If you don't know who Kayla Itsines is, then you probably don't have Instagram. She's the queen of the famous BBG workout programs, and has over 7 million followers on Instagram. With that, over 10 million woman are using her programs. Now that I've finished the first round of BBG, I wanted to give my honest opinion. Is it worth the money? Are the short workouts effective? Do you have to dedicate your entire life to see results? Keep on reading!
My journey with working out started in college. I'll admit it, I was never an active kid, until I did cheerleading in grade 8. After cheerleading, I never got into another sport. I wasn't sporty, I didn't care at all, and if anything got in the way of spending time with my friends, I wasn't for it. But in college, I needed a release from the stress school brought me. Working out 3 times a week was okay, and I would go to the gym a few times with my friends or go on hikes, but I never loved it. In fact, I hated working out but just like every girl I wanted abs and that was that.
Up until this January, I would go weeks where I would work out 4 times a week, and then take breaks for 3 weeks. I wasn't seeing results because I wasn't sticking with anything. From Jillian Michaels workouts that left me sore for a week to random videos I would find on YouTube, nothing inspired me to become that person I wanted to be. However, that changed in January 2017.
I made a promise to myself, not a New Years resolution, but a promise that I would work out 5 times a week and learn to love it. I had bought the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide (or BBG as I will refer to it from now on) a while ago and would do a couple days, get too sore, and want a break. This time I was determined to figure how I could stick to something and not bail. I'll be the first to admit I have commitment problems. What if someone wanted to go to a yoga class and I couldn't fit in the 28 minute workout? What if I was too sore? All these what ifs went through my head, and I decided that wasn't enough of a reason to not do it.
If you're not familiar with Kayla Itsines' workouts, I'll break it down for you. The program is 12 weeks long, and then there is a 2.0 version that is 13-24 weeks long. 3 days a week, you do resistance training. Legs, arms, full body and then full body changes to abs at the 5 week mark. You are expected to do resistance training 3 times a week, LISS which is low intensity steady state cardio 3 times a week, and rehabilitation (stretching) once a week. Once you reach week 9, you start HIIT which is high intensity interval training 1-2 times a week. So your week would realistically look like this:
- Monday: Legs
- Tuesday: A 35-45 minute walk
- Wednesday: Arms
- Thursday: A 35-45 minute walk in the morning, HIIT at night
- Friday: Full body or abs
- Saturday: A 35-45 minute walk, HIIT optional
- Sunday: Rehabilitation (stretching)
Seems like a lot, eh? Wrong. These short workouts are seriously a gift from heaven. The resistance training is only 28 minutes long. How? Well there are two circuits, and you time yourself for 7 minutes each circuit. You do each circuit twice equalling out to 28 minutes. You give it ALL you got, and by the end of the 28 minutes you're drenched in sweat, and feel absolutely unreal. HIIT is only 10-15 minutes also, so there is always time to do it.
So now for my review. Yes, I used to hate exercise. Used to. Kayla's workouts have changed my life and my body. From the girl who used to not commit to anything, I only missed one day of working out due to being sick. Other than that, I made up for it. You can always mash up your days to do cardio and resistance training in one day, so you can have more rest days or if you're just super busy. They always tell you if you love your job you'll never work a day in your life. I believe that's the same for working out. If you love the program you're doing, you'll look forward to it and not dread it.
I'm sure you've seen dramatic before and after pictures of women doing BBG. I'll put some below just so you can see what you're getting yourself into. I was never striving for a completely ripped body, but I was striving to see some changes and it's exceeded my expectations. I feel leaner, I have way more muscle than before and the best part? My anxiety and migraines are pretty much gone. That's the best part for me and the one I am most proud of.
Mental illness doesn't get spoken about enough, and I want that to change. Yes, exercise completely changed my life but I could care less about the body changes. It has completely changed my life in a whole different way. When my doctor used to tell me working out with help with my anxiety, I rolled my eyes thinking that was the last thing I wanted to do. I would be lying if I told you I don't workout to see changes in my body because I obviously do. But right now, I know if I quit this program, I would go right back to be anxious 24/7. And I am not about to do that. I also used to get awful migraines, ones where I wouldn't be able to work or do anything. Now, I get a mild headache a couple times a month. But not enough to cancel plans, it's amazing. I don't know if it was exercise in general or this program, but something along those lines changed my life and I am so grateful for that.
Realistically, I would probably be ripped if I followed her meal plan. However, I'll be honest, 1200 calories is not enough food for someone who is working out that hard. It's okay for someone who wants to lose weight, but that was not my goal, and that's the only issue I have with the program. So I follow a simple diet of eating clean, yet if I'm craving something I'll eat it. I also have an intolerance to gluten and am practically allergic to dairy, so with those two things I can pretty much stay away from foods I really want. But pizza and Five Guys will never be a no from me.
People think working out takes two hours a day, you have to your body at the gym to get abs and eating nothing but chicken and veggies to see results. That's not true. Not even a little bit. If you live a healthy lifestyle that is active, you will see results. Who cares about 80/20? Live a lifestyle that is 100% healthy for you whether that's 70/30 (which is what I try to do) or 50/50. Kayla Itsines' BBG workout plan is a bit pricey, but I guarantee it is worth it. Do I have rock hard abs? No. Do I have more muscle in my arms than ever? Yes. Do I still eat brownies when I want to? Yes, most times. If I'm craving it.
Do not be intimidated by the 12 week program. No matter what, you will see changes. I took before photos, and I never look at them. Because I truly don't care and like I said before, my mental health is what keeps me doing this program and I still have time to see my friends, go out, and keep seeing results. You don't have to dedicate your entire life to working out, but you have to dedicate 28-45 minutes every other day to see results. 28 minutes is absolutely nothing when you have 24 hours in a day.