A friend of mine first put me on to Kayla Itsines. She is an Australian personal trainer who has grown into Instagram sensation (currently nearly 6 million followers) and has an army of dedicated groupies around the world following her workout programme. I’ve always done a lot of cardio, but knew that I should add some resistance work into my routine as well. Just hadn’t quite got round to it…
The premise is simple – each workout focusses on one area – legs, arms or abs. The session has 2 circuits of 4 exercises. You complete the designated number of reps, then move to the next exercise, repeating until the time is up. You then move on to the 2nd circuit. The programme is progressive, so initially you do 4 seven minute circuits with a rest in between, as you move forward, you do 2 fourteen minute circuits. The exercises get harder too!
I started out downloading the PDF version of the programme – BBG1 (BBG stands for Bikini Body Guide) which covers pre-training for those new to exercise, then weeks 1-12 and BBG2 which cover weeks 13-24. When I got to about week 14 I was offered a 1 month free trial of the newly launched app, Sweat with Kayla. I signed up, thinking I would cancel after a month, but I’m still going strong and am now on week 60!
There are a few things I really like about Kayla and her approach:
It’s time efficient – the circuits are 28 mins of effort (within a minute rest in between) plus a cool down. I usually do it first thing in the morning, and it’s easy to fit in.
- It’s flexible – each week in the app you’re encouraged to do some cardio too. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) happens once a week and you’re also encouraged to do some Low Intensity Steady State (LISS) too. Many programmes prescribe everything to the last detail, but these can take whatever form you like – mine are usually running or walking.
- It’s challenging – you’re encouraged to work at your level and can up the intensity by working with heavier weights. Don’t be fooled – 28 mins is hard work! There are modifications for every exercise if you’re not able to do the full version, but I try and do everything as described.
- You can do it at home – The exercise do involve some equipment, but there are plenty of people out there doing it without and modifying the exercises. I have quite a bit of equipment at home (various weights etc.) – I would say ideally you’d need at least a step and pair of dumbells, but you can pick those up relatively cheaply.
- There is a massive online community of support if that’s your thing and it’s very positive. Despite the BBG moniker, the focus is more about building self-confidence and feeling stronger and healthier rather than being skinny.
The app also includes a meal plan if that’s your thing, but personally I prefer to do my own thing regarding meal planning. There are some nice recipes though and I cook a few of them regularly.
Overall I’d really recommend giving this a go if you’re time poor and looking to add some strength training to your routine. You can get a free 7 day trial of the app!