A while back I gave the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide (hereafter known as the BBG due to it’s most ridonkulous name) a go…and boy oh boy did it kick my ass. I’ve never felt a burn quite like it, from such a short work out. However, with marathon training and my love for Project Fit, the BBG fell to the wayside and I never made it past the week 4 mark.
Dying while doing the Kayla Itsines BBG
My friend Kylie recently smashed out the entire 12 weeks, and her results were so awesome and motivating I asked her to share her experience with the BBG. It’s totally inspired me to get back on the BBG wagon now that I am back in New Zealand – I won’t have a gym membership (or the spare cash for one) for a while, so a workout I can do at home with minimal equipment sounds perfect. I’ll let Kylie tell you more about it so you can judge for yourself…
Hi Kylie, you recently completed the Kayla Itsines BBG 12 week programme. Congratulations! Can you tell us, how did you first discover BBG? and what was your motivation behind starting the programme?
A colleague of mine had been doing BBG for some time. She was very fit and looked amazing, but she was also very passionate and I think that is what intrigued me most. I don’t meet too many people who genuinely enjoy exercise and give themselves monthly fitness goals so I checked out her fitness instagram page to learn more about BBG. Seeing her results in form of progress photos and seeing her followers was eye opening – there are people who use instagram to post things other than the meal they ordered from their local restaurant?!
From there I knew I needed to know more, and her help and encouragement made me decide to take the plunge and give it a go. My main motivation to start was knowing I needed to live a healthier life.
Following three years of living in London and destroying my body one alcoholic beverage at a time I knew that as soon as I got back to NZ I needed to do something to improve my health and fitness. BBG gave me the tools I needed to start, and I knew I wasn’t doing any harm in at least trying.
Kylie’s very first BBG workout
Can you describe the basics of the programme?
BBG stands for Bikini Body Guide. It was designed by Australian Kayla Itsines, a personal trainer from Adelaide. BBG is a 12 week programme consisting of resistance training and cardio. The resistance training is 4x 7minute circuit workouts that you do 3 times a week focusing on different areas of your body (eg, Monday is legs, Wednesday is arms, Friday is abs).
On top of resistance training, you do a combination of LISS (Low Intensity Steady State cardio) and HITT (High Intensity Tactical Training). Each week you are given a different guide outlining the resistance exercises you are required to do in your circuit and how many reps to do each time.
Where did you do the BBG?
For the first few weeks of BBG I did it in the gym. I was paying for the membership, and it was winter, so being outside or at home didn’t seem like an option. As the weather improved I started to do a few workouts outside which made a nice change. You don’t need to have a gym membership to do BBG, you just need a few basic pieces of equipment and a bit of space.
What special equipment do you need for the programme?
The good thing about BBG is that all exercises can be modified to what you are capable of doing, the same goes with what equipment you have or don’t have. As the guides progress you are faced with harder exercises which can require additional pieces of equipment, however they aren’t essential. One example is the bosu burpees, where you are instructed to do burpees using a bosu ball. If you don’t have one of these you can modify and do normal burpees. The basics that you will need are a step/bench, dumbbells/weights and a skipping rope.
What made you stick with the BBG for 12 weeks?
I liked that in those 4x 7 minute circuits I came away feeling like I had done a really great workout, and it was all over in half an hour! I didn’t have to be in the gym for hours doing the same repetitive exercises and not getting anywhere. I stuck with it because I saw results from as little as 3 weeks.
I also liked not having to think about what exercises I needed to do that day. I walked into the gym, opened the guide for that day and just did exactly what it said. It didn’t require any forward planning. I liked the simplicity of the exercises. There was nothing outrageous in there that I hadn’t done before in a gym class, or done with a personal trainer, and doing exercises I had done before gave me confidence that I was going to be able to get through it.
Are there any other places that you got motivation from?
After seeing my colleagues instagram page dedicated to fitness, I decided to create my own dedicated instagram page. I knew that I needed something to keep me accountable. I knew that eventually I would fall off the wagon and would need a place to go to when that happened. Through instagram I found girls who were on the same week as me, going through the same issues, struggling with the same exercise and ultimately it was a great feeling knowing I wasn’t alone in this journey. Through my instagram page I also inspired others to start BBG, and that was motivation in itself.
I also get motivation from Kayla (the creator of BBG) herself. She posts so many inspiring stories and articles on instagram, facebook and email that she just feels like another one of the girls trying to improve their health and fitness.
How did finishing the 12 weeks feel?
Finishing the 12 weeks was the most amazing feeling. I felt a real sense of achievement, and I knew that my hard work over the 12 weeks had paid off. I lost a total of 5kg, and my clothes were all fitting a lot more comfortable. I also learnt a lot about myself in that I had determination and wasn’t prepared to give up. As soon as I started BBG I wasn’t going to let anything stop me from finishing.
The biggest achievement for me is being able to do a push up on my toes – for my entire life all push ups have happened on my knees, and I had come to accept that I would never be able to get any further than that. After about 8 weeks I attempted to do a push up on my toes and was amazed to see that I could achieve 1! Only 1, but that feeling alone was incredible. I tried to do more as the weeks went on, and I can now proudly do 5. (Please note that in any given BBG arm workout you can be doing anywhere from approx. 100 pushups within your 4x 7 minute workouts. Doing 5 on your toes is huge when you know your arms will feel like absolute jelly even from doing the rest on your knees).
Was there anything you found particularly challenging during the 12 weeks?
A huge part of BBG is what you eat (as is any healthy lifestyle you try to achieve) and in the beginning I was very disciplined and enthusiastic and ate very well. I had cut out processed foods, refined sugar, and was feeling really great! As the weeks went on and the weight fell off I started to relax and the treats started to sneak back in. This was definitely the hardest part, keeping the snacks and wine out of my life. It is something that I have to constantly work on, and it is my biggest struggle.
Some of the exercises are challenging, they are there to push you, and to make you work to your absolute maximum. I would be lying if I said I didn’t find BBG challenging, especially in the beginning, but the benefits were too great to not keep going. That would have to be the biggest part of this whole journey, you just have to keep going, even if you feel like you are failing, or you aren’t achieving as well as you had hoped, you just keep pushing through! It is worth it!
What’s next for you?
Over the course of the first 12 weeks I had to modify a lot of the exercises because I didn’t have the strength or fitness to complete the exercises as set out in the guides. Things like decline push ups (hands on the floor and toes on a bench) have not been possible as I have not been able to do a full set of push ups on my toes (as mentioned earlier, I can do 5 on my toes, then have to do the rest on my knees).
So I am going back to the beginning of week 1 to try and do BBG without modifying too much. When I first started this I was convinced I would try to get through it once and then stop, but I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed it and came to rely on it. I am looking forward to starting week 1 again and to see how much I have improved since starting this 12 weeks ago.
Kayla has a second guide available which is weeks 13-24, so once I feel comfortable with the first 12 weeks I plan on moving onto the next step.
Would you recommend the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide to others?
I absolutely would recommend it to others! Especially to those who are looking to live a healthy lifestyle, or wanting to lose some weight. It hasn’t always been easy, in fact I don’t think it has ever been easy, but it has been worth it and I enjoyed challenging myself, plus getting out of my comfort zone and attempting exercises I never would of thought possible before.
Why do you think the programme is so popular?
The top reasons why I think it is so popular is because of the duration of the workouts – 28 minutes out of your day to get these workouts done! And those 28 minutes are effective. Also you do not need a gym membership to complete BBG, so a lot of mothers/non gym goers find this workout achievable as they can do it from the comfort of their homes.
And social media! Having this community of woman all going through the same thing is incredibly empowering. There are various hashtags relating to BBG, and they make you feel like you’re one of the team. E.g #bbgcommunity, #kaylasarmy #bbgsisters – they all make you feel like you’re a welcome member of this exclusive club, and everyone is so supportive and encouraging towards one another. If you’re thinking of giving BBG a go check out these hashtags on intagram to see just how many people there are who have all wanted to be part of this journey.
Thanks so much Kylie, and I look forward to joining you on the BBG journey soon!
Thanks Leah! If anyone wants to follow my progress, or see how far I have come you can find me on instagram using my username: a_healthier_kylie.
I am happy to answer questions, provide my thoughts and opinions and hope to see a whole lot of woman giving this a shot! I have attached an image of my favourite quote which I think really represents what BBG is all about: You’ve always been beautiful. Now you’re just deciding to be healthier, fitter, faster & stronger. Remember that.
Have you ever tried the Kayla Itsines BBG programme? Would you give it a shot?
*Kayla has recently upgraded her BBG programme from a downloadable PDF that you could print off, to an app, which you pay for weekly to access (currently $4.61 NZD per week with a 3 month minimum). I imagine that this will make her programme even easier to take outside/to the gym with you. Read more about it here.