The best review of home workout plans ever. Go read this now : loseit

The best review of home workout plans ever. Go read this now : loseit
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Okay! So! I’ve been meaning to do this since quarantine, but I’m lazy and it took me two months to write it. Like the title says, I’ve been working out consistently from home since 2016, averaging 5-6 days a week. As it’s my main form of exercise (with the exception of walking), I’ve completed the monthly calendars of MANY fitness Youtubers (in isolation, without other programs). So I’ve become familiar with their program strengths, weaknesses, and weird idiosyncrasies. Nowadays I create my own workouts by mashing videos together, but I always meant to review these programs!

I kept notes on my progress through each program, but I never posted them because I couldn’t decide on a steady, objective measure of comparison. I was dieting during some but not others, so weight loss can’t easily be compared. And, since this is over the course of 4 years, I had different goals at different stages of my life; my Youtube Workout of choice often reflected that. Overall though, I can say that consistently working out is key, no matter what program you do!

My stats back in 2016:

  • Age: 26

  • Height: 5’9”

  • Weight: 154 lbs

  • BMI: 22.7

  • Measurements: 35 – 30 – 42 (thigh 23”, upper arm 11”)

  • Notes: Prior to home workouts, I occasionally used cardio equipment at the gym and hit up a yoga class, but otherwise did no exercise and hadn’t since high school. I was a size 29-30 in jeans.

  • Baseline photo of pre-exercise me

My stats today (June 2020):

  • Age: 30

  • Height: 5’9”

  • Weight: 136 lbs

  • BMI: 20.1

  • Measurements: 33 – 27 – 38 (thigh 21”, upper arm 10”)

  • Notes: In quarantine I work out 4-5 days a week, anywhere from 20-60 minutes a day.

  • Here’s a photo of me today, relaxed, and me ab flexing. I consider the former a good ‘baseline’ photo of me, as I’m not following a program at the moment and I haven’t even tried to eat healthy since March. I’m a size 27 in jeans.

And moving onto the reviews! I want to add that I always did the workout in full, stuck to the program 90% of the time, and gave it my best shot.

1. Blogilates free monthly calendar: 10 months total

  • The program: Bodyweight “pilates” workouts, 6 days a week, ~30 min/day. You complete 4-5 short videos/day.

  • Equipment: none

  • Workout focus: Bodyweight burnout reps that focus mostly on abs and butt

  • Workout weakness: arms and butt (weirdly)

  • Background: Cassey was my stepping stone into online workouts. I started with her Beginners Calendar, which I did twice through, and then worked my way through her monthly calendars for about 10 months consistently. I would diet on and off throughout this program.

  • Fitness Gains: out of all the workout Youtubers, I had my best ab definition with Cassey’s videos. I’d argue that 80% of the moves she does are ab-focused, even when they’re meant to be working another body part. However, I was at my leanest during her workouts, as I had lost a lot of fat while dieting but hadn’t gained any bulk (I was around ~125 lbs at this time). I also completed her 100 reps/day Ab challenge, and saw definition from that, as well.

  • Pros:

    • She talks you through the moves, which is useful for beginners.

    • She has a LOT of options for different situations: no jumping, no space, no problem. Many of her videos are low-impact.

    • For most of her workouts, the reps and time are hidden from you. She usually tells you the moves in advance, though.

  • Cons:

    • no warm up or cool down

    • I liked her chatter when I first started, but found it irritating as time went on. It’s not meant for my age category, I think.

    • It’s annoying that you have to google the multiple videos before each workout.

    • The intros and conclusions in her videos made it hard to gauge how long the workouts actually are. Despite being a 30 minute workout, it might take 45 minutes just because you have to watch long intros.

    • she jumps STRAIGHT into moves that require strong ab definition, even in her beginner calendar. There were exercises that always hurt my back and I’d always have to modify, even after 10 months of working with her (…boat pose, anyone?).

    • Most of her arm workouts are weightless (arm circles), which don’t do much. Your shoulder strength will come largely from the ab workouts (holding planks).

    • She also focuses a lot on lower body, but I didn’t see any definition in my butt/legs in those 10 months.

    • Don’t follow her food videos. Terrible advice.

  • Would I recommend this program: Maybe. I haven’t used her videos in a long time; I have different goals now and have moved on from her style of workout. But I think some of her videos can be useful to those who need a small, bite-sized push into exercise (even if you do 10 minutes a day). I will say that she teaches you consistency and endurance, but I feel like her style of workout MUST be paired with low-carb, low-calorie eating in order to see physical results. Proceed with caution.

2. BLOGILATES PIIT 28: 28 days total

  • The program: a paid program. HIIT-style workouts, 28 minutes long, 7 minute circuits, 4x through.

  • Equipment: none

  • Workout focus: HIIT, weight loss

  • Workout weakness: no strength building, expensive

  • Background: I bought the basic program when it first came out, largely to support Casey.

  • Fitness Gains: I saw no change in terms of strength or definition. I lost no weight.

  • Pros: timer at the top, easy to follow because it’s repetitive.

  • Cons:

    • you have to repeat the video 4x – she doesn’t do it with you

    • Lots of jumping. I wrote in my notes “too many plank jack moves”, if that helps.

    • Cassey came out with this program in response to Kayla Itsines videos, and it’s basically the same thing

    • Honestly, I have very few notes on this program. I just wasn’t into it.

    • Don’t follow the food advice.

  • Would I recommend this program: …No.

3. Kayla Itsines BBG 12-week workout: I did this twice through for 24 weeks.

  • The program: 5 days/week, one stretch day, one rest day. ~30 minutes a day. Alternates between plyometrics and LISS, mostly bodyweight.

  • Equipment: yes. Requires bench or step, medicine ball, and jump rope.

  • Workout focus: HIIT-style weight loss

  • Workout weakness: no strength gains, expensive, it is honestly so boring.

  • Background: full disclaimer, I did not buy this workout. I used a free pdf I found online back in 2017.

  • Fitness gains: I lost ~8 pounds when I did this program alongside dieting, but I was doing a lot of unhealthy crash dieting. Like Blogilates, there’s definitely a focus on weight loss and leanness, even if she tells you it’s about resistance and strength. I wanted to be lean and model-esque during this time, so I will say that it helps if that’s your goal. But the dieting is key.

  • Pros:

    • rep-based exercises are easy to follow (“20 burpees, 15 lunges, 24 squats, 30 jumping jacks, repeat 3x”)

    • You get photo instructions for each move

    • If you buy it, you also get video instructions and dieting advice, apparently. I am a cheating cheater who didn’t do this.

  • Cons:

    • lots of jumping. You need a bench to do a lot of the moves, which isn’t accessible for everyone

    • I felt incredibly neutral about the program; it’s so repetitive that it was like a weird ritualistic thing I had to do every day, even if the moves themselves weren’t that hard. It wasn’t fun, I didn’t see strength improvements… but I did lose weight.

    • She definitely has a focus on Looks, if you view her before and afters

  • Would I recommend this program: Nah. It’s expensive, the gains were small, and there’s much better out there. That being said, if you’re someone who likes repetition and dislikes following a video, this may be the program for you.

4. FitnessBlender Workouts: used multiple programs consistently for over a year.

  • The program: 3-6 days/week depending on program, usually with 1 yoga day, 1 rest. The programs I paid for: Stretching, yoga, and flexibility program (25 min/day, 4 weeks), FB Bodyweight Fat Loss Program (40 min/day, 4 weeks), FB Booty (35 min/day, 4 weeks). Otherwise I just mismatched videos everyday as fit.

  • Equipment: Depends; they have both bodyweight and strength programs (requiring dumb bells).

  • Background: I love FitnessBlender and used them consistently for over a year, so I think I’ve done all of their free workouts. Literally. All of them.

  • Workout focus: Kelly does mainly HIIT and booty workouts. Daniel focuses on arms, abs, and Tabata.

  • Workout weakness: honestly, they’ve got a pretty good range of videos, so no real gaps in what they cover.

  • Fitness Gains: I had a LOT of gains on this program. I started with their no equipment, low-impact programs, and then slowly worked my way into the HIIT workouts. Finally, I took the plunge, bought some dumbbells, and got into their strength-training videos. I saw tons of definition in my arms and butt during this time. I watched my calories but didn’t diet; my weight remained steady.

  • Pros:

    • l enjoyed their kickboxing vids the most for cardio, and still use them often.

    • Programs are cheap and their calendar lays out the workouts for you, so you just have to click through. You can also use their site to create your own workout calendar for free by adding their videos.

    • They have a timer and a progress bar, which I really loved, and they list the exercises for each workout in the description

    • Their videos are manageable (workouts are around ~30 minutes each), and include a warm up and cool down.

    • I like Kelli and Daniel as people (sounds weird, but it’s true). They talk you through the moves but don’t talk endlessly about unrelated things. They’re also… human. They modify their own moves when needed, take breaks, huff and puff and sweat like the rest of us. They made working out seem accessible, easy to follow, and not intimidating.

    • They strike a good balance of focusing on strength, but they also acknowledge that aesthetics play a part in working out.

  • Cons:

    • Sometimes they’re late instructing you how to modify a move, or proper form. Not a big deal, but y’know.

    • They include warm up and cool downs in their videos, which means the actual Workout may be quite short. A 45-min video may only have 25 minutes of actual exercise if you remove all the breaks.

    • Kelli has a weird Thing where she’ll try to justify random workouts to you. They’re small, throwaway comments every few videos, but you notice the pattern over time. In a bodyweight workout, for ex, she might throw in a comment about how it’s a great ‘starting’ video… but that bodyweight might be hard for me as is, and I didn’t appreciate it. Once I finished their set programs and started making my own, I almost always chose Daniel’s workouts because I prefer his kind of motivation. ETA: I feel like I should add that I still like Kelli’s workouts, and do use them, so don’t be turned off by this! It’s just a preference thing.

  • Would I recommend this program: Yes yes yes! I think FitnessBlender is probably the BEST workouts for anyone, out of all of these programs, especially for beginners. They are easily modified, simple and instructive without being overly challenging, and I got the most bang for my buck in terms of fitness goals. They’ve slowed on making videos due to a health condition of Kelli’s, and so they weren’t able to ride the Quarantine Workout Trend. It’s a bummer they’ve fallen under the radar, because they’re great.

5. Heather Robertson: free 12 week program

  • The program: 12 weeks, 30-40 minutes per video, 1 video a day, includes a short warm up + cool down.

  • Equipment: yes. Light dumbbells, exercise ball (though not necessary imo)

  • Background: you can sign up on her site for a monthly calendar, or you can sign up for this 12-week program (which is also free). It comes with a long pdf that includes what to eat and how you track your macros, which I did not follow.

  • Workout Focus: it’s largely HIIT with weights – focus is low weight, high rep. It’s also a progressive program, where the first 4 weeks are largely no equipment, then you move into strength, and the last 4 weeks are a combination of both.

  • Workout weakness: lower body. Most of her focus is on HIIT, which means upper and abs get a focus.

  • Fitness gains: I saw endurance gains because of HIIT. I went ‘leaner’ and lost some muscle mass in my legs and butt; I might throw in a pic if I can find one. I also lost weight despite not dieting during this time (~5 lbs in 12 weeks).

  • Pros:

    • Workouts are circuit based, usually 45 sec on/15 sec off, 2-3x. So there’s variation but also a bit of repetition.

    • Music is actually good, which is a rarity in workout vids.

    • Her HIIT workouts are killer; I’m always sweating like crazy every time.

    • Her workouts often include light dumbbells; it’s a step up from the usual no equipment HIIT workouts, and gives a good burn.

    • She’s focused on strength, not aesthetics.

  • Cons:

    • Not easily modified; if you don’t do high intensity, you’re not going to see results.

    • Not apartment friendly.

    • There’s a lot of “up-down-up-down” (plank to jumping jacks, to burpees, to running, to crunches, etc)

    • She doesn’t speak throughout the videos, so no guidance. There’s a beep countdown to let you know when to transition.

    • Sometimes I don’t hear the beep and miss the break, which kills my soul.

    • Breaks are SO SHORT WTF. They’re usually 20 seconds between sets.

    • if you’re unfamiliar with strength-training, it can be difficult to know the correct form since there’s no guidance. Hence, I don’t recommend for beginners.

  • Would I recommend this program: Yes, for more intermediate level workouts. I think Heather is great if you want that ‘lean and fit, but not noticeably muscled’ look and a focus on cardio. Again, results are best paired with diet control, but I saw my endurance increase substantially using her HIIT workouts.

6. Sydney Cummings: 30 day program: I did 50 days before quarantine struck.

  • The program: I know she has a calendar, but since she posts daily workouts I just followed those for ~50 days. Her program is strength training across the board, with no rest days: it’s 5 days of strength, 1 cardio, 1 stretch. Workouts range from 30-60 minutes on average, with short warm up and cool down (like under 3 min).

  • Equipment: yes, dumbbells and bands. Occasionally she uses a bench, but not necessary.

  • Workout focus: Strength training, usually higher weight, slow reps (though timed).

  • Workout weakness: Her arm workouts are hard. Also, she could probably improve her cardio-only workouts; their format is not as strong as her strength ones.

  • Fitness gains: yes! I saw improvement in both booty and shoulders. I also increased in weight but my measurements stayed the same during this time.

  • Pros:

    • She gives instructions on proper form throughout the workouts, making her a great intro to strength training.

    • Mostly apartment friendly

    • She always give modification moves

    • She’s one of the few Youtubers doing strength workouts that you can follow along, in full.

    • I like the structure of her workouts: it’s strength with a bit of cardio mixed in, and ends with a 2-4 min burnout round.

    • She is focused on strength, not aesthetics.

    • ETA: I forgot to add that she’s also fun to workout with! Like FitnessBlender, she’s very real and down to earth, and I appreciate the genuineness she brings to the videos.

  • Cons:

    • Though there’s a timer, it only counts down from the workout as a whole, not the exercise at that time. Sydney decides when to start each move (‘we’ll start at 25:10!’), so it’s hard to follow each interval time

    • Doesn’t tell you the moves in advance of the workout

    • HIIT is always going to be high knees and burpees. I hate it.

    • While you can always modify, her workouts are really meant for heavier lifting, so this is more of an Intermediate program. You’ll need a range of weights.

    • The motivation talks can get kind of annoying, although overall aren’t bad.

  • Would I recommend this program: yes! I only discovered Sydney around the holidays, so I’m fairly new to her channel. I like her workouts and have seen gains in doing them. I continue to use them 2x a week, on average.

7. Chloe Ting 2 week shred: 2 weeks

  • The program: 2 weeks total, 2-4 videos that range from 25-45 minutes, 2 rest days

  • Equipment: no

  • Workout focus: abs only

  • Workout weakness: …abs only

  • Fitness gains: yeah I had more defined abs.

  • Pros:

    • There’s not much to say about this program. If you have low body weight, you’ll get some good ab definition.

    • The workouts are timed, and I liked the progress bar to show how far along you are in the workout.

    • She provides modified moves in a Split Screen mode, which is nice.

  • Cons:

    • I’m not a big fan of her video titles; “Do this to get a HOT SEXY booty” type stuff.

    • As mentioned, I don’t like workouts that require multiple videos.

  • Would I recommend this program: I’m neutral about this. I found her workouts on par with Blogilates 100 ab challenge, so it’s your preference. I had more ab definition from Cassey’s workout than I did with Chloe’s. That being said, I’ve looked through some of her other challenges, and they seem on par with Kayla Itsines program. So if you were considering Kayla’s, maybe try Chloe’s, instead, since they’re free. I also like her booty band workouts for glute activation.

8. YogawithAdriene: 30 days of Yoga

  • The program: it’s a free program that leads you through yoga workouts that last anywhere from 20-60 minutes, usually with a theme of the day (love, resiliency, comfort, strength, etc).

  • Equipment: none. Blocks and blankets are optional.

  • Workout focus: Mental… everything.

  • Workout weakness: It’s yoga, so expect slow gains.

  • Fitness gains: Yes. I gained overall stability in bodyweight exercises. I no longer shift around awkwardly in a plank.

  • Background: Unlike the other programs, I didn’t ONLY do these videos; I usually did 2-3 a week in-between other strength workouts.

  • Pros:

  • Cons:

    • this isn’t yoga meant for stretching or flexibility. It focuses on form and mental wellbeing.

    • Adriene is probably the least ‘woo-like’ out of all the yoga instructors on Youtube, but there’s still some woo, which I don’t always vibe with. That being said, I like her dry sense of humour. It’s rare to grin while yoga-ing!

  • Would I recommend this program: Yes. I personally can find yoga a bit… long, but I think it’s a good way to slow down and be more mindful of your form. I’m trying to incorporate it more into my life.

9. Natasha Oceane: AT HOME RELOAD: I only completed 3 of 10 weeks.

  • The program: 10 weeks, 5 days on/2 rest, each workout is around 60 minutes (with long breaks due to plyo exercises). It also comes with a guide on how to track calories, food plans, and all the basic fitness stuff.

  • Equipment: resistance bands and a box step are required, but she also recommends adding weight if you can.

  • Workout focus: HIIT or plyo strength, depending

  • Workout weakness: too many buy-ins, not accessible for home workout

  • Fitness Gains: n/a

  • Background: Full disclaimer: this is the only program I did not complete in full. I also didn’t pay for it – a friend had bought it and shared the guides with me, but she also quit. I think I did about 3 weeks of the program.

  • Pros:

    • It’s deceiving in how hard it can be.

    • The program comes with an App that lays out your daily workout, so it’s easy to setup. She also has youtube demonstrations of every exercise to guide you through proper form, but whether you watch them is up to you

    • This is probably the closest program to a “gym” workout at home. It’s a lot of the same moves you would do when strength-training at the gym (chest presses, rows, hip thrusts, Bulgarian splits), and less of the usual “at home” moves (skaters, knee push ups, etc).

  • Cons

    • The reason I quit this workout is that it’s just not very accessible. I lived in an apartment at the time, and despite living on the lower level (so I didn’t have to worry about jumping), you need a lot of space and height to complete these workouts. You also need a lot of her specific equipment (particularly the bands and the app) to make it more effective.

    • I also realized that I like real-time workouts when I’m working from home – most of the time I want to follow a youtuber, rather than doing it by myself. It makes the time go faster. Just preference.

    • which is kind of a shame, because I like her personality a lot; she’d be amazing if she did real-time workouts.

  • Would I recommend this program: not if you live in an apartment. If you’re in a house, have a good amount of space, and are willing to buy her resistance loops, then I think it could be quite effective for replacement gym workout.

Annnnd that’s all the programs I’ve completed! Onto Miscellaneous YouTubers! All of these are fitness YouTubers who do ‘light’ workouts without programs. While the workouts aren’t long enough to show gains, you can double them up with other videos if you’re looking for a specific bodyfocus or want to ease into exercise. I’ll just do a quick review of the ones I’ve used often.

1. Madfit

  • Equipment: mostly bodyweight, sometimes light dumb bells.

  • Workout focus: arms and abs. She does a LOT of ab workouts.

  • Pros: I like using Madfit when I’m not really in the mood to workout. Her videos are short, the instruction is decent, and the music is good. She’ll often show you the moves and explain the circuit before she starts. Her dance workouts are really cute! I usually add one to the end of my workouts just to loosen up and laugh.

  • Cons: she focuses so heavily on abs that you need that foundational strength to do a lot of her videos.

2. Pamela Reif:

  • Equipment: no

  • Workout focus: bodyweight burnout

  • Pros: her ab workouts kill me, quite literally. I still am unable to get through one without a break.

  • Cons: there’s no verbal instructions, no breaks, and I feel like only her ab videos are effective.

  • Overall: I use her videos on days when I want to feel like I’m working out, but I’m not sure they actually DO anything for me in terms of gains – it’s more about mental health.

3. PopSugar fitness

  • Equipment: occasionally dumb bell

  • Workout focus: it’s essentially a free workout class (cardio classes, mostly) on the computer

  • Overall: the quality of the instructor really matters with PopSugar, because some of them are TERRIBLE and incredibly hard to follow. I’d say most fall into the range of “Working Out to be Healthy” rather than “Working Out to be Fit”, which is not a bad thing!

  • If you want a good burn workout that’s effective, I recommend these instructors: Jeanette Jenkins, Simon de la Rue, Ranier Pollard, Christa DiPaolo, Joseph D, and any of the STRONG by Zumba workouts.

4. Emi Wong

  • Equipment: none

  • Workout focus: bodyweight, low intensity workouts

  • Overall: I’m going to be honest, I’m not entirely sure why her videos have millions of views. Her workouts are low intensity, low rep bodyweight burnout, and I don’t see lasting results coming from them. There’s not much structure to them, either. Yet I kept using her workouts as burnout rounds, I think because she seems relatable? She’s funny and nice, and worksout in her living room… but she has a model body. I dunno.

5. Sanne Violet

  • Equipment: booty band, sometimes

  • Workout focus: low impact pilates-type exercises.

  • Overall: same as above. Her workouts are short and quick burning, but like Emi’s, they don’t have a lasting effect. They’re also not well instructed. I’ve done maybe 10 of her workouts and don’t love them, but sometimes I use them as a burnout round, particularly if she’s using a booty band. Otherwise, not much to say. But hey, she’s a model, not a fitness instructor.

annnd that’s it! There are other Youtubers that I don’t use as much (Bailey Brown, Fitness Marshall, Rachel Aust, etc), but I think this covers the majority. I hope it helps you decide what At Home Workout is right for you! Also, I’m aware of the total lack of diversity in these fitness Youtubers. If anyone has any recs for free workout programs from fitness instructors who are POC, I’d appreciate it!

edited bc I kept finding spelling errors.



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