Over at Mom.me this week I wrote praising the Baby Merlin, a piece about how all your summer plans will go wrong, and an analysis of Kayla Itsines' Bikini Body workout, which I have futher thoughts on today. (I do not plan to post photos of myself by the way. I considered it and I think I am just not the "putting swimsuit photos of myself online out of context" type.)
So this winter I received a special health edition of People magazine (the best part is always the stories about fat pets that lost weight). A squib about an Australian health maven named Kayla Itsines caught my eye because it mentioned the amazing before-and-afters on her Instagram feed. I checked it out and my curiosity was piqued. While the before and afters featured lots of photos of young women who seemed to have the time and metabolism to transform their "ordinary" bodies into lean muscled machines, there were enough photos of women my age, including postpartum women, that simply toned up, changes that seemed relatively feasible.
I ponied up for the PDF of Itsines' guide and got to work in January and found the program so effective, yet manageable, that I've by and large stuck with it since then, which is 21 weeks. You can read what I liked about the program here. Meanwhile, I modified the program a little bit to my needs/schedule as follows:
- I didn't do stretching/rehab just because I am bad at that type of cooldown stuff--but I didn't notice any adverse effects.
- I added more walking into my days when I wanted to finish losing up my baby weight--I use Map My Run, which "talks" to MyFitnessPal, which I use for calorie tracking. It's very satisfying to see you've earned a few extra glasses of wine thanks to a long walk to the playground. Otherwise Itsines stresses that Bikini Body is not weight-centric and that you should go off photos/clothing fit to measure your progress.
- I also started race training several weeks ago (I am doing the Rock n' Roll half marathon) so I just started using Bikini Body (legs and abs more than arms) as my cross training workouts. I happen to believe that Bikini Body was probably a good workout for runners just because it really does strengthen your legs, butt and abs which you need for running.
- Aside from following Itsines on Instagram and purchasing both Bikini Body PDFs, I didn't go in for any of her other programs, accessories, apps, or anything like that. I like her program but she's a bit of a cipher to me so I don't really have much to say about her in particular as a motivator/inspiration.
Ultimately I'm a little embarrassed to have gone in on a workout that has such a silly name, but I found it too effective not to discuss. I've gotten a lot of external feedback on the results its had on my body (which, I know, who cares--but we all care, to some extent) but moreover felt it was a good use of my time and energy. I've done some hard workouts lately and was happy to realize I had more strength and endurance for them than I realized. If you have about a half hour to spend a few days a week and think that you can stick it through the first few weeks, which I'd say is long enough to start feeling accomplished/motivated enough to keep it up, it's a great workout, no matter what your "After" photo looks like. (For the record, if you do take before and after photos, make sure you turn off the feature that streams your photo feed to your TV's screen saver, because, yikes.)