If you’re at all clued into my social media accounts, you’ve probably figured out by this point that I have been doing an exercise program called the Bikini Body Guide for the last three months (worst name ever, but for obvious marketing reasons because what girl isn’t going to want to peep something with that name?). BBG was created by a fit as fuck Australian woman named Kayla Itsines, who is very young, very tan, has 42 ab muscles, and makes exercise look easy. So basically, she’s a stupid bitch, but not really at all because she created this revolutionary program that has made hundreds of thousands of girls fitter, happier, and baller AF.
The guide is 12-weeks long; for those of you who are slow to math, that’s three committed months of this program. Ideally, each week consists of three predetermined circuit workouts created for you by Kayla, and 2-3 LISS (Low Intensity Steady State, AKA moderate cardio) sessions. So, essentially, you’re working out 5-6 times a week. In summary, this program does not fuck around.
Because this was the first-ever workout program I’ve attempted and subsequently finished, I wanted to write a post about my experience with it: the ups, the downs, the easy (LOL), the hard. I can’t tell you how many girls have reached out to me via Facebook, asking all about the guide and wondering out loud whether or not they should try it. Well, I’m here to tell you as a semi-fit curvier gal who had been doing just OK with her own workout regime but wanted to see bigger and better results:
YOU SHOULD TRY IT.
And not only try it, but DO it. And finish it. And fucking own it. Because if I can, anyone can.
So, here is my story behind BBG and my major takeaways from it:
After gaining about 13 pounds over the course of a year and a half, I had decided to buckle down and get my shit together. I started working out consistently in December 2014, but by March or so, had very little to show for it. No real definition or toning had appeared, just an overall feeling of relief that I was at least moving my body in anaerobic and aerobic ways again and hoping it would all be worth something eventually. I grew frustrated. Really frustrated. NOTHING was happening. Sure, I had dropped a few initial pounds that had basically been waiting for me to dismiss them with a wave of my hand (the first few always come off easily), but nothing very visible had happened and my clothes were still too snug. I was straddling the line between two sizes, and knew if I ended up having to go up a size, I would never forgive myself. So one out of who knows how many nights of sitting on my couch, probably eating something not great for me and cursing the entire notion of getting fitter, I started texting a friend about my frustrations. She mentioned she herself had just started BBG and maybe I should try it, too? The program sounded familiar to me, and it was then I remembered a friend had actually sent me the guide back in November. I had a hazy memory of opening the email, downloading the guide, taking one look at it, and saying NOPE.
So, that night, I pulled the guide up again and this time, I really looked at it. Then I sent it to my best friend for review who’s been working out since she was 13 (soccer). “This is some intense shit,” she acutely observed. “But you can do it.” “What if I can’t though, Kelley? What if I suck and get so discouraged or physically can’t make it through some exercises or give up halfway through?” “Look,” she likes to start sentences this way. “We’ll do it for 4 weeks. Ok? You can do 4 weeks. And at the end of the 4 weeks, we’ll assess. Ok?” “Ughhhh….” I bemoaned the thought of failing. “4 weeks! You in?” “Okay. 4 weeks.”
And thus began my love affair with BBG.
Now, 12 weeks later, here are my top takeaways:
• Don’t start it unless you’re ready to commit. This guide was built-out a certain way so it works a certain way, and if you go about it casually or sporadically, you won’t see results. Only press “start” when you have figured how it will fit into your daily schedule, and know you are ready to kick shit up a notch. Of course, life happens, so if you start BBG with the best intentions and end up missing a few weeks in a row, go back to the start. Keeping starting from week 1, day 1 until you get into a consistent rhythm.
• Don’t waste time buying the eating guide that goes with it unless you’re just the absolute worst at portion control and balance and literally cannot trust yourself for shit. Every girl who has reached out to me has asked whether or not I followed the meal guide, and the answer is no. To me, meal plans/guides aren’t realistic and the only way I will continue with a big change in my lifestyle is if it has realistic checkpoints. Personally, it has been a goal of mine for the last (almost) year to just learn how to eat better for myself; to learn what fills me up, how much I really need of something, how to not eat until I’m so full that I hate myself, and just to conquer overall balance in my daily meal choices. It’s taken some experimentation and has had a few pitfalls (overeating or under eating), but I finally found eating patterns that work best for me and are realistic. I eat as impressively as I can 80% of the time and leave the other 20% of the time wide-open for ice cream, beer, wine, pizza, burgers, fries, tacos, queso, vodka, whiskey, TCBY… you get the picture. This balance is the only way I can stay sane.
• DON’T. SKIP. CARDIO. The guide pretty much lays out your weeks for you: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are the prearranged circuits. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday should involve independent cardio sessions that range anywhere from 30-45 minutes. A lot of girls skip the cardio. DON’T. SKIP. THE CARDIO. I fully believe I would not have had the same results had I been lax about doing cardio on my own. A long walk with Cece, 20 minutes on the treadmill and 20 minutes on the elliptical, or whatever sort of low intensity cardio you like best — it ALL COUNTS. And it ALL HELPS. Doing just the circuit training won’t get you as far as you want, trust me. Don’t be stupid. Don’t skip cardio.
• Around week 6, you’ll get discouraged. I don’t know what it is about this week in particular, but it seemed to be a pattern amongst BBGers. A month and a half in, you expect to see a whole new you in the mirror. And when you inevitably don’t, something snaps. “This isn’t working,” “I should just stop,” “Fuck this stupid program,” “I’ll never see results,” and “I want all the pizza that’s ever been” are thoughts that go through your mind during week 6. But hear me loud and clear — DON’T GIVE UP! It’s just the week 6 hiccup. Get over that hump, and I promise you that in a few more weeks, you’ll laugh at yourself for being such a brat.
• Focus more on your form and nailing every rep of every exercise rather than how many times you get through the the circuit in 7 minutes. Sure, getting through it twice is impressive (and basically impossible?), but doing half-ass moves to get there isn’t awesome.
• Create a separate BBG account on Instagram. What? I know. It sounds weird and awkward, but if you’re really serious about completing the program and holding yourself accountable, creating a BBG-only profile really helps. There’s an entire BBG community out there just waiting to support you, cheer you on, and be some of the greatest Internet friends you’ve never met.
• Stop counting calories, like, yesterday. It took me a while to let the whole calorie-logging thing go. I was a slave to MyFitnessPal for a while there. But finally, I somehow decided to just stop because I honestly think it works against you. It drives you insane and can be very discouraging. More importantly, counting every calorie every day is unrealistic and, as mentioned before, I only abide by overall healthy lifestyle guidelines that are realistic and have every opportunity to last and help you out. Stopping with calorie counting seriously helped me a lot. I’m convinced it might have fueled more results toward the end of my BBG journey. For real. Just DON’T do it.
And now, since you so patiently read through all of that ranting (and I’m assuming you didn’t just scroll down until you found them), I present to you my results!
So, there you have it! Now go. Do it. Get it. Be about it. And pray daily to Kayla, the god of all things fitness.