I decided to try the programme for a variety of reasons. The first was sheer curiosity. I’d seen it promoted on instagram a lot, and seeing Em’s commitment to a varied training routine on her personal account I was really intrigued to see what the programme was about. I also wanted to ensure that I kept up a cross training regime during marathon training so that my body stayed holistically strong. Finally, having cancelled personal training last autumn due to financial constraints, I was intrigued to see the results of a pre-planned programme at a very cost efficient price of £19.99.
Let’s start with what the guide offers you. First for my attention was the workout guide, which is fully illustrated and explained by Em and lasts for 12 weeks. The workouts are all based on a circuit of eight exercises, repeated for either 40, 45 or 60 seconds, with a 15 or 20 second break in between, and largely this is done three times in total. The combination of workouts per week is set, but the order and days on which you do them is totally up to you.
They’re relatively simple to execute but include a variety of movements, from the plyometric, bodyweight and free weights including a bar bell. I especially enjoy the combination of free weights with more bodyweight based exercise. I do think that technique and posture on some of the movements, such as a weighted deadlift or a single arm row, could be better emphasised, but largely Em’s descriptions and images are really easy to follow. You can expect to do everything from a plank, mountain climber and jump squat, to assisted pull ups, goblet squats and kettlebell swings. Not to mention the inescapable burpee.
Whilst some of the workouts are relatively easy to perform at home and are more challenging to your strength then your heart rate, such as Workout A, others definitely require gym equipment and acceptance that you will be sweating a lot such as Workout C. This is something I enjoy as the balance means that the less cardiovascular workouts still feel effective in the traditional sweaty sense, but neither is it all go-go-go with a thousand jump squats per session.
This is useful if you want to vary your workout choice according to whether you like to workout fasted in the morning, give it your all in the evening, or even return to the office in a semi-presentable state after a lunchtime workout. This leads to my next point. The longest a workout has taken me, including a two minute break between sets is just over 30 minutes. This is obviously ideal for a busy schedule.
I adapt some workouts according to being at home, for example replacing a bicep curl with a dumbbell by standing on one end of a tight pilates band and curling that instead, but largely you would definitely benefit from access to a gym for this programme.
Next, the food. The guide comes with a selection of recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and snacks, as well as a typical one week menu. The recipes I’ve tried so far have been successful, tasty and relatively simple, and although the menu is not as relevant to me as I tend to eat more than the average person for the sake of running, it’s definitely helpful to have a typical meal plan laid out.
Further to this there’s a really nice section at the beginning about happiness and sleep, two important parts of a healthy lifestyle that are often neglected in favour of focusing on body image based goals.
Finally, I think any 12 week exercise programme pdf is always going to draw up the inevitable question; how does it compare to Kayla?
I should say here that I have never completed the Kayla programme, but I have done the workouts up until week six so have some experience with the physical and time demands involved in the BBG. I personally feel like Move Eat Smile offers a more holistic and sustainable approach to working out than Kayla’s highly plyometric based guide. I would personally struggle to incorporate Kayla’s guide into a running schedule, though this is not to say that I don’t like her workouts – I actually went to her bootcamp in June and thought that she was amazing. However, I didn’t find her guide as sustainable a workout programme as I would have liked.
In terms of difficulty, Kayla puts you through your paces in an intense way that is not replicated in Move Eat Smile, though with less variety in the programme and the manner of training. EmFurey instead offers a balance of training methods that I find satisfying without being crazily fatiguing, especially considering the work:rest ratio in M.E.S than the seven minutes all-out of Kayla.
Overall I’d definitely recommend the guide as it feels like good value for money, and is great if you don’t have the time or energy to plan or perform mega gym sessions, or the budget to go to a PT or boutique class.
P.S. I was not sent the guide to try nor was I asked to write this post. These are entirely my own views.