Sunday, 19 February 2017

What is BBG? One Mom's Review of the Kayla Itsines Exercise Program

Ohhhh... working out. We all need to do it so why is it so dang hard? 

After I had my second daughter, Gabby, I felt like the weight just didn't fly off the way it had after my first child. I don't know if it was the steady diet of bagels or the fact that my metabolism was slowing down at 33, but it STUCK. I started the 21 Day Fix program and I saw huge changes in my body. While I felt a lot fitter exercising with Autumn Calabrese, I wasn't working out the 6 times a week as recommended (ain't nobody got time for that) and I can't tolerate protein drinks of any kind so I didn't quite fit the BeachBody mould.

Fast forward a few months and I remembered a program that my friend Morgan (who is fantastically fit and toned after 2 kids) had recommended, the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

UMMM GOALS?? via @momointhe6
Apart from being drawn to the program by Morgan's INCREDIBLE RESULTS (check out her Fit in the 6 posts on postpartum fitness), I liked that the program is 30 minutes three times a week. Apart from the three workouts, it recommends that you walk on the days off. Short hard workouts while eating real food, walking with my kids and being generally sensible all sounded doable to me. 

The three weekly workouts are broken up into two 7-minute circuits, which you do twice each (equalling 28 minutes). Each of the two circuits has 4 exercises (so you do 8 exercises total). I find the workouts to be a mix of strength conditioning and plyometrics (squats, jumping, etc) with a large emphasis on core strength. 

Here are my thoughts 12 weeks into the program:

1. This is the hardest 28 minutes of my life. 

It never gets easier and I struggle through every workout but THEN IT'S DONE. When I started, I could do three push-ups. Now I can do twenty. I feel a huge difference in my posture and my strength, especially chasing two toddlers.

2. I have never seen such clear results so quickly from a workout plan. 

I raved about the 21-Day Fix and I stand by that, but I have leaned out and gained muscle with these short workouts that allowed me fit my "goal pants" that I purchased BEFORE I HAD KIDS. Without following the meal plan (I vaguely track my macronutrients with MyFitnessPal), I still have lost significant inches all over but specifically in my waist and arms.  My core strength has improved dramatically due to the number and variety of core exercises incorporated throughout every workout. 

3. The Program is Extremely User-Friendly.

Three days a week? Ideal.

Able to do workouts from home? Perfecto. While I do a lot of this program at the gym because CHILDCARE, it is entirely doable at home with a little bit of equipment (or improvising). I use free weights, a skipping rope and copious amounts of Netflix for my children. 

Additionally, the Kayla Itsines Sweat App is super convenient. 
via @kayla_itsines on Instagram

While I'm not following the meal plan, I love that it is there on hand for healthy meal and snack ideas and I track my workouts through the exercise portion. I like that the app times my circuits for the workout and I loved that I could use it for a week free to see if it was useful to me. It costs me about $27.99 Canadian (so what's that? Like $5 American?) a month and that is the cheapest gym subscription you'll find. 

4. Caution required?

Because of the jumping/squatting and extreme crunches and sit-ups, I would not recommend this immediately postpartum. If I had just popped out another non-sleeping adorable milk-grubbing infant, I would do an intermediate program with postpartum core recovery before attempting this program or work with a trained postpartum specialist to modify it to avoid back/hip injuries or diastases recti). Again, Morgan at Momo in the 6 posts a lot of modified core workouts on her Instagram feed here

My second caution is that (like any exercise plan) there are some fairly hard-core fanatics out there taking results and looks to the extreme. If you're anything like me, seeing a painfully thin 19 year old person in a bikini doesn't actually UP your motivation, so I would encourage you to find an online fitness community that is positive and inclusive--- or better yet, a real-live friend to work out alongside. There are lots of real and varied ladies taking part in the BBG community. 


I'm a BBG believer and I think this is hands-down the best at-home fitness program I've ever tried. Since I run and bike (not weight train), committing to these three workouts a week have dramatically increased my strength and endurance in the activities I love.

Like hanging with this monkey. 

Outside of the obvious benefits (fitting in my jeans, feeling comfortable in a bathing suit, feeling an increase in energy and mood), I am amazed at how much a body can be kickstarted in small amounts of time. I haven't seen this kind of physical change with running half marathons or biking long distances. 

Since the program changes week to week and is only three workouts a week encouraging alternate walking and later on, one session of HIIT (high intensity interval training) a week, I feel like I still have the flexibility to do what I want and not feel like I am missing a workout or getting behind -- 100% mom approved. 

I also just kind of love the online community and the lack of pyramid style sales in this program. My favourite way to work out is with my sister but since we are 11 hours driving distance apart right now and are on different schedules, it's so fun to see other women doing the same workout across the globe. Right now I'm participating in the BBG 12 week challenge and it's been fun to be accountable in a different way than just to myself. So far so good...

This post is NOT sponsored and is 100% my frank opinion. 

I'd love to hear from you! Have you tried BBG? 

What's working for you in the fitness world? 

I'm linking up with the bodacious babes from the Blended Blog and we're all talking about working out. If you need some incredible real life motivation and transformation, head on over right now to check out Nicole

Seriously, this lady gives me chills. She's been crushing her fitness and weight loss goals and basically just winning at life. Check her out right here.

And don't forget, next week is the last instalment of the 'Nuggets for the New Year' series on The Blended Blog: ME TIME! ;-)

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