An Honest Review of Kayla Itsines' "Bikini Body Guide"

Amidst the many social media platforms that consume our everyday interactions, I’m sure many of us have come across an overwhelming number of fitness guides and e-books splashed across renowned fitspo accounts. It seems like almost every insta-famous fit girl has released a personalized version of an exercise and meal plan combined weekly method that promises to whip you into shape “for just $89.99 using my code FITNAME10%!”

These guides appear alluring and enticing as the people promoting them possess society’s ideal body type for young adult women. Sleek, flat stomachs; thin, toned arms; and round, bubble backsides present themselves like a repetitive clone that we cannot help but yearn for. I have absolutely nothing against the promotion of high-intensity fitness levels and overall healthy lifestyles, don’t get me wrong; in fact, I greatly support the trend of getting fit and changing one’s habits for the better through healthy eating and exercise. However, due to the lack of transparency and overwhelming amount of BS widespread throughout the fitness industry, I definitely have my suspicion.

I am guilty as charged for following some of these fitspo models on my personal social media accounts as their posts truly grant me motivation. What was once a strong sense of envy in not looking similar to these billboard women turned into a source of perseverance. If I wanted to be as fit and work my body to its best form, then I had to start working hard and doing so for myself and myself only.

I considered purchasing a fitness guide e-book more times than I can count. If the people who created them look the way they do, then through following their plan I hoped it would have the same impact on me.  I know every body is different and develops and changes at its own pace, but exercise is exercise and with determination anyone can transform their figures. As much as the whole concept of sticking to a strict plan of “expert-approved” workouts was an extreme desire, I couldn’t excuse the price in fear of not achieving the results I would be promised.

Here is where the beauty of being in a sorority comes in. Several of my sisters and I were discussing health and fitness (more like the struggle of incorporating either into our lives), and a few had mentioned this one particular guide; this being Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide. They had just begun following the plan and had nothing but great reviews to share. I had been following Kayla on Instagram for a short while at this point, and the before and after transformation pictures she would consistently share always blew my mind. Both her 12-week workout plan and clean eating e-books remain on the market at $69.61 CAD. There is also an option to purchase both in a bundle for $119.36 CAD. With prices this elevated, the dazzling transformation many women swear by better hit me like a truck, I thought. A few other sisters expressed interest in trying out her plan, and sure enough one of them got her hands on the guides (both workouts and meal plan) from another sister, who passed it onto our friend group for an amazing deal of $0.00! #SororityPerks.

I began following Kayla’s infamous guide in the summer of 2015. Being totally upfront, Kayla’s guide was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I have never been overweight, and starting this guide my goal had nothing to do with weight loss. I was simply seeking a structured fitness plan that I could easily follow, and that was proven to be effective for toning my body. Her plan lasts 12 weeks, which took up a large portion of the summer months. Each exercise circuit takes no longer than 30 minutes to complete, which works amazingly with busy schedules. Monday is allocated for lower body, Wednesday for arms and abs, and Friday for cardio and total body strength. Tuesday, Friday, and weekend days are essentially break days, but continuing with moderate exercise on those days is encouraged. She incorporates a good mix of strength training, high intensity interval training and even warm-up and rest sequences to ensure a strong start and recovery. All exercises are done using bodyweight only; no equipment is necessary, so her plan can be done anywhere if you do not have access to a gym facility. I did not follow her meal plan e-book as I was already following a clean, plant-based diet long before (but the recipes all look amazing).

Each day involves two circuits of four workouts. You are supposed to time yourself whilst you perform the first 4 moves and attempt to go through it as many times as possible in 7 minutes, and then repeat with the second set of 4. I did not follow this pattern as I simply decided to do each circuit twice, which took about 10-15 minutes each. She also repeats each week twice to allow the body some move recognition and to strengthen one’s capability of performing specific exercises.

After my first Kayla Monday, I needed my mom to help me out of bed the next day. That Tuesday morning was the most sore I had ever been after a workout, and it honestly felt amazing. I didn’t find the exercises too difficult, but they definitely challenged me the perfect amount for my personal fitness level. I am a big fan of following steps and routine so her guide appealed to this preference in the best way possible. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning I would get up before work and make sure I got my Kayla in for the day. It became a sort of hobby of mine as I found her guide to be fun and upbeat. I owe part of my recently heightened interest of health and fitness to Kayla and her #bbgmovement.

She recommends taking pictures before one begins her guide, and then again at the fourth and eighth week mark. I also decided to track my bodily measurements at these weekly intervals to get a statistical idea of how (and if) my body was changing. I chose not to weigh myself as the number on the scale is never an accurate representation of one’s fitness journey. In most cases, the number can actually increase despite looking slimmer due to muscle gain. Others around me as well as myself started to really notice physical changes about 4 weeks in, and actually seeing those results I had hoped for so dearly was a feeling that remains indescribable. I had always put intense pressure on myself in the fitness realm and I had yet to find a good exercise routine that worked effectively for me, and turns out Kayla and her BBG miracle was the answer.

I not only felt more confident, but I also had increased energy and focus levels,and my overall happiness seemed to be at its peak as well. Quoting the renowned Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy.” I completed all 12 weeks without missing a single day and I consider it to be one of my greatest accomplishments to date. I started Kayla’s guide not being able to do one single push up without putting my knees on the ground and panting after 1K of running, but I finished being able to do 15 push ups in a row no problem and running a full 5K with no breaks. It was all about improving my strength and toning tough areas for me, and those results were exactly what the guide allowed me to achieve.

If you search Kayla Itsines on Instagram or for the hashtag #bbgmovement, you will see how many lives Kayla has touched and improved with the release of her guides. She even offers a free week trial of workouts on her website for those of you who are interested, but not fully sold on Kayla and her magic. An app was also recently put on the market called “Sweat With Kayla,” being a more personalized, interactive workout one can follow on their smartphone. Kayla Istines has truly impacted the fitness world in immense ways and she continues to provide motivation, support, and advice for those looking to improve their fitness levels. I subscribe to her weekly blog updates that share topics such as muscle repair tips, recipes, food secrets, and so much more. I highly, without a doubt, extremely recommend Kayla’s guide and I support everything that she stands for. Among all the fitness guides being promoted out there, Kayla definitely remains true to her roots and offers the best possible experience in achieving one’s fitness goals.