I am not an athletic person. I never have been, and probably never will be. Barbies and glitter crafts from my childhood were replaced with Babysitter’s Club books and synchronized swimming in my early adolescent years. As an adult, my hobbies evolved into shopping, champagne and the extremely ad-hoc (read: bi-annual) “restorative” yoga classes.
That said, 2017 is about reclaiming (or just claiming) my fitness. I’m trying to eat healthier, and my sister and I are working our way through Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide (or the BBG). I’m four weeks into (or a third of the way through) the 12-week workout plan. Here’s my initial review and thoughts on my progress and on the overall fitness plan:
It’s harder than I thought it would be
Previously, I’ve been a big fan of similar “bikini body” workouts, like Tone it Up’s 8-week Bikini Series and the Bikini Body Mommy 90 Day Challenge (although sans children for me). I like them because they are short, and the workouts are usually varied and interesting. This is still true for BBG, but the BBG is way harder than anything I’ve done previously. There are two resistance training circuits, and you complete each circuit twice, at 7 minutes each. At this point, I’m only doing each circuit twice (sometimes not even finishing!) and not timing them. I find that by the time I’ve done two circuits, I’m huffing and puffing, red-faced and sweating.
You better love lunges and burpees
Because you’re going to do a ton of them! Other people have written about the amount of burpees and lunges in the workouts, so it was no surprise for me to see them there. However, I was surprised to see how often they were there. Any leg day and the full body day, they’re more than likely to be on the list.
I’m still finding burpees pretty challenging (I can do about eight of the 10-15 before I need to take a break), and jump lunges are killing me. However, there are definitely some modifications out there, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t modifying them when I get too tired.
I haven’t seen any huge changes to my body yet
I guess one of the biggest annoyances for me is that I can’t see any changes to my body yet. Even with my progress photos – I don’t see any differences. I also made the mistake of not taking any body measurements (I’m definitely going to write them down once I’m done with Week 4), because I feel like at this point, my changes are pretty minimal and perhaps the measurements would have shown some differences.
Despite not seeing any visual differences, I have noticed my body progressing in a good way. For instance, I’ve worked my way from 3.7 mph on the treadmill during my LISS days – or Low Impact Steady State – to 3.9 mph. I’m also able to do at least eight push ups in a row (albeit still on my knees), but previously I could barely do two! My quads definitely feel more muscular and my biceps do as well.
Five tips for beginners to the Bikini Body Guide program
While I’m still only a third of the way through the BBG, here’s some tips that have worked for me and make work for other beginners:
- If you are an absolute beginner like I am, definitely do the 4-week pre-training (it comes as part of the BBG 1.0 PDF file). Had I not done this pre-training, there’s no way I would have lasted four weeks in the regular program. It’s a must to build up some strength and get comfortable with the weekly format.
- LISS workouts can be really boring, so use this time to catch up on Netflix or YouTube videos – I just add everything into the ‘Watch Later’ playlist
- Before any resistance training workout, I do a quick warm-up video from YouTube. My favorites by far are from Fitness Blender (I also do one of their cool-down videos too). These two videos add an additional 10 minutes to my workout time, but I haven’t had any major muscle soreness yet.
- I find that the push-ups and commandos can sometimes be tough on my knees and elbows, so I stack two yoga mats for added comfort
- Music is critical! For the first two weeks, I didn’t use any music during my resistance training, but wow, does it really make a difference in your motivation. I just stream them from Spotify and the playlists I love are: Cardio, Dance Workout and Throwback Workout.