1.18.2017

Bikini Body Guide vs Healthy Body Guide Reviewed

I really love the flexibility of working out at home.  I don't have to drive there, jockey for space, or look at other people's sweat.  I was so excited when I found Bikini Body Guide because it gave me more workouts to do in the convenience of my home.  I don't even have to bother with a DVD and I can blast the music as loud as I want.  Then I found Healthy Body Guide and that was even more variety, which is always a good thing to prevent exercise boredom.  I've completed all 24 weeks of the Bikini Body Guide and done the 12 week Healthy Body Guide.  They are both circuit training style workouts and kind of similar, so I thought it might be helpful to review and compare the two for anyone who might be wondering which one to do or if the more expensive Bikini Body Guide is worth the money.   This is the basic rundown of each program.



BIKINI BODY GUIDE | KAYLA ITSINES

The Bikini Body Guide is a PDF Circuit Training style plan with detailed pictures and explanations of each workout that you can print out or view electronically, keep forever, and take everywhere.

The cost is $53.00 for each 12-week guide, and if you want the Nutrition Guide it's more money.  There is also a Sweat With Kayla App that is $20.00 per month.  I have no idea what features it provides, as it isn't something I was interested in.

The Bikini Body Guide is 24 weeks but broken down into 1.0 and 2.0 for 12 weeks each.  Each workout has two Circuits.  Each circuit is repeated twice for a total of 4 circuits.  Every week of workouts is done twice in a row before moving onto the next set.

Each circuit is to be done 7 minutes.  If you don't finish, you don't finish, and if you do, you repeat the circuit.  You do as much of each circuit as you can for a total of 28 minutes.

The recommended schedule starts out with 2-3 resistance training circuits per week and 2-3 sessions of low impact steady state cardio (LISS) and progresses to 3-4 sessions of resistance, 2-3 sessions of 35-45 LISS, and 1-2 sessions of 10-15 high intensity interval training (HIIT) weekly.   The way I did it was 3-4 circuits per week, plus 2-3 LISS/HIIT sessions per week for a total of 5-6 days per week.  I did not do two workouts per day.  My LISS was either walking or the elliptical and HIIT was treadmill running intervals.

The split for Bikini Body Guide 1.0 is leg day, arm day, and full body for the first four weeks and then it switches to leg day, arm day, ab day.  2.0 is also leg day, arm day, ab day, but incorporates a fourth full body day circuit every other week.

Equipment:  dumbbells, jump rope, bench, bosu, steps, barbell, medicine ball, and kettle bell.  I did the entire program without the barbell, bench, kettle bell or bosu.  I didn't miss the bosu at all, and was able to use my dumbbells for all barbell and kettle ball exercises.  Barbells can also substitute for medicine balls.  My bench was a storage bench full of pajamas.  If you don't have a jump rope you can jog in place, but jump ropes are a great inexpensive exercise tool to have.  The only thing I really felt strongly about having was the the step up.  There wasn't a single chair in my house that would work, and step ups are in so many of the circuits that I think you will miss out if you don't have one.

Bikini Body Guide is super high intensity and it can be somewhat repetitive.  Lot's of jumping.  Lots of lunging.  If it's leg day you will be doing things like step ups, jump lunges, walking lunges, and squat and press with medicine ball.  It will hurt.  You will sweat a lot, and feel like you are going to collapse after almost every single workout.  Some ab days are a little bit less grueling, but the numbers are such that they are still very challenging.  Arm days are pretty intense too because of the sheer number of repetitions.

@Kayla_Itsines has quite the cult following on Instagram.  I would even go so far as to say some of the girls are obsessed with Kayla, the workouts, and everything BBG.  Her transformations are pretty impressive.  Kayla Itsines is basically a fitness celebrity in Australia and there are girls all over the world who do BBG meet-ups and provide support and encouragement to each other.  I think she was one of the first who created a guide and used Instagram for promotion.  #bbg #bikinibodyguide #bbggirls #kaylasarmy #sweatwithkayla #deathbykayla are just a few of her always trending hashtags.  There are girls on Instagram who have built their entire following by doing her guide and some of them claim to be doing it consistently for years.  Personally, my body could not handle the rigor long term, but more power to them.     


HEALTHY BODY GUIDE | ALEXA JEAN FITNESS

The Healthy Body Guide is a PDF Circuit Training style plan with detailed pictures and explanations of each workout that you can print out or view electronically, keep forever, and take everywhere.

I purchased its as part of a bundle for only $29.99 that included two 30 day Ab challenges, a 30 day butt and leg guide, and a 30 day meal planning guide. 

The Healthy Body Guide is 12 weeks long.  Each workout is 1 circuit that is repeated 4x.  Every week of workouts is done twice before moving onto the next set.

It takes as long as it takes.  There is no set time.  For me that was 20-35 minutes, depending on the workout.

The recommended schedule is five circuits per week, and two session of 30-45 minutes of cardio to be done on ab days.  I did not do it that way.  For all but the last three weeks I did the five circuits plus one day of cardio at the gym for a total of 6 days per week.  The last three weeks I did only the circuits for 5 days a week total.  By this time, I was well into my fitness journey and looking to stay steady, but if I had started out with this in January I probably would have done it how it was recommended.

The split is total body day, upper body day, leg + glutes day, and two ab day circuits. 

No equipment required, although I did add ankle weights, dumbbells, and a medicine ball for additional challenge.

The exercises in general are lower impact on the body, and easier on the knees overall because it incorporates a greater variety of types of exercises.   There is some jumping, and some lunging, but it mixes in exercises that are less jarring on the body.  On leg day some of the exercise include things like glute bridges and donkey kicks.

@AlexaJeanFitness has a much smaller community on Instagram than BBG.  You can still use her #healthybodyguide hashtag and connect with others using the program, but Alexa Jean has been criticized for being unresponsive to followers and not doing very much to nurture her online community. 

MY REVIEW

Bikini Body Guide is my jam, and I keep going back to it.  It is super hard and super sweaty.  I like it that when I give it everything I got, I know I am pushing myself as hard as I can go.  When I was sweating my way through the pain of my last set of double pulse box jumps in week 23 legs I felt like an athlete.  Pushing myself that hard makes me feel bad ass, and it gets results.  My strength and endurance improved so much, and it was instrumental in helping me lose weight and tone my body.  I did BBG 1.0 in 2015, 2.0 in 2016 and both times I saw real physical changes in my appearance.  My husband joined in a few times and has found every single workout to be extremely challenging.  It's no joke.  As much as I love BBG,  I also hate it sometimes because it is so hard.  It's physically and mentally tough facing those workouts day in day out.  I have bad knees so I knew I had to be very careful or else I wouldn't make it.  Sometimes, I couldn't run on HIIT day and had to do steep incline instead.  Sometimes I couldn't walk as fast on LISS day, and had to take it easier on leg circuits than I wanted to, but I did what I had to do in order to save my knees.   The different body part splits helped, but there were times I had to wait on leg circuits until the very last moment, because my knees were hurting so bad and filling with fluid.  My lower half was feeling pretty beat up by the end. It can feel repetitive, but Bikini Body Guide is designed to challenge every muscle of your body over and over and over again so when you finish you feel like you can take on anything.  If you follow a healthy meal plan and stick with the program it will whip you into shape with just 30 minutes of exercise per day.  I'd say it is overpriced, but I have gotten so much out of it that I think it's worth it.

I started BBG 2.0 right after a two month program so by the time I finished it was five months of being on pretty hard core programs.  I needed a mental break from having to do specific workouts and a physical break to recover from the intensity so I spent the next two months mixing and matching workouts.  My goal was to keep going hard through October, but after seven months, I was losing motivation.  I needed something to keep me on track and that didn't make me want to keel over and quit.  Healthy Body Guide was just the thing to keep me going.  Alexa Jean realizes that squats, lunging, and jumping aren't the only way to work legs.  Her circuits include intense exercises like burpees (lots of burpees!!) and split lunges, but also incorporates things like donkey kicks, hip thrusts, and leg lifts that are great for glutes and legs, but also low impact on the body.  It is not as hard as BBG, but it is still a nice comprehensive set of workouts and very challenging.   The exercises worked my muscles in ways that Bikini Body Guide didn't and you really can't beat the price.

Which is better?  Which would I recommend?  I think it really just depends on where you are at in your fitness journey and how much pounding your body can handle.  My knees are awful and I made it through BBG so I think it's doable for those who have knee issues.  You just have to listen to your body and modify if necessary to make it easier on the joints.  On the other hand, Healthy Body Guide is already set up to be easier on the body as is.  If you are just starting out and want to do both, I would recommend starting with HBG.  See how you like it, build strength, and then move onto BBG.  Lately, I've been trying to incorporate at least one BBG leg day per week because they provide the greatest challenge then I mix in other workouts that give my knees a break.   I haven't even gotten to the extra Alexa Jean workouts that came with the yet, so I still have that to look forward to.   I really do recommend both if you enjoy the quick yet intense circuit training style workouts.  I absolutely love having both options available to mix up my exercise routine however I see fit. 

5 comments :

Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad said...

I hate gyms too, so would definitely prefer a home exercise routine. I struggle with motivation, the fact I have a fused spine and a lot of exercises don't work for me - also I'm very far from a professional who knows what those are! A lot of that's an excuse though, so maybe a low impact program like the HBG would give me a framework to stick to. I reckon that would help with the motivation.

Ellie Crossley said...

I've been looking for an exercise programme to help me tone up in preparation for my wedding later on this year. I've found this post very helpful. Thank you

Ellie
Xxx

Ashley @ A Cute Angle said...

Both sounds like really awesome programs! And you're totally ripped, so I guess I need to get on board!

Lindsay said...

Glad you found something that works for you! Your body is ammmmmazing!
Im so intrigued by all this beach body guide stuff cause everyone seems to get amazing results....but I can't bring myself to pay the $. Plus...I find I'm much more motivated if I'm following a video or something instead of just a list of moves cause it makes me feel competitive!
How do you stay so motivated?
-Linds

Pegster said...

I am all about working out at home, with 4 kids, it just won't happen if it's a production. We just bought a treadmill and I am hoping to get back on the working out bandwagon seriously.

PS - Your body looks amazing, keep it up.

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