It’s been a while since I wrote about my fitness journey and I thought it was time I’d update this space. However, I’ve also been delaying publishing this post out of fear of backlash over a routine that so many women love. Why? I quit BBG (Bikini Body Guide).
As you may remember, I began making a lifestyle change back in September. I stealthily followed the #bbg and #bbgprogress hashtags on Instagram for over a month at that point, in a sort of self-induced brainwashing to get my head prepped for fitness. (It worked). I was amazed at the incredible results all these women were getting from just a 28-minute workout that required minimal equipment. Even more impressive was that you could do Kayla’s Bikini Body Guide workouts at home.
When you have a lot of weight to lose, usually any exercise program accompanied by healthy eating will yield lots of weight loss. My first round of BBG (12 weeks) of the program gave me amazing results but more importantly I felt GREAT. I saw the hint of my hourglass figure returning. Going up a flight of stairs no longer had me huffing and puffing. If I was playing with the pups on the floor, I was able to instinctually hop up due muscle memory thanks to all the burpees.
I cannot stress enough that Kayla’s BBG program is a SOLID workout plan. Thanks to her program I was able to bring my level of fitness from Poor to Good (according the the VO2 max test of my Polar watch). Having completed two full rounds of the original BBG program, and three weeks of her BBG 2.0 program, it was evident that lots of research and applied science went into the creation of the program.
Kayla’s program is an excellent example of metabolic conditioning. BBG is comprised of 7-minute circuits of compound exercises that keeps your heart-rate up and helps you burn a lot of calories in a short period of time. So, if you’re looking into doing something different or are looking into kick-starting your fitness journey, I highly recommend at least trying BBG.
So why did I quit BBG?
There are a few reasons and I will expound on them below.
I got bored
Sadly, yes, I got bored. I found myself procrastinating starting my workouts. I also started dissecting the circuits, wondering why the heck some ‘arm’ moves were included into leg days. Once things don’t start making sense to me, I start disliking them.
I then started dreading the monotony of the four 7-minute circuits. I would stop after each circuit and debate whether to move on to the next circuit.
That was red flag #1.
I became discouraged
In college I found great success with walking + jogging followed by weight-training. I had incredible results in 3 months…results that I did not see after nearly 8 months of BBG.
Or rather, I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted to see. (Red flag #2).
Many women have repeated BBG countless times (some over two years!) and have documented their progress on Instagram. I am amazed at their dedication to their program and I thought that I, too, would be able to reach months in the double-digits with BBG.
After the success of my first 16 weeks (four weeks of pre-training and 12 weeks of BBG) I decided to repeat the program, thinking I would achieve twice as much weight loss. However, I forgot that the more weight you need to lose, the quicker it tends to come off. Since I had already lost 13lbs, the chances I would lose much more weight would be slim to none.
In reality, over the course of the next 12 weeks I only lost an additional three (3) pounds. Twelve additional weeks of working my tail off 4-5 days a week only shaved an additional three pounds from the scale.
I started comparing my progress to that of others
Yes, I did see and feel my body composition changing despite few changes on the scale. I do know that the scale isn’t the best indicator of progress. In fact, I went from size 8 jeans to size 4 jeans.
However, my second 12-week progress photo showed very little change. That was a blow to my ego. Looking back, it sounds ridiculous but it’s the truth. Comparison is the thief of joy, and instead of being truly happy with where I was, I kept comparing my progress to that of others.
I lost fat in my lower body but my upper body, especially my midsection, stayed relatively the same. Instead of reveling in my current success, I was comparing the speed at which I saw results to the results I attained ten years ago in college. Was that fair to myself? Probably not, seeing as our metabolisms change with age, but I didn’t want to continue with something that gave me slow results when it was possible to see faster results with a different exercise regimen.
After finishing BBG for the second time, I started BBG 2 (weeks 13-24) because there was less jumping and a higher emphasis on weight lifting. However, it still was more jumping than I felt comfortable with. At week 16, I was done.
This was red flag #3.
If I had to look at one more tuck jump or burpee I would have lost my mind.
My body asked for something different
Despite there being plenty of compound movements involving weights, I still found BBG 2 heavily focused on jumping and cardio. Kayla has little bouts of cardio in the circuits to elevate your heart rate right when it is dipping due to strength-training. But you also have to add LISS (low intensity sustained state cardio) like walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming 2-4 times a week.
Without a gym membership or cardio machines at home, that left me with walking. In the mild Florida winters, this was actually doable. But then it got too hot for that and I stopped my 30-minute walks altogether.
Red flag #4: if I had to look at one more tuck jump or burpee I thought I would lose my mind. Maybe it was my form, but I started experiencing pain and soreness that would last days right above my knees.
I knew I needed a change.
There are a few BBG Facebook groups dedicated to motivating women on their journey. In fact, creating the BBG Community was how Kayla was able to reach so many women all over the world.
One of the most frequent questions women asked was how to incorporate weight training with BBG. (This was before Kayla introduced her revamped BBG Stronger program.) I never found much information, and it was disappointing since I still liked the simplicity of BBG and the fact that everything was laid out for me.
What I’m Doing Now
One thing I kept seeing over and over again was the Grace Fit Guide. I decided to look into it. I also bookmarked Grace’s workouts on Instagram and YouTube and was impressed. I noticed how she grew her enviable ::peach emoji:: booty and I knew I wanted to try GFG. Her 8 week guides have little to no cardio, and at the end of the weight lifting routines you have “finishers” which resemble 15-minute HIIT sessions.
However, I still wanted to continue doing BBG. I quickly learned that doing both would lead to over-training and possibly injuring myself. So I chose to do GFG’s four main weekly workouts, but incorporating BBG 2.0 abs.
This week I will be completing my 8th week of her first guide. While I have noticed even more toning up, I am still far from my goals. Building muscle is HARD, and it’s literally impossible for women to “bulk up” unless they’re taking serious supplements like estrogen blockers or HGH. My goal was to get rid of belly fat through increasing muscle mass, but it’s just not happening as quickly as I would like.
Will I ever go back to BBG? I won’t rule it out. I do believe that my body gets used to routines quickly and I have to keep changing things up, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I pick up the first guide months from now. Maybe I will love burpees by then, haha. Who knows?
Sorry for such a rambling post! I just thought I’d pen all of my thoughts and document that, despite the popularity of a particular exercise regime, it may not be the best one for you. BBG kickstarted my fitness journey, and for that I will be forever grateful.
I’m still exploring my options, but one thing I know I am not interested in is crazy cardio or Insanity-type of workouts. I like weight-lifting, and am shocked at the amount of sweat I am drenched in afterwards. I am also inspired by the likes of Abby Pollock, Emily Skye, Tammy Hembrow, Massy Arias, and Christine Hronec.
Have you changed up your fitness routine? Have you found one you’ve stuck with?
UPDATE 12/2017: The lack of cardio in GFG led me to gain fat in my midsection, despite lifting heavy 5-6 times per week. I have continually changed up my routines. For the latest, see my Fitness category.