Oh, I’m sure you know the feeling. You’re scrolling through your Instagram feed, and you suddenly stop your thumb-swiping at yet another inspiring, somewhat jealousy-provoking body transformation picture on Kayla Itsines’ Instagram. You stare at it for a bit, marveling at the breathtaking beauty that is six-pack abs and toned arms and legs, but then you have a realization: “That could be me! I could look like that… if I tried!” And now you’re here, with a curiosity on how to get started with the Bikini Body Guide (BBG), one of the most popular workout guides for women just like you, who not only want to look great, but who also want to feel empowered and confident.
Saying yes to the program is half the battle, so you’re already killin’ it. And with that motivation, here are some pointers before you embark on your new workout journey:
1. Make sure you have enough time in your schedule
The workout program is a pretty strict regimen to stick to if you want to achieve maximum results, so make sure you have enough time for it. Each week, you will be working out on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and each day will consist of eight different workout moves that add up to about 30 minutes of working out each day.
In college, it’s important to stay both healthy and on top of things, so make sure you’re staying sufficiently organized and hitting up the library before adding this program to your list of priorities!
2. You will be sore
Each day will have a specialization, such as “Arms & Abs,” “Legs & Cardio” or “Full Body Workout,” so you’re going to be putting your body through a lot! “I was sore almost every day while I was doing the program, but it worked and I began to see results in under four weeks,” University of Florida junior Sophie Philipp says. Some of the circuits will repeat, which makes them a bit easier the second time around, but they may be semi-brutal the first time you do them. Tons of different moves are also used throughout the program, so you may be working muscles you never even knew you had– but have no fear! It’s a good kind of burn, as long as you listen to it.
“Pain must be your guide to what you do. If you’re in intense pain and you try to push through it, chances are you can do more damage than good,” says Melanie Ludwig, personal trainer and owner of Prestige Fitness. “If it isn’t debilitating pain, it makes sense to try and move with a lower intensity and to stretch the area,” she says. “Self-myofascial release techniques (SMR) such a using a foam roller can also help release the tension.”
3. The program will be daunting at first if you’re not used to working out regularly
Just like with starting anything for the first time, it always takes some getting used to. If you haven’t worked out much in the past, you may feel like you’re going from zero to 100 upon starting this program. University of Florida junior Stephanie Smith* struggled with committing to it because she wasn’t used to having a workout routine. “When I would think about doing it, I just didn’t want to. I’ve restarted Kayla a bunch of times because I keep trying to get back into it, but it’s really hard to stick with,” she says.
But don’t let this stop you! University of Florida senior Sami Winder says, “If you aren’t incredibly motivated to work out, I would encourage you to get friends to do it with you.”
It’s never too late to change up your lifestyle, especially if it’s something that will benefit your health!
4. To maximize results, you’ll need to modify your diet
Getting in shape means more than just exercising—it’s also about eating right! “I didn’t really see real results in my overall health and in my body until I changed my diet to healthier eating,” Sami says. “I was the unhealthiest person when I began the BBG, but the more I stuck with it, the more I saw that eating junk food made me more sluggish and tired, and I wanted to eat healthier and incorporate more veggies into my diet.”
Kayla Itsines also has a Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Plan, which has a 14-day meal plan and outlines how to eat properly and control portions (there’s a vegetarian guide too!).
However, you can make changes without buying the guide. “Eat more natural foods and avoid processed ones. MyPlate gives great recommendations for a well-balanced diet. For college women, I usually make one suggestion: start making one small change at a time,” Ludwig says.
5. You’ll thank yourself for taking on the challenge
Sarah Madaus, a sophomore at Temple University who has been doing the program for about three years, says “Kayla is a genuinely wonderful role model and inspiration. I’ve maintained toned muscles, gotten much stronger and increased my endurance by a lot.”
And the program offers more than just how to be healthy– it can be life-changing. “Before I began the program, I ate badly, wasn’t attending the gym every day and was not confident in myself. I am definitely much happier and way more confident now. I may not be the skinniest person but that’s not what it’s about. I am happy with the way I look and the way I feel, and that is what is most important to me,” says Sami.
What sets this program apart from others is the body-positive community it creates. Sophie appreciates how Kayla doesn’t pressure her clients to lose weight or look like models, but she does comment on how happy and healthy they look.
So fuel up that self-love, and go get ‘em, tiger!
*Names have been changed.