BBG workout {how I got started & where I am now}

BBG

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 Basics

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.**

Nutrition

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.

Results

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?

M

This post was not sponsored. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

project baby #2 {nursing essentials}

Back in April I shared my newborn and post-partum essentials that were important to me in those first few weeks when Daphne was so tiny and new. (And see my post-partum essentials with Eloise here.) Now that we are seven months out, I wanted to update again with my nursing essentials since these are the things that are (or have been) important to me for a much longer amount of time and will likely be until Daphne weans.

Post-Partum-Essentials

{one} (Reusable) Nursing Pads.

For me reusable nursing pads are must and Bamboobies are my go-to. Even after my supply had come in and leveled out, I still found that leakage was an issue, so these help me from having to change clothes (or at least my shirt) multiple times per day. Plus, once baby sleeps thru the night and you are going 10 to 12 hours between the first feeding and the last, you want something that will help absorb. I like the thin, heart-shaped pads for daytime since they fit smoothly, but then I like the thicker, round ones for nighttime use.

{two} Nursing Bra.

Like most new mamas, I spent the first weeks (okay, probably months) in softer nursing bras meant for sleeping. Then once my milk came in I started wearing “real” nursing bras, including underwire ones (which you have to be careful with when your milk is coming in). I still had nursing bras from when Eloise was little but found that I needed/wanted a few new ones.

I kept seeing blog posts and ads about a new brand called ThirdLove and decided to finally buy when they released a line of nursing bras. I opted for the wireless one and have been really impressed. The biggest thing about nursing bras (for me) that you don’t have to think about with regular bras is how easily the cup flips or folds down; I have a few that don’t do this well and end up soaked in milk at the end of every feeding! ThirdLove’s cups are super soft and fold really well down plus a bonus that the straps don’t slip. Guys, this is life-changing!

The other secret to nursing bras (which I have shared before) is that Nordstrom will convert any regular bra into a nursing bra for a nominal alteration fee (like $15). Definitely worth it if you are particular about a brand, or have a unique band or cup size.

{three} Tanks.

As with Eloise, I don’t like nursing tanks. I think they can be great for those first few weeks, but beyond that, I like the support (and look) of a bra. But, I do wear a tank top basically every day so that when I do nurse, my belly isn’t exposed; I just pull down the tank when I need to nurse. I have multiple tanks with the thin (spaghetti) straps from both H&M and Old Navy in white, black, and grey that basically covers any shirt situation along with an old “nude colored” cami (similar to this) which is great for under white shirts.

{four} Boppy Pillow.

When nursing Daphne, I have found that I use my Boppy nursing pillow so much more than I did with Eloise (seven months out), like whenever I am home during a feeding. I find it is much more comfortable for me to have the support of a pillow and will probably continue to use it until Daphne is too big! This time around I also bought this beautiful pillow cover from MadlyWish which is made from the Rifle Paper Co. fabric line. Guys, it sounds silly, but this pillow cover makes me so happy. I wish I would have gotten a fun cover for the Boppy when Eloise was little. Instead I used the very juvenile ones that came with the pillow. So, get a Naked Boppy Pillow and find a shop (there are tons on Etsy or Instagram) that sells beautiful covers and you are set!

{five} Hydroflask Waterbottle.

Until about two months ago, I was using the same Camelbak waterbottles that I got when I was pregnant with Eloise. They worked fine and were great for keeping me hydrated during pregnancy and post-partum. However, when they started leaking (from the drinking spout) and becoming harder to clean, I started shopping around for something else. Enter: Hydroflask. I had heard great things about Hydroflask from other mamas but couldn’t get myself to buy a waterbottle that was so expensive! But then I did. And it was so worth it. Seriously. My water stays cold for hours or until I drink the entire bottle (usually the latter). If you are on the fence at all about one, do it. I got the wide-mouth one and added the straw lid because with two little ones, I never have two hands available to screw open the lid!

And along with these essentials, I probably should mention a breast pump. I didn’t have a great experience pumping with Eloise but we bought this new Naya Smartpump this time around and I really, really like it (well, as much as you can like a breast pump). A lot of people are surprised when they find out that I pump because I stay home with the girls, but sometimes I need to be able to be away from Daphne and we also give her a bedtime bottle which (right now) is pumped milk, so I am currently pumping twice per day.

What were your nursing essentials? Did they change over time or from your first kiddo to your second (or third)?

M

This post contains affiliate links.

project baby {post-partum essentials}

PostPartem_Essentials

much like my pregnancy essentials post, this was a long time coming…

one thing that I really didn’t think about too much when I was pregnant was not being pregnant. & by that, I mean, I didn’t really think about post-partum recovery. I assumed that since I was a low-risk pregnancy & that a c-section was not likely in the cards for me that I would bounce back to normal pretty quickly. whatever normal means once you have a newborn that is. oh boy was I wrong. just because I wasn’t recovering from major abdominal surgery (which is what a c-section is!) doesn’t mean I didn’t have a recovery period. birthing a child is no small feat!

even though I am the type of person who gets dressed & ready every day (nope, I do not hang out in my yoga pants all day, even if eloise & I don’t leave the house!) I definitely focused on comfort for those first few weeks.

{one} comfy pants & shorts. it was the summer when I had eloise & it was very hot so I mostly wore t-shirts & comfy, loose pants or shorts. I focused on drawstring or elastic-waisted things which were fortunately starting to be on-trend last year (I stocked up on a few pairs that I wore at the end of my pregnancy & then into post-partum). I was particularly fond of these Gilligan & O’Malley Knit Pajama Pants that I picked up at Target for my hospital bag. I wore them home from the hospital & they quickly became a favorite. I didn’t want anything tight or clingy around my mid-section for a while, so elastic was my best friend for those first few weeks!

{two} lalabu nursing tank. this is actually a tank that I didn’t get until eloise was a few months old, but I wish I would have had it as soon as she was born! it is a nursing tank with lots of great features including a long length, thick material, & the ability to be worn with or without a bra. but the best feature is the little pocket in the front that is meant for holding baby. since it isn’t a baby carrier per se, you still have to support baby a lot, but it is nice to tuck that little one right near you without the fuss of a moby wrap or ergo. I wore it long after eloise had outgrown that little pouch pocket, especially when I traveled or at nighttime since it was so easy to nurse in. the only downside I found was that the top of the pouch doesn’t really stay flat under your shirt, so sometimes it looks a little wonky.

{three} nursing tank. I had a few simple nursing tanks from Target but I never really liked them too much. they were ill-fitting & seemed redundant since I was wearing a nursing bra (so many clips!). I figured if I found just a simple stretchy tank top I could just pull the front down when I nursed. plus, wearing a tank under your shirt when you are nursing is nice if you have a shirt that has to be lifted up during a feeding (I still wear a tank under everything these days!). the H&M Basic Tank fits perfectly & is $6 so you can stock up! I like this one because it doesn’t have a built-in shelf bra; maybe this is a personal preference, but having that additional bra inside was really uncomfortable for me. if you don’t mind the built-in bra, Target has some similar tank tops.

{four} nursing pads. if you are nursing, you will more than likely need nursing pads. they are good for absorbing extra milk (& preventing leakage thru your shirt) & will prevent any ointment or cream that you are using from getting onto your bra &/or shirt. there are two different types of nursing pads – disposable & reusable – & I am most definitely in the reusable camp. I found that disposable pads are really scratchy & not very comfortable; on the other hand, you don’t have to do laundry if you run out. my preferred nursing pads were Bamboobies & I still use them if I have extra supply or any leakage. & while Bamboobies makes thicker overnight pads, I used these Satsuma Organic ones which were great for nighttime.

{five} sleepmask. while the old adage “sleep while baby sleeps” is somewhat misleading, I did find that I was sleeping during the day quite a bit those first few weeks (okay months). I had always used a sleepmask when I was traveling, but daytime naps before I was pregnant weren’t really a thing. but, since I did sleep during the day when eloise was very little & we didn’t have a window covering on our bedroom window, I found that a sleepmask was imperative! the one that I have is my favorite & I have had it for years; it is silky on the inside & the elastic isn’t too tight around my head. this is the Sleepmask that is shown above.

{six} reusable water bottle. yep, same bottle as in my pregnancy essentials post. I think it sort of goes without saying that you need to stay hydrated during recovery from childbirth (natural or c-section) & for nursing. if you are anything like me, you will be so thirsty post-partum that you can’t get enough to drink (I was the same way with food those first months – so hungry!). I kept my Camelback Eddy Insulated Water Bottle on the sidetable in the nursery, upstairs near the couch, & at my bedside – one each place. I wanted to be sure that I never was without water & the last thing I needed to do was haul around a water bottle (since I was already trying to keep track of my phone for pictures & tracking feedings, & eloise!). you could also leave glasses of water in various parts of your house too, but I am way too clumsy for that!

the other thing that should have made this list was nursing bras! I waited until after my milk came in to go & get fitted, just because I wanted to make sure I was getting the right size (& bras are not cheap!). my advice is to get a few really comfy nursing bras from Target that fit you in the last few weeks of your pregnancy, & then wait until you are ready to venture out with the babe to your local Nordstrom* & get fitted. Nordstrom will convert any bra into a nursing bra, so don’t feel limited by what small selection of nursing bras are in the store. it is going to be a bit of a splurge, but if you plan on breast-feeding for any length of time, stock up on bras! also consider buying a bra (or two, or even a supportive nursing tank top) for nighttime. (& if you don’t have a Nordstrom where you live, ask around to see where other mamas got nursing bras locally. the best thing you can do is go get fitted so you are wearing the right size.)

fellow mamas – what were your post-partum must-haves?

M

this post contains affiliate links.

*this isn’t a plug for Nordstrom & I was in no way compensated for or asked to talk about Nordstrom, it is just the only place I know that converts bras to nursing bras. if you are crafty though, you could probably DIY it!