Finding a weight loss program is a daunting task. There are SO MANY to choose from. Finding one that meets your needs and budget can be really challenging. I signed up for the TrueStrength 8-Week Challenge from Veganfitnes.com. I’ve looked at various options but decided to try this challenge because it’s made by vegans with a focus on vegan nutrition. However, you don’t have to be vegan to do this program. I asked my Instagram community if they’d like to see a weekly update with my thoughts and opinions and I received a resounding yes. So this is my review for week one of the Vegan Fitness TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge.
Why A Review
I wasn’t planning to review this program. I was going to do it for myself to get healthier and not really share anything about it. However, after the first 2 days, I had so many thoughts about it that I thought should be shared. I’d want to know these things before spending this kind of money on a program. I’ll cover who this program is for, cost, what’s included, what’s not included, meals, nutrition tracking, extra costs you can expect, and more. I hope you all find this helpful. Ok, let’s get started.
What Is This Program?
This is an eight-week fitness training program to help you get fit. The program comes with a vegan nutrition plan, basic nutrition information, planned workouts, and simple how-to videos for both the workouts and some food. You’ll also be granted access to a private facebook group to join others who are also currently doing the challenge. Once a week, there will be a live stream with the founders of the program where they answer pre-submitted questions.
This cost for this eight week program is three hundred dollars. You can receive $10 off the program total by clicking the following special link. Click Here.
Before we get into the review I should tell you some information about me and my fitness level. Before the challenge, I was regularly working out 3-4 days a week. Some days are just strength training, others are just cardio, sometimes it’s yoga, somedays it’s a combination of these. I work out because my work leaves me idle on most days. I’m typically sitting at a computer for hours on end, so moving is quite necessary. I’m not a stranger to working out. I’ve hired professional personal trainers in the past. I hired the first one when I was 18 years old. This was when I was introduced to the world of macros, counting calories, the app My Fitness Pal, and basic “nutrition”. The word nutrition is in quotes because what I learned then was nutrition as influenced by the meat and dairy industry.
Even while on a diet focusing heavily on meat, dairy, and eggs. I was able to lose weight and get fit. My trainer at the time had me eating string cheese, cottage cheese, spoonfuls of peanut butter, and plain hardboiled eggs as go-to snacks and sometimes also as lunch. While consuming these foods high in saturated fat, I still lost quite a lot of weight. I dropped from a size 12 to a size 6 within about 10 months. I learned how to workout, meaning which types of exercises to do to target the desired areas. I learned how many sets and reps to do, I learned how to use gym equipment, and much more.
All this to say, I’m not a novice to the gym and I know about conventional nutrition. However, I don’t consider myself a very “fit” person, meaning I don’t have muscle definition, I don’t have low body fat, I can’t lift large amounts of weight. Keep this in mind when reading the following review.
TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge Review – Week One
Choose Your Preferences
You’ll start off by answering some questions and entering some basic information about yourself like age, height, and weight. They’ll also ask you to upload pictures of yourself in a bathing suit to track progress, this part is optional but highly recommended. Then you’ll choose between the shred program (weight loss) or bulk program (muscle gain). I chose the shred program.
You’ll also choose between a home workout or gym workout. I chose the home workouts because I can’t always get to the gym since I have a toddler. For food, you can choose the conventional plan or the meal prep plan. I initially chose the meal prep plan. They give examples you can follow for both. You’ll then receive a slightly customized program. I write “slightly” because it’s not as customized as a program would be if you were training one on one with a personal trainer.
What I Don’t Like About The TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge
This Program is Not For Everyone
Let me start off by saying I thought this program was for everyone. It isn’t. Even though I work out 3-4 times a week, I would consider myself a beginner because I’m not very strong. I would not recommend this workout program for beginners. If somewhere it clearly explains who this program is for, someone please let me know because it wasn’t made clear to me. I only realized this after doing the first workout and joining the discussions in the private Facebook group. I definitely struggled with the workouts this week. A lot of people in the group expressed the same feeling. After doing the workout myself, I could see why other people were also struggling. Keep in mind, everyone received different workout plans customized to them and their goals.
Week one consisted of 5 workout days and 2 rest days. The workouts each have 9 or 10 exercises plus 20 minutes of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) cardio. Each workout consists of 3 sets of 10-12 reps for most. Let me give you an example of why this program is not for beginners. Day five’s workout started with pull-ups; there is also the option of assisted pull-ups. Even when I was at my fittest when I was 18 years old and a size 6, I could not do a pull up on my own; I was barely even able to do assisted pull-ups at that time. Currently, I can’t do either. I’d be a bit worried about beginners starting this program injuring themselves with some of these exercises.
My last thought for this is that you’ll have to buy some equipment if you chose to do the home program. So far, I’ve purchased 2 sets of dumbbells and a resistance band with handles; I spent $85. I guess I was also expected to buy the pull-up bar (additional cost) but I chose to just replace that exercise. You’ll also need to get the paid version of My Fitness Pal app, which costs $10 per month, in order to track your macros.
The Meal Prep Plan Is Very Plain
A lot of the prepped meals contain fake meat to get the required amount of daily protein. A lot of people don’t have access to these fake meats so I would really take that into consideration if you’re thinking about purchasing this program. There’s also a lot of protein powder required. This will be an added cost that can get very expensive depending on the type of protein powder you decide to use. One of the daily meals consists of a protein shake. Another consists of a smoothie bowl with added protein powder to meet protein and calorie goals.
Lack of Guidance From Admins
I incorrectly assumed from the founders’ promotion of this program that there would be more guidance than there is. I also thought they’d be more involved in the private facebook group with answering questions. There was a live Q & A with Nimai and Bianca (the founders), in the evening of the first day of the program. They answered questions but I’m not sure where the questions came from. I never saw a spot to leave questions before the live Q & A. I also requested to be added to the private FB group after signing up but wasn’t granted access until the next night so I missed the live Q & A, which I wanted to watch live to see if I could submit questions during it. The session was saved and posted afterward so at least there’s that.
The private FB group is great for those that need the community aspect. However, they also ask and answer each other’s questions about workouts and nutrition. This, in my opinion, is not super helpful for these two topics because most of the people in the group are not super knowledgeable on these two topics. There is an email where we can contact the founders directly so I guess I’ll start making more use of that. Hopefully, they’ll be quick to reply to messages; so far, according to other users, it takes a while to hear back from them.
What I Do Like About The TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge
Having a planned workout saves a lot of time. This is one of the main reasons I purchased this program. I’m knowledgeable on workouts and how to workout, like I said earlier but I didn’t want to think about and take time to put together a workout plan. This helped with that.
The Meal Prep Plan Is Easy
I know, this is in both what I don’t and do like. While I don’t love the meal prep plan, as stated above, I think they are useful for those that are completely new to plant-based eating (not everyone in the program is vegan), don’t have any idea how to prepare food, or don’t care too much about taste. The meal preps are basic and straightforward. They’re not terrible but they’re also not impressive, which I understand because they are there to serve a specific purpose and not to indulge in. There are also about 45 basic standalone recipes in the program that one could choose to follow.
Basic Nutrition Info
I do like that there is basic nutrition information. They explain what macros are and there are simple how-to videos for making tofu taste good. This would be really helpful for beginners.
The Final Say For Week One
Would I recommend the TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge? After this first week, I would say no. Personally, I don’t feel like I’ve learned anything. I purchased this program because I thought I’d learn something new. I already know how to workout, track macros, and eat a healthy, low-fat diet in order to lose weight. I also have the same plant-based nutrition certification from eCornell as one of the founders of the program.
If you’re looking to lose weight, get fit, and healthy, you need three things: a workout plan, which there are many of for a significantly lower cost (around $20/month), a plant-based diet meal plan (also available from various sources for a much lower cost, approximately $30), and an app that tracks your macros and calories (my fitness pal, $10/month). Cost is a huge deciding factor for most people when choosing a program. My total cost for this program has been $395 so far. Keep in mind this total does’t include protein power, which I’ve chosen to exclude thus far.
TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge Discount Code
If you’re still interested in this program, you can use get a $10 discount off the total by clicking this link.
My Daily Program Updates
You can follow me on Instagram for daily progress pictures and videos. I post what I eat in a day as well as some snaps from the gym. To follow me on Instagram click here.