I was inspired to review this program about a month ago when a gal who has followed Tone It Up (AKA TIU) from the beginning (like myself) posted a honest review to Instagram after attending one of their retreats. I want to start off with saying, you can still achieve a fit body without spend $100+ on a nutrition plan. This is true about ANY nutrition plan. It just takes time to educate yourself and figure out how your body responds to certain foods.
When I first started following TIU, Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott clearly creating a lot of their own content. They worked very hard to gather sponsors for their fitness challenges to be able to provide prizes to participants. Things have changed thanks to their great success. They have inspired millions of women around the world to come together to improve their health. They really have built a community of women that are focused on supporting each other’s health and fitness goals.
You should take into consideration that although, I have followed them for a long time and enjoy their workouts, I feel that I have never whole heartedly joined the TIU community. At no point in time was TIU the only health and fitness resource I was following. I do not even think I ever signed up for an account on the TIU community website. I just do not find it is best for me to just follow one program 100%. I try to customize diet and exercise to fit with my own spirit and goals.
TIU provides workouts, health advice and recipes for free and at a cost. They post to their blog daily and upload youtube videos about once per week. I love the Spotify playlists they share for workouts, their focus on developing a positive mindset and their big recommendation to not do this alone. The only products their provide that I spent money on were the book (at a special discount of $16) and a necklace from their shop that was on clearance. However, most women in the community have purchased the nutrition plan and much, much more from their fast growing product line.
Just looking at their website you can see how so many women who have invested the lifetime nutrition plan have changed their bodies, their progress has just been brilliant! However, I had felt I could never afford the luxury of purchasing the nutrition plan since the little money I had extra at the end of the month needed to go toward being able to visit my family. So I sampled the simpler recipes they shared on their blog. They were good, but only after modification. I always tweaked their recipes, mostly because of taste.
Then, my best friend purchased a regular version of the nutrition plan. They also have vegetarian, gluten free and vegan editions. She shared it with me because she knew I would likely never treat myself to getting a copy no matter how curious I was. Before trying any of the recipes, I read through all the Part 1 guidance material.
Part 1 got me thinking about what I put into my body and at what time of day to do so and how food impacts how I look. In my opinion it is really designed and focused to maintain that beach body look. After some self-reflection, I reminded myself that how I look was never my top priority. My health, energy and mood are at the top of my list and looking ripped or having the perfect beach body plays a minor role. Nevertheless, I know this is a major plus to other folks.
Now did it help me achieve a beach body look when I followed it for a period of a month? To be completely honest, I am not sure it did. My best friend shared it with me at the same time I was changing how I ate to be gut friendly. Most of the recipes had ingredients my doctor explicitly instructed me to avoid. So I just could not follow the recipes to a T due to my IBS. On top of that, the quality of the guide was lacking for me. Here were my issues with the plan:
- Many of the instructions were incomplete. At times I had to guess how to prepare an ingredient or when to include it in the cooking process. For how much you pay for the nutrition plan, a professional editorial eye should had been applied to it!
- Too much sweeteners! This is where I constantly had to modify. I like my entrees to be savory. The breakfasts, desserts and smoothies were sickeningly sweet to me even before I developed a no sugar added palette. If I wanted something that sweet, I rather pick up some frozen custard.
- The spicier recipes were not flavorful enough for me. I find I have to almost double the amount of spices in most of the ethnic recipes.
- Again, for how much you pay for the plan there should have been guidance on pairing sides with entrees. Without a side, they typically did not have enough calories to sustain me.
Needless to say, I decided against purchasing the nutrition plan myself after getting a chance to check it out. Friends have offer to share the newest version with me and I always pass. I feel much better eating and cooking more freely by taking a recipe and making it my own, like the Lauren Toyota approach to cooking. I take the opportunity to understand the ingredients, use food I already have, buy seasonal produce, understand the role each item plays in the recipe and learn to create things that work for me and my family.
Another change I noticed about a year ago is that TIU has really upped their marketing and production of non-essential products. You do not need special protein powder developed to work with the plan, a two-toned yoga mat, quinoa puffs, high tech socks, a “Rose all day” shirt, etc. to achieve a beach body or just a healthy body. Most people need a good support group to stay accountable to their goals and healthy food. You can do this without unnecessary spending on all the extra junk.
I say, invest your time in preparing the food you eat, people who support you and fitness that serves your mind and body. Then, put your money into quality workout gear and good whole foods. You will see results faster than you think just keeping it simple. I honestly feel like all the extra products cause me to crave spending money on more needless accessories and even junk food. Wasting money on products I just had to have in the moment ruins the joy and happiness I get from living a fit, healthy lifestyle. The budget is important to maintaining my future happiness.
I appreciate TIU for its fun workouts that inspired me early on to work up a good sweat and their book that leads you through powerful mindset changing practices. I know Karena and Katrina are amazing women. I just do not feel the TIU program is designed for my goals. Another reason to look at this as a tool you can use to build a healthier you and not the only tool.
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