You guys, it is AMAZING what you can accomplish in 30 days. So before you go dismissing this as something YOU wouldn’t be capable of, let me just say that I didn’t think it was possible either.
But I showed up for myself every single day the very best I could. And even though most days weren’t perfect, the consistency and dedication had a massive impact. I kind of blew my own mind really because I genuinely didn’t believe my body would be able to change that fast.
If I can do it, you can too.
My Tighter Together Review will be shared in two parts. This first post will focus on the workouts, equipment and other technical aspects of the program including:
- What is Tighter Together?
- What equipment do you need?
- What are the workouts like?
- Can anyone do the workouts?
- What kind of results can you expect?
- What can you expect in part 2?
My next blog post will be focused on the nutrition piece, including what my macros looked like, how I tracked them, etc. Nutrition was CRUCIAL for me, so make sure you subscribe to read part 2! (You can now read part 2 here)
If you have any questions along the way, pop them in the comment box below and I’ll be sure to get back to you. Basically, I want to give you all of the tips I can so that you can feel inspired to make the changes you want to make for yourself and your body.
My ‘Before’ Photos…
Quick disclaimer before we dive in to this Tighter Together review, there is nothing ‘wrong’ with the way I look(ed), but I realised a few weeks ago that I definitely have aesthetic goals and I wanted to feel empowered to not just acknowledge them, but get after them. So, this is me doing that and I am super proud of myself. If you want to read more about my experience with weight gain, you can check out this blog post.
1. What is Tighter Together?
Tighter Together is a 30 Day challenge programmed by Madeline Custer (@madeline_moves). It includes 4 weeks of workouts and personalised macros. There are 6 [weighted] workouts per week, some with an additional LISS/HIIT component:
- Upper Body + LISS
- Lower Body
- Back + Chest + LISS
- Conditioning Cardio + HIIT
- Legs + Glutes + Core
- Full Body
The workouts take 45-60 minutes to complete (not including LISS) and include 30 minute variations for anyone who needs it. All of the workouts can be done at home with minimal equipment, which was a huge selling point for me, as gyms in London are currently still closed.
There is an app and online portal where you can read workout notes, log your weights and track your progress. The program costs $50 or $30 for Weekly Moves Workouts members, which I am.
2. What Equipment Do You Need?
Not much is the short answer. However, to make the most of these workouts, I do think it’s ideal to have access to at least two sets of dumbbells — one lighter, one heavier. You will also want to get a few sets of resistance bands as well — both fabric loops and the longer rubbery ones. A yoga mat is also ideal, particularly for core work, or if you happen to sweat a lot like me!
I would recommend:
- Dumbbells: I had access to 4KG, 6KG, and 8KG sets. In hindsight, I would have added a 12-15KG set because there were definitely [leg] days when I could have pushed myself a bit more. Note: dumbbells can also be used in place of kettlebells.
- Resistance bands: Invest in good ones. It’s worth it and you’ll be able to feel the difference when you go to use them. In terms of fabric bands, I highly recommend Move Loops, but there a lots of good options out there. For longer bands, I ordered a set from Intey off Amazon, but I did find they were a bit heavy for upper body days, so I would recommend finding thinner band options to begin with.
- Step/Bench: I used my furniture where I could. For example, I did tricep dips and elevated hip thrusts using a pouffe. I didn’t want to jump on any of my furniture, so I swapped bench hops/step-ups etc. for low impact alternatives that could be done on the floor.
- Mat: I used a yoga mat I have had for ages, but it worked perfectly because it’s slip resistant and afforded me the opportunity to work out barefoot whenever I was in the mood. I love this mat from the Yoga Design Lab.
- Modifications: I modified several exercises over the course of the 4 weeks. On days when my knee was flaring up, I opted for low-impact variations. When my dumbbells weren’t heavy enough, I slowed the movements down and added a pulse or two. Do not be afraid to make the workouts your own.
3. What Are the Tighter Together Workouts Like?
I’m not going to lie to you, they’re difficult. Most days I was grateful to just get it done. With that said, there is an undeniable feeling of accomplishment that comes with the end of every session. It’s incredibly motivating and the momentum it creates as you start to witness changes in your strength and fitness becomes self-perpetuating. So the fact that the workouts are challenging is literally the best part.
Let’s break it down. This is an upper body workout from Tighter Together Week 2…
Every workout will start with a 5 minute warm-up. As I did these over my lunch break, I skipped the warm-up most days to maximise the amount of time I had for the workout. It’s not ideal, so definitely try to fit that in if you can.
Circuits typically include 3 to 5 exercises, which should be completed back to back for the designated amount of reps. You can then rest between rounds. Circuits are usually repeated 3 to 4 times.
Supersets are two exercises which are meant to be completed back to back with no rest between them. Between rounds, you can take a rest. Supersets are usually repeated 3 to 4 times.
Most workouts are a combination of circuits and supersets with an additional core or challenge component at the end.
A few workouts are EMOM format, meaning ‘Every Minute on the Minute’. Exercises are to be performed for the designated reps in a one minute time frame. If you finish the reps early, you get to rest for the remainder of the minute. If you don’t finish the reps, you simply move on to the next exercise when the minute is up. Between circuits, you are given a designated rest period (30 seconds to a minute). Trust me, it’s tough.
No matter the day, workout format, or focus, a 30 minute variation is provided. A post-workout cool down/stretch is not specified, but would be advisable if you have time.
On occasion, I modified a move to make it easier, or skipped a round to avoid compromising my form, but those moments were rare. The emphasis is always on quality over quantity, so prioritise the form and the movement itself over the number of reps, and then adjust as you need to depending on your fitness level.
Progressive overload is central to the programming, so each week should be about trying to go that little bit heavier, trying to control the movement that little bit more. I recommend taking videos of yourself as you workout, so you can compare your form and strength week on week. The app is great for tracking the weights you use with every session. Be diligent with logging them so that you can see your strength gains over the period.
Cardio is not the focus of this program. But, with that said, if you’re pushing yourself, the workouts will get your heart rate up, make you sweat, and leave you thoroughly exhausted. Trust the process, focus only on the workout at hand and don’t worry about tomorrow!
If you missed out on the challenge, but want to try the workouts, head over to my Instagram where I have shared almost every single Tighter Together workout with videos and workout details.
4. Can Anyone Do These Workouts?
Yes. Yes, because any workout or exercise can be modified to according to your ability, time frame and equipment availability. However, these are not beginner workouts. If you do not workout regularly and suddenly adopt this 6 day per week training program, I would recommend caution. Go slow, starting with bodyweight only, 30 minute variations, to see how your body feels. Take extra rest days, prioritise LISS over HIIT, etc. Again, focus on the quality of the movement over the duration.
Included with each Tighter Together workout are videos for every exercise to give you form cues. Whether you’re a beginner or more experienced, I would suggest watching them all before your workout if you can. This not only saves time and helps you keep your focus during the workout, but it also gives you a sense of tempo, body positioning, suggested equipment, etc.
Many of the exercises come with alternative exercise suggestions in the notes, as well. These variations often include a different kind of equipment or are a low-impact alternative. There were just a few times when I had to sub in my own alternate exercise to accommodate. Any time I had to make my own adjustment, I tried to hit the same muscle groups as the suggested exercise, but I didn’t overthink it.
Remember that this is really just about moving your body. The ‘challenge’ is only 30 days, but the idea is that you’ll continue exercising long after it ends, which means it needs to be sustainable for you. Beginner, intermediate, fittest person on the planet — these workouts should challenge, but not break you.
5. What Kind of Results Can You Expect?
The truth is, it depends entirely on YOU. Your body composition, your caloric intake, your energy expenditure… It even depends upon the kinds of results you’re hoping for and how you measure success.
Which is exactly why I would recommend taking progress photos and videos of your workouts.
If you can, take at least one set of front, side and back view photos at the beginning of the challenge and then do the same at the end. If you can, try to take the photos at the same time of day, in the same location and wearing the same thing.
With exercises that you find particularly difficult, prop up your phone and take a bit of video footage at the end of your workout. Then, four weeks later, video those same exercises and see if you notice any changes.
My Tighter Together Results
For me, the differences I can see in my body after just 4 weeks are striking. And SO motivating! I had no idea my body would be so responsive to the program…
Perhaps even more impressive is the strength and muscle endurance I built over just 4 weeks … You can see in the video that my form and pace improved perceptibly, but I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate that difference had I not seen the videos side by side. It felt JUST AS TOUGH both weeks!
The same is true of the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos. I couldn’t fully appreciate the results until I saw the photos side by side. For me, there is nothing more encouraging and motivating.
Now, the big caveat with this ‘results’ section is that the workouts are just one half of the equation. The other, arguably more important and, for me, mentally difficult piece, is nutrition. In the past, I really struggled to adhere to any kind of formal structure or approach to my diet and, consequently, my nutrition hasn’t always been the most balanced. But this time around, I nailed it…
6. What Can You Expect in Part 2?
Part 2 of my Tighter Together Review will cover what my macros looked like, how I tracked them, example meals I made, how I fit dessert into my diet regularly, why I’ve been doing intermittent fasting and how it works for me, and more. I’ll also be answering any questions I have received on Instagram and through my blog, so please don’t hesitate to ask if you have questions!
Finally, please remember that you can love your body and still have aesthetic goals. There is nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight or change your body composition if you’re doing it in a nurturing, thoughtful way.
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