My Experience With Bikini Body Guide

Thursday, October 26, 2017

I've been a member at my gym since I started college, working out regularly for the past six years or so. Generally, I work out about 5-6 days per week. The fact that I go to the gym is consistent, but what I do at the gym varies.

Back in March of last year, I tried Kayla Itsines' Bikini Body Guide, a 12-week workout plan consisting of circuit workouts Monday/Wednesday/Friday and low-intensity steady cardio Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday.

I went through the guide twice, then took a break for a while. Now, I'm working through it again.

For anyone who's interested in trying out Bikini Body Guide, or is just curious in general how my experience has been, here are my main takeaways and pieces of advice:

Don't underestimate it.

Each of the circuit workouts is 28 minutes, which doesn't sound like it'd be much but they're tough.

There are days I'm heading to the gym thinking, "It's less than a half hour. It'll be easy." Even though the workouts are short, they're not designed to be easy. Going into it with that mindset makes me feel even more exhausted during it because I wasn't mentally prepared. Be ready for the workout.

Every other day is best.

The BBG is set up so you do a circuit workout every other day, Monday/Wednesday/Friday. The first time I did the program, I would try to cram all three circuits in by the time Friday hit, so I'd have the weekend free to do the more low-pressure workouts.

This sometimes meant trying to do the three circuits three days in a row. Dumb choice. All that did was wear me out and wreck my body. I'd be too sore to do the workouts with good form. By the time the weekend came, I was exhausted and would often take Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as rest days completely.

Shifting the workouts around to fit your schedule for the week is fine. (I often do the circuits Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday instead.) Still, keeping the tough workouts on every other day is best. It gives your body time to recover and ensures you'll have the energy to put your all into each of them.

It's okay if you get off track.

It's okay to miss a day, even a week if you have to. This has been the hardest part for me, cutting myself some slack.

It's easy to feel like you aren't doing enough if you aren't following through on every planned workout for the week, especially with BBG since it's set up as such a structured schedule. Exercising six days a week is a lot, though. And life happens.

You'll do workouts out of order. You'll take a few extra rest days. You're not delaying the finish line. Just keep doing your best.

Progress is made from the inside out.

After six years of regular exercise, I sometimes feel like my body hasn't made as much of a transformation as it should have. That can be really discouraging. It can feel like all of the time and effort I'm putting in is for nothing.

That's when I have to remind myself that it's not all about looks. A lot of the progress is internal. I've noticed that my endurance is better, and I lift heavier weights than I used to.

If it feels like you're not making any progress, don't worry, you are. You're getting stronger. You're getting healthier. Just because you can't physically see it (yet) doesn't make it any less true.

At the very least, it's a guide.

All of what I've learned about BBG along the way boils down to the fact that ultimately, it's a guide. My reason for starting BBG in the first place was because I wanted my strength training to be balanced throughout the week, to ensure each part of my body would be targeted. And ultimately, that's still the goal.

If you try out the program and discover it's not your thing, at least you learned a few workout routines that you can use on your own anytime. While it's nice to have something where you can check the boxes off and feel accomplished, when you get down it, it's not a rulebook, it's a guide. The real power comes from you.

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