If you’re a female and you’re interested in health and fitness, I’m sure you’ve heard about Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide (BBG). It’s basically a workout guide created by Australian P.T Kayla Itsines, which now consists of 2 guides with 12 weeks of workouts and a meal plan which you can purchase too. The workouts consist of plyometric exercises and body weight exercises, which aim to make you exert the maximum amount of energy over a short period of time. Each workout focuses on an area of the body (legs/arms and abs/ full body) and consists of 7 minutes of work 4x over, which is 28 minutes total workout time. Seems pretty easy and quite straightforward, I mean 28 minutes is nothing right?
I will openly admit I loved the guides. I started the guides in around 2015 and saw my body massively transform to be a leaner version of myself (see above). This was great when I wanted to lose weight and have abs for my holiday. It also meant I was only having to commit around 4 days a week to exercise, 3 workouts and a HIIT or LIIS session, great for busy lives. However, after learning so much about exercise and how our muscles and bodies work It seems my views on the guide have changed.
Kayla has a huge following and a big community of BBG girls, just try searching the hashtag ‘BBG transformation’ and you’ll come across a huge following, with transformation pictures which speak for themselves. Don’t get me wrong, the transformations are amazing and what some women have done with their bodies and overall health is amazing. Although, is this a sustainable lifestyle? The workouts are very intense on your body, even though it’s under half an hour of actual work, the strain on your body is immense. For example, one workout may consist of jump lunges, skipping, burps, broad jumps, x-hops, along with weighted exercises. Yes you’re exerting a huge amount of energy, therefore burning calories, but the strain on your body, muscles and chances of injury are huge.
One of the biggest issues with the plan though is the diet plan. The amount of calories the plan suggests, for the high intensity workouts your doing is just ridiculous (i’m talking 1200 calories). I know for a fact that if you’re committing to such high intensity workouts your body is going to need fuel to first of all do the workouts, but then to repair muscle and replenish energy supplies you’ve lost. The plans do not offer enough calories, therefore we enter muscle burning phase instead of fat burning. Which personally, when I shredded down on fat I noticed i’d lost muscle mass on my legs, due to the small amount of calories i’d been consuming. I thought that as i’d been using small weights, my muscles would be building up too but this wasn’t the case. My body didn’t have enough energy to sustain itself so was using my muscles in order to gain energy. The saddest thing is, I didn’t realise this until I began to be more interested in weight lifting and began to follow personal trainers who specialised in this.
So would I recommend this programme? I personally think the 2nd guide is better as there are less plyometric moves and more weight based exercises. However, I would strongly encourage you to look at other guides based around weight training, download the app ‘aflete’ and check our their guides instead. I’m not saying don’t do BBG, it’s great to lose fat, to get you into fitness and as a community it can be motivating. But please don’t follow the diet plans, find out your macros and track instead to make sure you have enough energy to actually do the workouts. But if you are wanting to build muscle and to weight train, this isn’t the best guide for you. I just want to conclude by saying this is just my opinion, from completing the guides and seeing those changes in my own body, ultimately you do never know until you try yourself. But if I help just one of you to make an informed decision about your fitness choices then my job’s done.