If you haven't heard of Meggan Grubb, have you ever even done an IG live workout?
The 25-year-old personal trainer's followers (now nearing the 1.5 million mark) couldn't get enough of her regular live workouts during the varied and numerous UK lockdowns, as Meggan lifted weights *and* spirits with her megawatt grin.
After just a few months on the app store, Beyond boasts 5 full plans and 350 workouts – not to mention 5-star reviews aplenty. Is it worth the hype (and £9.99)? WH's Junior Fitness Editor Kirsti Buick decided to put it to the test.
Beyond app features
5 different workout plans
Circuit workouts that are suitable for both home and gym. Weights aren't a necessity, but rather a nice-to-have for this plan. According to Meg, 'movement workouts are slightly quicker and simpler – I love these when I’m in a rush or feeling unmotivated as they’re very intense but only take around 20 minutes.'
This gym-based guide features both strength and cardio workouts – it's also great for newbies. 'Embrace is a more beginner/intermediate guide for the general gym-goer,' Meg says.
Confidence is an intermediate home guide with a body-part based workout split. It uses traditional strength training techniques like drop sets, giant sets and AMRAPs (as many reps as possible). You'll need some weights and a resistance band for this one.
'Power is more advanced and complex with a lot of technique,' Meggan explains. This guide is all about progressive overload (where the workouts get progressively more challenging – a strength and muscle-building necessity) and designed to be done in a gym.
A high-intensity plan, feat. 1000-rep challenges, EMOM (every minute on the minute) and AMRAP workouts. This guide is pretty challenging and best for more experienced exercisers looking to level-up their workouts. 'This home guide is a lot more advanced and intense with a lot more technique and challenges within it,' Meggan says, 'They're tough, but will leave you feeling very energised, hence the name.'
A pretty unique feature for a fitness app, with prompts designed to help motivate you and banish negativity.
'I think these days a lot of fitness online can be quite toxic and make you feel bad about yourself or pressured to look a certain way,' Meggan says of the mental health features. 'With Beyond I wanted the focus to be much more than how physically you will develop, but also how mentally you will develop through moving your body.'
Another really neat feature is the feel-good vibes served by little positive message pop-ups every time you open the app (and via notifications if you like), all of them written by Meggan.
'They’re all little sayings I’ve written and put together to pop up on your phone in the mornings to lift your spirits/day or to come through in the evenings to finish the day with a smile.'
If scrolling through each move clip-by-clip is not your vibe, Meggan's brought the feel of her IG Live sessions to the app with on-demand, follow-along workouts that you can do wherever, whenever. All sessions are broken down into lower body, upper body, HIIT, glute and ab sessions and timings vary from about 20 - 40 min. There are new ones added all the time, too.
'I film and add to these quite regularly, they’re my favourite,' Meggan says.
What's the point of being one half of a health and fitness power couple if you can get your fiancé to create some recipes? Meggan's husband-to-be, chef Niall Kirkland (founder of The Good Bite) is the brains behind the food section of the app.
'The Good Bite specialises in healthy, yummy meals that aren’t your boring chicken and broccoli!' Meggan says. 'He’s exceptional at turning family favourites such as spaghetti bolognese, chocolate brownies or chicken katsu curry into a healthier version.'
Many of the dishes are inspired by the couple's pre-lockdown travels, Meggan says. 'My personal favourite is one called Nasi Goreng we had in Bali, so yummy!'
Useful is the shopping list function too, which generates a list of everything you need for your chosen meals. It also breaks it down into what you need daily and weekly, so you don't have to do it all at once if you don't fancy a massive haul.
And yes, there are vegan and veggie options on offer.
Meggan Grubb Beyond Fitness App Review
Still limited to workouts crammed between my couch and kitchen counters (thanks lockdown) I selected Meggan's Confidence guide, going for the 3 workouts weekly option (you can also do 5).
Workout 1: Lower Body
After a quick fit-for-purpose warm-up, we're in. The only way to describe this session is slow, steady strength (incidentally, my fave) featuring moves like goblet squats, Bulgarian split squats and curtsy lunges.
Each of the moves has its own little card, which gives a text explainer of how to perform it correctly and a video of Meggan doing it in her home gym. There's also a timer (if the move is time-based) or a little bubble where you can input how many reps and what weight you managed per set.
That, I reckon, is one of the handiest things about the app, and a great way to measure how you've progressed (if you have the patience to look back on past workouts). Between sets, a little timer pops up to make sure you're resting for the optimum time between efforts.
As someone who's usual workout style tends to err on the side of shorter, higher-intensity workouts, this was a great change of pace. The workout took just under an hour (confession: I did let the rest timer tick over what was recommended a few times...) and I had some serious DOMs the next day.
Workout 2: Upper Body + Cardio Circuit
Upper body has never been the one for me (yes, I challenged myself to push-ups every day but it is not my forte) so I was relieved to see that my least favourite moves did not feature in this session. The format was similar to the lower-body workout – it kicked off with a 3-move warm-up before moving into several strength moves like renegade rows, lateral raises and bicep curls.
Once that was out of the way, the finisher was a cardio circuit – 3 exercises (jumping jacks, squat into feet taps and flour touch to calf raises). Not too high-impact (just the way my joints like it), but enough to get my heart racing and the sweat flowing.
This one also took close to an hour, and my poor arms felt like jelly for the rest of the day – and I hadn't had to do a single push-up. Win.
Workout 3: Full-Body Burn 10-Rep Challenge
No surprises what this one involved – 10 reps of exercise (x3 sets, thank you very much). Total-body burn very much the theme, with PT faves like hip thrusts, bent-over rows and pulse lunges all making an appearance.
Just when I thought it was getting a bit monotonous, surprise! Meg threw in a core-focused, 3-move circuit featuring figure 8s, leg raises and Russian twists (insert fire emojis here).
No fitness app is perfect for beginners – there's no substitute for in-person coaching – but this one comes pretty damn close. The form guidance is spot on, and having the option of both text and actual videos that can expand to full-screen (rather than teeny tiny gifs) make it super user-friendly. These can be a little buggy at times though, with previously played clips popping up when you try to open new ones (although this was pretty easily solved by exiting the vid screen and tapping on the move you want to see again.)
Intermediate and advanced exercisers are very well catered for too (especially when there are some pretty challenging guides on offer). Meggan keeps her workouts interesting with clever adaptations of bread-and-butter move strength moves, which really kept me engaged through the long sessions (cross-body overhead tricep extensions, anyone?).
The interface really is beautiful and easy to navigate – something a lot of fitness apps have yet to nail. A few video glitches notwithstanding, the workouts really flow, even those that aren't real-time.
Another fave feature? The little mantras and positive thoughts that pop up when you open the app are a really, really nice touch.
Why yes, Meggan, I will be the energy I want to attract.
A subscription to Beyond cost £9.99, monthly, £23.99 quarterly or £79.99 annually, with a 7-day trial. DOWNLOAD
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