Now that I’m on week 4 of Kayla Itsine’s BBG program, I thought I would do a Q&A since I get so many questions about the program. I did an Instagram Live about it a couple of weeks ago, but it was only saved for 24 hours. I hope this is helpful for anyone curious about the BBG program/Sweat app!
What is BBG?
BBG or “bikini body guide” is a 12-week workout program created by Australian fitness pro Kayla Itsines. It used to come as a downloadable e-book that you could print out, but is now also available in the App Store.
What is the BBG app called? How much does it cost?
The app is called Sweat – and now I know why – these workouts push you very hard. If you pay for the full year up-front, the total comes to $9.99 per month, which is cheaper than most gym memberships and you’ll actually get a fully guided workout program instead of walking around aimlessly at the gym trying to find equipment to use. Even if you pay month-to-month, the app is still just $19.99, cheaper than most gym memberships.
Do you recommend the PDF/e-book or the app?
The BBG workout (PDF) and app are the same thing – the only difference is that the app has way more workouts (BBG, PWR, BBG Stronger and Post-Pregnancy). With the PDF guide, you’re only getting the original 12-week BBG program (though you can buy them in bundles). The Sweat app is still cheaper than any gym, class or personal trainer.
I had the e-book for a year and never touched it. I find it harder to follow and be motivated. With the app, you feel like Kayla is right there with you – it shows you HER doing each and every move (it’s like a video/GIF format – no guessing games as to whether you’re doing the move correctly) and it takes you through the entire workout with timers and even a timed cool- down/stretching. I cannot say enough how much I love the app over the book. IMO there is no comparison! The app also synchs with your phone so that you can listen to any of your music library or playlists while you sweat. The app tracks all of your progress too, which is a huge bonus!
What do you like about BBG?
I can do it at home
The Sweat app is awesome and makes the workouts easy to follow
The resistance workouts are just 28 (intense!) minutes long
The workouts are challenging + designed for women’s bodies
I sweat more during these at-home workouts than I did at the gym I used to go to. I’m NOT into CrossFit and heavy lifting at all (totally cool if you are, it’s just not for me/my goals) so I thrive with workouts that use your own bodyweight and combine resistance training with plyometric movements (BBG does use some free weights, but many of the exercises are body weight only). I did do some of that stuff at my old gym, but for some reason, Kayla’s workouts just kick your butt and make you sweat like crazy. You can feel them working!
How many workouts are there per week?
BBG consists of three resistance workouts per week (legs, abs and arms and full body) and LISS (low intensity steady state) 3 days a week until week 5, then you add one more day of LISS (4 total). After week 9, you add one day of HIIT (high intensity interval training).
For the resistance workouts, each full workout is 28 minutes long, broken up into four 7-minute long circuits. So this is how it works:
7 minutes – circuit 1 – do as many laps of circuit 1 as the 7-minute time will allow (a buzzer sounds when the circuit is over)
7 minutes – circuit 2 – do as many laps of circuit 2 as the 7-minute time will allow
7 minutes – back to circuit 1 – do as many laps of circuit 1 as the 7-minute time will allow
7 minutes – back to circuit 2 – do as many laps of circuit 2 as the 7-minute time will allow
* note that there is a 30 second break between circuits (at the end of each 7 minutes)
Each circuit has 4-5 moves – each move shows how many repetitions you need to do – for example, 15 pushups, 24 alternating walking lunges, etc. Once you are done all 4-5 moves in the circuit, if you still have time left in the 7 minutes (you usually will have enough time for 2 rounds at least), you just start over again. The idea of these workouts is that you’re moving the entire time – and the app makes it easy. Each time you complete a move, you hit an arrow and it takes you to the next one, all while the timer continues to count down.
For LISS and HIIT – the options are up to you – you can walk, run, do a dance class, climb stairs – anything that either keeps your heart rate at a steady pace or that makes it go and up down. Usually for LISS, you want to do about 30-35 mins and for HIIT about 15-20.
Right now, I’m personally only doing the resistance workouts (3 days a week) of BBG. I wanted to start slow and make the program feel doable with my busy life. I don’t have any at-home cardio equipment, so going for walks and chasing after toddlers is my current LISS (haha). I would eventually like to do the full program with LISS and HIIT, but for now, I’m going for the small goals and have already seen a difference!
Can you do BBG if you have Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis Recti is a condition that occurs when your abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy, leaving a gap that can make you look pregnant even months after you delivered (learn more about the condition, here). Most women that have had children do have some degree of this – I had two large babies (over 8 lbs each) and had a pretty narrow/thin torso area before pregnancy, but it wasn’t until I had Lincoln that I noticed that my stomach did not go down as much as it had with my first, even when I was at my lowest weight from breastfeeding. I realized this was because I had DR and so when I was working out at my old gym, I stopped doing ab work as I did not want to make it worse. Then, I purchased this DR workout plan, but never started it.
It’s not safe to do regular abdominal workouts when you have DR and doing so can actually make the condition worse. I was doing normal ab work for the first couple of weeks of BBG and then I remembered that Rach said something about modifying the ab portion when she first started, so I reached out to her and she told me she subbed in DR-safe ab work into the BBG program, so that’s what I’m doing now.
I used YouTube and the DR workout plan I purchased to create a list of moves I can do instead of the ones in the BBG program – you will never be able to do normal ab work unless you fix the DR first. My core is very weak now, but getting stronger.
What if the BBG exercises are too difficult for me?
I don’t have the strength to do all of the exercises either – for example the push-ups and lay-down push-ups. I do them on my knees because that’s what I’m capable of. I don’t think this is a reason NOT to do the program. Just adapt what you need to. If you tap on the exercise that’s too difficult, it will pull up a screen where you can select “alternative” and it will give you another version of doing the exercises that is sometimes a little less challenging. Or, just do your own adaptations as needed. I have still seen a difference in my strength and muscles doing the exercises in an alternate fashion. You have to start somewhere! There is also a 4-week BBG beginner program.
I can’t find the time to do BBG – when do you do it?
I get it – I’ve been the “I don’t have time” person on and off for many years. But you know what? If you want something, you’ll find the time for it. I have two kids, a husband, work full time, run a business part time (this blog), own a home and have tons of things on my to-do list – so I get it. It’s hard to make the time, especially because the evenings after the kids are asleep is when I usually work on this blog.
My original plan was to wake up at 6 a.m. to do BBG (it was much better than waking up at 5 a.m. like I was when I was going to a gym!) I did that once, and suddenly found myself doing the workouts at night after the kids were asleep. I never thought I would be able to work out after a full work day and taking care of the kids, but I get excited to turn my music up and I know it’s just 28 minutes. The thing about BBG is that 3 resistance workouts a week are totally doable for me because I always do one on a weekend – so fitting in two workouts in a five-day period is NOT a ton of pressure. If I was doing the 3 days of LISS and HIIT – I know I would quickly feel like I was failing which is exactly why I started out slow.
Can you do BBG at home?
Speaking of time – YES – you can do BBG at home! That’s why I started it – I wanted a program that was effective that I could do at home. Gyms are expensive, filled with germs, you can’t always get the space or equipment you want, you have to drive to and from, park, etc. It’s just a hassle I didn’t want. I knew that the more obstacles I had in my way, the less likely I would be to stick to any program.
These workouts can absolutely be done at home with pretty minimal equipment. You’ll have an initial investment for equipment, but it’s not much and the entire workout is totally doable in any room of your home. I cleared out my home office (which we never used for any purpose other than to store stuff) and made it into my workout room and though it’s a smaller space, it’s perfect for the workouts. If I have to do walking lunges, I just open the door and use the hallway outside to complete the set.
Anyone who tells you BBG is not doable at home must really love working out in a gym – there is nothing wrong with that, it’s just not for me! I have such limited time in my day for myself – I need something I can do where I already am.
The one caveat to this is that I love taking classes at fitness studios (like barre classes). I love it when an instructor guides you through a full hour long workout because it goes by so quickly — I think that’s another thing I love about the app – there is no thinking involved. You just see what the next move is and GO! No wondering, wandering or waiting.
I’ve never worked out/haven’t worked out in a long time – can I do BBG?
Yes! The app has a BBG program for beginners that is 4 weeks long and prepares you to start the regular BBG 12-week program. There are also programs for postpartum moms – pick what is right for your season of life. There is also BBG stronger, which is a new program Kayla created for people who want to do BBG at a gym and with more machines/heavier weights.
Can you pause the app if it’s going too fast?
Yes, there is the option to pause the workout. Or you can just take 10 seconds to recovery if you need to take some breaths before moving on.
What equipment do you need to do BBG at home?
Free weights ( here, here or here) weighted ball (medicine ball), jump rope (here), exercise mat (here or here) workout bench (I use a bench that is part of my office built-ins, but you can get this one or this one.)
Read my Friday Five BBG post here.
Is there a diet plan you have to do with BBG?
Kayla does have a nutrition plan, but I don’t follow it. I basically switched from eating whatever I wanted and bingeing on sweets to eating clean – few processed foods, lots of lean proteins and veggies, etc. The app does include food/nutrition info.
What do you typically eat in a day?
Breakfast: two GG crackers with organic peanut butter (less than 1 gram of sugar per serving) and a Nespresso coffee made with frothed unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I use the Silk or Trader Joe’s brand + I also add Vital Proteins collagen peptides into my coffee for a protein boost). You can also use almond butter or add berries on top of the PB! On weekends, I usually eat a slice or two of Ezekiel bread with peanut or almond butter. Sometimes I have scrambled eggs, Ezekiel toast and berries.
Lunch: chicken breasts or turkey with veggie side (like zoodles or a veggie mix) or a salad with lots of spring mix and spinach and chicken, eggs and plenty of veggies with/balsamic vinaigrette.
Snack: 200-calorie pack of almonds or an apple + string cheese. I also love garlic hummus with any veggie dipped in. I usually also always make another Nespresso coffee with steamed almond milk at around 2PM.
Dinner: chicken or another lean meat with veggie side or salad – I tend to eat similar things for lunch and dinner. We usually eat at chick-fil-after after swim class each week and I will get either their market salad with no cheese and choose one of their lower calorie dressings or the southwest salad. I do not add the other salad toppings – some of them are 80 calories and IMO don’t add much to the salad. You can also get a chicken sandwich there or the grilled nuggets which have lots of protein but are healthier.
Sweets: I sometimes have a square or two of dark chocolate if I am craving something sweet – ever since I altered my diet, my cravings reduced dramatically.
Note: If I work out that day, I have one scoop of this BCAA/pre-workout in my water bottle prior to exercising.
Other snacks I love: boom chicka-pop popcorn (regular flavor), LARA bars (cherry pie), nuts (almost, cashews), fruit, cheese sticks.
What are the biggest changes you’ve made in your diet since starting BBG?
I cut out a ton of processed foods, lowered my carb intake and stopped eating candy, ice cream, cookies and sweet treats I used to consume daily. I have talked about this before, but my sugar consumption always gets to a place where it’s totally out of control. I don’t buy candy and stuff for the house anymore. I stick to the dark chocolate for now because I know I won’t be tempted to binge on it. I wish I could be the type to have one or two cookies and put the rest away, but it’s really difficult for me.
The best way I’ve found to control the highs and crashes from sugary treats is to simply stop consuming them like I used to. Of course I still have sugar in my diet in other foods, but I’m trying to only allow things like ice cream as a special treat when we go out as a family – not a daily occurrence. Now that I don’t eat all the sugar, I truly don’t crave it like I used to. The moment I start eating it again though, the cravings come back.
Diet will make the biggest difference in your results. I never believed it until I saw it happening with my own body.
How do you stay motivated?
Results + a supportive community! I’m doing BBG with two co-workers and also have a lot of you who check-in with me on IG which is awesome and keeps me feeling encouraged! I’m also seeing results – as I mentioned on IG stories, I have lost several pounds and am starting to feel stronger. Prior to starting BBG, I did not own a scale. But after a doctor’s visit a few months ago, I realized I weighed more than I ever have (without being pregnant).
I wanted to develop better eating habits and have more strength and energy. And of course I wanted to get back down to my regular weight. Side note – I did not lose weight for pretty much the entire 6 months I worked out at the gym with trainer-led workouts. Granted, I was not eating clean at the time, but I truly think those workouts were just not the right fit for my goals and body type. Plus, I was barely sleeping and waking up at 5 a.m. was killing me and causing me to have even more cravings because I was so tired (there are studies that show that lack of sleep causes people to over eat and have more cravings). BBG is just what works for my lifestyle right now. It presents very few obstacles and fits well into my life and schedule.
(these were taken at the end of BBG week 3 – find my scalloped bikini here)
Is BBG a weight loss program?
Any time you eat more healthfully and get your body moving, you tend to lose some weight. I think BBG helps with both fat loss and muscle-building. If you look at Kayla Itsine’s Instagram account, you will see a lot of the transformations she features.
Did you have to change your hair washing routine for BBG?
I got this question a lot on Instagram – my routine is still the same and I wash it twice a week, using Living Proof dry shampoo in between. I usually only sweat on the outer perimeter of my hair and my sweatier workouts tend to be on a night I’m washing it anyway. You can also use your hair dryer on the cool setting to get some of the moisture out. I haven’t had any issues thus far.
Do you want to cry on leg days?
I have almost thrown up after the leg workouts…oh man. The struggle is real…and so is the burn!
What does the app look like?
Here is a screenshot of what you’ll see in the app. As you scroll, there are more moves for each workout.
How do you plan your workouts for the week in the app?
The app allows you to choose what days you want to do what workouts – the goal is to complete them in one week, in any order you like. I usually do legs on Tuesday, then arms and abs on thursday or Friday and full body on Saturday or Sunday. As you complete them, the app marks them as complete. Ideally, you would do a resistance workout followed by LISS or HIIT the next day and so on.
When will you start doing LISS or HIIT?
Probably at the end of the 12 weeks. I want to build up my strength and get into a solid routine. I have felt so much better with a lower pressure workout that still yields results.
If y’all have other questions, please leave them in the comments!