What Is Kayla Itsines' BBG Workout?

The Bikini Body Guide Focusing on Fitness

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Are you trying to get in the best shape ever and looking for the right workout program to accomplish this goal? If so, you may be familiar with the popular BBG workout by Australian trainer Kayla Itsines. The program claims to kick-start your metabolism, reinvent your entire shape, and suitable for all female body sizes.

The program sounds pretty amazing and is promoted by celebrities and plenty of personal success stories. More than nine million people follow Itsines on Instagram with an even larger audience of 22 million on Facebook.

What makes this program so popular and is it effective? Kayla and other fitness experts help answer these questions.

Overview

The BBG program includes a series of eBooks titled Bikini Body Guides, commonly known as the BBG workout. You have probably seen people posting workout images bearing the hashtag #BBG on social media. Before and after shots launched a BBG movement and the rest is history. According to Itsines, more than 20 million women worldwide are using her program and getting results.

Kayla shared in an interview that she created the BBG workouts in 2014 along with her fiancé, and Sweat CEO, Tobi Pearce. They were first available through an eBook, The Bikini Body Guide, which gave women access to over 12 weeks of BBG workouts. This included 28-minute resistance-based workouts, as well as educational information.

She and her team felt it was important for the BBG to include steps and instructions, along with effective and safe workouts for women. Teaching proper form and technique was also a development goal for the program to help empower women to exercise with knowledge and confidence.

Kayla describes the BBG as a 4-6 session per week program that incorporates high-intensity training, plyometric exercises, as well as cardio and recovery sessions. Kayla also indicates the workout is suitable for women of all fitness levels. The workouts are 28 minutes long, making them easy to fit into a busy schedule, and can easily be done at home with or without equipment.

In order to improve upon the program, Kayla shared that in 2017, Tobi Pierce launched the Sweat app, where both her BBG and BBG Stronger programs are available.

Although you can perform the workout without equipment, Kayla’s website recommends hand weights, weighted medicine ball, jump rope, and bench or flat surface area. A foam roller is suggested for stretching but not required.

How BBG Works

The BBG uses a circuit style training method and groups together four different exercises per session. Each circuit suggests you complete a certain number of reps per exercise. The program emphasizes AMGRAPs (As Many Great Rounds as Possible) for seven minutes before moving to the next circuit. 

The BBG circuits consist of multiple exercises (in this case four) for a number of reps, completed in a specific time, according to Tony Maloney, ACSM-certified exercise physiologist. Kayla's program consists of two, 7-minute AMGRAPS of four exercises at varying rep counts that you complete twice with a minute rest between AMGRAPS.

The program is broken up into different body parts, such as arms and abs, legs and full body, says Maloney. It also combines both strength training and cardio based movements. 

Each circuit program can be completed in less than 30 minutes. The ability to finish a workout in a shorter time is part of the allure of the BBG. It's a program that can easily fit into a busy lifestyle. 

Effectiveness

Kayla says her BBG workouts are based on the workouts she did with clients as a personal trainer starting in 2008. New clients would often come to her after seeing the amazing results their friends were getting from the program. She knew early on that this style of training was effective.

The combination of plyometric training, cardio, and recovery sessions in the BBG helps improve your overall fitness, according to Kayla. The program enables you to reach and maintain a strong, lean physique.

The high-intensity moves maximize energy expenditure during your workout. During your recovery, your body works hard to replace the oxygen that has been used during your workout, of which fat is the primary energy source, says Kayla. Afterward and during recovery, your body continues to burn calories post-exercise as it works to replace the oxygen that has been used. This is called EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) and can last several hours after exercise, according to Kayla.

So, the BBG workout does appear to bring positive and effective results. The program applies basic circuit training but also increases the challenge with high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) continues to be a method of exercise very popular with the fitness consumer and supported by more and more research every day, according to fitness expert, Tony Maloney. HIIT can be very effective mainly due to the bigger training effect in much less time.

Simply put, the harder you exercise the more energy (calories) you will burn. Also, energy is used during adaption and recovery from the training session. This means you are burning calories long after you stop training. Additionally, this style of training can improve insulin sensitivity in your blood, resulting in improved metabolic health, suggests Maloney.

Keeping the movements simple is another way this program is effective, says Maloney. Most individuals can perform them and they are widely used for a reason, they work. 

Safety

The BBG uses progressive training, starting with basic movements and adding increased challenge as you adapt to exercise. Itsines promotes her program as simple, using a basic format, and making it easy for you to get started.

Kayla says the BBG program is suitable for women of all ages and fitness levels, with the exception of women who are currently pregnant. The workouts are designed so that depending on your current fitness level, you can control the intensity of your workouts. You can gradually increase the speed at which you complete the circuits, as well as adapting the weight resistance to suit you.

As you progress, the intensity of the workouts will also slowly increase, as well as the complexity of exercises as you get stronger, fitter, and more confident.

Since the exercises lean toward the beginner side of the fitness pendulum and considering any individual limitations to movement, it can be safe for most anyone assuming that there are regressions/options provided to movements, indicates exercise physiologist, Tony Maloney.

The BBG does offer a four-week pre-training workout. This is especially helpful for new exercisers unsure about starting the program. It may be helpful to promote confidence and prepare you for the rest of the circuits. You may also consider starting with a brisk walking program on your own before using the program.

Kayla says the Sweat app also provides users with an in-depth education section. This section discusses the general training principles of cardio, resistance training, stretching, posture, and injury prevention.

Itsines always recommends that you should consult with your healthcare professional before starting any workout program to ensure the style of exercise is suitable for you.

Pros and Cons 

Regardless of the workout you choose, it will come with positive and negative feedback. The important thing is selecting a program that works best for you, your body, and lifestyle.

The BBG pros include a strong social support network, according to Maloney. He suggests having a "Power Circle” as an important part to the success of anyone taking on a new fitness challenge or behavior change. It seems the BBG provides a very strong community of women supporting one another which is a huge plus, says Maloney.

The program is also easy to follow and includes well-done exercise videos. It's fast-paced and fun with a focus on basic movements, suggests Maloney.

The cons to the BBG are what appears to be conflicting messages describing the program, says Maloney. He read where Kayla was quoted stating that the focus of the program is more about feeling good rather than looking good, which is great, but the name of her program is Bikini Body Guide. Maloney just doesn't know if the messages add up.

Kayla says she based the name of her BBG workout from years ago training clients. The common goal of women back then and shared with her was their desire to achieve a bikini body. Although the title remains Bikini Body Guide, she believes a ‘bikini body’ isn't something that is a particular size, weight, or shape. It’s unique to each person and a feeling of inner confidence. It’s when you feel fantastic and confident in the skin you’re in, no matter your shape or size.

Other Workout Programs

The BBG program is designed to meet the needs of her community, says Kayla. Every workout program is different and will achieve different results. For this reason, she indicates comparing programs is futile as it is up to the individual to choose a program that works for them.

Selecting a workout is a personal choice, but you still may need information and guidance, especially as a new exerciser. There are so many trending workouts on the market, choosing the right one can feel overwhelming.

The BBG appears to offer a great fitness package and uses effective training methods. You may be wondering how it measures up to some of the other programs. The following compares the BBG to the very popular T25 and Insanity workouts created by elite fitness trainer, Shaun T.

BBG Workout

The BBG workout is a 12-week program developed for women using basic exercise moves. The simple format makes the circuit-based workout a great choice for a beginner or someone looking for a new challenge. The following breakdown of the BBG will help you decide if this workout is right for you:

  • The program is available through printable eBooks purchased online
  • The cost of the program starts at $52 and varies with other options selected
  • The workout can be performed at home or at the gym
  • The program lasts 12 weeks, three sessions per week, and 28 minutes per session
  • Circuit-based training where each program contains two different circuits with four to five exercises
  • Circuits combine multiple body parts (i.e. arms/legs) for efficient use of time
  • Equipment required includes hand weights, weighted medicine ball, jump rope, and bench or flat surface area
  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is used as you progress through the program
  • Low-intensity exercise like brisk walking or swimming is recommended on your off days 
  • HELP eating plan and 14-day meal plans are offered. Vegetarian eating guides are also available
  • The program offers online community motivation and support

T25 Workout

The T25 workout, also called FOCUS T25 was created by elite fitness trainer, Shaun T. The T25 workout is an intense, high-impact workout not allowing for breaks during the 25-minute training session. T25 may not be the best beginning workout program due to its advanced intensity level. The following details about the T25 show differences and similarities to the BBG workout.

  • The program is a DVD series and 10-week complete home workout program
  • The T25 DVD workout costs about $74.00 on Amazon
  • The program includes 10 different 25-minute workouts
  • You perform a workout each day for four days and complete two workouts on the fifth day
  • You take a rest day on the sixth day followed by a stretch video on the seventh day
  • It’s an intense full-body routine applying high-intensity interval training (HIIT) as an effective training method
  • Two phases are included, Alpha and Beta, each lasting five weeks
  • Alpha phase focuses on cardio, lower body, total body circuit, stretch, and speed training
  • Beta phase increases the challenge and works core, cardio, intense body circuit, upper body, and speed training
  • No equipment is required, but hand weights are recommended
  • Efficient use of time
  • The T25 is considered a complete home workout program
  • The T25 workout program includes a recommended diet to help you lose weight faster
  • The program offers online motivation and support through the Beach Body community 

    Insanity Workout

    The Insanity Workout was also created by Shaun T., fitness trainer and Beach Body coach. It’s a 60-day cardio-based program and includes 10 DVD workouts. Because of the intensity of the workout, it remains popular for experienced exercisers wanting to push their physical limits. Insanity differs from the BBG workout and includes the following:

    • The program contains 10 DVD workouts performed in a 60-day period
    • It’s considered the most extreme at home, cardio-based workout program
    • High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is used, with minimal breaks
    • The program costs about $145 on Amazon
    • There are two phases to the program, each lasting 30 days
    • Phase one includes plyometric drills, upper body resistance, pure cardio, cardio and abs, and recovery
    • Phase two includes a max interval circuit, max interval plyometric drills, max cardio conditioning, and max recovery
    • Workouts range from 20 to 60 minutes, including three to five high-intensity exercises performed for three minutes, 30-second rest, and repeated for three cycles
    • Considered a well-structured, effective program, and easy to follow
    • No equipment is required
    • Strength training is not included with this program
    • Meal plans are offered
    • The program offers online motivation and support through the BeachBody community.

    A Word From Verywell 

    The BBG appears to be a well-balanced, effective workout program suitable for all fitness levels. It just may be the right workout for you, but there are a few things to consider before purchasing any fitness program. 

    As a fitness consumer, it’s important to know and trust the source of your fitness information, according to Maloney. This would include everything from a fitness professional's education, their training philosophy, who they are and what they’re about. We would do the same thing choosing a medical doctor to heal us when we’re sick. Why wouldn't we do the same for someone entrusted to keep us healthy?

    The bottom line is to invest some time researching the right fitness program for you. You will feel better about your choice and motivated to include regular exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle.

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