If you’re into health and fitness and you haven’t heard about Kayla Itsines and her wildly popular workout guides – Bikini Body Guides, better known as BBG – then you must be into health and fitness while living under a rock.
Seriously, she’s everywhere.
And after scanning through the hundreds of thousands of photos under:
I decided to jump in and buy the damn guides. I mean, the Instagram photos of these women’s bodies are freaking amazing.
But could that all be bullshit? I wondered. Can you really get those insane results in just 12 weeks? And if you could, would it really be healthy?
I was skeptical but…Well, let’s just find out, shall we?
I should tell you that I first attempted the 12-week program while traveling across the country for three months camping in an Airstream trailer. I made it through week five (did not do the pre-training that time) and then I quit.
I honestly quit because I got tired of trying to figure out when to workout and shower, which was really quite a challenge while camping. It’s inconvenient to get super sweaty when you don’t always have access to hot, running water. The things we take for granted, right?
Anyway upon my return to civilization toward the end of November, I began BBG anew. And this time, I decided to take the slow but steady approach and begin where one should, with the pre-training program.
Now before I go on, I should probably explain how the program works.
If you go to Kayla’s website, you can download a free 7-day trial, which is sweet and you should totally do that. It will give you an idea of the type of workouts you’ll be doing.
Essentially though, it’s three 28-minute workouts a week, mixed with stretching and some lighter cardio sessions in between.
The 28 minute workouts are divided into four 7-minute intervals. It’s really not as complicated as it sounds. You start the timer on your phone and do the listed workouts over and over until it stops.
Then you do the other 7-minute interval.
Then you repeat them each one more time.
So that’s two sets of workouts, done twice, for seven minutes. Does that make sense?
What’s really nice about the program is its simplicity (you know we love that around here).
It’s a PDF guide so you can pull it up on your phone, your iPad or your laptop. I’m a dinosaur so I printed the entire thing out and bound it at my old office before I resigned (mwuahahaha) so I literally have a binder that I keep open to the right day’s workout.
Every single workout for 16 weeks is laid out for you with pictures. It’s really easy to follow. You also don’t need much equipment. I do the workouts barefoot in my bedroom most of the time. The only things I’ve really needed so far have been my iPhone (as my timer), two 5 lb dumbbells and a bench that I use to step up on and do tricep dips.
She also has a H.E.L.P. Guide (Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Plan) to accompany the workouts, which I bought as well but, don’t really follow. As health coaches, Bridget and I have our own cleanse which you can do too, btw!
Now, there are four weeks of pre-training and then 12 weeks of the regular training. At the moment, I’ve completed:
- Pre-Training Week 1
- Pre-Training Week 2
- Pre-Training Week 3
- Pre-Training Week 4
- BBG Week 1
- BBG Week 2
- BBG Week 3
- BBG Week 4
- And BBG Week 5, Workout 1 & Workout 2
Note: I actually only completed three of the four 7-minute intervals of Week 5, Workout 1, because I feel like hell when I did it. I might have been getting sick. So I stopped after three, caught my breath, and ate a cookie (not part of the healthy eating plan). Progress, not perfection, okay? Don’t judge me on the cookie.
After four full weeks on the regular training program (and four weeks of pre-training before that) here is what I know to be true:
The workouts are no f’in joke.
You wouldn’t think that in just seven minutes your heart could beat so hard, your thighs burn so hot, or your breath rush so fast right the hell out of your lungs. But that’s what happens. I get so sweaty. I love it. I have never been able to push myself like this before while working out on my own.
I noticed myself getting stronger almost immediately.
And my recovery time – the time it takes me to catch my breath and my heart rate to get back to normal – is decreasing rapidly as well. Both signs of getting in better shape. I should actually time that but, let’s be honest, I probably won’t.
This is the first time that I can remember sticking with something this long.
Seriously. I did a 30-day yoga training, I did ClassPass. I trained for a half marathon but, I’ve never stuck with something for a full eight weeks straight before. I haven’t missed a workout (except that pesky 4th interval during Week 5, Workout 1).
The community is so incredibly lovely and positive, as is Kayla herself.
This might be the biggest benefit to the BBG movement. If you hop on Instagram at any given time you’ll find incredibly brave and inspiring women posting pictures of themselves in their underwear. Documenting their progress, cheering each other on and motivating one another. It makes me want to cry. It’s a huge, body positive, healthy-living community lead by a super positive woman who really walks her talk.
For instance, just last week, I’d taken my weekly underwear pic. (Sorry, not brave enough to share those just yet, if ever. Though my sister-in-law caught an eye-full last week while looking at another picture on my phone. Oops.) I felt less than enthused with my progress. We’re always our harshest critics, amiright? After my workout I was still feeling a little down while sweating all over myself on my bedroom floor. So I opened up Instagram and was instantly inspired by my fellow BBG girls and their stories. After encouraging a couple of women for their progress and admitting my own self-doubt, I was met with kind words of inspiration and an important reminder that this is a journey and there are many benefits to the program – aside from the after photo.
And that’s what I really love about this community. Of course, everyone wants to feel amazing in a bikini, and that’s just smart marketing, but the mental benefits, the confidence, the stamina, the positivity and the improved body image are all non-scale victories that are just as important.
As Kayla says, this is about much much more than a bikini. It’s about women loving how they feel and the confidence that comes with it. Ugh, I’m crying now. Now I’m crying.
So for the business you probably really wanna know, and since I’m not posting underpants pictures just yet. (Although I really, really admire all those who are brave enough to do that. And I thank them because that’s what inspired me to start my own BBG journey). I will tell you that I have:
- Lost four pounds
- My entire body has shrunk over an inch in circumference (chest, natural waist, belly button and hips)
- I feel stronger and more toned
- My butt looks perkier and my stomach flatter
- And I’m super excited to complete the rest of the 12 weeks
Summary: I love BBG and yes, it is 100% worth the cost of the guides. If you’re in New York – it’s 16 weeks of workouts for approximately the cost of two barre classes.
And remember, I’m technically only a third of the way through!
I plan to write another review after week eight and then again after week 12. I hope you’ll come back to read those posts as well. I can’t wait to share my future progress with you guys.
So obviously, I cannot recommend Kayla and BBG enough.
And at the time of publishing this review, we are not receiving any affiliate commissions on her products. This is just my totally honest (and glowing) review of what I’ve experienced so far.
What’s your take? Have you tried BBG? Are you interested in it? Do you have any questions for me? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Oh and if you’re interested in that FREE healthy eating plan, you can grab it by entering your email right here, we’ll send it over.