Category Archives: Health + Fitness

Waste of Money or Totally Worth it? The ‘Sweat’ App by Kayla Itsines

I could write this post in three words and be done with it: Waste of money!! But, I want to explain why it’s a waste of money. I have a hate-hate relationship with Kayla Itsines and her ‘BBG’ guide. Hang tight, this will make sense at the end. I tried to give BBG another chance, but they’ve lost me for good.

The “Sweat” app itself is free and offers a 7-day trial, which gives you access to Kayla Itsines’ “Instagram Famous” workout, Bikini Body Guide (#BBG). BBG originally came as a PDF that you could purchase online then download to your phone but Kayla eventually built an app called “Sweat” that would have all of the workouts in it (plus some additional information) and would also be available on your Apple Watch – easier to use than the PDF’s, with videos in the app to show you how to do the exercises, and overall is more interactive (blah blah, whatever the benefits of apps are – I’m not here to sell it).

Once your trial is over, it costs $19.99 a month (AUD) or $54.99 a quarter (AUD) to continue to have access. Keep in mind, you still pay for the app even if you’ve previously paid to download the PDF’s (which I paid a discounted $40 to have).

Here’s where things get weird. I had given up on BBG for a while but was going to try to get back into it once I got my Apple Watch (new toy for the gym, I guess). I received an email from “Kayla Itsines” saying they were giving away “unlimited access” to the app content for $19.99. I figured it was a good deal, so I bought it. I got an email confirmation from kaylaitsinessales@gmail.com (which is the same email I received the original confirmation from a year ago when I bought the PDFs). I was having some issues with the app and getting access so I had emailed them back and forth a few times and they were really quick at getting back to me. I was assured after my 7-day free trial I would have no problem using my “unlimited access” and it would automatically be put on my account.

Fast forward to day 8 and I can no longer access “Sweat” and can’t get a hold of Kayla Itsines’ customer service team. Granted I only paid $20 for the app, I was mad that they weren’t holding up their end of the bargain – they had confirmed I wouldn’t have issues and now bam! Issues. Girl just wants to get her workout on.

After days and days of countless emails, Instagram messages, tweets to Kayla (borderline trolling), I finally got a response from her saying I needed to email teamleader@sweat.com. I did and again waited days for a response. When they did, this is what they said:

This is where I get really annoyed. The part that is confusing to me is that your original PDF guide came from the same email they’re claiming is not associated with the company.

The other thing that really gets me is that this so called “scam” has clearly been emailed out to their customer base yet Kayla herself hasn’t addressed it in social media, warning her 7.3 million Instagram followers that this is a “scam”. That seems really fishy to me. You have millions of loyal women following your business, your workouts, you as a someone they look up to and you’re willingly letting them be scammed and that is your response?

I don’t want my money back from Kayla at this point – $20 is nothing. Whether or not the scam is real or fake, the way Kayla and her company have handled the situation and their lack of acknowledgment are disgusting.

I want to know if any other girls in the BBG Community have experienced this! Either way, I hope you guys read this as a warning to proceed with Kayla Itsines with caution.

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Nutrition Guide 101

Before I get into the nitty gritty, let me start off by saying I am not a certified nutritionist, personal trainer, or qualified in giving nutrition advice whatsoever. BUT, I wanted to give a little insight into how I built my meal plan in hopes that it’ll help out people who are like me (aka people with little knowledge on how to do it or where to even begin). Also, this could be a long post so stick with me!

One of the main reasons I’ve avoided making a meal plan is because it’s daunting and seems like a lot of work. I had no idea where to start and wasn’t motivated enough to learn. However, I’ve started going to the gym or have been active every day (it took me a while to find a fitness plan that I like and that I feel works for me, but right now I’ve settled on The Ultimate Full Body Guide) and figured that by not focusing on nutrition, I’m not getting the full benefits. So, here we are.

There are a few things I wanted to know before I started making my meal plan (keep in mind, this is different for everyone based on your weight, goals, etc.):

  1. How many calories should I be eating every day?
  2. What are these ‘macros’ I keep hearing everyone talking about?
  3. Why is protein important?

Protein is important because it helps build muscle and lose fat.

The first thing I did was figure out how many calories I should intake every day. There are a lot of places you can go online to do it, but I like Geoff’s Calorie Calculator (Geoff is the Personal Trainer behind The Ultimate Full Body Guide). Based on my goals, I learned I need to be taking in about 1284 – 1784 calories per day.

From here, I figured out what ‘macros’ are – which are macronutrients, which make up the caloric intake of food. I know how many calories I need to eat but that doesn’t mean I should head to McDonald’s and get a 20 pack of nuggets and a poutine to “get my calories in” – you need to think about the nutrients that make up the calories.

Macros are made up of proteincarbs, and fat.

1g of Protein = 4 calories
1g of Carbs = 4 calories
1g of Fat = 9 calories

Once I knew what made up the calories, I needed to figure out how much protein, carbs, and fat I should be taking in based off of those calories. There are lots of different ratios but I went with the 40/40/20 ratio for now (the most common and easiest). From there, you can play around with your ratios. If you’re always hungry, eat more protein. If you’re lacking energy, increase fats. You’ll have to find the balance that works for you, I’m just writing this to give you a starting point.

So, once I had my ratios of 40 (protein), 40 (carbs), and 20 (fat), I figured out what that equated to based on my total calories:

1284 calories * 0.40 = 514 calories of protein + carbs
1284 calories * 0.20 = 257 calories of fat

1784 calories * 0.40 = 714 calories of protein + carbs
1784 calories * 0.20 = 357 calories of fat

Now I had a range of calories I could intake from protein, carbs, and fat. The hard part was figuring out the meal plan.

I used the “My Fitness Pal” website to figure out the nutritional information for almost everything in my plan. You can find that on their website.

I put together a spreadsheet to plan out my meals and it calculates your macros for each meal. All you have to do is put together the meal and input the macros into the chart and it adds up the totals. You do have to play around with the food and numbers a bit (for example, I found a lot of my meals were exceeding my fat targets so I had to cut out in some areas. I also found I was struggling to get protein throughout the day, so had to up my protein powder scoops in my daily smoothies). I’ve put a template of my meal planner and you can download it here, here, hereHere’s a screenshot of what an average day looks like for me:

Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 1.26.32 PM

For now, that’s all I have! I can keep updating the blog with my process and if you have any questions or want help with what I did, leave a comment below.

I hope this helps!!

*As a disclaimer, all information I wrote about was taken from here and here

Killer Ab Workout

I recently strained my foot during a workout (or at least, I think that’s when it happened) so I haven’t been able to follow my regular lower body Alexia Clark workouts lately. In exchange, I’ve been focusing a lot on my upper body (arms and shoulders). Great for improving my arms and shoulders but they’re really tired and need a break! So, I put together some of my favourite ab workouts from Alexia Clark and made my own ab circuit. I last posted my HIIT Skipping Workout, so I thought it was about time I shared this one. It’s all about abs, so I hope you’re ready! (PS: I’ve tried to link example videos for the exercises but whatever isn’t linked can be found on Alexia Clark’s Instagram)

Circuit 1
3 Rounds

Chest Press Leg Raise – 20 Reps
Flutter Kicks – 15 Reps (each leg)
Bench Crunches – 15 Reps (each leg)
Plank Weight Push – 10 Reps (each way)

Circuit 2
3 Rounds

Cable Squat Twist – 10 Reps (each way) 
Cable Wood Chop – 10 Reps (each way)
Cable Hinge Row – 10 Reps (each way)
Bent Over Reach Row – 10 Reps (each way)

Circuit 3
3 Rounds – 40 Seconds On, 20 Seconds Rest

Weighted V Ups – 40 Seconds
Weighted Russian Twists – 40 Seconds
Pull Over Alternating Leg Raises – 40 Seconds
Kettlebell Swings – 40 Seconds

HIIT Skipping Circuit

HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is my favourite to do at the gym when I’m feeling lazy but want still want to get in a quick + effective workout. I stumbled upon this HIIT skipping workout on Instagram and if you guys haven’t gotten on the Instagram workout train, do it. Honestly, it’s the best place to find free workouts – you can piece smaller ones together for a larger gym session or if you follow someone like Katie Crew or Alexia Clark, you get full workouts! I wish I could remember where this workout came from (I want to say Alexia Clark, but I could be wrong) so I’m sorry to whoever deserves credit. If I find the Instagram video again, I’ll definitely link it here.

HIIT training is a form of interval training where you alternate short periods of intense periods and then less intense ‘recovery periods’. When I was doing BBG I would do HIIT sprints on the treadmill (running on twelve speed, 30 – 60 seconds on, then rest for equal amounts of time) but I was looking for something a bit more ‘entertaining’. I hate the treadmill!! Anyways … without further delay, here’s the HIIT Skipping Circuit! I will add that I like to do a 30 second warm up and at least a minute cool down of light skipping.

3 Rounds, 30 Seconds for Each Exercise, 13.5 minutes total

 

Light Skipping
Fast High Knees
Back + Forth Split Skips
Right Single Leg Hop
Left Single Leg Hop
Star Skips (like jumping jacks)
Single Leg Alternating Double Skip
Fast High Knees
BREAK

PS: I love the app ‘Seconds’ for timing intervals. It’s one of the few apps I paid for (a whopping $6.99) so that I would be able to save different timers. It reads out the exercises and counts down the last few seconds so it’s perfect to ‘set and forget’, especially for HIIT intervals like this one. Now go get your sweat on! 

2017: The Year of “Positive Body Image”

This past fall, I decided to try Kayla Itsine’s ‘Bikini Body Guide’ – I’d heard really great things about it, had a friend that tried it with a lot of success, and after spending roughly 10 hours looking at ‘#BBGTransformation’ Instagram posts, I was sold. I quickly paid and downloaded the two guides, accompanied by the meal guide, saved them to my iPhone and was ready to go.

And go I did. I’ve never been more dedicated to a workout program before. I religiously went to the gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and didn’t miss a workout in the first eleven (of twelve) weeks. I felt like I never cheated the workouts (they’re 4 x 7-minute interval circuits) and always kept going until my timer went off. But, alas, I didn’t see the same amazing, life-changing transformations that Kayla bragged about on her social media pages. Sigh. Isn’t that how it always is? It doesn’t work for a majority of the people that actually try it. I mean, my friend saw results but was even more religious than me I think and it wasn’t the first time she’d done #BBG. Looking back, I’m sure I could have tried a bit more with my reps, or squeezed a little harder, gone a little faster, or done something better. I’m also confident that it had some results and if I continue with the program in the new year (which I plan to), I will eventually see results. Not everyone can be shredded in 12 weeks (but damn those who can).

This post isn’t about my experience with #BBG though. During my 12 week obsession with all things #BBG, I also started following a lot of ‘fitness gurus’ on Instagram (I blame a few likes on Kayla’s posts + my searches for #BBGTransformations + Instagram’s algorithms) and eventually my feed was filled with shredded, toned (and tanned) women who had #BodyGoals. I’m confident that every woman has struggled with body image issues at some point in their life (and with that being said, men, too). We either feel we’re too thin, too fat, not toned, our love handles aren’t so lovely, that damn cellulite just won’t go away, etc. etc. etc. And whatever my reasons were, I turned to #BBG to help me feel better about them. I was a little disappointed when I didn’t get my results but my loving boyfriend reminded me I was beautiful, regardless (#HesTheBest). Annnnyways, I digress. Back to my Instagram feed, filled with #FitnessGoals / #BodyGoals. It seemed motivating when I was going to the gym but disappointing once I stopped. I’d never be these women who had the time to workout (what seemed like) all day and would never be #BodyGoals. So, I slowly started unfollowing them. But I kept following Kayla Itsines, queen of #BBG.

Until today, when she posted this photo:

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It’s ironic to me that the image of ‘Body Confidence’ is a toned, beautiful woman without an ounce of imperfection. So, this is my long, drawn out way of saying that I unfollowed Kayla Itsines because I don’t agree with how Kayla supports a positive body image. She probably wouldn’t be as successful if she was always posting otherwise – but whatever. It would have been much more impactful to show a woman who isn’t perfect. Yes, 2017 should be the year of #BodyConfidence – 100% – but that includes being confident in your body how it is and knowing you’re perfect and beautiful just the way you are. Don’t let Kayla, #BBGTransformations or Instagram tell you what’s beautiful or what’s confidence. Be confident in your body and love yourself. Make changes for the right reasons, not to flaunt your body across social media.