You may know her from her workout videos on Instagram, or maybe one of your friends has been hashtagging their fitness journey with #BBG, but it goes without saying that Kayla Itsines and her workout plan, the Bikini Body Guide, have been taking the internet by storm.
I found Kayla’s workout plan through a friend and decided to purchase it for myself. The first month I got it I was working about 50 hours a week between two jobs and I didn’t have time to commit to it. But then the next month rolled around and I had more time to go to the gym so I decided to give it a try.
Before the workout
Kayla recommends that you take before and after pictures of your body to document your progress. I did take these, but they were in a swimsuit and unlike her other BBG warriors on Instagram, I am totally not comfortable being that candid on Instagram. She also recommends weighing in.
Before I started the workout, I conveniently had a doctor’s appointment where I weighed in at 173 pounds to go along with my 5’5” height. This meant I had gained 15 pounds since my appointment last year. Not okay with me. This totally motivated me to get myself together.
This workout plan is good for someone like me who is super busy and wants an effective workout that doesn’t involve hours in the gym. Kayla organizes it by day and week, with workouts happening five times a week, with Sundays off and Friday being an option resistance routine.
Me (left) and my roommate after a hard BBG workout.
Week 1 of BBG
One thing I did before I went to the gym is sit down and read about how to do each workout properly. If you don't have weights or a big area to exercise, I highly recommend going to the gym or finding some sort of plyometrics room to complete the resistance workouts in. Boring, right? Yes, but totally beneficial. Kayla tells you how to do every movement the right way so you get your best workout in. I definitely recommend doing this so you don’t waste your time not getting a good workout in and also don’t end up hurting yourself.
The first day of the program is resistance training, which is basically jumping and strength training. I really liked this because it didn’t leave me bored as some workouts do. Kayla reminds you to not do any HITT (High Intensity Interval Training) because it is too hard on your body when combined with the resistance training. I usually do an intense elliptical workout that classifies as a HITT routine, so I skipped it and went right into the “Monday” workout for week 1.
The first work out consisted of a two-circuit resistance routine, which I had a lot of fun doing and made my roommate do with me. Monday's workout was about legs and cardio, so Kayla had me doing a lot of squat jumps, lunges and knee-us. We followed Kayla’s stretching routine and left the gym feeling good.
The next day, was LISS or a Low Intensity Steady State workout. Since you do this three times a week for the first four weeks, I picked something consistent that would also help my daily productivity. This could be anything from walking, to a light jog and can't be anything where your heart rate is rising and dropping. Since Kayla says you should maintain the same speed and intensity for LISS, I chose walking to work from my apartment, which is about two miles and fits perfectly into the recommended 45 minute time frame. I did this for the first week.
I moved Saturday’s LISS workout to Friday and walked to work and did not do the optional resistance training because I didn’t have time to go to the gym in between my jobs. Despite feeling sore, I already felt like I had more energy from just one week of a consistent work out routine and was happy that I could feel the progress even though I couldn’t see it yet.
Week 2 of BBG
Weeks 2’s resistance training really kicked my butt. The Wednesday workout was for arms and abs. Let's just say that I can totally tell how people get six packs from this program. Kayla has you do full situps (say goodbye to half-hearted crunches), different variations of push ups and leg raises. I felt so tired after leaving the gym. And by Friday, I didn’t want to go at all. I made myself go because I was going to be celebrating my friend’s 21st on Saturday and wouldn’t be able to work out at all.
My new Nikes to keep me motivated.
I think I was more tired because I wasn’t eating well at all. I am a hostess at restaurant that serves a lot of fried food and I get a free shift meal. Salad was getting boring and we have amazing French fries. I also work for my school’s student center and am stuck at a desk all day with a lot of access to not-so-great food. Since I was tired after work and the gym, meal prep wasn’t an option so I made sure I was drinking a ton of water despite eating unhealthily.
I kept myself motivated by buying myself a pair of new Nike workout shoes at Nordstrom Rack.
Week 3 of BBG
This week was a test. While these resistance workouts were the same as Week 1’s, I was at home in Pittsburgh and had limited workout space. My dad had dumbbells for me to use and I improvised a bench with a chair. I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to do the workouts right due to the small space I was working with at my parent’s house, but my dad (a former body builder) had no problem moving things around so I could workout in the living room.
Week 3 is when I became a believer in BBG. I noticed that my form was improving while doing the workouts now and I actually had fun working out every time unlike the week before. I still didn’t see any drastic changes, but my stomach and arms were tightening up and my calf muscles were starting to look more sculpted.
It was my first time home in a while, so I was trying to see all of my friends. This made me nervous for two reasons, my friends love food and we like trying new (and unhealthy) restaurants and they aren’t usually the people to ask for workout buddy. Luckily, one of my friends had also been doubting her weight so when we met up with our pals at Cheesecake Factory, we all ordered off of their “Skinnylicious” menu and I got amazing shrimp tacos.
I wouldn’t say any of the workouts got easier. They were all still hard and if I didn’t spend time stretching, it was hard to move the next day. If you’re expecting an easy workout throughout the 12 weeks, this isn’t the plan for you. The “easiest” workout is the LISS routine you decide on, but if you’re walking far and long enough then you will definitely feel some hurt in your legs.
Week 4 of BBG
This week was hard because I was starting my new job on top of my classes. The one thing that helped me was that the gym was open later than usual and I could work out at night more. I didn’t have that many hostessing shifts, so I made an effort to walk into the city (also two miles) when I had to shop.
The gym was more packed than usual because all of the freshmen, so I took my roommate with me again because I felt ridiculous doing the interval resistance moves like sumo squats and burpees by myself. This had to be the hardest week and I think is because I didn’t have as much LISS opportunities throughout the week so resistance really killed me.
I ate pretty healthily this week but I definitely focused more on just getting the resistance training done without paying attention to LISS. Since I wasn’t working out every day, I felt more bloated and just more tired.
This workout is perfect if you have the time to execute it according to Kayla’s plan. She doesn’t put restrictions on your diet but informs you that you shouldn’t eat crappy foods and that she never drinks alcohol because it’s bad for you. Since I’m very “on-the-go” I don’t think I did BBG the way others have, but I fit the workouts in the best that I could. It made me put into perspective how I treat my body in terms of stretching and not eating junk food. It also made me look for smaller changes in my muscle tone to see how much my body was improving. I weighed out at 167 pounds, which is 6 pounds shed! I’m going to try to keeping “sweating with Kayla” as the BBG girls say, and keep making improvements to get my best body!