Review: Why I Stopped Using the Sweat App

When it comes to getting a good workout in, there are hundreds of different apps, programs, and trainers out there whose goal is to give you the absolute best sweat sesh. Wading through the sea of pricey apps and trendy workout programs, then, is sort of a journey in self discovery and trial-and-error as you discover what works for you and what doesn't. 

Up until recently, my fitness journey involved the Sweat app created by Australian personal trainer and "fitfluencer" extraordinaire, Kayla Itsines (Pronounced  It-SEEN-es, for anyone who cares. I was incorrectly pronouncing her last name like "It-SIGNS" for way too long.). Her Bikini Body Guide, also known as just BBG, is synonymous with progress and transformation thanks to the endless stream of before and after selfies posted by happy and fit women. 

Last year, I decided to take the plunge and purchase an annual subscription to the Sweat app. I had worked out a little here and there, but I began to find that piecing together my own workouts (and doing so consistently) wasn't really working for me. I needed something with more guidance and structure to keep me on track and accountable for my fitness goals.

Over the course of 2020, I can honestly say that my fitness level improved well beyond the beginner level I started out at. There is no better feeling than realizing that exercises I struggled to do or had to modify only a couple months ago have now become manageable (or dare I say, easy even?).

After a year of using the Sweat app, I finally canceled my subscription this month. Why, you might ask?

Read on to learn more about the app – and my reasoning for switching to something else.


SWEAT Fitness App Features

App Overview

Before I outline my reasons for quitting BBG, it might be helpful to first give you an overview of the features and programs available in the Sweat app. A subscription is required and can be purchased on a monthly ($19.99/month), quarterly ($54.99/3 months), or yearly ($119.94/year) basis, although the annual membership is hands down the best value. 

While I won't go super in-depth into the features of any individual workout programs (there's just too many, at this point), there are plenty of other blog posts out there like this one by Mom Grows Up that will give you a better idea of what to expect. 

At a higher level, here's an overview of some of the Sweat app's overall features:


Over 18 Workout Programs

"How many workout programs are available in the Sweat app" is a question I have Googled repeatedly without a super clear answer. New programs have popped up left and right in 2020, meaning that you now have more workout options than ever before (beyond just the typical high intensity circuit training and weight lifting programs available before). This is thanks in large part to several new yoga and barre additions back in November

In addition to the original BBG program with Kayla, there's something like 7 other trainers available to workout with in the app. The actual number of available programs in 2021 doesn't appear to be listed anywhere, but from what I can surmise available programs include:

  • BBG
  • BBG Stronger
  • BBG Zero Equipment
  • Kayla's Post-Pregnancy
  • PWR
  • PWR Zero Equipment
  • PWR at Home
  • PWR Post-Pregnancy
  • BUILD
  • Lifting at Home
  • FIERCE
  • FIERCE Zero Equipment
  • FIERCE at Home
  • High Intensity Strength
  • Body and Mind (BAM)
  • Yoga with Ania
  • Yoga with Phyllicia
  • Barre with Britany

That's what, 18 programs (and counting)? 

Needless to say, whether you're looking to exercise at home or at the gym, with or without equipment, high intensity or low intensity, you'll be able to find something your speed in the Sweat app. All workouts are easily tracked in the app and are either time-based or rep-based. Additionally, you will find a trainer demonstration of each move which is great for people like me who can't always visualize what I'm supposed to be doing from description alone.

In addition to all of the options listed above, there are also periodic challenges lasting about 6 weeks, giving you a chance to push yourself to the max and access even more new exercises. You can always change programs at any time and even substitute moves that are too easy or too challenging to create a truly custom workout experience.

Tip: If you have an Apple TV, you can pull up the Sweat app right on your TV to make exercising at home much more easy and convenient. 

 

Woman in workout gear opening a water bottle
Photo by Karolina Grabowska


Workout Calendar & Scheduling Tool

If you're someone who likes to stay organized and abide by a schedule, then this feature will come in incredibly handy. You can schedule all of your workouts for the week (or month, even, if you're a long-term planner), including any cardio sessions outside the app such as walking, running, swimming, or biking.

When you open the app, any workout that you have scheduled for today will be highlighted for you. No need to consult the actual calendar to remind yourself what's on the docket for today. When you do open the calendar, each exercise type will be color coded: pink for resistance and strength training, green for high- and low-intensity cardio, blue for recovery and rest days, and orange for challenges. 

If you have push notifications set up, the app will send you a reminder an hour before your workout is scheduled to start. This feature is one I didn't personally use as I don't particularly like to schedule my day out down to the hour. I very much prefer having a list of things to accomplish at some point during the day and letting things happen when they happen. Plus, there's something about the reminders that kind of just fuels my anxiety. It's hard to explain.

 

Weekly Meal Plans

Another perk available in the Sweat app is a weekly meal plan. Each week, a new menu will appear filled with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and healthy snack options. You have a couple of basic customization options as well like vegetarian and vegan recipes (you can change this at any time).

Given that no fitness journey is complete without proper nutrition, this feature is a handy one. In addition to ingredient lists and cooking instructions, you can also expect to find basic serving size and nutritional information (like calories). 

While its nice to have meal recommendations, this feature does have some drawbacks that stem from the fact that the Sweat app is based out of Australia. This means that there are various terms for foods that you might not immediately recognize (such as "capsicum" instead of pepper and "beef mince" instead of ground beef). Additionally, many of the measurements are in grams and milliliters, not cups or ounces, so you may have to do some quick measurement conversions (the United States really needs to get on board with the metric system).


An Amazing SWEAT Community

Many great fitness trainers and programs tend to draw passionate and enthusiastic communities, and the Sweat app is no different. The Sweat Forum allows you to connect with thousands of other app users from around the world. You can ask questions, share your successes (and your struggles), and give and receive support all in an incredibly friendly and encouraging environment. I found that a lot of questions I had about using the app or going through the BBG program were answered in this forum.

I 100% believe that a supportive community is an important element when it comes to maintaining a regular exercise schedule, especially if the desire to work out doesn't really come naturally to you or you're a brand new Sweat user. The Sweat community is filled with a lot of incredibly strong and inspiring women at all ages and fitness levels. You're sure to find people you can relate to and look up to in order to keep your motivation high.


Purple dumbells on a marble counter
Photo by Karolina Grabowska


Why I No Longer Use The Sweat App

Now that I've given you a rundown of the app and said a lot of really nice things about it, you may be puzzled as to why I made the decision to stop using the app. The short answer: It's a really great fitness app, but it wasn't quite the right app for me.

Here are the main reasons why I've switched to other sources for my workouts:

Exercises Too Repetitive

I can only speak from my experience doing the BBG and BBG Zero Equipment programs, but one reason I began to face some serious burnout had to do with the repetitive nature of some of the workouts. 

Trainers have a tendency to have their favorite or signature workout moves. Kayla Itsines's, apparently, is burpees. The woman is obsessed! Like, burpees in every workout obsessed. And I get it, burpees are great for working a lot of different muscle groups and getting your heart rate up. I can honestly say that I am quite pleased to have gone from not being able to complete 10 unmodified burpees to now being able to do burpees with ease. But for a little while there it became so repetitive and tedious that I started to fantasize about never doing another burpee again. I began to replace them with different moves, anything else. 

Itsines also seems to love her plyometric exercises. That is to say, you will be doing lots and lots of jumping. If you're fortunate enough to have access to a gym or to not have downstairs neighbors you have to worry about, this shouldn't be too much of an issue. There are also plenty of ways to modify these moves should you have the need. For me personally, though, the overabundance of jumping exercises became tiring and tedious after a while. I prefer to have a more even mix of jumping and weight lifting/body weight moves.

Burpees and excessive jumping alone didn't drive me away from the app, however. In addition to certain moves showing up way too much, I also found that some of the workouts tended to work the exact same muscles over and over again while neglecting others. The leg workouts, in particular, were the worst offenders. The exercises had a tendency to target your quads over and over again without really doing much to work other muscles like your glutes, hamstrings, or calves. I began mixing in my own exercise replacements (such as glute bridges) to give my poor overworked quads a break. 

I didn't realize how repetitive some of the moves actually were until I decided to try mixing it up one day with a 15min Blogilates ab workout instead. I had been using the Sweat app for about 5 or 6 months at this point so I wasn't exactly out of shape or anything, but wow Cassey Ho's workout wrecked my abs in a whole new way. This really highlighted for me the need to branch out and try other workouts in order to work different muscles.

 

Unused App Features

Another factor that began to make the Sweat app less and less worthwhile to me was the number of features I simply didn't use. I never really used the scheduling tool because for some reason the pressure of having something I have to do at a certain time (and then having my phone demand I do that thing) just makes me anxious.

Additionally, I never really found many of the provided weekly recipes to be particularly appealing. I'm not really a big on snacking, although it's something I should probably try to do more of rather than eating 2-3 super large meals. I also am a picky eater (although I'm so much better now than I used to be!), so there are many ingredients and foods that I simply don't like. I would tend towards using Pinterest and Instagram for food recipes rather than any of the in-app meal suggestions.

 

Exercise equipment on a marble table
Photo by Karolina Grabowska

 

Cost

The final factor that made me decide to cancel rather than renew my annual subscription was the cost. At about $119.9 for an annual subscription, it wasn't exactly cheap. Don't get me wrong, the app is definitely competitive with other fitness subscriptions and gym membership out there. However, when I'm spending that kind of money I really want to make sure I like the service and that I'm actually fully utilizing it. 

As I approached my 12th month with the app, I found myself less and less excited about showing up for the workouts. I began seeing what else was out there, something that I might enjoy more and which might either cost less or be completely free.

As it turns out, there are SO many free workouts out there, especially on social media. Take the time to peruse YouTube as well as Instagram, Pinterest, and even TikTok. You might be surprised by just how much is out there at little or no cost!


Final Thoughts

There are so many different training and fitness programs out there. At the end of the day no app or trainer will be perfect for everyone, and part of the journey is trying different things and figuring out what works best for you. 

I am beyond grateful for the year of gains and progress I have experienced while using the Sweat app. I am so much stronger and more fit than I was at this time last year when I first began working out again. While I still have a lot of areas I can improve in, this last year has also given me many opportunities to discover how I like to work out, what my strengths are, and what I want to do next.

Stay tuned for more exercise and fitness updates in the future! If you liked this post, please feel free to leave me a comment below or share this post with your friends on social media! 

Until next time,

Kayla

Sweat App Review Pinterest image woman holding water bottle 
Sweat App Pinterest image with dumbells


No comments

Post a Comment