Buckle your seat belts, folks, because this one is going to be a long one!
As many of you probably know, I have had an on-again-off-again relationship with Kayla Itsines’ BBG program for about 2 years now. For those of you who don’t frequent the fitness community on Instagram, Kayla Itsines is an Australian personal trainer with an insane Instagram following. She has built a fitness empire off of this following, initially starting by selling her eBooks (a training manual and a fitness guide) online, and now moving into a paid app.
I will be the first to admit – this program works. However, I will also be the first to admit that I have a very love/hate relationship with it and with the newly founded Kayla Itsines empire.
I’ll start by diving into the actually Bikini Body Guide. The guide itself is great – very straight-forward, everything all planned out for you from week to week for 12 weeks. You only need a small amount of equipment, so if you’re not the gym type you could pretty easily accomplish most of it from home, although you would have to invest in some dumbbells and a bench of sorts. The workouts are short, only taking about half an hour to complete, and you are expected to work out 6 times per week, taking the other day as a rest/recovery day. Like I said, pretty standard. The workouts may be short, but they are intense. There is a reason that the #DeathByKayla hashtag is so prevalent on Instagram. I’m always a sweaty, panting mess after doing these workouts, and I definitely saw my overall fitness improve over the 12 weeks. I actually had muscles! Not to mention that I lost a significant amount of lingering weight, and I felt like a certified badass.
I would definitely recommend the BBG to someone who is just starting out on their fitness journey and who needs guidance and discipline to keep them on track. More experienced gym-goers may find it tedious, since many of the exercises are common/standard and there isn’t a ton of variety. But, if you’re looking to tone up and shed a few pounds, this will do the trick (as long as you stick to it diligently – much like any other fitness regimen). Additionally, after the first 12 weeks, you might find that you start to get bored… like I said, there isn’t a ton of variety. It’s simple, but effective.
What I don’t love about the BBG is Kayla’s Nutrition Guide. The guide is vague at best and harmful at worst. It’s also expensive for what you’re getting, which is a glorified explanation of the Australian government’s food guidelines. I guess if you had next to no idea about healthy eating and limited internet access, this could be helpful… but honestly I would still say avoid it. Many girls on the program find that they are eating too few calories, which negatively impacts their metabolisms in the long run, or that the guide does not adequately speak to food intolerances/lifestyle choices like veganism, celiac disease, lactose intolerance, etc. While Kayla is a great personal trainer, she is just not qualified to be giving this kind of nutrition advice. Besides, every body is unique and everyone’s dietary needs will vary based on that fact. If you can afford it, I’d say go see a dietician for a consult. If you can’t, do A LOT of research, and go through a bit of trial and error, and you’ll find what nutrition plan works best for you. My advice, based on my personal experience? Cut out refined sugars, cut down on dairy, eat limited starches (and when you do, go for whole grain), and fill up on veggies and lean protein. But hey, what works for me might not work for you.
I also can’t say I’m 100% sold on the new business model. Listen, I get that everyone needs to make a living, but Kayla’s new app costs a whopping $21/month (Canadian) to use. For those of you who aren’t mathematically inclined, that’s about $250 a year, all for access to a few work outs, a couple of tunes, and some recipes. (Can’t say I’m a huge fan of her recipes so perhaps that’s just not a selling point for me.) And all of the workout content is identical to what’s in the eBooks. Given that she already has a social media empire, sells products, and now has steady revenue coming in via her app, I can’t help but feel like it’s all becoming a bit much. The #BBG community on Instagram started as a genuine, feel-good, supportive movement where women could feel empowered… now the whole thing feels a bit commodified somehow. Maybe I’m a bit jaded, given that I have seen some of my Insta-friends become frustrated and exit the community… but I do see where they are coming from.
So, all in all, if you’re thinking of giving it a go, sign up for the free trial of the app (a week long) and see how you do. Once the free trial ends, I’d recommend just purchasing the workout eBook and calling it a day. You can still be friends with all of us via the Instagram community (please join us! 🙂 ) and you’ll save money in the long run without missing out on anything.
So, in summary:
The BBG did work for me. I lost 20 pounds and felt like a total badass. The workouts are snappy and effective. I’d just recommend forging your own path with nutrition.
I hope this was helpful to anyone curious about the program! If you have any more questions I’d be happy to answer, just drop me a line. 🙂