BBGReviewAwake-5Preface: This is by far the most nervous I have ever been to hit ‘Publish’ on a post before. As someone who never even wears two piece swimsuits, shooting and posting these photographs is definitely out of my comfort zone (serious understatement). I am not sharing these so that you compliment my progress, but instead to help motivate you to try this incredible workout (plus, I promised to get more personal here). Also, I want to quickly thank my dream team who made me feel confident during these photos – my photographer, Paige of Awake Photography, and hair and makeup expert, Britt Lais Williams of Butter Artistry.

So, let’s begin.

A few months ago, my best friend mentioned this “bikini body guide” she was doing and told me to look up @Kayla_Itsines on Instagram to better understand the reasons why. Well, it took about 45 seconds on Kayla’s account to know that I also wanted to try this seemingly miraculous workout. Photo after photo of before vs. after shots of women going from being regularly sized to becoming what-look-liked trim, toned fitness models had me convinced that it was worth a shot. 

I started the guide (most commonly referred to as BBG) before we headed to Europe, which wasn’t ideal as I didn’t really want to take a multi-week break just 2 weeks into the 12 week program. Therefore, I started it again when we returned and have been working out using the PDF guide ever since. I just finished the first round of the program last week, and I am proud of this accomplishment (it’s not for the faint of heart, but you can do it too!). It’s now time for BBG 2.0.

In short, BBG is a 12-week training program that involves three resistant training workouts a week (plus three days of interval training). Each workout is 28 minutes long (which may sound easy, but you definitely work up quite a sweat during that time!), and includes two circuits that you repeat twice (sample below). The guide (a document that I reference on my iPhone on iBooks during workouts) shows step-by-step images on how to complete each of the exercises in the resistance training circuits. 

I have worked out (running and weights) consistently for years, but I do not think I’ve been this strong since working out multiple times a week with my incredible trainer, Mike Bina, before our wedding. I was much thinner in college, but I attribute that to walking all over campus for classes, not drinking wine, being younger with a better metabolism, and not having a baby (ha – that’s a big one). The BBG workouts always make me feel so good after I’m done – I may or may not have “Kayla-phobia” before I start, but I am always glad that I’ve completed it afterwards.

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 8.53.07 PM

A common question people ask when talking about the workouts is: “What do I have to eat?” There are two food guides – one for meat eaters and one for vegetarians. I don’t eat meat, so use the latter one. They are 90 day clean eating plans, and although I do not follow them to a T, I do use a lot of the meal and snack suggestions. I plan on doing a full food plan review soon, but for now, my thoughts on them are: If you’re the kind of person who needs to follow a rigid plan to eat healthy and not fall off the wagon, then by all means use the guide. If you already eat really healthy, then you are probably okay without it. I really do love the vegetarian one, but I will be honest and say that we eat very healthy at our house. We also believe in eating everything in moderation, so we typically get frozen yogurt once or twice a week and will also have 1-2 glasses of wine during the weekends.

A quick overview of the pros and cons, because I want to be totally honest with you about the workouts!


  1. The workouts are short. I can definitely find 28 minutes three times a week to work out, as well as running (the guides recommend low intensity steady state workouts like walking, but I ran).
  2. You see results quickly. If anything, you’ll just be sore for awhile, and that in itself feels satisfying.
  3. The exercises are not complicated. Just follow the photos of Kayla doing each movement (see above).
  4. The guide can be printed or viewed on your phone using a PDF reader. It’s very convenient! Whichever works best for you.
  5. The BBG community (known as #kaylasarmy) that has formed is so incredibly supportive. I’ve posted a few #BBG photos on Instagram, and I was amazed at the outpouring of encouragement that followed. 


  1. Lots of people ask if they need a gym membership to do BBG. The answer is no, although it is definitely easier to use their benches vs. your futon. If you decide to do BBG at home (which I’ve done many times), you will need to invest in a few small pieces, like weights, a medicine ball, Bosu ball and jump rope. 
  2. It is really tough! This is actually a pro, not a con, but it can be discouraging. Do the pre-training workouts and stick with it! It will pay off. I have heard from a lot of people who quit halfway through the 12 weeks, but if you want to keep going, find someone else who is doing it and have an accountability partner. I am happy to be that person!

In summary, I strongly encourage you to buy the guide and give BBG a try. Follow @Kayla_Itsines on Instagram for daily motivation and get started now on a journey to being in the best shape of your life. Please leave me questions in the comments below, or feel free to email me

Awake-35Awake-56Awake-13 BBGReview3Awake-45 (1)BBGreview2Awake-61 (1)Awake-21 (1)Awake-50Awake-75  Photographs by Paige of Awake Photography | Hair and makeup by Britt Lais Williams of Butter Artistry (they’re a dream team!)

Disclaimer: The links above are affiliate links, so buying the guide from my site results in me receiving a small percentage of the sale. I would never share products on my blog that I do not believe in whole heartedly, and I took these photos to prove that it really is effective! 


  1. You have my respect, Ailee. I tried this once, and didn’t even manage to go beyond the third day. I WAS SO SORE! I have a friend from grade school who started this in July/August last year, and her body’s completely transformed to another level of “fit”. She’s now my fitspiration! She said I used to be hers, but the tables have been turned!

  2. Elissa Norris Reply

    You look amazing, always been a personal fan of girls with that slender toned but STRONG look and you are rockin every bit of that! I actually found out about her program and ordered it in the spring but I never set a time to crack down and start this never got past trying out a few of the pre program workouts but you have definitely inspired me to set a start date and no better time than going into calorie season/ I mean holiday season;) plus I’ve been noticing the need and desire to get back into strength training in the last few weeks. The boys have gotten to an age over the past few months that I’m rarely needing to lift or carry them and it totally shows with each week that passes that I’m losing a lot of strength I was gaining and maintaining just from tossing around 20-30 lb kids all day everyday. Prior to kids you could say I was borderline obsessed and absolutely loved weighs/ Crossfit type workouts but it’s just been on the sidelines since boys were 9 mo old when I started puting my time into running and they became my all day long weights! The problem I run into is the soreness… Again something I used to love and made me fee productive but now it’s a huge game changer and considerably interferes with my day and ability to be a mom of littles and get stuff done. What is your secret to keeping up a busy day as a mom needing to be on and off the floor and lifting them/ picking up things constantly, etc when you’re miserably sore and hardly able to move for 2-3 days after any good workout? Ive learned in the last few weeks that I’m much better being able to function as I need to when I’m not full body sore but just one muscle group… maybe I’m just getting old/ taking longer to recover or more likely just not consistently shocked all my muscles enough to get past major DOMS post weighted workouts. Are you consistently really sore from her workouts the length of the program or does it dramatically subside after the first 2-3 weekS? Anyhow just wanted to tell you awesome job sticking with it- your hard work deffinitely shows in these gorgeous pictures! Elissa

  3. You look incredible, Ailee! Hard work pays off and you should be SO proud of your progress! It sounds like a great program… I may have to look into it after this babe ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. In the words of my gorgeous friend, “Why were you nervous? You killed it!” Babe, you are such an inspiration. You look SO DAMN HOT. You make being fit, motherhood, new business ventures and just about everything you touch look easy. Kudos, love, you are winning at life. And you look so happy, too! (Which is the most important piece.) Love you, so proud that pushed outside your comfort zone. Just think of all the women who will be motivated to better health and loving their bodies.

    Mad respect,
    Jenny xoxox

  5. You are beautiful my friend. I need to come workout like you, I need your arms, abs, legs, and hair! ๐Ÿ™‚ Haha!

  6. I’ve been following Kayla for a while and all the photos are so inspirational. I’ve been wondering about the workouts. You look fantastic Ailee and should definitely be proud. I will definitely be looking into BBG.

  7. Very inspiring stuff, love your photos! Abs, guns and those legs I am only dreaming of having myself very soon..

    I’ve been sitting on the fence a little because I’ve read so many mixed reviews about Kayla and her guides. For instance, this review is not so good plus I’ve also seen videos of people saying Kayla’s nutrition guide is no good.

    But then on the other hand I see blogs and results like yours and think wow maybe I should just dive in and do it..My boyfriend said he will pay for it but I told him I will look into it first.

    I’m very new to fitness, been more a couch potato most of my life so is Kayla Itsines workouts good for beginners? Most of the people I see are already pretty fit looking or not very big like me?

  8. Thank you, I’ve recently been searching for information about this topic for a long time
    and yours is the best I have found out till now. However, what in regards to the bottom line?
    Are you sure in regards to the source?

  9. Loved your post! You look great and your photos are beautiful! I just started my round two and I’m so excited to see the progress!

Leave a Reply