Okay, so this review is probably longggg overdue because I've been doing Bikini Body Guide for almost 2 years now! Yes, I took my very first progress photo on April 9, 2015! My review will include my journey, frequently asked questions, and how to stay motivated.
Why did I start BBG?
I was already weightlifting and a frequent gym goer. I wasn't unhappy with my body, but... I knew I could improve. Fitness was becoming a passion for me, and I especially loved looking at other people's progress photos. So almost every night, I would look through Instagram hashtags like #fitspo, #transformationtuesday, #girlswholift, and that's how I stumbled upon ALL these #BBG posts. I was like, "What the heck is BBG?" The more I looked, the more I was inspired and amazed by the transformations. There were so many women posting their transformation from flab to abs in 12 weeks. That's the moment I decided I WANT A SIX PACK.
Did I get a six-pack in 12 weeks?
Nope! It took me 16 weeks for me to see separate ab sections, and they only show on good days (aka when I eat well)! But because of BBG, I started reading more about nutrition. Combining both nutrition and exercise is so important to get the body you want. But this journey has also taught me that it's not just about aesthetics... you become mentally and physically stronger. I've also realized that always having a visible six-pack is personally not sustainable for ME, especially because I work a full-time desk job, travel a lot, and have a photography business on the side. I've learned that just enjoying life, eating healthy 75% of the time, and feeling great is what keeps me motivated. And that's why I love fitness because you are always learning about yourself, your goals, and, ultimately, what makes you happy.
How does BBG work?
BBG is a 12-week workout guide:
- 3x a week: resistance training for 28 minutes
- 2-3x a week: low intensity steady state (LISS) cardio for 30-45 minutes
- 1-2x a week: high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for 10-15 minutes
- Stretches are in the guide also. Stretch every day!
There doesn't have to be a set schedule as long as you get all your workouts in. So a sample workout schedule could look like this:
|Resistance||Legs & Cardio||Arms & Abs||Full Body|
|LISS||45 min. speedwalk||45 min. speedwalk||45 min. speedwalk*|
|HIIT||15 min. (on/off) sprint|
*or take a rest day
The longest you would actively be working out is 45 minutes! That's why I like the program because it's short and sweet but EFFECTIVE.
PS - If you'd rather have an app tell you what to do, the BBG Sweat app is available for ~$20/month.
How do you BBG correctly?
I love BBG, but a lot of people get confused about the guide instructions! I'll break it down for you because I'm super detailed and want everyone to succeed!
There are 3 resistance training days:
- Legs & Cardio
- Arms & Abs
- Full Body
So many people have gotten the guide and finished the Week 1, Day 1 workout and have told me it was hard, but they finished the first circuit under 7 minutes and had plenty of time to rest. Uhh, REST? You have to KEEP GOING! Here is the proper timing (using Week 1, Day 1: Legs & Cardio as an example):
- Time Circuit One for 7 minutes (if you finish before the timer is up, repeat circuit 1 from the beginning until the timer goes off)
- Rest 30-90 seconds before moving on to Circuit Two
- Time Circuit Two for 7 minutes (if you finish before the timer is up, repeat circuit 2 from the beginning until the timer goes off)
- Rest 30-90 seconds
- Repeat steps 1-3 so that you've completed each circuit twice!
These circuits are no joke. You will end up drenched in sweat, but in only 28 minutes... you're done for the day!
Low Intensity Steady State Cardio (LISS)
This is any form of cardio that is low-intensity and low-impact over a prolonged period of time. For me, I speed walk on the treadmill, hop on the elliptical, or walk my dog for 45 minutes straight. It's kind of boring, but you need to incorporate this kind of cardio to recover from high-impact exercise, and it's effective for burning fat. Read more about LISS here.
High-Intensity Interval Training
HIIT is super intense... I sprint on the treadmill for 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds for a total of 15 minutes. It has me drenched in sweat and feeling super accomplished afterward! It's a short session, but it's super effective at burning fat, even way after you're done working out. On days where a 15-minute session of HIIT is all I do, I'm usually starving after! Read more about HIIT here.
Can I incorporate BBG along with my normal routine?
I used to follow the BBG schedule religiously. I thought if I followed it EXACTLY, I would get the results I wanted. But I did realize that BBG doesn't really grow your butt. Or define your back. And it can get mind-numbingly boring. So mix it up and have fun. You can count weightlifting, yoga, or spin classes as LISS. You can even stop doing the BBG schedule to start taking workout classes and throw in BBG routines when you feel like it.
Do I need to buy/follow Kayla Itsines' nutrition guide?
I didn't, but I learned about nutrition on my own. You need to change bad eating habits to really see progress. I used to eat very little and worked out hard, but it left my cranky and bloated. Now I eat more than ever! So educate yourself on food, and not only will it help you see progress, but you'll learn how to be healthy overall!
How to stay motivated
Surround yourself with like-minded people. Instagram is SO great for that! I even started a fitness account on Instagram to find more BBG and health-related accounts to follow. Also, ask yourself why you're doing this... looks? Health? All of the above? Keep asking yourself that so you don't lose sight of your goal. Keep progress photos also. I've heard from so many people that seeing their own progress is what keeps them going.
Last bit of advice
- Work on proper form over repetitions when doing the exercises so that you don't injure yourself.
- Slow and steady wins the race. Remember this and don't be discouraged. I didn't see my the stomach I wanted in 12 weeks like a lot of other people. I went another month before I finally saw what I was aiming for.
- The downside of Instagram is wanting to look like fitness idols that you admire. Instead, compare your own progress photos! Everyone's body is different (including muscle structure), so you can't look like someone else, no matter how hard you try.
- Educate yourself on nutrition. You will not see the progress you want if you don't eat right.
- BBG has changed my life. I don't do it religiously anymore, but I've learned so much about fitness and nutrition because of it. It comes naturally when you want to improve every day. So I urge you to try this program for 12 weeks and see where you go from there.. a lot can happen in that time. I ended up doing it for 70+ weeks!
Favorite Workout Items: