Monday, 1 February 2016

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Challenge Review


Have you heard of Kayla Itsines, or the BBG? Kayla is a 24-year old Australian from Adelaide, who is a personal trainer, and has created the 'Bikini Body Guides' (BBG) as well as a nutrition plan, and has build herself an empire on Instagram and Facebook. I first saw her on Instagram, and was absolutely amazed at not only the results people were getting from her guides, but also the way she inspired people and was so positive in her instagram posts, and her replies to others on her posts. 


Kayla Itsines
[Image from popsugar.com]


At the end of 2015, a friend and I decided to buy the guides and give it a go. Weeks 1-12 is $69.97, as is her 12 week nutrition plan, or it is a reduced price if you buy both. Weeks 13-24 is almost just under $70 as well. It seems like a lot of money, but my friend and I split the cost, but I will say just how impressed I was, and how much I believe it is value for money. 

Once you pay by direct debit, the guide is an instant download, and has 189 pages, which are beautifully put together, easy to understand and well-written. There are 12 weeks of guides - there is a 4-week pre-workout guide to get absolute beginners started, or you can skip that and go straight to Week 1. Each week has 3 workouts - usually Monday is legs, Wednesday is arms, and Friday is abs (though sometimes arms and abs are done together, and Friday is a full body workout). Each workout is 28 mins, where you do a 7 minute circuit of 4 exercises, then rest for 90 seconds, then repeat the workout, rest, and then complete a different 7 minute circuit, rest, and repeat. 

My friend and I decided to just do half the workout, so we completed each circuit once for 7 minutes, totally 14 minutes altogether. When done properly (basically, when you go hard!) it is a fantastic workout, so tough! It certainly is a good feeling when it's done. The exercises are all easy to follow, and easy to do, and they work the body part they say they will work when done correctly. The guides use minimal equipment, just hand weights, a medicine ball, a skipping rope, a yoga mat or towel, and later it incorporates a bosu ball or balance ball (though none of these are essential, and either you can modify the exercise or you can modify the piece of equipment to something you have at home).  


[Image from omnivogue.co.za]

Each fortnight, the circuits are repeated, so Week 1 and 3 are the same, as are Weeks 2 and 4, and then they progressively overload so that you will improve and see gains. 
In her guides, Kayla also provides lots of education on all things health, and has detailed pictures and diagrams of how to do each exercise properly. It's definitely worth reading through everything before you start. 

We chose to do the workout at 6am, Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. This suited my friend who is a teacher so that she could still have plenty of time to get ready for school. She would come to my house and we would use my sunroom and backyard to do our workout, using our phones to time it (and I had printed out the guides and placed in a folder, though you could just use an iPad). It was fantastic that she was willing to drive to my house (only a few minutes away) as I was able to do the workouts while Miss M was still asleep, and often Brendan was at work. The benefit of my friend turning up was that I had no choice but to roll out of bed, get changed and be ready to go! I'm not a morning person, but I was surprised how quickly and easily I got used to 6am starts. 

The first few weeks were the hardest, because we weren't used to that style of exercising, and we weren't used to exercising so early! One week early on we missed our usual day, and it was really tough to get the motivation up to catch up. Once we hit week 4 though, we knew we could (and wanted to!) keep going with it, and complete the 12 weeks! Even in week 10 when my friend went on an excursion for the week with school, we managed to fit our workouts in before and after so that we wouldn't miss them! 


[Image from norbati.com]

I had printed out a table with our names on them and each workout so we could tick it off as we did them, which felt very satisfying! Kayla also advocates that in between the strength workouts, of things like lunges, burpees and squats etc., that you do 'low intensity steady state' (LISS) activity for at least 30 minutes, which could be a steady walk, swim or bike ride. We chose to set ourselves a goal of 3-4 walks per week, and usually we did these on the off-days (Tues, Thur, Sat/Sun). 

As far as results went, I was very impressed that by the end of 12 weeks:
 - I felt stronger
 - I felt more toned (which felt especially good after having a baby)
 - I had lost about 3kgs in the 12 weeks, and gotten back to my pre-pregnancy weight (remembering that weight loss is about 80% diet though!) 
 - I was calmer each day, especially those that I began with exercising
 - I had more energy
 - Mentally, my mind felt clearer and more positive
 - My friend and I were even closer than before! 


[Image from kimscravings.com]

Kayla's nutrition plan goes hand-in-hand with her workout guides and obviously if your goal is weight loss, you need a healthy diet to complement training. As I was still breastfeeding at the time, it wouldn't have been healthy for me to complete her nutrition guide (and I've never been great at following nutrition plans anyway!) so I just kept eating healthy, and still saw weight loss over the 12 weeks, which was great! 

The only downside to this program that I can see is that you HAVE to be self-motivated or have a friend do it with you, as there is no way I could or would have completed this program on my own. It's not that I didn't want to do the workouts, it's just that I wouldn't have chosen to do them at 6am, and therefore I probably would have gotten too busy or too tired throughout the day. It was helpful that we made appointments with ourselves and stuck to them, and I am so thankful to my friend for completing this program with me! 

If you are looking for a new workout or something to shake up your current exercise program, I highly recommend Kayla Itsines. It is a fair bit of money, but Kayla does now have an app, which is free to download and then you can purchase the guides to have on your phone and I believe they are actually cheaper than the $69.97. There are also free samples of both her workout guides and nutrition plans if you want to have a look before buying. Visit Kayla's website here to get started today! 



[Image from shape.com]


[P.S. This was not a sponsored post, just an honest review!]

[Top image from honestlyfitness.com]

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