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I tried Lilly Sabri’s Lean fitness app and I love it – T3

Posted: August 2, 2021 at 1:50 am


Lilly Sabri has recently launched a fitness app off the back of her hugely popular YouTube channel that's sitting at 3M subscribers and still growing. Offering personalised guides, meal plans that celebrate her love of food, and early access to her Lean branded products, the app already ticks a lot of boxes; but there's even more in store.

You can find out what Lilly has planned for the app, from live Q&As and workouts, and a community feature, in our Lean app interview. You can also catch up with her journey so far in our profile of the fitness influencer, but for now, let's dive into what the Lean app has to offer and what makes it so different from the plethora of other fitness apps on the market.

(Image credit: Lilly Sabri)

The Lean app is intended to be a place where users can get personalised workouts, meal plans, as well as a slew of other content. In addition to the workout guides which are determined by your answers to a few questions during setup, there are classes, warm-ups, activations, and cooldowns that you can mix and match however you like. You'll also find a Challenges section comprised of shorter workouts that can be swapped into your guides in place of the finishers.

The setup asks for your weight, how often you want to workout every week, how many meals you want to eat per day (between three and five), and four options for dietary restrictions: standard, pescatarian, vegetarian, and vegan. You'll also be asked to pick your goal on a sliding scale, with 'fat loss & tone' on one end, and 'sculpt & build muscle' on the other', and 'tone and maintain' right in the middle. You can change these preferences at any time, which will affect your workout guide and meal plan.

The workouts themselves don't lose any of the personality and engagement that Lilly Sabri fans have become used to from her YouTube channel. Rather than gif-based workouts, the Lean app features real time workouts with everything that made Lilly so popular in the first place; from her dog Teddy sitting on the side or trying to get involved with workouts, to having her cheer you on as she battles through the workout alongside you.

In addition to the workouts, you'll find a physio section (Lilly's forte after graduating with a BCS in physiotherapy) that covers injury prevention and pain management, as well as a 'Learn Exercises' section to make sure your form is correct for things like deadlifts, side planks, and so on. As with the workouts, these are real time videos not just gifs.

There's an exhaustive nutrition section featuring both Lilly, and Lean nutritionist Alan Kenny, as well as a section on Lilly's Lean resistance and HIIT bands. The recipe section lets you browse all of the meal and snack ideas on the app, while the Habits tab is the app's mental health page, offering journaling and a habit tracker.

If that massive library of content wasn't enough, fans of the Lean with Lilly brand who have been eyeing up the Lean bands drops and new supplements in the Nourish and Glow range will get early access in the Store tab. While Lilly says the product drops won't be as limited or small as they have been previously, they're still incredibly popular with her followers, so getting a chance to grab them before they roll out for her social media followers is a big bonus for app users.

I'm actually blown away by the sheer amount of content in the app, and the commitment to not copping out with boring recipes or gif-based workouts which Lilly told us would have been the easy option.

Lilly's YouTube workouts are tough, but the Lean app workouts are gruelling by comparison, although you still have the option to customise the guides to some degree. Each day in your personalised plan is comprised of a warm up, activation, main workout, finisher, and cool down, but you can toggle the activation and finisher if you're short on time or feel you don't need them.

Nothing is lost in the transition from YouTube to the app, with the real time workouts offering the same level of enthusiasm and motivation you'll find on Lilly's channel. The guides run for four weeks, with off days designated based on your answers to the setup quiz, but thanks to the option to mark them as complete as you progress, you can still take it at your own pace.

I will note that the app isn't perfect at this stage; there are some teething issues and more tweaks to be done. For example, you can't switch out your rest days at the moment, and my guide got stuck on day five after I tried to manually swap out my rest day for a workout. The day-to-day workouts are now out of sync with the guide, and while I can go into the overarching guide section to pick the 'correct' day, it's a bit frustrating. Happily, Lilly says the ability to swap your off days around is on the way.

Music is a big part of Lilly's YouTube workouts and that hasn't been neglected in-app. As well as casting your workout to the TV, you can click on the Spotify or Apple Music icons to be taken to the respective apps to pick your soundtrack. The Spotify button will direct you to Lean with Lilly playlists for the respective exercises (pilates, cardio, and so on) but you can play whatever you like.

It's worth pointing out that you'll need an internet connection to play the videos, but being home workouts, that's not likely to present too much of an issue. If you plan on popping out to a park to indulge, you'll need to use your mobile data, so just bear that in mind.

If you love your food, the recipes and meal plan will not disappoint! From shakes, smoothies bowls, and snacks, to burgers, shakshuka, and malaysian coconut curry, the Lean app is brimming with absolutely mouth-watering recipes.

The library is a mix of mostly Lilly's own recipes (and those of her friends and family) and a la carte meals from the Lean chef which require a little more prep and ingredients. The latter category of meals is currently sitting at 15 total, but expect more recipes from both Lilly and her Lean chef.

Your plan will offer up designated recipes based on how many times a day you chose to eat, but if you're not happy with the selection, you can hit the shuffle icon and browse for alternatives. Unfortunately, this feature is scuppered for me. While less than 3% of users are experiencing bugs across both Android and iOS, a secondary issue appears to be a slower user experience for Huawei users. It's not affected the workout videos themselves, but when it comes to rejigging the meal plan, it's unresponsive for me.

I'm in the minority here though, and I can still browse the recipes. It's not ideal, given the full experience of the plan is being missed in terms of meal planning, but Lilly says the development team is looking into how they can speed up functionality for Huawei users. The experience will be significantly smoother and less irksome if you're using something other than a Huawei handset that's packing more RAM.

The shopping list functionality is particularly handy. You can view your list for 'today' and the week as whole, with a toggle on the week tab that lets you split your shopping list by the day.

If it wasn't for my phone's impact on this portion of the app, I'd be a lot more enthused about it. But going by the range of recipes as a whole, foodies will be in heaven! And of course, there's the option to toggle macros on and off if you're rather not see that info and just enjoy your food, knowing that you're eating what you need in order to achieve your aesthetic goal while enjoying every mouthful.

Mental health was a big aspect of the Lean app. The macros toggle is intended to avoid triggers for people with disordered eating, while the dedicated Habits section allows user to journal and track their habits.

You can enter a habit name which will offer ideas in a drop down based on your input. You can then set its frequency either daily, or weekly and how often you intend to keep it up within that timeframe. Customisable push notifications will help encourage you, and you can allocate colours to spruce up your page.

The journal feature has a text and image component, and while the habits are visible on the tab, the journal entries are tucked away under the 'My Journal' section so as not to flood the main tab.

I prefer pen and paper over typing my thoughts into an app, but if you've transcended beyond the need for such primitive tools, this section is a nice way to document your fitness journey. Personally, it's not for me.

Lilly has mentioned a community features so if there's some kind of integration for that aspect in this tab, that might make it more appealing for the existing community who are very vocal and supportive of one another on social media.

All in all, the Lean app goes above and beyond the standard expectations of a fitness app. It could easily have gone down a less complicated route with regards to the workouts and recipes. But by ensuring that it captures the essence of what made Lilly resonate with so many people to begin with, it knocks it out of the park.

The ever-evolving nature of it, and the nature of the promised content to come make it incredible value for money, as well as bringing the community feature that the Familia have fostered on social media.

I haven't even managed to explore all of the existing content yet, and knowing there's more being added completely justifies the the 9.99 monthly subscription cost. Lilly has designs on making it an engaging forum where fans can connect with professionals and each other, as well as developing a positive relationship with food alongside their workouts.

Of course, there's always the free workouts on YouTube, but the Lean app offers real value over and above the free content. If you're looking for real time workouts that will keep you feeling motivated and encouraged, a huge library of recipes that celebrate food, and tons of extra content besides, you should give the Lean app a whirl.

The Lean app is available to download from the App Store and Google Play with three subscription models available. You can pay $13.99/ 9.99 / AU$17.99 / 10.99 for a monthly subscription, $33.99 / 24.49 / AU$43.99 / 27.99 for quarterly billing and a saving of 15%, or $111.99 / 79.99 / AU$144.99 / 91.99for an annual membership plus seven day free trial that offers a saving of 33%.

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I tried Lilly Sabri's Lean fitness app and I love it - T3

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