This week marks the final week of the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide Workout! Wohoo!
So how did I find the entire program? Here’s a recap of what I love about the program, what I didn’t enjoy so much, what to watch out for and how I found my results.
Things I loved about the program:
1) The quick workouts: Each workout is, at its longest, only about 40 minutes. You start with five minutes of walking as a warm up, then you do the actual workout, which consist of four seven-minute circuit workouts with one minute of rest in between each circuit, followed by another five minutes or so for stretching and catching your breath at the end! Sometimes, on a really busy day, I skip the warm-up and stretches and I’m done in just a little over half an hour, but I always remember to stretch later on in the day when I have time. If not, those sore muscles will catch you out!
2) Being able to do the workouts at home: One thing I really enjoyed about the Kayla Itsines BBG is being able to do these workouts at home. No having to drive to the gym and search for parking, no having to worry about what the weather is like outside. You really don’t have any excuses not to do these workouts!
3) How fast and effective they are: Although the workouts are really short, they are so effective. I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical about just how effective such a short workout could be even though I’ve seen all those amazing results by other girls on Kayla’s Instagram page. But it’s true – they do work! I feel so much stronger, leaner and far more toned, even if I’ve missed some of my cardio on a certain week or if I’ve subbed a power walk or a run with a swim practice instead. Even if I’ve been eating poorly on a week, my body doesn’t bloat as badly as it used to before I started the program, which is definitely a win!
Left: Week 1; Right: Week 12
What to watch out for:
1) You really do have to do your cardio: No skipping! Those three days of 40 minute power walking or 15- minute HIIT that Kayla recommends doing on the alternate days to the circuit workout days? Make sure you do them! While the circuits help tone the body, the cardio helps to lean you out and get rid of the outer fat. So make sure you do your cardio!
2) Diet: It’s really true what they say about abs being made in the kitchen, and it’s the same even with such a well-designed exercise program like Kayla’s. Though I’m happy with my results, I know it’s not as awesome as some of the other girls who have done Kayla’s program and I know that’s partly to do with their diet. I’ve noticed that most of the girls with really noticeable differences have mentioned that they also follow her nutrition guide. While I do try to eat healthily, I’ve had more than just a few days where my diet goes completely the other way just because of things like being too tired or too busy to prep and cook healthy meals or being tempted by bad food while out with friends or when I just really want to crash on the sofa with my boyfriend after a long day, and that’s something I want to work on – so keep an eye for more posts about easy, tasty, accessible nutrition in the future!
3) This program will kill you: Those four sets of seven minutes each in which you do your circuits? They will feel like seven minutes of hell each time you do them. But hang in there, sisters – it’s only seven minutes each time! And no matter how much it might hurt, just remember – that means your body is changing and for the better!
Left: Week 1; Middle: Week 10; Right: Week 12
What changes I’ve noticed:
1) Arms and legs: My arms and legs definitely got much leaner and toned during the program. My legs have never really worried me because I’ve done so much running but the one change I’m especially happy with is my upper arms. That’s usually one of my problem areas but it wasn’t until the end of the program that I’ve realised that weeks have gone by where I haven’t once looked in a mirror and winced at my big upper arms – in fact, I’ve kind of forgotten all about them because they don’t bug me anymore! They’ve definitely gotten super lean and toned without getting big and muscly – and that’s what I’m really pleased about!
2) Back: I haven’t really looked at my back or taken any back pictures but I know I can definitely feel the difference – it feels much stronger and leaner <— can I say a back feels lean? That sounds a little silly, but that’s how I feel! Even my boyfriend has commented out of the blue one day that my back looks pretty good and he usually doesn’t notice stuff like that!
3) Stomach: Oh, the major problem area. Like many girls, this is the one area I struggle most with and no amount of running I’ve ever done (even in half-marathon training until I started really getting into 16km-plus distances) has ever put a dent in this area. Kayla’s BBG, however, is the bomb! Even when I’ve eaten badly and skimped on cardio, I have noticed a major difference. Love handles? Gone. Don’t even exist anymore. My stomach is definitely much flatter and leaner and, best of all it, doesn’t even bloat that much if I’ve had a particularly big and unhealthy meal. This, in my opinion, is definitely the best result I’ve had with Kayla’s program.
I don’t really have any cons, per se, but I thought I’d just add a couple of not-so-great things I found out while doing the program. To be honest, this isn’t really related to the program – I think it’s more about me and my mindset and staying disciplined! But I just thought in order to round out the experience, I’d put this down too so others can take note to stay on top of these issues when they’re starting the program!
1) Nutrition: This is really just me, but I do wish Kayla had placed a little more emphasis on the nutrition side of things as much as she does on exercise as I felt that was a really important component of obtaining and maintaining a healthy body. She does talk a fair bit about the importance of nutrition on her blog and Instagram page, and she has a nutrition guide out as well which I actually bought during the later weeks of the program. Still, while it is a pretty good guide (more on the nutrition guide in a future post), I couldn’t help wishing for more – for example, more actual recipes and maybe suggestions about how to maintain good nutritional habits if you’re living with a partner or have a family who aren’t into eating healthy as much as you are. I did have some good weeks where I ate really well, but at the same time I did feel like my inability to maintain really good nutritional habits all the time pulled me down a little with this one.
2) Working out on my own: This is a little bit of a pro and a con at the same time. On the one hand, doing this program on my own allowed me to do this in my own time instead of rushing to get to a class at a set time or missing a class just because I couldn’t make it at a certain time. If I wanted to do a workout at 3pm in the afternoon instead of 8am the next morning, I could do it without worrying about putting anyone else out. However, I did wonder if I would have pushed myself harder if I was doing the program with someone else. I felt like maybe I would be able to hold a plank longer or do more push ups without stopping if I had someone else to motivate and support me. I know there are some girls out there who do the program with friends but unfortunately I didn’t have anyone to do this with!
3) Burning out/getting bored: It was a really great program and those 12 weeks did fly by a lot quicker than I thought it would, though toward the end I did find myself getting a little burned out and bored with such a similar schedule every week. Though the exercises differed from week to week, toward the second half of the program, I still found myself longing to change things up a bit and do some different activities every now and then. I found I felt the same way while training for a half-marathon and running for days on end – sometimes you just have to change things up a bit, and if I had to do it again next time, I would probably like to change up the cardio occasionally and maybe even take one or two weeks off in between to just do a few different sports/exercises before getting back into it.
Would I recommend it?
The answer to this question is a resounding “YES!!!!” This is an extremely well written, well designed exercise program that has everything you could possibly want – the workouts are short, fast and super effective, they are designed specifically to give that awesome long, lean, toned look that everybody wants, they leave you feeling strong and amazing, and they tackle all the trouble areas that everyone has trouble with. I know I would definitely be using this program over and over again in the years to come. When it comes to exercise, Kayla Itsines definitely knows her stuff. I’ve done lots of different classes, great classes, and different workouts and I’ve never found anything as effective as this. It is definitely well worth the time, money and effort put into it!
So what’s next?
I was thinking of a couple of things – either repeating Weeks 8-12 or starting her second program which takes you on to Weeks 13 – 24. But, like I said, I’ve been longing to change things up a little now so I’ve decided I’m just going to spend the next couple of weeks mixing it up – doing some running and walking, incorporating some of my old gym classes, and maybe one or two circuit workouts from Kayla’s program – just doing whatever I feel like doing on the day itself. This will be more about listening to my body and taking a bit of a break and working out just for fun. Then I’ll see what I feel like doing after that – so stay tuned for more!
You can check out the rest of my weekly reviews for the 12-week program via the links below. I also have a few more posts up my sleeve to write about how my experience with the BBG program so please keep checking back in!
September 15th to 21st:
- Monday: Rest Day
- Tuesday: Kayla Itsines Bikini Body workout Week 12
- Wednesday: Kayla Itsines Bikini Body workout Week 12
- Thursday: Kayla Itsines Bikini Body workout Week 12
- Friday: Rest Day
- Saturday: 7.5km run/walk
- Sunday: 30 minute walk