If you’ve never heard of #BBG then you are probably not on Instagram. BBG stands for “Bikini Body Guide” and it’s a workout program by Kayla Itsines that pretty much all of IG swears by. I know, terrible name. I actually read an interview where Kayla says her biggest regret is naming the program “bikini body”. Nonetheless, over 10 million women use her program and now that I’m halfway through my first round, I finally feel prepared to answer all of your questions and give you my honest opinion.
Just to level-set expectations, I’ve been working out consistently for about 2 years via Classpass. (You can read all about it here.) One of my favorite things about Classpass is that you get to try so many different classes and continuously shock your body. What I like about BBG was that it’s kinda the opposite. By doing the same system everyday I was able to keep my progress and feel my body getting stronger.
HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS
BBG is a 12 week-long program that’s 3 days a week and 28 minutes a day. The workout is resistance training that focuses on legs, arms, abs, and full body. Kayla recommends that you do 3 days of “LISS” which is low-intensity state cardio and then after 9 weeks you add in an additional 1-2 days of “HIIT” – high-intensity interval training.
WHAT 28 MINUTES LOOK LIKE
You have 4 workouts in each circuit and two circuits. You do each of 4 exercises for 7 minutes as many times as you can. Sometimes I get through each of them just one time, sometimes 1.5, and sometimes 2x. After the first 7 minutes, I move onto the second circuit and do 4 different workouts. After those 7 minutes (14 minutes in) you repeat the whole thing. My average workout is 50 minutes.
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Yes. I want to be super clear that I made modifications to fit my lifestyle. I always run 1 mile before I start BBG. I do 1.5 minutes of a walk warm up (~3.3 mph), 1 minute of jogging (5.5mph), 1 minute of running (~7.0mph) and repeat till I hit a mile. It usually takes about about 12 minutes.
I also don’t really do any LISS training, but I add in 2-3 additional HIIT workouts each week. I’m still doing Classpass with Sahir so we did a mix of Flywheel, Barry’s, Blast, Megareformer classes, etc every week in addition to my 3x a week of BBG.
You can get the “Sweat With Kayla” app free for a week. After that, it’s $19.99 a month. The 12-week workout plan e-book is about $52 and you can bundle it with Itsines’ healthy eating plan for roughly $90. I’ve been using the PDF.
I work out 3x a week during lunch and that’s when I do my BBG workouts. Work gets hectic and I can’t guarantee that I can workout everyday at lunch, but 3x a week I block off my calendar. It generally takes 50 minutes for the full workout (with my additional cardio) and 15 minutes to change total. I do my additional HIIT and cardio workouts either before work or after work with Sahir and we treat it like a workout date.
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I didn’t follow a specific plan, but as a rule of thumb I get pretty healthy M-F and then eat whatever I want on the weekend. I think of it as an 80/20 rule. I think Kayla has a meal plan that’s like 1200 calories a day. It’s not a bad idea to keep a food diary and be aware of what you are eating, but I’m in it for the long haul.
Unfortunately yes. After 3 weeks, I was feeling so good! I went on vacation and truly wanted to enjoy myself so I didn’t stress about my workouts. I did a few runs and walked over 10k steps a day and pretty much ate whatever I want. I came back and pretty much stayed at the weight I was when I left. #Score! The hard part was when I returned, I got sick! Like – very sick. I ended up taking another week off although I still did my 3x a week of HITT training. When I picked back up the following week, I restarted week 4. This week I am at week 6.
I don’t believe that if you have a bad weekend or off week that you have to go back to beginning. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and maybe repeat your last week to get back on track. You don’t lose all of your progress because you took a break!
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So far so good! I see my body changing more than the scale is changing. I believe that muscle weighs more than fat so as long as I’m looking good – I’m feeling good! When I started the program I was 113 pounds and this week (about halfway though) I’m down to about 108. I look stronger and my body feels tighter. Before I started BBG I had been working out consistently and I was at 122 at my absolute heaviest. I was already down 9 pounds and this has just been a cherry on top.
At this point I don’t really have a goal weight, it used to be 110 and maybe its 107 now – but honestly I care more about being stronger. I actually see my weight going up on the scale, but I’m not too concerned. #DitchTheScale
Do I recommend it? Yes! Will I continue doing it? Yes! BBG works with my schedule and allows me to breakup my workday 3x a week. I think 28 minutes is do-able and I’m still able to have enough energy to do my other workouts that I’ve been doing for the last two years. I like the continuity and feeling myself getting stronger.
Tips on BBG at home?
You do need equipment when you do BBG so either you can go to a gym or purchase some dumbbells, a medicine ball, and a flat bench for home. The recommended weight for dumbbells is 3-6kgs. For the first 4 weeks I did 5lbs, and I recently went up to 7.5lbs.
What did you do for LISS?
As mentioned before, I usually don’t do much LISS training – but if I do it’s usually a 20 minute walk with Theo.
What did I notice the most difference in? Stamina? Endurance?
Honestly it seems like it’s getting easier. The workouts happen quickly and I’m done before I know it. It feels so great to see my muscles when I am lifting heavy weights! It motivates me to keep going.
Is it good for injuries?
Honestly, I’m not sure. I would advise you to consult with a doctor before starting a workout program. BBG is a very intense program.
How do you find motivation?
This is tough for everyone. There are certainly days that working out and getting sweaty is the last thing that I want to do. You know when you hear people say “when I don’t work out – I miss it!” Yeah, I’m not there… yet. I’ve found that sharing my journey has been really helpful for accountability.
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Is it effective if you know all of the BBG moves?
I dont think that the moves are revolutionary. Today I did a 1 minute plank as one of my 8 exercises for the day and that’s pretty much as standard as it gets. The moves may not be something super new, but I think the combination of cardio and strength moves is really groundbreaking. There’s a reason why so many women swear by the program.
What if I’m a beginner?
BBG isn’t great for beginners, but the program does have a 4 week pre-training program to do before 12 week program to kickstart your fitness program. I would certainly recommend adding walking or some cardio to your workout to start conditioning your heart.
I hope I answered all of your questions. Stay tuned for a full 12 week program recap where I will even share before and after photos (eek!). If you are doing BBG or have done it before, be sure to send me a message and let me know what you thought of the program. Rumor has it that the last 6 weeks are way harder than the first 6 so I’m a little scared!