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By April 27, 2015 , , , , , ,

About a month ago, a friend introduced Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide to me. After doing some research (i.e. Looking at the transformation pictures of Kayla’s clients on her website and reading other blogs) and trying out her free workouts, I decided to shell out $69.90 to purchase her 12-week guide. It has been one week since I started the workout routine and I feel fabulous. So I thought I will do a weekly recap and write a few bits If you’re wondering about the who, what, why of this post.. here it is:

Warning: Long post ahead. Maybe grab a cup of tea?

Who is Kayla Itsines?
Kayla is a 20 something fitness instructor based in Adelaide, Australia. She and her partner, Tobi, developed the Bikini Body Guide (BBG), a 12-week program tailored for most women who are looking to strengthen and tone their muscles, instead of adding bulk.

The BBG and boot camps that she run has earned her 2.3 million followers on Instagram. In addition to the BBG, she also developed the HELP guide, a nutrition and meal plan guide to supplement the BBG. Find out more about Kayla Itsines on her website.

(Image Source: Pop Sugar)

What is in the Bikini Body Guide?
The Bikini Body Guide is a PDF booklet that contains everything there is to know to get started, continue and make full use of the workouts that Kayla has created - information about the importance of protecting your muscles from being injured to illustrations and detailed instructions on how to complete the workouts. It is delivered via email and available to print or view on all tablets and smartphones.

Why did you choose Kayla Itsines’ workout plan?
It all started when I went for two weeks of pole-dancing lessons with my friend, when I realised how unfit I had become…or rather, how fit all the other girls were. When the same friend told me about the BBG and the fact that it only takes up 28 – 30 minutes a day (7 minutes of circuit workout x 4), I was all for it.

Financially, the BBG is a better investment for me. For $69.90 I get 12 weeks worth of workout. Plus, I can do the workout at home. On another hand, joining a gym that has Les Mills Body Pump lesson will cost me $69.90 per month…and I am unsure if I will commit to actually going for the classes, especially in the dreary weather that Melbourne has been experiencing recently. So, Kayla’s plan it is!

Based on the transformation pictures of her clients that she posts up on Instagram, it seems that the program definitely changed many women’s body and lives. Word-of-mouth is a big factor here: If it weren’t for my friend’s recommendation, I probably wouldn’t commit to the program too.

Finally, I like that Kayla’s program is not too rigid, doesn’t take up too much time and she doesn’t set an expectation of how your body should look after a certain period of time. There are some people who say that the term “Bikini Body” seems to be implying that only a certain type of body can wear and should wear bikini. But I suppose this is a supply-demand issue: She is supplying a service to meet the demand of women who wants to look a certain way. Whichever way it is, the transformation pictures show strong women in various body shapes, rather than singling out a body type.

Most of all, she seems very earnest and humble.

Are the transformation pictures real?
I cannot speak for Kayla, but the pictures are tagged with the senders’ Instagram profile and it all checked out alright. So, unless this is some sort of conspiracy that involves millions of people… I think it’s the real deal.

What do you need to get started at home?
Sports bra, a bottle of water, 3-6kg dumbbells x2, fitness mat, timer and some music are enough to kickstart.

So, how do you feel after one week?
I feel good! Although it has only been one week since I started the BBG, I was already doing the free trial workouts three times a week for two weeks prior. It doesn’t come without some pain though – be prepared to experience soreness the day after. After a few painful weeks, I am finally able to do full sit-ups now, rather than half sit-ups, so I know I’m getting stronger every day.

Mentally, I feel calmer and more focused. It also made me feel like if I really put my mind to it, I can do anything…not just completing the circuit workouts, but the bigger things in life. I also think twice about the food I consume as well. I’m factoring in more vegetables and fruit in my diet. In fact, I am starting to cut down on refined sugar.

Most notably, I think I finally won my fight against angular cheilitis and mouth sore. I’m not sure if regular exercise contributes to it, but the corners of my mouth are no longer red with inflammation, painful cracks and embarrassing flaky skin. For about a year now I have been battling the condition with any lip balm that I can find, paw paw cream and even tried hydrocortisone cream. The hydrocortisone cream worked fine, but the condition will be back in full force after a few days. As a result I feel unattractive and anxious that people might think I have some sort of terrible disease.

So, these two weeks of reprieve from the condition is a joy. I am also wearing lipstick again and I'm loving it. I cannot think of anything I am doing different other than working out. So, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that means I am doing something right.

What do you want to achieve out of BBG? 
I'm not expecting my body to look like Kayla's after 12 weeks because she is a fitness instructor and she is only 23, perhaps younger when she first started. On the other hand, I have a desk job and have long been sedentary...so there are some problem areas. With that being said, I would like to grow stronger and develop a healthier lifestyle.  It will be a nice bonus to shake off the love handles I have.

I’ve started keeping a Tumblr to keep track of the workout and state of mind daily. But more importantly, I need something like that to keep me accountable. If you are wondering how a person with 0 fitness level is progressing, you can find out on my Tumblr, My Kayla BBG Diary.

Here we go! After a fun Sunday, it is Week 2…and I think we are in for a whole new world of pain.

No pain, no gain.

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