At the beginning of the year, I wrote down 5 goals for 2018. At the top of the list was to be in really fantastic shape for our wedding later this year. I wanted to shake up my routine and try something new, it was also really important to me to try something that I could stick with and could build upon as the year went on. I had earmarked Kayla Istine’s BBG program (Bikini Body Guide) last summer 2017, bought her books, followed her on Instagram but hadn’t been able to bring myself to pull the trigger. I’ve been a dedicated class attendee for years, and I was really worried I would have no chance keeping up with a program that relied on me, myself and I only to get my booty to the gym and actually do the workouts.
I mustered up the motivation after reading the following excerpt from her book:
“We need to believe we can achieve our goal. We might believe this goal is THE most important thing for us to do right now, but in order to be motivated we need to believe we can achieve it: this is expectancy. If we are not confident that we can actually achieve our goal, our motivation decrease and, therefore, our action and effort does too.”
I suppose in short I figured I’m a healthy woman, thousands of other women have tried and seen success with this program. Why did I believe I was destined to fail? What if I could be more confident in my ability to succeed, therefore increasing my motivation? I picked a day and decided to give it a whirl.
As a very quick overview, BBG is essentially a mix of circuit based resistance workouts and cardio. I use the app (actually called “Sweat” in the Apple store) which is very easy to follow and guides you through each of the circuits, times everything as you go and records your progress. I started with BBG 1.0 which is a 12-week program and just moved into week 18 within BBG 2.0. Four and a half months! Go figure.
The resistance workouts are clearly outlined and the app will time and guide you through each set of reps once you click ‘start’. There are 4 different exercises in each circuit and you will do as many laps as you can for 7 minutes, and cycle through each circuit 2 times for a total of a 28-minute workout. You will also incorporate cardio into your schedule a few days a week, which I explain below. The app includes plenty of cool down exercises, a rest day and movements you can do with a foam roller.
I’ll talk about it throughout this post but even I am a bit shocked at how I’ve been able to maintain the program. I’ve listed some key questions/comments I’ve received from friends & coworkers about BBG and my thoughts on each of them. This post has already gotten pretty lengthy so I’ll do another one soon covering off on some other stumbling blocks I’ve come across and tips I’ve found helpful.
I’m a class person, no way could I ever maintain a self-motivated schedule!
I. Hear. You. In NYC I took so many different classes and was so stuck on my favorites my boss started calling me ‘WikiFit’. I think this would definitely have to be the number one thing that held me back from trying BBG for months and months. I really love the structure of a class, the motivation you get from the other people around you and the progress you can see in your form the more familiar you are with that class/instructor/routine. This is a really personal choice and you have to find your own intrinsic motivation. For me, I had hit a point where I was feeling frustrated with the routine I had been doing for years, I was no longer seeing changes and most detrimental, I felt like I was going through the motions in class. Between my gym membership and paying for individual classes, I also felt it was important to streamline my finances as it related to fitness. So I decided I would maximize my gym membership and utilize the mini-gym we have in our apartment building. I would suggest making a list of the pros and cons of going to classes and be honest with yourself about whether or not you could make the change. I am pretty certain I talked to myself throughout the workouts in the beginning, “come on you can do it, just one more minute! One more circuit!” and sometimes I just wanted to lay on the mat and give up. But the feeling of pride you get after finishing something so challenging on your own is like nothing else.
How much does it cost?
You can pay on a month-to-month basis or upfront buy the annual membership. I sprung for the year, which worked out to be cheaper and certainly was more affordable than the boutique fitness studios I was frequenting. I believe I paid about $119, which is about $10/month. Cheaper than Netflix!
Do you do the meal program?
I promised myself that first I would focus on the fitness program, then I would incorporate the eating plan once I had the hang of things. I did start incorporating healthier eating habits back into my day-to-day schedule, but I’m not ready to completely overhaul my diet quite yet.
What do you do for LISS?
As long as you are moving, LISS can be anything! LISS stands for Low Intensity Steady State and is essentially cardio for at least 35 minutes. It could be walking, yoga, biking, the elliptical etc. I have kept one class in my routine which is Soul Cycle. I aim to take two Soul Cycle classes a week which last 45 minutes. I also take tennis lessons which involves a fair amount of running/sprints for 60 minutes once each week. Now that I’ve been with the program long enough the other type of cardio is HIIT, which I explain below.
How quickly do you do the circuits?
This is so personal and I would really advise you to take as much time as you need for each circuit, especially in the beginning. You can really hurt yourself and it’s most important to do each exercise with good form so you won’t injure yourself. In the beginning I typically got through about 1 ½ rounds of the circuit, my max was probably just about 2. Now sometimes I can get up to 3, but I still don’t rush it.
Do I need to go to a gym?
You could technically do this at home, especially if you have all of the equipment! You will always use a yoga mat and water bottle for example and you can take those anywhere. However a decent amount of exercises require a bench and that is my main driver to head to a gym. Also, while I can self-motivate in order to stick to this program, I couldn’t do it in the isolation of my apartment. I need to be surrounded by other people who are working on their fitness routine regardless if they are doing the same thing as me or not.
A few of my tips:
Definitely take a picture before you start the program so you can SEE your results. You don’t have to post your picture in the app if you are shy about the before and after (like me!) but being able to see your progress will be so helpful as you go through the weeks. For example, I thought I would lose weight, but I actually gained a few pounds. At face value I would normally find this discouraging, especially as it’s the highest weight I’ve been at in years. However when I look at pictures and I can see the physical difference in my body, that is so much more important to me than the number on the scale.
I would also highly recommend taking measurements, I really regret that I didn’t. I can tell there are areas of my body that are now leaner or more toned but it would have been cool to actually understand the exact changes.
Treat yourself throughout the process! I scheduled a deep tissue massage for myself after I hit the one month mark, and not only was it a nice indulgence my body actually really needed it. I had several knots and aches in places that the masseuse was able to relieve and give me tips for how to keep them at bay. I also bought new workout clothes, a few tanks and pairs of pants at Gap’s sale (check out the post here and keep your eye out for their next one!) Good cross training shoes are on my list next. It doesn’t have to be a pricey treat, even a smoothie could be a reward!
Modify as needed. A few weeks into the program I hurt my knee. I didn’t want to stop altogether but I made a few tweaks so I could stick with the program. The massage actually really helped relieve some of the pressure that had built up behind my knee cap and I started wearing a knee brace every time I worked out. If a movement is too high impact (i.e. a 180 degree squat jump) I will just do the squats, or add a small straight up jump so I don’t risk landing on my knee the wrong way. Most of the time you can tap for the alternative within the movement but if one isn’t altered, use your judgement to make sure you stay safe.
This is a lot for one post so as I mentioned, I will write another one soon and answer some more of your questions. If you’ve started doing BBG, let me know how you like it and if you have any tips that you’ve found helpful! I will also say the ‘community’ section of the app has lots of answers that you can find on the fly and it really helped guide me in the beginning. I’m so happy I finally started this fitness journey and I’d love to hear from others that have joined as well!