Do Online Fitness Programmes Really Work? I Tried An Irish-Based One To Find Out
Could a web-based nutrition and training programme really kick me into shape in six weeks?
Kayla Itsines, Sweat With Kayla. Ashy Bines, Bikini Body Guide. Joe Wicks, Lean In 15.
Online fitness programmes claiming to get you lean and toned are a dime a dozen right now and for folks who don’t want to commit to a personal trainer, it offers an obvious solution: all the guidance and advice of an expert, but without the actual awkwardness of having to see them face to face.
The real question, though? When it’s all carried out over email, can such a programme really work?
To find out I got in touch with Irish training duo Recalibrated Bodies, who specialise in offering tailored nutrition and fitness guides, and signed up for an online plan that covered all bases: telling me exactly what macros to eat (more on that here) and the exact training I’d need to do over five days of the week to see my desired results.
Before I was issued my personalised plan, I had to fill out a questionnaire detailing everything from what I ate the day before, to my current levels of stress and how many hours of sleep I got at night along with the obvious, like my age, weight, height and measurements.
Then I was sent through several documents: an information pack, a nutrition programme breaking down how I’d be eating on training and non-training days, and five separate workouts.
After that it was up to me to follow through on the plans and check in via email each week with my weight and body measurements.
What I loved about this programme was being able to shoot the guys an email anytime I had any questions. While I know that you can also do this through a designated ‘coach’ with Joe Wicks’ Lean In 15 plan, I would imagine that more global programmes like Ashy Bines and Kayla Itsines don’t offer the same service.
The big question really though, is what makes this different from just eating well and training correctly on your own? For me, it was being accountable that really had an impact. Believe me, there were numerous occasions where I probably would have eaten the extra square of chocolate or ordered that second glass of wine had I not wanted to do well not only for myself but also for my trainers.
Getting that praise at the end of each week along with the satisfaction of achieving your goal was more than enough motivation to stop me overindulging.
The plan also gave me a clear path to follow, taking the guesswork out of what I needed to do. There was no faffing about in the gym trying to decide what exercises I’d do that day, because it was all laid out for me in my plan.
Likewise with food. I always knew what I was eating, which left me little room for error.
Ensuring correct form could sometimes be tricky however. In this instance, in lieu of having a trainer there to coach me through it, I always checked out fitness tutorials on YouTube and did some ‘mirror work’ to correct any problems with my posture.
For handiness, I saved my workout guides and macro breakdowns on my phone and pulled them up every time I was at the gym or in the kitchen too.
I feel a little trepidation about sharing my progress pics online (deep breaths) but here goes…
After the six weeks, I dropped three kilos and 7.8% body fat, as well as 9cms off my waist, 6cms from my hips and 4cms off each thigh.
Perhaps more importantly though, I feel like I’ve developed strong habits and attitudes towards food and fitness that I’ll be carrying forward, now that the plan is over.
So in conclusion then, are online programmes really as effective as they claim to be?
Yes, depending on the plan and the level of aftercare, they can be, but like everything else, it only works if you do, and choosing the correct plan for you is what will ultimately determine its success or failure.
This six week programme was provided by Recalibrated Bodies in exchange for a review.
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