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If you’re not familiar with Caroline Girvan and the EPIC program, here’s your cue to check her out. She is the BEST home workout YouTuber, delivering science-backed workouts that are challenging and FUN! I’m analyzing the amazing programs from Caroline Girvan: EPIC vs. EPIC Heat, to break down how they’re different, how they’re the same, and which one might be better for you. If you haven’t read my review of the EPIC I program, definitely check it out here, as it is a good introduction to the program overall and what I needed for it.
Caroline Girvan EPIC vs. EPIC Heat – Overall Opinion
In general, I had an “easier” time with EPIC Heat than with EPIC I. This is probably because I had already completed EPIC I when I started EPIC Heat, and I had gained a TON of strength during EPIC I. Since I had already completed 50 (!!) days of Caroline’s workouts at this point, I was more familiar with specific exercises and felt more comfortable jumping into the workout without first reading the description and scanning through the video to watch her do it.
As far as the schedule, both last for 10 weeks, with 5 days of workouts per week. Rest days (or active rest days) are Thursdays and Saturdays in both EPIC I and Epic Heat. Sundays are HIIT workouts in both programs as well. In each program, she varies the muscle groups that are primarily worked, meaning that you don’t follow a Monday-Leg Day, Tuesday- Upper Body, etc. type of schedule. I really like this aspect of her videos as it keeps things interesting and I never know exactly what I will be doing that day.
She breaks down the science of both programs in the official guides on her website, and they’re incredibly solid, as I would expect from one of my favorite science-based trainers. While the goals are similar between the two programs, EPIC Heat is a bit more cardio-focused, and uses shorter rest intervals to keep the heart rate up throughout the workout.
What do you need for EPIC Heat?
Fortunately, EPIC Heat, like EPIC I, is a program that can easily be done from home, with very little equipment.
Weights: preferably one heavier and one lighter set or multiple different sets. I still had to make do with my 12 lb. and 5 lb. sets, but am hoping to get an adjustable set soon.
Mat: still loving my Alo Yoga mat. Could probably do something a tiny bit thicker.
Yoga block/thick book: Hardcover books are best. If not, yoga blocks are pretty dang cheap.
Glute band: I FINALLY upgraded to a cloth one. Y’all, it is A GAME CHANGER. So much easier to keep in place, and doesn’t mess with the skin on my legs.
Something to rest on: a chair, couch, stool, etc. Just something you can put your foot on for lunges or your back on for hip thrusts.
An aside: Because of the strength I’ve gained, my weights were a bit light for leg workouts. My partner at one point suggested that we use our dog as a weight for hip thrusts instead. It went really well until it didn’t.
Do you need to complete EPIC I before you start EPIC Heat?
Although completing EPIC I first definitely helped, I’d say that you probably don’t need to finish EPIC I first before starting the Heat series. If you’re completely new to working out, it’s probably a good idea to complete the EPIC beginner series first to gain familiarity with the exercises and build a bit of cardiovascular endurance.
If you are in good overall shape but haven’t really followed a plan, you should be okay starting with EPIC Heat. Definitely just take things slow and start with a lower weight than you think you can handle until you make sure your form is on point. This is essential in any workout plan to avoid injury.
Caroline Girvan EPIC vs. EPIC Heat – EPIC Heat is better for…
Anyone who is short on time
This was one of the BIG benefits of EPIC Heat, in my opinion. While I can easily spend an hour at the gym, sometimes spending an hour at home with the same set of dumbbells, trying to fight off my dog who wants to play, is a bit more difficult. All of the EPIC Heat workouts are around 30 minutes, meaning that with proper warm up/cool down, you’re spending around 45 minutes from start to finish.
Anyone looking for more high-intensity work
EPIC Heat is more of a cardio-based workout than EPIC I. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t “walking on the treadmill with a little incline” cardio. It’s still very much weights-oriented, but the breaks are quite a bit shorter, and as such, you don’t really get much of a chance to get your heart rate down before starting on the next set.
Anyone who likes feeling sweaty at the end of their workout
More cardio generally means more sweat, and my mat saw a LOT of sweat during the EPIC Heat series- she didn’t call it heat for nothing! It made me feel like I’d really put in WORK, and I never finished a workout feeling like I didn’t push hard enough. I know that sweat doesn’t necessarily equate to how hard you work, but if you’re like me and like that physical sign that you worked hard, EPIC Heat will make sure you have it!
Caroline Girvan EPIC vs. EPIC Heat – EPIC I is better for…
Crosstraining with another sport
I’ve loved running FOREVER, and I still made a point of running 3 days a week with both the EPIC I and the EPIC Heat programs. Despite the fact that the EPIC Heat workouts were quite a bit shorter, doubling up an EPIC Heat workout with a run was quite a bit more challenging. I think this is because EPIC Heat is a bit more cardio focused. With a 45 minute run, this put me at over an hour of intense cardio a day. While it certainly was good for my health, it also totally kicked my butt. I found that the EPIC I program was a bit easier to combine with other cardio-based sports like running or cycling.
People wanting to get acquainted with Caroline’s workouts
Like I said, it’s not impossible to jump right into EPIC Heat, but familiarity with Caroline’s workouts definitely helps. She utilizes movements (for example, the staggered deadlift), that I had never done prior to her programs. Having a bit more time on the rest interval to figure out how to do these exercises is helpful.
People wanting longer workouts
It should go without saying, but EPIC I is quite a bit longer, with most workouts in the 45 minute to 1 hour range. If your goal is to exercise for an hour a day, for example, it will be much easier to hit these with a full workout planned in the EPIC I series.
People wanting ab workouts *in* their workout
This may be just me, but I felt like there were more ab-centered exercises in EPIC I than in EPIC Heat. I am not a big fan of doing ab-specific workouts, mainly because I don’t like them, and the abs are also used in exercises like squats, deadlifts, and planks. Plus there’s the fact that getting abs doesn’t come from doing a million crunches.
EPIC Heat doesn’t have much ab work in it. This was nice for me, as I usually don’t like doing hundreds of crunches. Occasionally I’d throw in a plank for a few minutes at the end of my workout to wrap up, but I didn’t really feel the need to add it in. If you’re looking for a program where you don’t even have to think about what to do next, EPIC I might be best for this, as the ab workouts are built-in to the overall time.
Will I be completing EPIC II or EPIC III next?
I’m really not sure! I have just got access to a gym again, and I’m kind of looking forward to working out with some heavier weights than what I have at home. Additionally, (and the reason it’s taken me so long to write this, despite having finished in early July), is that I’ve been dealing with some wrist issues as of late, that even affect my ability to type. Things like Caroline’s workouts, that often involve lots of push ups/planks are unfortunately quite painful to complete. I’m going to physical therapy, and following up with doctors, but sometimes these things just take time.
I had started EPIC II and completed about a week, and so far, I love it! I am just planning on waiting a little longer to get my wrists back into shape before I start another program.