What is BBG?
BBG stands for The Bikini Body Guide, and it is a 12-week workout plan/guide created by Australian Personal Trainer Kayla Itsines. The guide consists of 28-minute high-intensity resistance sessions, low-intensity (LISS) and high-intensity (HIIT) cardio, along with lots of educational content. There is BBG 1.0 (weeks 1-12), BBG 2.0 (weeks 13-24), and BBG stronger (more weights and gym equipment; pretty sure this is only available in the SWEAT app).
What made you start BBG?
Two of my new year’s resolutions were to exercise more and eat better. Before starting BBG, I had heard of the program but I didn’t really know what it was. A friend of mine had completed the program before, and of course I had seen all of the amazing transformation pictures that people post on Instagram. I had also been following Kath Stevens (a fellow BBG girl, 3+ years), and her posts were always so inspiring and real. She is all about self-love, and she never sugar-coated her health/fitness journey. She really gave me the courage and confidence to begin this journey, and change my life. Before deciding to fully commit to BBG though, I did my research to see what it was all about. The fact that the workouts were only 28 minutes had me sold! I started with the pre-training on February 12th (4 weeks of workouts to prepare my body for the intensity of BBG — I had been living a pretty sedentary lifestyle for the past year or so), and then began BBG week 1 a month later!
Where can I get it?
BBG is available for purchase on Kayla’s website! You can opt for the eBook (a one time charge), which is what I currently use, or you can download the SWEAT app (a monthly or yearly charge). I am not that familiar with the SWEAT app, but I do know that it has a built-in timer, videos of each exercise, and audio cues!
Should I purchase the SWEAT app or the eBooks?
That decision will honestly be up to you! I have the eBooks (pdfs) on my phone, and I just whip them out along with my phone timer when I am ready to workout. They are easily accessible, and I had no issues using them. If you are the kind of person that would benefit from the audio cues, timer, videos, etc., then the app will probably be better for you. I could figure out most of the exercises on my own, and if I was unsure about something, I just looked it up on YouTube! If you are new to working out, the app would probably be easier, and very beneficial.
What equipment do I need?
The thing I love about BBG is that it requires minimal equipment! I could workout from the comfort of my own home, and I didn’t have to purchase a gym membership, or a bunch of equipment. In the guide, Kayla recommends that you have:
- Bosu Ball
- Dumbbells (3-6 kg each)
- Medicine Ball (6-12 kg)
- Skipping Rope
- 1-2 Flat Benches (30 cm+)
Some of you may already have this laying around your house, which is great! I didn’t own any of this equipment, and I didn’t go out and purchase anything either. I chose to be creative, and use items that I could find in my house. Here are the items I used as substitutes:
- Bosu Ball → completed the exercise without it (wasn’t a big deal)
- Dumbbells (3-6 kg each) → jugs of laundry detergent
- Medicine Ball (6-12 kg) → a gallon jug of water, a wine bottle, or a jug of laundry detergent
- Skipping Rope→ just went through the motions as if I had one
- 1-2 Flat Benches (30cm+) → a square ottoman, or a staircase
It is totally up to you to decide if you want to go out and purchase the recommended equipment, but I just wanted to show you that it is possible to complete the guide without it!
How are the workouts structured?
Each BBG resistance session consists of 2 7-minute circuits. There are 4 exercises in each circuit, and you are to complete them in order as many times as possible during those 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, you are to rest for 30-90 seconds. Each circuit is completed twice, and you alternate between the 2.
I was usually only able to complete 1 full circuit within the 7 minutes, sometimes having time to do 1-2 extra exercises. It doesn’t really matter how many times you can complete the full circuit. What really matters is that you are moving and working as hard as you can the entire time! Here is an example of a workout:
I used an app called Interval Timer, so that I wouldn’t have to keep resetting my iPhone timer. It lets me create a “routine” with a timer for a warm-up, my 7-minute circuits, rest between each circuit, and a cool-down. I can also control my music within the app, which is really nice. If you purchase the SWEAT app, there is a built-in timer. Screenshots from the Interval Timer app are below for reference:
LISS and HIIT sessions are more laid back. You get to choose what activity to do, and as long as you perform the session for the required amount of time, you’re good!
What do LISS and HIIT stand for?
LISS: Low-Intensity Steady/Sustained State. This is any cardio/aerobic activity that is performed at a low intensity, but for a prolonged period of time (Kayla recommends 35-45 minutes). Examples of LISS include:
- Fast-paced walking (my personal favorite!)
- Low-resistance cycling
- Elliptical work
- Cardio circuits
For LISS, I usually walked outside. I enjoyed the fresh air, and it was easy to do. Toward the end of my 12 weeks I started performing my LISS inside, primarily due to the weather (gotta love that summer heat + rain). It was nice to change it up a bit though. I used Fitness Blender’s YouTube videos for my indoor LISS, but there are tons of other things that you could do!
HIIT: High-Intensity Interval training. Interval training consists of “rest” and “work” periods. You are expected to give it your all during the “work” period, and then give your body time to recover during the “rest” period. Examples of HIIT include:
- 10-15 minutes of interval sprints (hills or flat surfaces)
- High-intensity workout videos on YouTube
I used YouTube videos again for my HIIT sessions. POPSUGAR Fitness was my favorite channel for this, but like I said before, there are lots of videos and other things that you can choose from! The internet is your friend!
Did you follow Kayla’s H.E.L.P. guide as well?
H.E.L.P. is Kayla’s nutrition guide. I didn’t follow this guide, but I did improve my eating habits. I drink water 95% of the time, I reduced the amount of processed and fast foods I eat, and I eat cleaner. I am all about balance, so of course I still enjoy Chick-fil-A and pizza on occasion. It is about moderation! I don’t believe in fad diets or restrictive eating, so I have slowly tried to incorporate healthier items/swaps daily. This has really helped me develop a healthy relationship with food, which is so important.
What does a typical BBG week look like?
Each week consists of resistance, cardio, and rehabilitation (stretching) sessions. There are 3 resistance sessions per week, usually broken up into arms, abs, legs, and full-body. Kayla has created a FREE timetable to help you personally structure your workouts. Everyone’s lives are different, so you have the freedom to create your own schedule. As long as you complete the required sessions weekly, you are fine! The timetable I used is below:
I personally performed the resistance training sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and my LISS sessions on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I performed my rehabilitation session on Saturday as well. When it was time to do a HIIT session (later in the program), I just completed it after a LISS session. Sunday was my rest day. This was exactly how the eBook was structured, so I found this easier to follow.
Kayla recommends that you do not perform a resistance session and a HIIT session on the same day. She also recommends that you do not perform more than 2 resistance and/or cardio sessions in one day. Lastly, she recommends that if you perform LISS and resistance training on the same day, you split them into 2 separate sessions (morning and night).
Is it hard? How do you stay motivated?
To put it simply, yes, BBG is hard. But that is expected, your workouts should be hard! If they aren’t hard then what’s the point ya know? That first week my body was the sorest it had ever been, which was so surprising to me (stretching is your best friend ladies). I was a competitive cheerleader from roughly age 7 until age 18, so I thought that this would be a walk in the park (spoiler alert: it wasn’t). BBG was a different ball-game. I never thought that I could sweat so much and work so hard in just 30 minutes but I did! That’s what I really love about the program. You can feel your body getting stronger with each workout. Maybe that next week you can do 3 more burpees without stopping, or maybe now you don’t have to do push-ups on your knees anymore.
So many girls have reached out to me stating that they’ve tried BBG multiple times, but that they can never stick with it. Throughout these 12 weeks there have been so many moments where I’ve wanted to stop. “I’m tired”, “It’s too hard”, “I can’t do it”. Instead of letting my negative thoughts win, I pushed myself to keep going. There’s nothing better than that feeling after you’ve completed your workout (gooooo endorphins). And then after time, it did get a little easier. Not easier in regard to the difficulty of the workouts (because those progressively get harder), but easier to keep going because I established a routine. My body was used to being active, and it craved it. Once you start seeing and feeling those changes in your body, you won’t want to stop. And I liked the fact that everything was always laid out for me. I didn’t have to search for or think of a workout. I knew exactly what I needed to do everyday, which definitely made it easier to stick with it. Like I said, the routine of everything was key for me. Plus, the workouts were pretty short. I knew that I could dedicate 30 minutes of my day to bettering myself. Out of the 24 hours we have, half an hour is nothing! I’m not someone who wants to spend hours in the gym, so BBG was quick, effective, and perfect for me. I also felt like telling other people really helped. I told my friends, family, and boyfriend, and made sure to post updates on Instagram to hold myself accountable. Kayla has written a post about how to stay motivated, and I made sure to read it before I started.
Were you able to properly execute every exercise?
Throughout the program, I definitely had to modify some of the exercises. For example, all of my push-ups were done on my knees, and I did planks instead of commandos. I listened to my body and if an exercise was too difficult, I made the necessary adjustments. Within the guide Kayla lists regressions for certain exercises, which was so so helpful. If you can’t do a certain exercise, try to do something close to it! Don’t risk becoming injured!
What happens if I miss a day?
If you miss a day, you could do one of many things:
- Continue the week as normal
- Make up that day (add in an extra workout, whether that be on your rest day, or double-up)
- Start over the next week (repeat that week where you missed the workout)
When I missed a day, I added in a workout on Sunday (my rest day). Some days I doubled-up, so I would do 2 LISS sessions or a LISS + resistance session. It is honestly up to you what you want to do! If you don’t feel like that one missed day is that big of a deal, then just continue the week. Things happen! I wouldn’t advise missing more than 2 resistance workouts in one week though, so if you can’t make them up it is probably best to start the week over. Generally, missing a LISS session isn’t as bad as missing a resistance session, as that is easy to squeeze in.
Have you lost any weight?
I want to start off by saying that I have always been relatively “skinny”. My metabolism is pretty fast, and I can mostly eat whatever I want and not really worry too much about it. When I told people that I was starting BBG, they would say things like “Why? You’re already so skinny” or “You don’t need to lose any weight” and this frustrated me. Why did I have to want to work out to lose weight? That’s not what health and fitness is always about. I wanted to be healthy. I wanted to feel good. I was tired of not having energy. I was tired of my back constantly hurting. I was tired of not loving the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Yea I was “skinny”, but I wasn’t taking care of my body. It wasn’t getting the nutrients it needed, and it definitely wasn’t getting the activity it needed. I honestly couldn’t tell you if I have lost any weight, because I don’t weigh myself. That number on the scale is so insignificant to me (especially since muscle weighs more than fat), and I refuse to let it define who I am. The whole reason I wanted to start BBG was to tone my body, and become stronger. After these 12 weeks I can confidently say that I have done both! I will attach some of my progress photos below (Kayla recommends taking them every 4 weeks). Please please please do not compare your journey to mine. Everyone is different, and we will all see different results. It has taken me a while to accept this, and that’s okay! I don’t really have an “end goal” or “ideal body”, so we will just see where my fitness journey continues to take me!
After the 4 weeks of pre-training, I started to visibly see results. Mainly in my stomach and thighs:
One of the downfalls of the huge BBG community is the comparison. I have definitely struggled with comparing myself to other girls on Instagram. Sometimes I would find myself scrolling through BBG transformation pictures for way too long. It took a while for me to begin accepting and loving my body for what it was. Week 5 was when this finally happened. I hadn’t really felt comfortable in my body in a long time, and this was the first time throughout this journey that this had happened. The changes were still small, but I knew that they were happening…both on the outside and the inside:
I was so happy after I took this picture. My arm has never been this muscular. For the first time ever I felt strong. Even my parents and boyfriend were starting to notice the changes in my body, and it felt good:
Okay I see you baby abs! I was super proud of myself at the beginning of Week 9. I was 3/4 of the way through the program, and it was definitely showing:
And here are my final photos! I am so proud of myself:
Welcome to the gun show, pew pew pew:
What is your plan now?
I don’t think I am quite ready for BBG 2.0 yet, so I decided to start my second round of BBG 1.0! This will pretty much take me up to my first day of PT school, which is perfect. After I complete BBG 1.0 again, I’m not sure what I will do. I still want to have some kind of workout routine while I am in school, but I don’t know if I will be able to commit to BBG (at least when I first start). But who knows…we will cross that bridge when we get there. For now, I am excited to do it all over again!
I honestly didn’t expect anyone to actually be interested in my BBG experience, so thanks for reading about it!
I hope I answered any questions you may have had about BBG, or maybe even inspired you to start! If you are thinking about starting BBG, here is a FREE BBG-style workout that should give you a little preview of what the program is like! If you have anymore questions, feel free to ask!
(This post is not sponsored in any way! All opinions are my own.)