One of the most hotly debated topics of our generation: Tone It Up vs. Bikini Body Guide – which workout program is better? Time to find out! I’ve done both for weeks and am comparing these two super popular workout programs so you know which to use. Got a big event coming up or just looking to revamp your workout routine? This is a must read!
What is Tone It Up?
Tone It Up is the wildly popular fitness community started by Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott. Katrina, with her gorgeous blonde curls, and Karena, the long-legged brunette beauty, are best friends living in Southern California. It all started as a friendship, which became a blog, and now a fitness empire complete with their own line of protein powder, apparel, workout gear and much more!
Karena & Katrina create tons of free workout videos that let you escape to the beach with them during your workouts where they typically film (often in their adorable bikinis). They also lead awesome fitness challenges throughout the year that keep you engaged and motivated.
What is Bikini Body Guide (BBG) with Kayla?
The Bikini Body Guide is another incredibly popular fitness program that has spread like wildfire among young women. Kayla Itsines is the Australian bombshell of a personal trainer behind BBG, and her abs speak for themselves. The concept behind BBG is that you mix high intensity and low intensity workouts for the more effective results in less time. The workouts are delivered via printable PDFs that you can save on your iPad and take with you anywhere (even if there is no wifi *gasp*). BBG 1.0 covers weeks 1-12 and BBG 2.0 covers weeks 13-24.
Side note: it took me like 5 minutes of scrolling through Kayla’s instagram to find a non-phone-in-mirror photo to feature. Kayla, you are a total knockout but can you mix it up a bit more?
Now, let’s compare them head to head in three key areas…
1. Better workouts?
Tone it Up posts weekly schedules every Sunday. Each day usually consists of 2-3 components: 5 daily moves (10 mins), 30-45 mins cardio, and 1-2 free workout videos. (~20mins). Here is a sample day or check it this week at https://www.toneitup.com/daily-workout/.
Here’s what I think about them:
- New every week so they don’t get repetitive and boring
- Customizable. They encourage you to substitute workouts for other videos (TONS to choose from in their archives and on YouTube) if you want or don’t have the equipment they may be using (e.g. exercise ball).
- Sustainable. While I may not always being uncontrollably dripping with sweat and at the verge of collapse after TIU workouts, they do push me hard and I feel like they leaving me wanting to come back for more next time. I played sports for so many years growing up with SUPER high intensity workouts, but these days workouts are more about health, happiness, and stress release for me.
- Engaging. I love that Karena & Katrina offer tips on form or just goof off during the videos at times. They keep you entertained and it makes it a much more fun experience. Plus they have the cutest workout clothes so I love to see what they will be wearing each week.
BBG by Kayla is put together in a 200+ page PDF organized by week as well. Each week, you perform three high-intensity circuit style workouts and then 2-3 lower intensity workouts the other days (e.g. yoga). For the high-intensity circuits, there are two parts and you complete two rounds of each with about 30 secs rest in between (~30 minutes total).
Here’s what I think about them:
- Effective. BBG workouts kick my booty and leave me feeling super accomplished. I could visibly see my leg muscles and abs changing, particularly from the plyometric components.
- Less time, more intense. At only about 30 minutes each, these workouts take up just a tiny fraction of your day but you better believe they will push you to your limits. This is a super big plus for all you busy ladies out there!
- Confusing at times. I prefer the video format of the TIU workouts to the printable BBG because I like to watch the exercise first to make sure I have proper form. Plus they usually offer tips and things to think about when via video.
- Simple but hard to customize and gets repetitive . This is great because you don’t have to think at all. You follow the strict structure and you’re done. However, it can lead to problems if you don’t have a certain piece of equipment called for in the workout since it offers less customizable options. Also, it can get a bit repetitive.
In summary, I am torn on this one because they I like them both for different reasons. I think BBG by Kayla is great for getting ready for a certain event like a wedding (this is when I used it the most) or to help drop the baby weight. However, since it can get repetitive and is so intense, I think the TIU workouts are more fun and more sustainable. Because of this, on a day to day basis, I do more TIU workouts. However, I will supplement with BBQ 1-2 days per week for an extra punch.
2. Better Resources for the $
This one definitely goes to TIU, which has SO many free resources, recipes, videos, etc on their awesome community. I have not purchased their bundles, yet I still feel like I am completely satisfied with the great workout content I get. The only thing missing is the nutrition plan component, which is pricey ($150 for lifetime access including all future updates). However, I am focusing on comparing the fitness component since I think there are a lot of other great nutrition sources available.
On the other hand, there is VERY limited free content on Kayla’s site without paying either for the BBG program or her app (Sweat with Kayla). The BBG guides are a little over $50 each for the PDF.I have not tried her app yet, but she is offering a free trial if you want to check it out. I was turned off of it by some negative reviews since it is a recurring charge of $20/month and even her loyal fans stated they were disappointed. See a review of it here.
3. Better motivator?
As I was writing the descriptions of both programs, it was clear to me how much more personally connected I felt to Karena and Katrina from Tone It Up. I think this is for several reasons:
- TIU’s video format helps you get to know them. Since they are two best friends hanging out and laughing, it really draws you in and makes you feel like you’re working out with your girlfriends.
- Community & empowerment. Karena & Katrina put a ton of focus on the TIU community – always reminding you to check in on Instagram and encouraging you to support your fellow TIU members. This makes it a very supportive, inclusive environment that makes you want to keep coming back.
- Different vibes. I love that Karena & Katrina are so goofy and ditzy sometimes in the best way. They seem to have so much fun with it like coming up with silly names for their workout moves or goofing off during a video. Their genuineness and energy is infectious. Kayla comes off as a bit more focused and determined, which is great for results but a little less entertaining. Its like work vs. pleasure. I think comparing these two posts from Kayla vs. Karena & Katrina illustrates my thoughts well:
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Hope you found this review helpful. I plan to put together a follow up post with my favorite handpicked TIU workouts for you soon.