This week, I am celebrating my BBG (Bikini Body Guide) One Year Anniversary – also known as my #KAYLAVERSARY. I began my journey on February 23rd, 2015. How proud am I of myself for sticking to something I committed to so long ago? I AM SO. FREAKING. PROUD. There have been a lot of early morning and late night workouts in the past 365 days. There’s been determination and dedication even when I wasn’t exactly motivated to get myself up to go to the gym. And yes, there has even been blood (damn you box jumps), a ton of sweat, and many, many curse words. Looking back over my journey these past 12 months, I’d like to share with y’all what I believe to be my top ten tips for success for any BBG beginners out there.
- Drop your excuses.
If you have a dinner/happy hour/date night to go to after work – get yourself up at 5, 6, 7 am, whatever the time may be – and get your workout in. If you didn’t get up and slept through your alarm – go to the gym over lunch and get your workout in. If you have Saturday morning brunch to go to – plan accordingly to get up early enough beforehand and get your workout in…. you get the picture. However, if your Saturday is jam-packed with fun activities and you feel like you just can’t squeeze your workout in, plan to have it as your rest day for the week. Planning is really the key here. Every week, I look ahead to see which day I am going to plan on as my rest day. I do not skip the gym during the week because “I’m too tired and I don’t feel like going”. It’s not an option for me, so don’t let it be optional for you. And once you get into this routine of working out daily – week in and week out – it will become habit. Trust me, it gets easier, and you get used to it. In fact, you learn to look forward to it and you learn to crave it. And yes – I know life happens – so you will have to take unexpected rest days. When this occurs, adjust your week and your workout schedule accordingly.
- Stick to the program.
DO NOT MISS A RESISTANCE WORKOUT – I repeat – DO NOT MISS A RESISTANCE WORKOUT. The resistance workouts are the backbone to the BBG program, and they are only 28 minutes long (that’s a whopping 2% of your day!) so there should be no reason you cannot fit 3 resistance sessions in every week. Do not worry about doing them on MWF – do them on the days that works best with your schedule. Also, try to make sure you fit in your 3-4 LISS (low intensity steady state exercise) sessions every week. Commit yourself to this, and drop those excuses. Even if you are hungover on a Sunday – I promise you can make yourself go on a 45 minute with your dog outside. And it will make you feel better! If I can do it, you can do it.
- Eat better, not less.
This is super important. Before starting BBG, I was either eating whatever I wanted and not paying attention to calories at all, or I was restricting myself to less than 1400 calories a day. Because this is what I thought worked. You lose weight when you eat fewer calories than you burn in that day, right? What you need to realize is when you’re working out regularly at this high intensity level – food is your fuel. I personally eat around 1800-2000 calories a day now. Keep in mind, this is all clean, healthy food. When I’m craving sweets, I eat a Quest bar or a Lara bar or a piece of dark chocolate. Or I have strawberries with Justin’s hazelnut almond butter. But I never deprive myself. I eat breakfast, a morning snack, lunch, an afternoon snack, and then dinner. And then sometimes another snack in between all of that. Eat better, not less is my mantra now. Follow the 80/20 rule – eat clean 80% of the time (cut out the processed foods!!), and then let yourself have “cheat treats or meals” the other 20%. I follow my clean eating rule Monday through Friday pretty strictly, and then I let myself relax my diet on the weekends. This is what works for me. And yes – my “cheat meals” include cheeseburgers and fries and chips and queso and pasta and cake. Another important tip – do yourself a favor every Sunday or Monday and MEAL PREP. This will also be good on your wallet. Eating healthy can be expensive but I promise you it’s cheaper than eating out 5 or more times a week because you didn’t plan and prep your meals at home.
- Create an Instagram account for accountability, support, and motivation.
I know this one may seem uncomfortable and scary. However, it will really contribute to your accountability and success. I made my fitness Instagram account the weekend before I started BBG – and I didn’t tell a soul about it for the first 13 weeks. Including Derek (my fiancé). When I finally fessed up, he was like “how did you keep this from me for so long?!?!” I kept it to myself because I wanted it to be something that was just for me. I didn’t want to be judged by anyone I knew for my “before” pictures or for my workout selfies. Because I definitely was not comfortable sharing my workout selfies with anyone!!!!!! I had maybe taken a total of 3 selfies before this fitness journey of mine started – I was NOT the selfie-taking kind of girl. If you need to – make your account a private account, and only accept the followers that you want to follow you. Heck, if you just want one person to share your journey with, I’ll follow you and support you all along the way! However, I strongly encourage you to try to step outside your comfort zone and create this account for yourself, no matter how self-conscious you may feel. Because the BBG community is A M A Z I N G and the support system is unreal. Having complete strangers become your workout friends and cheer you on through your ups and your downs is seriously the best. Seeing other progress photos will inspire you, you’ll find some really bomb.com recipes, and you’ll have other girls who truly understand that the #deathbykayla is so real. Search the hashtag #bbgnewbie to find others that are just starting their journey at the same time as you. You’ll find your own little BBG squad in no time, I promise.
- Listen to your body.
This point may seem very contradictory to points number 1 and 2 (drop your excuses and stick to the program) BUT here is the exception – if you need rest – if you truly need rest – you’re sick, rundown, this just isn’t your week – listen to your body and let yourself rest. There is no shame this. This is actually something I’m still learning myself. Take the week off, and start right back up the following Monday where you left off. This will not hinder your progress. Muscle atrophy, or breakdown, starts after 3-4 weeks of inactivity (see the article on Bodybuilding.com here). So do not beat yourself up mentally if you need a break or the rest. If you have a week where you only complete one of the BBG workouts, and only fit in a couple LISS sessions, that’s when I suggest that you repeat the week rather than continuing on.
- Throw away the scale and take a ton of progress pictures.
Unless you have a lot of weight to lose – do not judge your progress by the scale. At my 6 month mark, I had only lost 6 lbs total. This is because you are aiming for strong not skinny. Finally after a year, I am down 14 lbs. However, I’ve never had a goal weight. I wanted to tone up and I wanted to get stronger. So judge your progress by your progress photos – and take a lot of them. Take them from the front, from the side, from the back. You will always wish that you took more. At the time, it may be depressing and it will suck- but this is the best way to keep yourself motivated. BE YOUR OWN MOTIVATION. Compare your week 4 to your week 0, and you’ll be proud and excited. Compare your week 8 to week 0, and you’ll be even more proud and excited and it will push you to keep going. Do you think I enjoy sharing my “before” pictures with you all? The answer is hell NO, haha. It’s embarrassing to put yourself out there like that. But I’m doing it now and I made myself do it then because I knew eventually I was going to be excited about posting my progress and I would be proud of my “after” pictures.
SO HERE THEY ARE. I have completed BBG 1.0 twice (weeks 1-12), BBG 2.0 once (weeks 12-24), and I’m now on week 30 of BBG 3.0 (weeks 25-36) – so I’m at 42 full weeks of BBG total. I’ll take progress pics in my original suit again at week 48.
If you want another way to measure your progress, my advice is to take your measurements. Bust, hips, thighs, stomach. Seeing yourself lose inches will also motivate you to keep going, even when that scale doesn’t budge. Throughout this journey, I have lost inches in my waist and inches in my hips, which means so much more to me than that number on the scale!!!
- Limit your drinking.
Notice I said limit, not cut out. I’m not training for a bikini competition or trying to be a body builder. I’m a normal person that likes to drink socially with my friends. If you don’t drink, great. If you do, my advice is as follows: have 2 glasses of wine at your happy hour rather than four sugary cocktails or heavy beers. Tell yourself you’re only going to go out for drinks once during the week and once on the weekend. This will not only help your progress, but it will also help your wallet (double win).
- Set a short-term goal for yourself.
I bought myself a $99 Triangl bikini before starting my 12 weeks. I knew I wasn’t going to be wearing that baby unless I felt good about myself in it. So buy yourself that bikini, or those Nike Pros, or whatever it is that is going to keep you motivated.
- DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED when you do not see instant results and do not view this as a 12 week fix – view this as a lifestyle change.
Some girls start BBG and I swear they get abs overnight. It is so impressive. However, this is not the case for most people, and it definitely was not true for me. Remember that slow and steady is the name of the game. I can’t stress enough that this needs to be a lifestyle change and not a quick fix for this to work for you long-term. Compare my 12 week progress pics, my 24 week progress pics, my 36 weeks progress pics, and then my year progress pics – you will see how slow but steady my results were. Was I happy with my results after 12 weeks? Yes. Did I want to see more? Yes. So I kept going. That’s what you need to do, too.
- Promote a positive self-image for yourself.
This is another amazing thing about this program – your mental strength and the confidence that you gain will be just as exciting as your physical changes and strength. If you’re having a bad day, one of the best exercises you can do is to name two things you really like about yourself. Even if you hate your stomach, you’re probably proud of your arms, legs, booty, etc. If you can’t think of anything, tell yourself how proud you are of yourself and your dedication to something that is so important to your health and happiness.
I’m sorry if this post is long-winded – I feel like I could write a short book about all of the things that I have learned in this past year. I hope that I can motivate and encourage at least one person that is desperately looking for a positive change like I was this time last year. You can do it, I believe in you. Don’t give up, K E E P G O I N G. You won’t regret it.
***To try a free week of Kayla’s workouts click here.****