First of all, what is BBG, and who is Kayla?
Kayla Itsines is a personal trainer from Australia who created the Bikini Body Guide and the Sweat With Kayla app. BBG first started out as a 12-week workout e-book, and has grown a lot since then: there are now multiple editions that all contain different resistance exercises (BBG 1.0, BBG 2.0, BBG 3.0 – found in the app). The weekly workout schedule consists of 3-4 days of resistance training, 3-4 days of LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) cardio, and 1-2 days of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). The resistance training workouts are incrementally challenging as the weeks progress.
Would you recommend BBG?
Essentially, BBG is an excellent tool for staying in/getting in shape, and it’s easy to fit into a busy schedule. The resistance workouts are a little under 30 minutes long and they can be accomplished at home or the gym. During the summer, I did all of these workouts in my backyard. At school, I did them in the studio rooms of my school’s gym (when they were free to use).
BBG is not easy, but it is truly an empowering and fun program. Even though it was so physically tough at times, much of it is a mental game. Once I got myself to push past the “AH I cannot do one more burpee” mentality, the workouts actually became enjoyable. It felt great to push myself, and I was always proud upon finishing each resistance workout; I know that you will be proud of yourselves, too! Furthermore, I liked BBG because I didn’t have to think about planning my exercise program — it was entirely laid out for me in an organized format and schedule.
Is it difficult to make time for?
Nope! This workout program took up approximately 45 to 60 minutes of each day. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, the program has you doing resistance/bodyweight workouts. Each workout is said to be 28 minutes, but with set up, a short little warmup of jumping jacks, a 1 minute break in between each circuit, and stretching after, it took about 45 minutes of my day.
On the non-resistance days, there is the option to do LISS, so I would power walk (ideally outdoors, if it was nice out) or do the elliptical/spin bike for 30 minutes, about 3 days per week. During the final weeks (9 – 12), the guide starts incorporating HIIT. So on cardio days, I would add 10 minutes of HIIT (I liked sprinting on the treadmill) to my workout. I’m sure this probably sounds overwhelming, but trust me — when you’re doing it, it’s not at all!
How expensive is it?
To buy the guide, it’s $70.00, but Kayla created an app recently, which is $19.99 per month. To be honest, I actually do not use the app or purchase the e-book guide…I got the e-book from a close friend. Since I know many of you may be college students who, like me, are always on the lookout for free goods, I’ve also seen the workouts on Pinterest. If you search the words such as: “BBG Week 1 Legs” or “BBG Week 1 Arms“, that specific workout will pop up.
What are the resistance workouts like?
The workouts incorporate many different types of bodyweight movements and weighted exercises. There are a lot of pushups, burpees, tricep dips, weighted squats, straight leg raises, jump squats, weighted lunges, jump lunges, commandos, jumping rope, and mountain climbers.
In general, since there are three resistance workouts per week, there will be an arm, ab, and a leg day. Even though the “ARMS” workout will be mostly emphasizing biceps and triceps, the movements that you do always end up working your entire body. There wasn’t a BBG workout that didn’t end with me red-faced and very sweaty!
The structure of the resistance workouts goes like this:
7 minutes: Circuit One
30 - 60 seconds: water break
7 minutes: Circuit Two
30 - 60 seconds: break
7 minutes: (repeat) Circuit One
30 - 60 seconds: break
7 Minutes: (repeat) Circuit Two
I really enjoyed this structure because, when I was tired and didn’t want to do 5 more pushups, I just had to tell myself, “You can do it — you have less than 7 minutes to go!”. In moments of despair, reminding myself that I only had a few more minutes until a break made these challenging workouts manageable.
In the second version of the guide (BBG 2.0), there is the option to do a fourth resistance workout in certain weeks — they are called “Personal Challenges”. Those workouts, while they are similar in movements, are different in structure; they are challenge/time-based. Here is an example of what one of them looks like!
Did you follow Kayla’s H.E.L.P. nutrition guide?
I did not follow H.E.L.P. (Health Eating and Lifestyle Plan). When I started BBG during my freshman year at Northeastern, I didn’t have a kitchen (and how sad were those days), so it would’ve been really hard for me to follow a guide without being able to cook the foods I was supposed to eat. Additionally, I was also not in a place where I was looking to follow someone else’s food plan. Back then, I was just beginning to experiment with eating in a paleo way, and I wanted to have what I felt like eating. This meant way too much almond butter on a spoon a lot of the time, but that’s what I wanted! I do remember that I ate a lot of salads, chicken, veggies, almond milk, and fruit.
What I think is important here is that, while it’s great to exercise and follow BBG, it’s equally (if not more) important to refuel your body with nutrient-rich, whole foods. So if you follow the H.E.L.P guide, some other plan, or do your own thing, be sure to eat lots of veggies, fruits, complete proteins, and healthy carbohydrates + fats! To see what I eat these days, look over on Instagram 🙂
That’s a wrap for now — what other BBG questions are you dying to get answered? Send them my way!