As many of you know, I have recently taken up a new workout program, specifically BBG (which stands for Bikini Body Guide). I wanted to share an update since I have had so many questions about the program. Spoiler alert: You should do it!
There is a lot of about BBG online as it is really popular with (female) bloggers, but this is my two-cents.
BBG is a 12 week circuit training routine that is available either via the Sweat app or an eBook. Each week there are 3 strength training sessions which are 28 minutes each (two 7 minute circuits twice), 3 recommended cardio sessions, and a rest/recovery day. Each circuit is 4 exercises that you do for 7 minutes and then you switch to the second circuit, and then repeat. The cardio sessions recommended are at least 15 minutes (to start) and include LISS (slow cardio, like walking) and HIIT (high intensity cardio, like running). In the early weeks, all of the cardio is LISS, but then HIIT starts to be included towards the end.
In the Sweat app, the workouts are timed and include little videos of each of the exercises in the circuit; plus, the cool down stretches are also timed and included as videos. In the eBook, each workout is listed on the page, half of the page is the first circuit with pictures of the four exercises and the other half of the page is the second circuit. Then in the back of the eBook there is a glossary of each of the exercises. The eBook for the original BBG 1.0 is really basic; the eBook 2.0 is much better!
There are a few different versions of BBG, the most basic being BBG 1.0 which is the original 12 week routine. There is also BBG 2.0 which is a continuation of the original BBG and includes routines for weeks 13 to 24. In addition, there is BBG Stronger (introduces gym weights), BBG Post-Pregnancy (geared for post-partum mamas), BBG PWR (gym-based), and BBG Body and Mind (Vinyasa-style yoga). These additional routines (except for BBG 2.0) are only available via the Sweat app.
As I mentioned above, BBG is a popular workout at the moment and there is a large online community of women who are supporting each other thru the program. There is a Facebook page and an online forum specific to BBG, and many other blog posts and forums (if you are interested in that sort of thing)!
Why I chose BBG
I had been wanting to start back into a good workout routine last fall (more than just one Pure Barre class per week), especially since we were approaching the holiday season. When Aaron decided to take his remaining 6 weeks of paternity leave just before Christmas, I knew that would be my chance to really get into a good routine. I wanted to find something that I could commit to and was realistic for my current situation (which is that I am home with between 1 and 2 kids all day). Paying for a babysitter to watch one or both kids while I worked out didn’t seem worth it, so being able to do something at home was important. It seemed like so many of the women I was seeing do the BBG program were moms, so I was definitely inspired by that.
And it just so happened that I was starting 12 weeks before Daphne’s first birthday which gave me the exact amount of time to do a 12 week workout routine like BBG. So I hit the ground running (ha, pun intended!), bought the Sweat App and started that next Monday morning.
I did my strength training circuits at 6:30 am on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday mornings along with cardio on Tuesday and Thursday. I originally took my rest day on Sundays, but then after the holidays, I reincorporated my regular Pure Barre class back in and it took place of my full body training circuit. (And if you have ever done a Pure Barre class, you know it is way more than just a regular full body workout!)
My intention with BBG, and working out generally, is not to lose weight (though that is a result) but to be in better health and be stronger. I love seeing Eloise after a workout and have her say “Mama, you look so strong and independent!” I want to be a role model for my girls and I want to be the healthiest mama I can be for my family.
As expected, one of the reasons BBG works for me is because you can basically do the entire thing at home. I do the weight circuits in our office with hand weights, a yoga mat, and an IKEA step stool. And working out at home means you don’t have to factor in the driving time either. I can complete a workout in almost exactly 30 minutes (plus a few minutes of stretching). Once Aaron headed back to work, I did my weight circuits during nap time, and frequently did my cardio (walking) with Daphne either in the Ergo or in the stroller. It wasn’t ideal, but I made it work. I didn’t have access to a treadmill or a rowing machine at a gym, but it was nice to get outside for my cardio sessions.
**Just a note that I started BBG using the Post-Pregnancy program but I quickly found that it wasn’t as intense as I wanted. If I would have started BBG at 6 or 8 weeks post-partum, I probably would have liked this slower workout, but since I was already 9 months post-partum (and in pretty good shape) I wanted something that was going to push me a bit physically.**
In addition to the workouts, there are also nutritional guides that are included with the Sweat app (and available as a separate eBook). Since I didn’t follow along with the nutrition part of the plan, I don’t know much about what is included, but it is worth checking out if you are looking for some food guidance!
And while I didn’t follow any nutritional guides for BBG 1.0 (or have plans to do so in the future) I do know that “abs are made in the kitchen.” This is so true! You can workout and sweat and run (forever), but if you eat like crap, your body is going to reflect that.
At the time I started BBG, I was still nursing Daphne 4 times per day so I didn’t want to do anything in regards to my diet and nutrition that would have negatively affected my supply. Plus, increasing the amount that you are working out also means you need more calories. So, I started really watching what I was eating. I don’t like to restrict what I eat (because then that is all that I want), but moderation works. Like dessert is fine a few times per week in small portions. I also focused on having a good protein at every meal and making sure I was drinking a ton of water!
As an adult, I tend to be able to consume a good amount of calories for my daily activity level (less if I am sedentary and more if I am active) and mindless eating is not really a thing for me. But, I did start tracking my food intake with the Lose It app (the basic version is free) to keep myself accountable. While my food decisions are usually pretty good, I did catch myself not eating something because I didn’t want to add it to my food log!
App vs eBook
I started out using the Sweat app which I think was a good decision. I liked having the guidance in the app thru my workouts because it was a no brainer for me. When I started, I committed to 12 weeks so I planned on paying for the app for 3 months. The app is about $20 per month, though you can get it cheaper by pre-paying for 3, 6, or 12 months. My only real complaint with the app is that you can’t look ahead at the workouts or the app will reset the activities in your workout calendar. I am someone who is visual so seeing my workouts (both completed and planned) is important to me; I put all of my workouts into my Gmail calendar since that basically runs my life! Also, if you have an Apple Watch, the Sweat app will sync with it (most of the time, it’s a little buggy) and your workout will run on your watch.
For the eBook, you pay about $50 and it includes all of the circuit sessions for 12 weeks (either 1.0 or 2.0). The eBook 2.0 is MUCH better though, in comparison, and includes pages of stretching and rehab (i.e., foam rolling). The eBook is a downloadable PDF, but I have opted to print them and have them spiral bound. If you do this, I would recommend printing in black & white – WAY cheaper than in color – double-sided on slightly thicker paper.
A big part of any workout program is results. That’s why we do all of this activity, right? Probably the easiest and most popular way to see results is to weigh yourself. You have a starting weight, an ending weight and a goal weight, and the idea is generally to see a decline in that number and have it close to the goal. I did weigh myself before I started, maybe twice during, and once at the end, but since we don’t have a scale, it wasn’t a good system of measurement for me. Basically, I didn’t use the scale as an indication of my “success” in my first 12 weeks. However, I did lose weight (maybe 7ish pounds?) and am stronger.
With BBG, a big part of the program is taking before, during, and after pictures. If you see anything on social media about BBG it is almost always a before and after of a woman who has gone thru the BBG program. I did take before and after pictures (but I decided not to share them on the Internet!) for a few reasons. But honestly, there isn’t a huge (visual) difference between my before and afters. That’s not to say there isn’t a difference though (hello baby abs!), but I can feel it in the way my clothes fit and I did lose one clothing size. Again, my goal was to start BBG (and continue it) to be strong and healthy, not for a crazy, drastic change, so CHECK!
My current workout program
I did take one week off the week of Daphne’s birthday which felt strange after completing 12 weeks of 6 workouts per week. But as much as my body felt weird during that break, my brain needed that time to sort out what things would look like going forward. Realistically I am not going to continue with 6 workouts per week because then that means I am literally only doing workouts during my “me” time each day. Even though I feel immensely better after a workout, I have to have other ways to self care.
So, going forward the weekly plan is (at least) one Pure Barre class, two BBG 2.0 strength workouts, and one cardio (or HIIT) session. I also may try to incorporate a Zumba class or a Pure Barre Empower class into my week as a cardio option; the only time these classes would work for me is late in the evening which is the worst time for me to workout (personally).
- Sunday: 50 minute Pure Barre class
- Monday: rest
- Tuesday: BBG leg circuit workout (during naptime)
- Wednesday: rest or walking cardio (with Daphne)
- Thursday: BBG arm or ab circuit workout (during naptime)
- Friday: rest or walking cardio (with Daphne)
- Saturday: BBG workout, HIIT workout*, or cardio
*For HIIT workouts, I don’t run but I have found some good HIIT workouts on Pinterest which are basically really fast circuit workouts.
And because it worked so well the past 12 weeks, I have already put my workouts into my calendar (indefinitely) since I feel committed at that point. I am a person that puts EVERYTHING in my calendar, so I can honor the workouts already scheduled but still plan other things too.
Also, I switched from the Sweat app to the eBook 2.0 for weeks 13 to 24. It makes more sense for me (financially) since I am only doing two BBG workouts each week, and then I can resume using the app in the future if I want to have a more intense workout program.
Bottom line: I highly recommend BBG and think it’s a great 12 week workout program. At any fitness level, I think BBG can be helpful. After completing the first 12 weeks, I know that for me personally I can’t commit to the full BBG program each week, but I think I can incorporate a few of them into a more flexible workout program that suits my needs.
Do you have a workout program or have you tried BBG?
This post was not sponsored. All opinions and thoughts are my own.