BBG Workouts: How to See More Results
I realized the other day that I started doing Kayla Itsines' BBG workout guides almost two years ago! That is crazy, I can't believe how fast time has gone by. More importantly, I can't believe I've stuck with working out consistently for that long! Before I started BBG, I only worked out sporadically and I literally only did cardio, nothing else.
Starting BBG completely changed my perspective on fitness and allowed me to finally see the results I was looking for. Before I started the guide, I didn't think it was possible for me to gain strength or change my body for the better.
As of now, I've completed almost 6 rounds of BBG (a mix of both guides) and have learned so much along the way. After applying what I've learned, I've been able to drastically improve the effectiveness of my workouts, allowing me to see results faster!
Since many of you do BBG, I thought I'd share some of my best tips for getting the most out of BBG workouts. If you don't do BBG, these tips are still super helpful for other types of workouts, so listen up!
How to make your BBG workouts more effective:
1. Do glute and core activation exercises!
If you're like most people, you probably have weak glutes that are super lazy during workouts. If you finish leg day and mostly feel soreness in your quads and not your bum, this one is for you. When you have weak glutes, they don't fire during workouts and your quads end up doing all the work.
Luckily, you can wake up your glutes before working out by doing some simple activation exercises. Here's what I do to activate my glutes:
- 30 glute bridges: lay on your back with your legs hip-width apart. Use your glutes to raise your hips up and squeeze at the top. Do these nice and slow so that you really feel it! You can also use a resistance band around your legs or hold a flat weight on your lower abdomen
- 15 single-leg glute bridges (each side): same as the exercise above, but keep one leg straight and lift it up instead of leaving it on the ground.
- 15 fire hydrants (each side) : go on your hands and knees with your hands directly under your shoulders. Lift your leg to the side until it makes a 90 degree angle. Switch and do the other leg. Do these nice and slow.
Just like your glutes, sometimes your core needs to be activated to truly get the most out of your workouts. If you haven't noticed, so many exercises work the core, even ones that you don't expect! More times than not, I feel my abs burning so bad during BBG arm days because there's so many moves like pushups, commandos, and mountain climbers that really work the core! Here's a few exercises you can do to wake them before a workout:
- 15 bridges: Ha, again! yes, this one activates your glutes AND your core! So, do it before every workout!
- 1 min plank: love it or hate it, the plank is the best way (in my opinion) to get those abs engaged. Do two 1-2min planks before your workout and trust me, you'll be feeling the burn.
2. Dont' be afraid to increase your weights
Hands down the most effective thing I've done to improve my workouts has been increasing my weights regularly. I know increasing weights seems scary, but trust me, it will help so much with gaining muscle definition. Since the dumbells are still relatively light, and you're jumping and doing cardio, you won't bulk up. I started my first round of BBG with 10lb dumbells and moved up to 12lbs for my second and 3rd rounds. Now I use 15lbs and try to increase my weights every several weeks.
After a few weeks of doing BBG, your body gets more used to the exercise and thus isn't challenged as much as it was when you first started. Because of that, it is super important to constantly change things up so that you're body continues to be challenged.
My rule of thumb is that once I start feeling comfortable with my weights, to the point where I can complete a set without struggle, I try using heavier weights. Sometimes they are too heavy for me to do a full workout with them, so I'll start by using them for one circuit and then switch back to the lighter weights for the rest.
This is a good way to ease into heavier weights and you'll start noticing the change in your muscles!
Another way to add weight is to try wearing ankle weights! They make the circuits a bit more challenging and wearing them is a great way to challenge your body in new ways.
3. Make sure you have good form
You hear all the time about how form is so important for injury prevention, but good form is also critical for getting the most out of your workouts. Before starting my personal training program, I didn't realize that I wasn't going deep enough in my squats. Because of that, I wasn't working my bum nearly as much as I thought I was, which explained why I wasn't seeing results!
After making that realization, I've focused a lot more on my form and watched how low I'd go in the mirror during every squat exercise to make sure I was dropping to at least 90 degrees. Sure enough, I started seeing more results!
During your next workout, pay attention to your form and if you think you are doing something wrong, ask a trainer to evaluate your form. Whenever you do that exercise, take it slow and focus more on form rather than speed. You'll start feeling how it is supposed to feel and you'll start seeing an improvement.
4. Always stretch!
I know this one seems obvious, but hear me out. We all know that stretching is important, but many of us still don't do it often. For the longest time I didn't understand that having tight muscles could negatively affect my workout. For example, if your calves are too tight, might not be able to get deep enough in your squat and thus won't get the most out of it. So, stretching not only helps you recover and makes you feel good, it also plays an important part in being able to do exercises effectively. Stretch before and after each workout to ensure you're muscles are ready.
5. Use a heart rate monitor
As you guys now, I'm a huge supporter of heart rate monitors. I love wearing one because it allows me to be better in tune with my body. I now know what number my heart rate is typically at when I do certain exercises, which helps me gauge how hard I'm working. I also know my max heart rate which helps me not push myself too hard.
For example, if I'm doing burpees and they feel really hard, I'll check at my watch to see my heart rate. If my heart rate is really high, then I know I should tone it down a bit to get my heart rate down a little. Othertimes, I'll look at it and see that my heart rate is lower than it typically is when I do burpees. In that case, I'll try pushing myself a bit harder because I know I can.
Knowing the heart rate I typically reach and the number of calories I typically burn per workout helps me compare my workouts overtime. It allows me to know which days I worked really hard and which ones I slacked off a bit.
If you haven't tried using a heart rate monitor, I highly recommend it! It's an easy way to track and compare your workouts and is a great indicator of how hard you actually push yourself.