My Honest Thoughts About BBG (now High Intensity with Kayla)
What is BBG High Intensity with Kayla? Does it actually work? What do results look like? What to expect? Answering all of your questions about the workout program that whips me into shape FAST like nothing else I've tried (read about My Fitness Story here) in today's post.
What is BBG High Intensity with Kayla?
BBG High Intensity with Kayla, (previously short for Bikini Body Guide) is a 12-week on/off HIIT workout program (and optional nutrition guide) developed by fitness powerhouse Kayla Itsines.
6 days a week - yes 6, and yes this almost initially turned me away - you'll alternate between high intensity resistance training and plyometrics (jump training) and low intensity steady state cardio days, giving your body a chance to rest in between the days that are tougher on your body.
The core exercises remain consistent, but will vary slightly in form and difficulty as you advance in the program.
How long are the workouts?
HIIT/resistance days of BBG High Intensity with Kayla are 28 minutes, performed in circuits. You'll do typically 10-20 reps of 4 different exercises in approximately 7 minutes for circuit A, before moving on to 4 new exercises in circuit B. You'll then repeat the process of circuit A and B once more. So 4 circuits, 7 minutes each = 28 minutes.
With breaks, which are often needed, I typically finish in 35-ish minutes.
LISS days are 30-45 minutes. On these days, I'll usually track calories on my Polar watch, and stop at about 300-350 calories.
What does each day look like?
One of my favorite things about BBG High Intensity with Kayla is that the mix of high intensity and low intensity keeps me challenged while making me feel like it's still doable. When I feel like I can't walk after leg day, I don't have to get discouraged knowing that I can simply go for a walk as my exercise the next day.
HERE'S HOW EACH DAY *ON MY SCHEDULE* BREAKS DOWN
(there's no set day where you have to do a certain workout, you set your own schedule!):
- Monday / Lower body, consisting of lots of squats, lunges and step ups, also including some plyometrics as you advance in the program like jump squats.
- Tuesday / LISS, with the goal of increasing your heart rate to a level that is above your normal rate, and then maintaining that rate. I'll typically choose a light ride on the Peloton, or walk in the Spring/Summer.
- Wednesday / Arms & Abs, consisting of push ups, mountain climbers, burpees, and ab exercises, many being body-weight focused.
- Thursday / LISS. I always see my LISS days as 'active recovery' days in between the hard hitters, and they are much needed!
- Friday / Full body, consisting of a mix of exercises you're already familiar with from your lower and upper body days.
- Saturday / LISS, + a day to rejoice because Sunday is rest day!
Is the SWEAT app worth it?
People often ask me, is the app worth it? In short, if you're going to commit to your workout, yes.
What I love about the SWEAT app is that it's constantly evolving. There have been so many updates over the years with new programs and instructors added, new workouts for existing programs, etc.
The SWEAT app also offers a much more interactive user experience with added perks like additional programs (pregnancy, low impact, no equipment, barre) workout challenges (in addition to your program), quick workouts for days where you don't have a full 30 minutes, video clips of each exercise, audio cues, a trackable calendar and so much more.
The SWEAT app costs $20/month or $120/year
And before you want to complain about the cost (because I did at first), investing $120 per year in your health IS worth it, without question. For comparison, if you buy at $5 Starbucks coffee 5 days a week for the year, it costs $1,300...so it's all relative!
Another alternative option is to download the BBG High Intensity with Kayla e-book PDF starting at $55. You'll receive one, 12-week workout program that you can save and access anytime. The downside? Not updated, not intuitive, limited to one single program.
And that's pretty much the gist of the program! See some more FAQ's below! click on the arrow to expand each question
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO SEE RESULTS?
One of the reasons I love the BBG program is because you see and feel results quicker than most (probably because it's such a kick in the butt, to be honest). Of course, every body is different, but I tend to start feeling results week 2, and seeing results week 3-4.
In the past, I've always seen another big jump in how my body looks from week 4-6.
My current results: After 4 full weeks of BBG, I have lost 6 lbs. and 2-3 inches off of my waist.
I've made the choice to cut out refined sugar, including desserts and wine (RIP), and I'm sure that's played a part too, but otherwise my diet remains unchanged. I don't believe in "dieting", rather I focus on eating clean and healthy unprocessed foods that I know my body needs. Do I still think about cookies like, 16 times a day? Yes.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE WITHIN BBG?
Personally, I always find it hard to get over the 2-week hump. Going from minimal activity to 6-day a week HIIT workouts is TOUGH; mentally and physically, I'm always pretty exhausted an unmotivated during those first two weeks. Once your body starts to recognize your workouts as habit though, that motivation and drive kicks into high gear and working out simply becomes a part of your routine.
HOW MANY CALORIES DO YOU BURN PER WORKOUT?
This will of course depend on your body type, weight and target heart rate but for me personally, I will tend to burn 300-450 calories on HIIT days (100-150 calories per 10 minutes), and about 250 calories in 30 minutes on LISS days.
I use my Polar watch to track my heart rate and calories, and on the days that I'm feeling like I can keep pushing, I'll often keep the workout going until I hit around 300-350.
HOW DO YOU MODIFY YOUR WORKOUTS?
Girl, I know those push ups are hard! In week 5, I'm still modifying by using my knees. Kayla has a few modifications within the PDF's/app which you can follow, but if your'e not finding what you're looking for you can also do a quick google search, ie: "modified burpee".
If plyometrics is tough on your knees, I recommend investing in a mini trampoline! You can grab this one right on Amazon for only $40. Not only is it easier on your landings, but it tends to get your heart pumping a little faster too.
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO YOU ACTUALLY NEED?
Having done this program quite a few times, having some equipment keeps me motivated, but it is 100% not necessary. Of course as a business, BBG recommends using quite a few pieces of equipment. The reality though, is that you can air jump if you don't have a jump rope, you can step up on an ottoman if you don't have a flat bench, and you can use objects around the house for weight if you don't have dumbbells.
Because of Joe's schedule, we've built a home gym so he has everything he needs, which means I have a lot of equipment on hand to begin with. However, what I personally use for BBG is:
- Foam Roller / Don't know what I'd do without this! I use it after every workout. Sore muscles are an inevitable part of this program, so I do recommend this! I also use the Hypervolt deep tissue massager. It's pricey, but it's something both Joe and I use very regularly (more cost-friendly version here!)
- Yoga Mat / You certainly don't need one but I prefer the grip of a yoga mat to a carpet. The one linked is our favorite because it has lots of extra cushion!
- Dumbbells / Again, easy to substitute but we already have these, and I prefer the standard grip of a dumbbell.
- Medicine Ball or Power Ring / I personally love the Power Ring, but it's also easy to substitute these with a single weight.
- Mini Trampoline / As mentioned above, I use this mainly for plyometrics...and because it's fun, duh.
WHERE DO YOU SHOP FOR WORKOUT CLOTHES?
To be honest, I usually just wear an old t-shirt or tank on top, but when it comes to leggings, I have my favorites! See: my Top 5 Favorite Workout Leggings.
Equipment mentioned above:
Have you tried High Intensity with Kayla or any other programs in the SWEAT app? Always curious to know others' perceptions of the program. Let me know your thoughts below!