when doing the reps.
In the Sweat app, all warm-ups are optional so my guess would be that it’s a matter of time when 9-out-of-10 would skip them if it’s not part of the workout itself. Time is limited and if there’s a way to save it, people usually go with that.
The Sweat app also has an extensive Q&A section where most of the possible questions are covered there. If you have any specific questions, you can also email them directly, but it will take 2-3 business days to get the response. They also help you to decide which program to take up in case you’re new and struggling with making the right decision.
Sweat Review: Pros
- The app offers unique workout programs like BBG Beginner, post-pregnancy, power-lifting and more;
- You get a one-month free trial which is way more than other apps;
- The Sweat app allows you to be part of the community, track your progress, and find a diet plan tailored to your goal;
- You have plenty of options to mix and diversify your workouts to avoid repetitiveness;
- The Sweat app allows you to progress, challenge yourself, and target specific body parts;
- Simple workouts, and trackable progress;
- Decreases time on planning your workouts, easy to stay on track with the Planner;
- The Sweat app includes educational chapters on hydration, lifestyle change, cooking tips and more.
Sweat Review: Cons
- Even though some programs are labelled as “home workouts” you’ll still need equipment of some sort (AKA keep your gym membership). Top this up with food costs and you get quite an expensive workout plan. There are other cheaper workout apps out there offering the same content while being more user-friendly at the same time (e.g. Jillian Michaels or Centr);
- I’m lacking information on nutrition and its timings. It’s just simply not enough to allow a food app to dictate what to eat or not. Most people are not dedicated enough to blindly pursue this. A reason behind why we eat what the food plan says we need to eat might leave a longer and more sustainable impact on people like it’s in Asana Rebel app;
- The Sweat app interface makes you stop your workout and constantly mark that you’re done with the set – this negatively interferes with the intensity and workout tempo;
- Warm-up is optional, not really part of the workout;
- Lacking information on the form and technique of each exercise;
- The workout program and meal plan are not personalized to your specific body type.
Final thoughts on my Sweat review
The Sweat app has some great workouts that are effective but it’s more suitable for intermediate and advanced fitness enthusiasts, not beginners. Clearly, there is no introductory phase that would slowly guide the beginners not to over-train.
Back in the day when I started, if Sweat App would be my first encounter with fitness, I would have given up. What beginners need is a graduate load increase. They must engage the mind and think of the muscles when targeting areas (hence, more suitable for intermediate to advanced level).
The importance of form
I would not be surprised if 9–out-of-10 women who actually use this app are incorrectly carrying out the exercises. Someone might argue that the Sweat app offers written instructions, however, you must spend more time on preparation which decreases the drive. The question is – are we really reading up on every circuit, though? Come on, let’s be honest, no-one has so much time on their hands.
Besides, there’s always the fact that it’s one thing to read about the form and another one to actually feel it while doing it. The resistance workout sessions are strongly form-based so the right form and technique are crucial for decreased injury risks and faster results. That is why I think it’s more suitable for intermediates and advanced levels as they know the form and have the motivation in place.
People prefer to save time and not do something that is optional. Having warm-up available as a choice just gives us one more reason to underestimate and misinterpret the importance of it, therefore ultimately skip it. Warm-ups should never be avoided, especially if you’ve been sitting the whole day.
But after trying out the Sweat App for almost a month and giving a try to every program made my muscles work (no regrets though). It kind of feels that Sweat app is designed for 16 to 25 girls because once completed the workout, you can share selfies, confetti falls from the top, and everything is pink 🙂
- Don’t forget to breathe when doing exercises. You must never hold your breath so inhale when it’s easy and exhale when it’s difficult;
- Don’t do all resistance sessions in a row – in your weekly plan mix them up with cardio;
- Read up on exercises before starting your workout, don’t ignore the form – you’ll see the results much faster.
Update: The New BBG Beginner by Kayla Itsines
Sweat app has recently launched its new BBG Beginner program for women to gradually increase strength and get back their overall fitness level.
The program combines low-intensity workouts 3 times a week following the same circuit-structure as the original BBG program. This is great news for beginners as personally, I thought the original BBG was too intensive. For the new BBG Beginner, you’ll need light dumbells and a resistance band (preferably a set of 3, each different in resistance).
I hope you found this Sweat review useful. It was longer than the others but I had a lot to cover with this one.
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