17 months is a long time, but it marks how long I have been on my own journey towards a healthier, happier, and fitter life.

I have spent 52 of these weeks following Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide (BBG) which is a guide that has taken the female population worldwide by storm.

While Kayla has since released her own app, Sweat with Kayla, you could (and still can) purchase PDF guides for BBG 1.0 (weeks 1-12) and BBG 2.0 (weeks 13-24). The app now continues on past week 24 and continues to move forward as you do.

The set up is simple, each week contains 3 resistance workouts: legs, arms, and abs. As each week progresses, the exercises get harder, the reps get higher, and the struggle is real. Kayla also has you incorporate 2-3 sessions of LISS in the first 8 weeks, then 1-2 sessions of HIIT in the following weeks. BBG requires minimal equipment, and can mostly be completed at home. A set of dumbbells, a kettle bell/medicine ball, and a step/chair will essentially be enough to complete the guides.

I have completed BBG 1.0 twice, BBG 2.0 twice, and am currently joining in on the Kayla Movement 2017, which has thousands of girls worldwide following BBG 1.0, and we all began on January 9, 2017. 4 weeks of this 12 week challenge are complete.

My transformation picture was recently featured on Kayla’s own Instagram which was absolutely surreal! I am so grateful for the kind words, encouragement and support I received over this weekend.

My transformation goes to show that continuous work has big payoffs! As I reflect on my journey, I’ve come up with my top 5 tips on how to succeed, whether it be in BBG or any other fitness journey.

  1. Become your own greatest cheerleader.
    • If you start working out for anyone but yourself, STOP. Until you do this for yourself, you will become discouraged, unmotivated, and ultimately quit. While I’ve only ever done this for my own health and well-being, many women often start a fitness regime for an upcoming trip, an event, or simply to just get back into that favorite pair of skinny jeans.
    • While these quick fixes may work, they’re just that. Quick fixes. Inevitably you will be back in a few months looking for another quick fix. Once you begin making fitness a part of your life, and a priority in it, it becomes much more manageable to continue with. Believe in your abilities, your strength, and yourself. Celebrate the small victories – your first push up on your toes, your first jump lunge that doesn’t throw you off-balance, your first tuck jump.
  2. Stop starving yourself.
    • Food is what gives your body the energy it needs to function, to workout, to LIVE. While everyone’s dietary needs are very specific to each individual, the important thing is to eat enough to fuel your body. In the beginning, I was unknowingly starving myself. I foolishly believed the automatic number My Fitness Pal generated for me (1200 calories) and tried to follow that. It was NOT enough food, my body stored fat for fuel, and I was consistently hungry and grouchy. There is so much research available on the internet now, whether you want to count macros, follow the Whole 30 plan, go paleo, vegetarian, vegan, it is your choice. Just make sure you do enough research to ensure you are eating enough.
    • EAT THE TREATS. I cannot stress this enough. A fitness journey isn’t about all or nothing, it’s about a continuous process. If you deprive yourself completely from things like ice cream, chocolate, pizza, carbs, eventually you will cave and go overboard when you do eat it. Everything should be part of your diet! Just eat it all in moderation! Finding a balance is hard, and takes practice. We all make mistakes when we are learning how to fuel the body to maximize the effort. You’re human! Forgive yourself for indulging, it’s part of life.
  3. Get OFF the scale.
    • I cannot stress this one enough. Society has brainwashed women into thinking that the scale is a measure of everything they are worth. It’s not. Scales measure the amount of gravitational pull on your body to the earth. That’s it! While people will tell you that muscle weighs more than fat, this is also false. A pound is a pound is a pound. What is true, is that muscle takes up less SPACE than fat. A pound of muscle is smaller than a pound of fat. So while the scale may not change, and your body does, it’s because the fat is lessening and the muscles are growing.
    • Don’t let a number on an electronic thing on the floor measure your worth. Measure things like your happiness, your confidence, how you feel and your energy levels. Are your moods better? Do your clothes fit better and make you happy? These are the things that should define you, not a scale.
  4. Find support.
    • While you need to be your own biggest cheerleader, having support is so helpful. I can’t say enough about the amazing women who are part of the BBG Community, both online and in real life. The amount of amazing ladies who continue to inspire, motivate and encourage me on my Instagram account never cease to amaze me. Without this account, I wouldn’t have started the YYC BBG Meet Ups, I wouldn’t have made so many new friends. These friends understand fitness, the struggles, and what it’s like to always be busy!
    • Tell your family, significant other, real life friends what you are doing. It can be as simple as letting them know that you are workign on becoming healthier, will spend more time in the gym and be eating healthier. Letting them know this ahead of time may help them understand the shift in priorities and diet! You may come across people who don’t understand, or don’t support you. Refer to tip #1. Believe in YOURSELF.
  5. Trust the process.
    • Losing weight, gaining muscles, getting lean, and toning up take TIME. It really doesn’t only take 12 weeks. You can go on your Instagram account and see all the amazing transformations that Kayla posts, or just scroll through the #bbgtransformation hashtag and be amazed at what you see. Then, this amazement can turn into discouragement and frustration that your body hasn’t changed like this. STOP. Every single person is different. Maybe they have a higher metabolism, maybe they do extra cardio, they weigh less/more, they eat differently. My point here is that you don’t KNOW what their journey entails. All you know is yourself.
    • I personally have spent 17 months working on myself! There were plenty of days where I was frustrated that my body wasn’t changing. I became obsessed with week to week changes, which were extremely minimal. So I stopped. I stopped taking those pictures every week and just kept working. It’s been a long, slow process, but every day I try. That is what matters. Slow growth is sustainable growth. Don’t get down on yourself because you don’t look like that girl with clearly defined abs and minimal body fat. This is your journey. It takes time. Trust the work you put in, it will pay off.
  6. Bonus Tip: If you are starting to feel bored, switch things up! Add in spin, yoga, pilates, group exercise classes, hikes, biking, walks, whatever makes you happy! If you do the things you enjoy, you are more likely to stick to it.

Financial compensation was not received for this post. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own and not influenced by the developing company and/or its affiliates in any way.