I’ve been in the health and fitness game a while, but I still get overwhelmed by all the conflicting opinions. How much cardio is too much? Are low or high intensity workouts better? How do I know if I've been eating enough protein?
Sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) I wish I could abandon my longstanding trial and error methods and have someone just tell me the answers. Then I found 8fit, the completely comprehensive fitness app that’s basically like having a personal trainer and a dietitian on hand 24/7. Bingo.
"8fit was designed to be the simplest, most custom way to achieve healthy habits for life," 8fit head fitness coach Marife Sanvictores says. "Most apps give you a plan to follow—either fitness or nutrition, or if you’re lucky, both—but they don’t take your individuality into account. 8fit gives you a completely custom plan."
"8fit was designed to be the simplest, most custom way to achieve healthy habits for life."
The promise of a tailored meal plan (AKA no more scouring Pinterest for recipes that meet both my dietary needs and health goals) plus effective workouts that last just 10 to 20 minutes definitely had me intrigued. But admittedly, I was somewhat skeptical about entrusting my personal fitness to an app. (I spend a lot of time with my phone, but I’m not convinced it actually knows what’s best for me. Exhibit A: Way too many hours spent scrolling Instagram).
But since 8fit is way more affordable than regular sessions with an IRL personal trainer or nutritionist (just $30 for three months or $60 for a year), I decided to give it a go. Here’s what happened.
Scroll down to find out how 8fit created my custom fitness and nutrition plan—and what it was like to actually use it.
How the personalized plan works
After downloading the app, you’re prompted to enter information like your gender, height, weight, and other specifics about your body type and your goals. Unlike other fitness apps, the plan isn't centered around the quickest way to drop pounds (though it can help you with that if that's one of your priorities). Instead, it focuses on the best approach to make you feel like your healthiest self.
That's because, Sanvictores says, weight probably isn't your primary motivator—even if you think it is. "The number you see on the scale is such a small glimpse into the full picture of your overall health, and all it really tells us is our relationship to gravity," she explains. "When most people say they’d like to 'lose weight,' more often than not, the end result they’re looking for is a more toned, healthier body. That's why our plans focus on specific goals like getting fitter, losing fat, or gaining muscle." Preach.
To complete your profile, the app asks for fitness benchmarks, like how many times a week you typically work out (too many for me, tbh) and how many pushups you can do (not enough). Then, it places you in a level and the fun (read: burpees) really begins.
How the workouts went down
I tested into Level 5, which is called the Masters level in the Intermediate category. The plan consists of six sessions over two weeks, after which you can move up to the next level.
Not gonna lie, I was a bit skeptical about the impact an 11-minute workout could have. But my doubts were basically instantly moot. Each sweat sesh was super intense (but also super doable, so I didn’t feel defeated before I even started), and after 11 minutes of crushing squat jumps and burpees, I was a (sweaty) believer.
"If you’re doing these short, intense workouts consistently, you won’t need to spend hours on the treadmill."
If that wasn't enough to convince me, 8fit also has the science to back up the abbreviated approach. "The beauty of 8fit’s short workouts is that they’re rooted in science," Sanvictores says. "[HIIT] produces an afterburn effect known as Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption. That means you’re burning calories long after you’ve finished the workout. If you’re doing these short, intense workouts consistently, you won’t need to spend hours on the treadmill—those few minutes will have a big impact on your health."
The 411 on the meal plan
The level of customization the meal plan offered was my favorite part of the app. As someone with too many random dietary restrictions to count, I loved that I could select specific "problem" ingredients to leave out of suggested meals, rather than just eliminate entire food groups carte blanche (though you can do that too if that works better for you).
I also loved that once you chose your recipes for the week (I picked the meal prep option, which gives you the same breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day—not the flashiest, but it works for my lifestyle) it pulls together a comprehensive shopping list so you know exactly how much of each item to buy.
The meal plan pulls from the info you provide when filling out your profile to determine your exact nutritional needs—so you're getting exactly the right type and amounts of food for your goals. My plan, which also included two mid-day snacks, kept me feeling satisfied all day (shout out to the major dose of protein) and by the middle of the week I noticed I was totally alert during my usual 3 p.m. slump.
"Eating healthy without guidance can be confusing and daunting."
And even as someone who works in the health and fitness space, it was nice to have the professional confirmation that I was properly nourishing my body.
"Eating healthy without guidance can be confusing and daunting, especially with all the information out there about what’s healthy, what’s not healthy, and why you should follow that new fad diet hitting the internet every week," Lisa Booth, registered dietitian and one of 8fit's in-house nutritionists, says. "8fit makes it simple to eat well."
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