Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Training Guide: My Experience & Review

2015-04-17 09.05.48 1
Eight weeks ago, I mentioned that I was doing Kayla Itsines BBG. You can read more about that here. Since that post, I completed the first guide and have since moved on to the Bikini Body Training Guide 2. I thought I'd share my experience doing the first guide in the hopes that I can encourage some others to give it a go. I don't say this lightly, but the program truly changed my outlook on food and exercise and overall has really changed my life.

Fitness
BBG is a plyometrics training guide. Kayla sets you up with 3 sets of 12 weeks worth of resistance training workouts and advises on how to proceed with cardio and rehabilitation. To give an overview, as prescribed, Weeks 1-4 has you doing 2-3 resistance sessions, 2-3 sessions of low intensity cardio, and one rehab session. Weeks 5-8 have 2-3 resistance sessions, 3-4 low intensity cardio sessions, and one rehab session. Weeks 9-12 have 3-4 resistance sessions, 2-3 low intensity cardio sessions, 1-2 HIIT sessions, and 1-2 rehab sessions. You'll notice that the amount of cardio that you're doing drastically increases as the program progresses, likely to have you shred down all of your fat.

Did I follow the guide as prescribed? No. Life happens. Weeks 9-12 fell around mid to end of term, and I frankly did not have time to get in two workouts a day. I couldn't get up any earlier to go to the gym, as I already wake up at 5 AM and our gym doesn't open until 6, and spent my entire day until 8 PM at school. No excuses, but it just wasn't going to happen for me at that time.

So what did I do? Weeks 1-4, I followed the recommendations as prescribed. Weeks 5-8, I got in the maximum resistance sessions, half the low intensity cardio sessions, and incorporated HIIT into my regime early. Weeks 9-12, I did the maximum resistance sessions, 1 low intensity cardio session, and 2 HIIT sessions. If I had the time to do 2 workouts a day, I definitely would have and I think my results would have been a bit more drastic, but what I lacked in those extra low intensity cardio sessions, I more than made up for with my diet.

Diet
In addition to the BBG, there is also a HELP Nutrition Guide with weekly meals and suggestions. I have the Guide, but I didn't use it. Weeks 1-4 I didn't drastically alter my diet. I simply ate clean and allowed myself one cheat meal per week. My diet is naturally quite high in carbs, which I think is common for a lot of vegetarians or past vegetarians. I don't mean filled with pasta and bread, just that I ate a lot of fruit and vegetables. I realized quite quickly that if I wanted to change my body composition and I wanted to change it fast, I was going to have to change my eating style. I quick search through bodybuilding.com led me to a page on calculating your macronutrients, and I haven't looked back since. I ate very low carb, high protein, moderate fat from Weeks 5-12 and followed an IIFYM style of eating. If you aren't familiar with If It Fits Your Macros, click on over here. Basically, you eat to meat your macronutrient targets, so carbohydrates, fat, and protein. IIFYM gets a lot of criticism because you can follow the diet by eating a lot of crap food and still managing to meet your targets. I don't do it this way. I hit my macros by taking into account my micros. If, at the end of that I have some wiggle room, I'll have a piece of chocolate. I eliminated the weekly cheat meal and from what I recall, I've eaten out two times since making the switch. I'm kind of thankful that I didn't even attempt to do the prescribed cardio sessions, because my energy levels have been quite low thanks to the lack of carbs. Carbs are energy, carbs are energy, carbs are energy. Since last weekend, I've been slowly but surely attempting to increase my carb intake so that I can get out of this fog and increase my cardio sessions with ease.

I think eating this way made a BIG difference with regards to my results. It takes a lot of diligence to eat that way for two months, believe me. But I do think that it was worth it, and now I just have to make the switch back to moderate carbs, moderate protein, and relatively low fat. I'll keep on with IIFYM.

Results
Overall, I lost five pounds. That speaks to nothing, because I lost INCHES everywhere. While my weight is relatively the same, I've leaned out one hell of a lot, and am really pleased with my results in such a short time period. I have a healthy relationship with food and fitness these days, which is really awesome. I'm taking in more calories that I have in years and yet I'm still seeing results, which is very reassuring for me. I don't obsess about exercising—it's just part of my day.
Week 13
What's next?
I've started BBG 2. I am using heavier weights and incorporating extra sessions. Here's what my week looks like right now:

Monday / BBG Legs
Tuesday / LISS
Wednesday / BBG Arms
Thursday / HIIT, Legs
Friday / BBG Abs
Saturday / HIIT, Arms and Abs
Sunday / BBG Full Body

It'll be interesting to see how I progress over the next 11 weeks. Overall, I can't recommend the BBG enough. It's good for all fitness levels and the results are pretty amazing. I wouldn't say that I started at an overly high fitness level as I didn't work out consistently for most of 2014. The program was definitely very hard at first (and still continues to be), but your fitness level improves very quickly if you keep at it. You definitely have to be willing to commit, but once you do, you won't be disappointed. 

The April Playlist

Terrace Gardens Pool
Spring is here. It's 20 degrees in Calgary today and feels absurdly more like summer than spring. We've been lucky. Very, very lucky. I have the windows wide open today and it's refreshing to let in some fresh (city) air. With spring comes spring cleaning, of course. There's no way around it. The last couple of months have been chaotic at school and I have admittedly let my storage situation at the apartment get a little nuts. I've been critiqued for making piles—a dreaded habit of my mothers that I seem to have adopted, much to everyone's dismay. While I'm still in the midst of exams (1 down, 5 to go), I would be lying if I said that I was constantly studying. My breaks have been filled with a little tidying up here and there and it is a relief to have things in order.

This playlist was compiled from tracks that I've 'starred' on my Galaxy over the past few months. Once compiled, I realized that it actually makes a really good playlist to do some cleaning to, and that's primarily when I've been listening to it. You've got some new, some old, and some uh, hip hop, which is strange for me. My boyfriend has somehow managed to get me into a small amount of hip hop—the unthinkable. I've frankly just never had a taste for it, but I will admit that it is the best kind of music to workout to. It's also what he'll often catch me blasting when he gets home from work while I deny, deny, deny and claim that it was "just on." Well, that was the case and one point, but now I kind of dig it.

You can stream the playlist here.

While I'm Alive / STRFKR
Don't You Love (feat. Banks) / Lil Silva
I Luv the Valley OH! / Xiu Xiu
Hey / The Pixies
3005 / Childish Gambino
Overdone / Bombay Bicycle Club
I Don't Want Love / The Antlers
King Kunta / Kendrick Lamar
Ruphmiup / Bowmont
WHALE / Yellow Ostrich
All Your Fault / Big Sean, Kanye West
Pups to Dust / Modest Mouse
The Love You're Given / Jack Garratt
Nara / alt-J
Nothing Without Love / Nate Ruess
Whitewash / Halcyon Drive

The Big Girl Job

Goodness gracious, school has been insane this semester. I am taking six challenging classes and would advice that no one ever take more than five if you can help it. Nevertheless, the semester is almost over and I can. not. wait. I somehow managed to land myself a summer job. For my program, we are to do an Internship and I somehow ended up with the position that I wanted. I don't know how, but I am so, so, so excited. This means that I will be abandoning my part time gym job in favour of a full time office job. My first big girl job!

The only issue here is that my work wardrobe is seriously lacking. Working at a gym for three years will do that to you. My collection of Lululemon has grown substantially, but I have all of one or two office appropriate outfits, shown below.
Work Clothes
Last year, I was trying to get a capsule wardrobe in place in anticipation of my big move and inevitable inability to buy new clothes. It worked out marginally, but didn't take into account (and didn't NEED to take into account) a work wardrobe. In all honesty, most days I find myself wearing workout gear (somewhat shamefully), and a quick flick through my wardrobe would show that I own one pair of grey trousers, one grey blazer and a couple of work appropriate blouses. Yikes.

I've created a Pinterest board to gather inspiration/specific pieces that I'd like to add to my newly established work wardrobe that can be found here. I have a good idea of what I want it to consist of: flowy blouses, fitted trousers, mid-length skirts, pumps and loafers. I have a month to put it together and the thought of being able to shop a bit again after three months is kind of exciting. Stay tuned for some inspiration posts in the future.

#nanaicecream

Nicecream
Joining an online fitness community is admittedly a weird thing. Weird and wonderful. I've never been one to workout with a partner—I much prefer to do the suffering alone. Working out is a release for me, and I like to do it in peace and quiet (or jamming to my favourite tunes rather). The online community is there for support, and although they are spread across this earth of ours, they do a rather good job of motivating. It bodes well for me. I have people cheering me on (while I do the same for them, of course) and I can do the thing just how I like it. I've made more progress on the BBG in 5 weeks than I have in years of working out on my own, so there's that. It's good. It's real good.

I have a sweet tooth. I've been really good since starting this program and I think the only things I've really cheated with are half a chocolate chip cookie on Oscar night and a couple of macarons. I've traded the bad stuff for the good, opting for raw desserts with nut bases, dates, a banana with nut butter, or a bowl of this good stuff. #Nanaicecream, as they call it on Instagram. It has a strange cult following of some individuals who I swear eat the stuff for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Their creations are a lot more stunning than my own (take a look through the hashtag feed), but all in all, I think it's quite a humble dessert. I'm certainly not reinventing the wheel by sharing this one, but I find that it does the trick when a dessert-craving hits, or even as a snack. I've decided to finally increase my calorie intake to support working out 6 days a week, as well as pay closer attention to my macros, and this is a good option to fill in the gaps. A scoop of protein powder and a drizzle of nut butter accounts for your protein and fat content, and of course, the banana takes care of your carbs. Good and done.
Nicecream
Nanaicecream | Serves 1

1 banana, frozen (~150 grams)
1 scoop protein powder (I use MusclePharm)
10 grams (a splash, essentially) non-fat milk

Top with natural nut butter, coconut chips, etc.

Mix all ingredients in a high speed blender. If it's a little too runny, stick it into the freezer for a few minutes to firm it up.

GETTING BACK INTO A FITNESS GROOVE - 5 WEEKS STRONG

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Unless you've been living under an Instagram rock, you've likely heard of Kayla Itsines and her Bikini Body Training Guide. I purchased it last summer in the hopes of getting my ass back to the gym (considering I work at one, you'd think this would be easy), but only managed to get to Week 2, 3 times over. I guess that's what happens when you take two long vacations over the summer... Nevertheless, I started the BBTG again 5 weeks ago and am proud to say that I am still going strong and am already seeing results.

As great as it is to be getting fit, obviously it limits the amount of yummy recipes I'm cooking up and how many delicious restaurant meals I get to try. So, y'know, less content. I've been following a pretty gosh darn strict diet with one cheat meal per week. I'm not a vegetarian anymore either, and my meat consumption has gone up substantially since moving in January. It's been a big lifestyle change, but I'm enjoying it so far. It feels good to be getting back into the fitness game.
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I've got some major goals associated with food and fitness: Complete BBTG 1 and 2 (up to 24 weeks!), buy and be very comfortable in a Triangl swimsuit, and learn how to make raw desserts. I realize that raw desserts are still desserts, but the fact that they're made from slightly better ingredients makes me feel a bit better about indulging. Plus, it's a new challenge in the kitchen!
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