So a couple of weeks ago I completed Kayla Itsines Bbg 1.0 for the second time through. For those of you that don’t know what Bbg is, it stands for ‘Bikini body guide’ and it’s a pretty high intensity 12 week exercise and diet programme designed by (seriously fit) trainer Kayla Itsines.
Now I didn’t follow the diet plan at all. I just ate what I wanted and tried to keep it fairly healthy most of the time…and failed at that regularly. But I am breastfeeding so calorie restriction is not an option, plus I have no desire to lose weight and my goals are more to tone and build muscle and increase my fitness levels. I also combined the three bbg resistance workouts with my own Kettlebell HIIT and although I walk a lot I didn’t strictly stick to the recommended amount of LISS all the time. So really the only thing I stuck to consistently was completing the guides resistance workouts. I also completed the guide at home and although I do have some exercise equipment (weights, Kettlebells and a low step) I did have to modify some of the moves so that I could do them with what I had to hand. For example stepups were done on a dining room chair. So here are my thoughts, opinions and pro’s and cons of the programme the way I completed it.
- It works. I have seen amazing progress in my body since completing the guide and I didn’t even follow the eating plan or worry too much about the recommended HIIT or LISS.
- You can complete the guide at home if you want to or don’t have access to a gym which is great if you are a mother like myself. I didn’t have to worry about childcare, expensive gym memberships or what I looked like completing my workouts. The only observer I had was my baby son…and he doesn’t judge me if I workout in pj bottoms and a sports bra!
- You can feel yourself getting fitter. The resistance workouts all consist of two 7 minute circuits that you repeat four times. The circuits get progressively more challenging nearer the end of the 12 weeks. The idea is that because it’s all about reps and timing you can keep repeating the programme without it becoming too easy. The fitter you get the more reps and rounds of the circuits you can get into the 7 minutes. My second round of bbg 1.0 was definitely easier than the first…slightly!
- The workouts are short. Around about half an hour (maybe slightly more if, like me, you occasionally pause the timer to catch your breath mid-circuit). It’s a manageable amount of time to fit into a busy day so there’s no excuse not to get it done.
- The eating plan gets a lot of criticism for being too low calorie. I can’t really comment on that as I haven’t used it. I am also breastfeeding so I eat around 2,500 calories most days and don’t really restrict myself at all, I just try and be mindful of what I eat. I did find completing the guide made me particularly hungry and I responded to this by eating more and just keeping the foods I was eating healthy and nutritious and not filling up on empty calories (too much).
- It’s intensive. This isn’t a ‘easy’ programme. I considered myself fairly fit and in good shape before completing this guide and it kicked my arse! This might put some people off but I would say get yourself prepared and your body used to a bit of exercise and then go for it. The fact your timer is set for 7 minutes for each circuit keeps you motivated to keep going until the end. Basically the torture is broken down into manageable 7 minute chunks!
- You might not lose weight. Not really a con more a heads up that your progress might not register on the scales. I weigh 1 lb more than when I started the guide but my waist is almost an inch smaller, my arms and abs are more toned than they have ever been and I feel physically in much better shape. Take progress photographs and your measurements because results are likely to show through them rather than the scale as you lose body fat and gain muscle.
- The name. This may be considered a petty con but I believe that bbg standing for ‘bikini body guide’ is not the most apt name for the programme. Yes it’s likely that your body will be stronger and look fitter and leaner on completing the guide, but everyone has a bikini body whatever shape or size they are just by putting on a bikini, and you shouldn’t need to fit a certain ‘ideal’ to feel like that. This guide is about more than looks it’s about fitness and building mental and physical strength. Completing it shows dedication and commitment and doing something entirely for yourself.
Results: My results mainly show themselves in my arms and my abs which are more toned than they have ever been. As mentioned I have not lost weight completing the guide but that was never my goal. I feel far more toned and I look leaner so it is clear that I have replaced some bodyfat with muscle. More than that though, I can confidently say that I am happier with the appearance of my body now, one year post partum, than I was before I had my son. A big claim but it’s true and I put that down to the guide. I would definitely recommend bbg, yes it’s intensive and at times you will curse Kayla Itsines as you struggle through your commandos and tuck jumps but it gets results. Not just physical results, but mentally it takes discipline and motivation to stick to the guide and anybody who completes it has a right to feel proud of themselves. I am currently on week 14 in bbg 2.0. It’s already a challenge, the arm workout nearly killed me this week! But I can’t wait to throw myself into this programme going into the new year and see what results I get from it.