A few years ago, I felt bored with my workout regimen and wasn’t really seeing results. When my friend shared a NYT article about Kayla Itsines (link), a mega-popular trainer, I was super impressed with her genuine personality and perspective on fitness. After browsing her Insta page (which now has 10.9 million followers) and seeing the jaw-dropping transformation photos, I decided to jump on the BBG (Bikini Body Guide) bandwagon. Kayla’s program is one of my favorite home workout routines and I’m so excited to share about why I love it.
The SWEAT App
When I first started BBG in 2016, Kayla just launched the app and it’s definitely evolved. It now includes workouts from other trainers, like Body & Mind by Sjana Elise, PWR & PWR Post-Pregnancy by Kelsey Wells, BUILD by Stephanie Sanzo, and FIERCE by Chontel Duncan. I’m sure the SWEAT app will continue to add more programs and trainers which is a pretty cool feature. I’ve mainly stuck with the original Kayla workouts and challenges. I just genuinely love them and haven’t felt compelled to explore the other programs yet.
You can now choose from the ‘Something Different’ menu and use a newer training style if you want more variety. I’ve found that these generally include more weights and equipment. You can do several of the workouts with basic equipment, like dumbbells, a jump rope, and a bench, but some of the added programs require more full-scale gym equipment. If you’re at the gym and not sure where to start, the Full-Body strength program would be a great option.
The app also offers food suggestions and meal plans, like what to eat for a morning or afternoon snack. Each day comes with a new menu and it’s pretty thorough with recipes, ingredient lists, and diet types. I haven’t used the food feature, but I’m sure it could be helpful for someone just starting out or who could use some healthy food inspiration.
If you’re interested in tracking your activity or overall progress, the app also syncs this data. I also don’t pay attention to these or even the community feature (where you can find BBG social media accounts and encouragement), but if you’re die-hard or need that extra motivation, it’s a fun platform and unique concept. There are thousands of Instagram and Facebook pages devoted to BBG transformations and progress. I follow a few and it’s amazing to see the results of so many women who are clearly stronger and have taken their health and fitness to a whole new level.
The app is pricier than most fitness apps out there, and I think this deters a lot of people from giving it a try. If you’re using the app religiously, then it’s pretty reasonable and a smaller investment then a studio or gym membership. A monthly subscription costs $19.99 or you can save more by paying quarterly, half-yearly, or yearly (up to 50%, which breaks down to $9.99 a month).
Every week, the goal is to complete 3 resistance workouts (legs, abs, and arms) alongside a few low and high-intensity workouts. The low-intensity workouts can include running, biking, walking, jumping rope, or whatever recreational activity you prefer. For the high intensity, you can do intervals, like sprinting, for a 10-20 minute window. I never knew how much I loved sprinting until I started BBG. It’s quick, efficient, and torches calories.
Each resistance workout is made up of 4 circuits, 8 exercises total, that alternate between 2 different 7-minute sets. I usually complete a resistance workout within 33-40 minutes (including a stretch). It’s super convenient that the app times the workouts, buzzes when you’re finished, and tracks everything so you don’t have to think about it. The workouts are super challenging, efficient, and effective. They’re pretty easy to learn and there’s a thorough explanation for each exercise. During the workout, you can pause to read directions if needed.
I’ve been using the BBG app for almost 3 years, so I’ve literally tried almost every workout or level. Each one offers something unique and becomes increasingly challenging. Sometimes the exercises can be repetitive or you may get sick of a certain ab move, etc. I just adjust accordingly and add weights or modify if needed.
Also, I now have a home gym in my condo building which is awesome, but when I first started I literally did every workout in the living room of my very small apartment. I just had a mat, bench, and some weights. You can easily do these workouts anywhere and they’re super accessible.
When I first started BBG, I followed the program for 24 weeks straight and rarely missed a workout. Here’s my first transformation pic after finishing week 12, round 1, of BBG. I did not anticipate sharing these so I apologize for the low quality haha. I was thrilled with my progress and it was the first homework I ever tried where I noticed results.
There wasn’t a huge difference, but I felt stronger, more toned, and could finally see my abs peaking through! Here are a few more progress pics from when I completed BBG 2.0:
These pics were taken after completing 4 months of consistent BBG workouts and I felt AMAZING! My body looked more toned than ever and I was beyond happy with my progress. Interestingly, I did not lose weight; in fact, I gained a few pounds (GASP! I’ll let that sink in…) This is an important reminder to NOT focus on the scale, as my clothes did fit better and I could see increased muscle in my glutes, hamstrings, arms, back, and legs. Strength training and toning is way more important to me than being a skinny-minny. I also don’t worry about the scale because I maintain a healthy balance of eating clean/ sticking to whole foods and being active. Consequently, I’m stronger, more confident, and not obsessed over my weight.
Now that I mix up my routine with more studio workouts, I usually do about 1-2 BBG workouts a week. I highly recommend BBG and it’s really an awesome, effective program. I’ve also tried quite a few home workouts/ fitness apps that I plan to review and share this year. If you’re contemplating creating a healthier habit or amping your fitness routine–go for it! Focus on the reward and stick with a routine. You’re more capable than you realize and don’t let excuses hold you back!