*Note before starting: this isn’t an affiliate marketing post. I don’t earn a commission for this product, but I can’t miss the chance to tell you about it.
Today I have the honor to bring to you the review of an e-book created by an exceptional person, Sarah Strauss (@fit_and_dedicated on instagram), who’s an example for all those of you who want to lead a truly healthy life because of the combination between her always positive and motivating messages, her knowledge, her personal story —that also includes overcoming an eating disorder— and her realism: in order to be “fit”, you must be “dedicated”, and that shouldn’t scare us.
With this 12-week workout guide, Sarah wants to help us reach our physical goals in a healthy and efficient way, equipping us with the directions and tools needed to become the fittest version of ourselves.
What makes this guide different from the thousand others you can find paid or for free on the internet?
On the first page, we can already see Sarah’s certificate from the NCCPT (National Council for Certified Personal Trainers), that proves she’s a qualified personal trainer, and on the next one she tells us that she’s studying human health major at college. We aren’t in the presence of an influencer with a pretty body that wants to sell herself, but of a professional who wants to first learn and then teach others.
Nutrition + exercise
other people try to sell you that if you do a series of exercises, you’re going to lose fat, have a flat stomach, etc.; at most, they mention that together with that you should also lead a healthy diet. However, Sarah gives concrete keys to do both things in the most efficient way possible.
Theory + practice
Sarah doesn’t give you a series of precepts that you must blindly believe; instead, she explains to you the scientific reasons for her arguments, but in a super easy and enjoyable manner at the same time. And, above all, implementable. Each thing you learn isn’t abstract, but translates to something you can implement in your life from the first minute.
Health, strength and happiness > thinness
It’s not about losing weight at all costs, as fast as possible and being skinny, but about respecting your body and taking care of it. It isn’t necessarily a guide oriented towards losing weight, breaking with the cliché that the only reason to eat healthy or work out is because you want to take off a few pounds. If that’s your goal now, it will be totally useful to you, but the best part is that what you learn will serve you too once you’ve reached that goal, since its proposal is a long-term healthy lifestyle, not a bikini body plan.
Let’s now look at the different parts of the book:
Despite being a workout guide, the first 20 pages are dedicated to nutrition, because as we’ve said, both go hand in hand.
Firstly, we have a clear and concise explanation of macronutrients (macros), where she also makes us see that all of them are indispensable for their functions and that our body needs a balance between them, so no demonization of carbs or fats!
Then, she explains the IIFYM method (if it fits your macros or flexible dieting). Some things that stand out from this explanation are:
- The appreciation of its educational value: I personally don’t track macros (I’ve only done that a couple of times to decide what macronutrient to prioritize when I’ve had to increase my intake) and it’s not recommended during eating disorder recovery; in fact, it can become obsessive even for a lot of healthy people. But I do appreciate its value as a tool to learn about food: as I said on a previous post, we don’t have to be afraid of knowledge, but in fact it helps to reject absurd ideas that are bombarded to us by our mind or the prevailing diet culture. I consider that tracking absolutely everything you eat weighed to the milligram isn’t sustainable, but it can be good for people who are starting to become aware of their diet and for those who are chasing very specific goals in the short term (like a competition). Then, thanks to that gained knowledge, we’ll be able to do it more intuitively. But first we need to develop that skill!
- She respects the different needs of each person and their bodies (that can even vary for the same person as time goes on), she doesn’t say some numbers that should supposedly be valid for everyone.
- She warns that this method doesn’t substitute the need to eat real and good-quality food. A lot of people try to sell IIFYM as the solution to be able to eat all the fast food and sweets you want as long as it fits your macros; you can lose weight that way, but we’re seeking long-term health!
After that, she offers more tips to balance our diet and eat healthy, from a very positive and rational perspective. There are no invitations to restrict, punish yourself or compensate, or scornful/moralizing language towards food (for example, she talks about free/treat meals where others say cheat meals). All the tips are useful, most of them for everyone, while some of them seem more oriented towards those who are getting started in this healthy eating thing (very good to learn, but then one can give himself more freedom, for example with regards to how to structure each meal).
Next, there’s a small section with recipes. They are healthy meals, not restrictive (she’s not going to tell you that a bit of lettuce and tomato is a dinner), satiating and very tasty. I love her use of spices! Those of us who use the metric system can be a bit shocked at first sight with the amounts, but I’ve seen that these ones are pretty easy to convert.
And we finally arrive to the core of this e-book, the 12 week workout plan. Each week there are 6 training days and one rest day, and each day we train different muscular groups to avoid muscle fatigue, as well as the temptation of some people to do only cardio and abs.
A little warning
These aren’t routines for people that have never worked out before, since the level is really demanding from the beginning. So if you’re just getting started, I’d suggest that you follow a more basic program for some time first. In addition, she takes for granted that you’re familiar with the gym machines (they aren’t routines to do at home, if that’s what you’re looking for). What I miss most —although of course you can easily look it up on the internet— is an explanation of the exercises themselves (maybe with a drawing or photo) for those of us that have difficulties understanding what the technical names mean. On the other hand, they require that you have a lot of machines available; if you can’t find a gym that’s convenient for you to go and has them, remember to plan in advance how you’re going to adapt those exercises.
The amazing workouts
In each routine you’ll see the names of the exercises, the number of sets and of reps for each set. In addition, under many of the exercises you’ll find very interesting tips oriented towards both avoiding injuries —for example, correcting your form— and increasing their effectiveness —for example, slowing down some movements—.
Throughout the week we’ll have both strength and cardio workouts, especially the first ones. They are real strength workouts, with real weights, and I can’t help but thank Sarah for her effort to normalize this kind of training for women, while others keep recommending that we work out with minimum additional weight. This is true feminism. Girls, don’t be afraid to lift heavy things! Another perk is that the routines can be completed in less than an hour, showing that you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to get fabulous results.
Each day of the week is different from the previous one and, moreover, the whole workout changes every 3 weeks. Variation is something to be grateful for, we don’t have to repeat the same thing over an over, or do the same each week forever. In addition, thanks to that, once we’ve finished the 12 weeks we’ll have learnt a wide range of exercises sorted by muscular group, as well as different ways to plan our training weekly (what muscles to train each day), and to structure it (supersets, circuits, etc.). All of this will allow us to create our own workout routines. Therefore, the usefulness of the guide goes far beyond the 12 weeks.
Is it for me?
This guide is for you if:
- You want to take your diet and exercise to a new level.
- You’re willing to commit with a healthy lifestyle.
- Your body is a priority for you.
- You’re repeating again and again the same exercises and want to vary your routine.
- You work out sometimes and eat more or less well but you lack organization and structure.
- You’re tired of quick fixes to lose weight and that’s it.
However, it isn’t for you if:
- You’re looking for a quick fix to lose weight and that’s it.
- You’re just getting started with exercise (although it will be very useful for your nutrition, and you can always save the routines for the future).
- You only want to train at home.
- You don’t like strength training.
- You’re recovering from an eating disorder. Or for that matter, any physical or mental illness that prevents you from following the recommendations of this e-book.
Is it worth it?
This e-book costs 50$, which are 42€. I thought it was super expensive at first sight, and I wouldn’t have bought it if it wasn’t for the fact that I know Sarah and I know that if she had decided to charge that amount for it, she hadn’t done it to swindle us, but because it was worth the money and because I was going to find high quality content. My verdict? The difference between throwing your money away or making the best investment by buying this e-book depends on whether you’re going to fully take advantage of it:
- If you aren’t going to jump straight to the exercise part, but you’re also going to look at the nutrition one.
- If you’re going to commit to this and follow the workouts until the end, and not get tired after the first week.
- If you’re going to use the time of the workout plan to learn things that are going to be help you to keep this lifestyle for a long time.
Then you’ll see the results you want in your body and your life, and the usefulness of the guide will be extended over time: the benefits will far exceed the investment!
If after reading this you’re convinced that this guide is trustworthy and valuable, it’s for you and it’s an investment that’s worth it for your health and your goals, you can purchase it by clicking HERE. And remember to follow Sarah on instagram for your daily dose of motivation, inspiration and tips.