Over the years, the term “bikini body” has had different icons. In the 90s, it was Pamela Anderson in Baywatch. In the 00s, it was Cameron Diaz in Charlie’s Angels. These days, the icon is not at all a Hollywood star. It is a 25-year-old from Adelaide, Australia named Kayla Itsines. With 6.5 million Instagram followers and counting, Kayla has turned into a fitness sensation with her 12-week Bikini Body Guide (BBG) challenge that she shares with the world through a smartphone app.
Although Kayla seems to be just like one of us (only with enviable tans and cuter workout gears), she actually has fitness credentials. In 2008, she took a a personal training course at the Australian Institute of Fitness. Over the course, she developed her own fitness routines to solve a few of women’s common physical problems: “I hate my inner thighs”, “I want toned arms” and “I just want a flat-stomach and nice abs”.
What is BBG?
It’s a combination of cardio workouts and healthy diet that helps women get a “bikini body” – lean thighs, toned arms and defined abs. Daily workout session is 28-minute long, divided in 7-minute circuits with 30-second breaks in betweens. Workouts are scheduled every day, 5 days a week. Typical moves include burpees, push-up and commando. Throughout the 12 weeks, workout routines are alternated between HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) and LIIS (Low-Intensity Steady State).
How do I do it?
The idea of BBG is getting people to work out wherever they are, hence the Sweat with Kayla app, available on both App Store and Google Play. You do need workout clothes, trainers, yoga mat and weights to support the routine, but you can do it at home. The app itself provides a 7-day free trial, with in-app purchases as you go along. Besides providing step-by-step workout regime, the app also provides healthy recipes and grocery shopping tips.
Who can do it?
What appeals many women (the website claims 10 million women have done it) to do BBG is the fact that anyone with any fitness level can do it. In her tutorial videos, Kayla also provides different options for different movements to suit different fitness levels. However, as any other high-intensity training, those who train need to watch out for their existing knee problems and lower back issues.
Why should I torture myself to do it?
Common post-workout symptoms that people note are aching legs, abs and arms. An article about people who do BBG even states a new habit of “pushing plans with friends because you know you’ll be walking like a penguin all Tuesday after leg day.” Clearly, BBG takes a lot of energy and willpower. What for? Obviously, the said “bikini body. But the beauty of a trendy workout in a social media era is the motivation you get from other people who are also sweating their hearts away. Hashtags like #BBG have over 5 million posts under the category, making you feel like you have a friend who are also going through the same transformation, although the process is torturing. When you feel like you’re dying, #BBGsisters have got your back.
What do I get at the end of the 12 weeks?
Emily Jaury, an e-commerce entrepreneur, is in her third week of BBG. She does 30 minutes cardio + 30 minutes mat exercise for 5 times a week. “I’m seeing results,” she says on Instagram. Many others have seen major transformation in their body and lifestyle, and end up doing BBG regularly, instead of a 12-week challenge. “My journey continues to be one of self discovery. I didn’t set out to FIND myself again. I wanted to BECOME myself and all that I am meant to be,” says @plankingforpizza, who have clearly lost a lot of weight since she started Kayla.
The abundant online testimonies from people who swear by Kayla shows how the workout is transforming people’s lives. But at the end of the day, do choose the workout regime that suits your body and mind best!