Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide: Is It Worth the Hype?

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One year ago this month my mom and I started something crazy; the Bikini Body Guide (BBG) by Kayla Itsines. We were introduced to the program by my sister, Allie, and we are forever grateful. The program is 12 weeks of high intensity interval training mixed in with cardio. The 28-minute provided workouts in the program are 3 days a week and the other days you should supplement with some sort of cardio or low intensity workout. There is also a food guide, but we only stuck to the workouts. But her cookbook would make such a fun gift for your best girlfriend! After all the hype on Instagram, I finally decided that I had to see for myself what kind of progress I could make.

Here’s My Bikini Body Guide Story

I originally decided to commit to the 12 weeks with my co-worker, as an accountability partner. I am definitely a bucket list-checking type of person and with all the hype around BBG, I felt like I had to do it just to say I did it; not realizing I would actually love it by the end. I should say that before starting this, my mom and I were already pretty active people. My mom is a triathlete, runner, swimmer, and biker. I dabble in all of those things as well.

After about a week in, my mom (age 55), who is very athletic and determined, just couldn’t sit back and watch me do this alone. She had to see what it was all about. We’ve been completing the resistance training each morning at 5:30 am together and fitting in runs on the off days to keep up our cardio. I think laughing at ourselves has definitely increased the ab progress so maybe that should be added to the workouts 😉 365 days later, 3 12-week rounds straight and some change, and we’ve made it to our 1 year BBG-versary.

Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide: Our Honest Review

I sat down with my mom to chat about the insanity of doing BBG pretty much non-stop for an entire year. We break the program down into the good, the bad, and that feeling you get when you’ve done one too many burpees. Let’s go!

Q: Ok so Mom, what was your first impression of the program? What made you start?

Mom: I have always been better at fitness routines that I can simply get up and do mindlessly, such as go for a run, swim, or bike ride. Getting to a gym is a hassle for me and it is hard to remain consistent because of the time it takes to get there and back.  I also tend to like my personal space to work out, better than a gym with a lot of people around.

Knowing that I could do BBG anywhere, any time was a huge attraction and then knowing that my daughter was in the basement working out at 5:30 am peaked my curiousity. As I am an early exerciser, I had to check it out. I love that in 28 minutes you are done and that, like my other life sports, I could simply do a mindless and repetitive set at that hour of the morning! I am also that person that says, “Hey whatcha doin? …Having fun down there working out without me? …Can I do that too?”

Jo: Like I said before, I just had to see what the hype was all about. I had tried a few of the workouts sporadically with my sister and didn’t love it since it made me feel so out of shape. But once I committed to the program, it is such an accomplished feeling. I initially started because I wanted to check off just the 12 week program. After a year, I guess I’ve done that a few times 🙂 Check that off my bucket list!

Q: What has been the biggest change that you’ve seen since starting BBG?

Mom: My favorite part is that I have never sweat so much in such a short workout and my heart rate has never been so elevated by seemingly ‘simple’ repeats. As much as I felt that I was in good cardio shape from running for 25 years and swimming for as many, I feel like I get so much more from BBG. I also have not felt so sore from a work out… in a good way…the best part however is that it is such a total body workout. Although I never thought I’d get past having to do bent knee pushups and modified sit ups, I can do full out commandos and push ups at 55, that I could never do before!

Jo: We got toned! When my mom, who I’ve only ever seen in a one-piece, asks to look at two piece bathing suits with me, you know something is up! I really like the change in my legs, arms, and abs. I also feel overall way more fit and in shape. My running has improved and I just feel more energetic, happy, and motivated. It’s a win win, even when I want to sleep in instead!

Q: How has the program affected your fitness level?

Mom: I feel muscles I never have and have gotten so much stronger in my runs because of all the step ups, squats, and lunges. As I have aged, the ability to get a good lift in my leg when I run has decreased. I was feeling like I was literally shuffling my leg forward and at times would trip on an uneven surface because I was not lifting my leg as I used to. BBG also improved my 5k swim time this year and I was able to increase my practice swim length to a straight hour. I totally feel that it was due to the added arm strength I achieved in doing BBG. I have never been consistent with weight programs, so the mixed focus on so many body areas really makes a difference for me!

Jo: Transformation has been huge throughout this program. Not only can I see the progress, I can feel how much stronger I am when I run, swim, or bike. I couldn’t even believe how my 4 week progress pictures looked compared to my before photos. (You MUST take transformation photos.) For one, I have dropped in clothing size. I always figured I would be the same size forever, so that was a big deal. I also feel so strong and my energy is way up! Before BBG, I had only ever woken up before work to workout twice…. the fact that I’ve woken up at 5:30 am, 3 times a week, for the past year (and will continue to do so) speaks for itself.

Q: What is your favorite part about the program? What is your favorite move?

Mom: I like that each session allows you to work a specific area, so that by the end of the week I have worked numerous muscle groups. Fitting in a run or swim in between adds to the cardio. I have more muscle tone than I ever have as a result and have lost the turkey wobble under my arms! My favorite move is the ab series: mountain climbers, ab bicycles, sit ups with a twist, and straight leg sit ups. That combo has given me a core!

Jo:  I do love how mindless and simple it is. The ab and arm days seriously tone you so much and I think that’s the most exciting part of the program. You see such great results. I sound like an infomercial right now. But it’s true. My favorite move is probably straight leg jack knifes. Abs-olutely works the tummy.

Q: What move do you absolutely hate?

Mom: Call me crazy, but I dont hate any of it! As with all exercise, there are days where staying in bed seems better! But I would say that 10 mountain climbers with 2 push ups 15 times works the heck out of me and by the 15th one…I can’t feel my legs …and I might just express that verbally with a groan.

Jo: Not sure what she’s talking about, but I’ve heard a lot more than just groans in the midst of 20 burpee-push up-bench jumps. By week 8, things are really heating up. There’s one leg day that actually gives me nightmares just thinking about it.

Q: What advice would you give to someone starting out?

Mom: Do it! I have been asked by those who know me, “what are you doing?”, as I look like I have lost weight (although that was not the goal, I did lose a few pounds). But I realize that I have such better tone than I have ever achieved with any other workouts I have done. As an athlete, this is a great compact total body experience that has advanced my fitness in many other areas.  I was told by a coworker, “keep doing what you are doing, because it is really working!”  

I feel that BBG provides visual change as well as internal change in strength and endurance to make me a better total athlete. What it really continues to remind me is that just like when I had a new baby (the one interviewing me ; )  ) and I was limited with time and money, I could do a quick run around the block before my husband went off to work. BBG is that quick work out that costs nothing more than 28 minutes of your day.

Jo: Do it! I absolutely recommend this program. I think it can be intimidating at first, but it’s all about baby steps. You can start with 4 weeks of pre-training, which really eases you into the concept of high intensity interval training. It will be difficult, but you go at your own pace since it is a timed workout. If you make it through 15 squats in 7 minutes and that’s it? It’s a start and you’ll only get better! Take it one day or one week at a time rather than 12 weeks. By week 4, you will see drastic visual results, so just make it that far and you’ll be motivated! Scouts honor!

Make taking pictures a priority. It will feel awkward and weird to take before photos. Like, where should I even store these photos so that no one ever ever sees them? But when you take those week 4 photos and get to compare, it is so worth it.

I 100% recommend this program. I have never seen such obvious change in my body, even after years of dancing, triathlon training, running, and swimming. If you are interested, the Bikini Body Workouts Guide is exactly what you need to purchase for the 12 week program that I continue to repeat. Bonus: there is a 20% discount for students, teachers, first responders, military, and government personnel. You can also sign up for 7 days free to see if you like it. Don’t forget to take pictures and let me know if you try the program! Enjoy!



p.s. I was featured on her blog after my first round! Find it here. This series is my progress over the first 12 weeks.


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  1. Great job, guys! Two beautiful, inspiring ladies in my life:)

    hmm the Aerie Street Hoodie seems like a great gift for the “her” in your life that plans to be home for a few months mid- winter, just saying.

  2. You are a rockstar! Your persistance is so inspiring 💪🏻 Thanks for bringing Kayla, her moves and her cookbook into my life 😘

  3. I’ve been considering this program for quite some time. I love how many rave reviews I’ve heard. Your before and after photos are incredible and I think it’s amazing that you did it all with your mom!

  4. This post was so helpful because I’ve been debating whether or not to buy into the craze! Your results are amazing and I love that you did this with your mama!

    xo, Sara

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