I haven’t mentioned BBG in a while and lately I’ve gotten a few emails regarding beginning the BBG program while also being in marathon training. Even though I’ve written about the basic FAQ’s of BBG here and here, I thought it might be beneficial to a lot of runners out there who have questions about how I incorporated BBG into my running.
For those of you who have NO idea what BBG is, I will sum it up briefly: “BBG” stands for “Bikini Body Guides.” It’s a 12 week downloadable PDF guidebook program designed by Kayla Itsines and her partner, Tobias Pierce. You work out for 3 days a week for 28 minutes. There are 2 circuits per each workout and you repeat each 7 minute circuit twice -this makes up the 28 minutes. It’s an ass kicking workout. The moves are easy-lunges, burpees, tricep dips, push-ups,to name a few. It’s combinations are killer.
When I first started BBG, it was the beginning of June. As some of you know-I’m a teacher and have the summers off. (don’t hate me!) Without an 8 hour work day, I had bunch of extra time in my schedule so it really was the perfect time to begin a strength program like BBG. I started BBG as a way to tone up more, get stronger, and to just be a better “me.” While I was still in school, I would run in the morning, and on BBG days-I would do that after work.
I didn’t expect to fall in love with BBG the way I did-But it happened. I saw changes in my body that I have never seen before and I found the workouts to be high intensity, challenging, and fun. I love that I can do the workouts in my house. I also love that there is no one barking orders at me. I’ve never been the biggest fan of workout classes because I don’t really like instructors telling me what to do, or correcting me if I’m doing it wrong. It’s not that I don’t want my form to be correct- I just REALLY hate attention being drawn to me and people starting at me. So….the fact that I can get a good sweat on in my living room with my own music blaring in the background is pretty awesome to me.
After the 12 weeks of BBG, I have found myself to be a stronger, fitter, leaner version of myself. Running is my true love, but it just doesn’t give me the same tone and definition that it did in my 20’s. I love the moves and challenges of BBG. I’m now on round 2 of weeks 1-12 (you can buy the 2nd edition for weeks 13-24, but at this time, I chose to just restart at week 1) During the 2nd round, I’ve found that I’m actually better at it than I was the first time around.
For the first 10 weeks, I didn’t skip a single workout (That’s kind of a big deal!). It was a new & exciting challenge and I loved mastering moves like burpees (love them), commando’s (I can do them well but I still HATE them) and I lunged like a BOSS.
The setup for the majority of BBG weeks is:
Wednesday-Arms or Arms & Abs
Friday-Abs or Full body.
For me, the toughest workout is the legs day. It leaves me VERY sore for a couple days. This was the workout that I struggled with the most: No matter what, it seemed to get in the way of running. Doing it on a Monday meant I’m leaving myself pretty sore for a tempo or track workout on a Tuesday. During 2 out of 12 week, the “legs” day falls on a Friday. This was great for my speedwork, but bad for my long run. I tend to do my long run on Saturday mornings and I’m extremely stubborn about swapping it to Sundays. Doing BBG on a Friday, long run Saturday is just sooo much soreness, I can’t even EXPLAIN it to you except to say “try it and give me a call after and I’ll listen to you whine.” I ended up making the decision that if/when legs day fell on a Friday, I would swap it over to Mondays.
All of the arms/abs/full body workouts still leave me sore, but it’s not the same as the leg soreness (for me). Please note that everybody is different, and what makes ME the most sore might not make YOU the most sore. I already have a solid core and strong arms from doing pushup and planking daily, and I think that’s why those workouts are easier on my body. On runs the day after an arm or ab workout, I would feel the muscles that I worked-but it was more like a “good sore” vs. “hate my life” sore. Does this make sense? I hope so. So for example: if I had an arms/abs workout on a Friday, I would be okay for a long run on Saturday.
Sometimes, I would end up on the floor like this after BBG…
Weeks 11 and 12 were a little bit trickier for me to handle because I went on vacation, became full time mom and went back to work all within a two week span. I still completed Weeks 11 & 12, but they were more spaced out. I did 2 workouts a week instead of 3 and it took me about 3 weeks to do those last 6 workouts. I finally completed the full 12 weeks of BBG during the 3rd week of September.
By now you’ve probably started thinking to yourself how the heck did she actually do the workouts and run? Or that I’m crazy for doing all of this strength training while training for a marathon. Or maybe you’re thinking both things? The first 10 weeks, my workouts typically looked like this:
Monday-Running: Off, BBG Legs.
Tuesday-AM: Speedwork (Tempo or track workout), typically 7-9 miles
Wednesday-AM-Easy run (8-12 miles), PM*-BBG Arms
Thursday- Speedwork (Tempo or track workout), typically 7-9 miles
Friday-AM Easy run of 5 miles or OFF, PM-BBG Abs.
Saturday-Long run, 16-20 miles
Sunday- recovery run.
*During the summer months, I would run early in the morning and do BBG later in the afternoon. AGAIN, keep in mind that I wasn’t working so it was easy to fit into my day.
BBG is only 28 minutes but it’s 28 very intense minutes. It’s the easiest and hardest workout I’ve ever done. I say “easy” because after a few reps—even a rhythmically challenged dodo like myself can pick it up, and “hard” because it’s a solid 28 minutes of working your *** off. There is no denying it: I’m dripping with sweat & exhausted when I finish, and I love it. With the exception of jumping rope (I pretend to jump rope by still doing the motions as if I’m really jumping rope because I just CAN’T do it), I’ve never modified any of the moves. Unless I physically can’t do a move, I leave it as is because I don’t want to cheat myself out of a great workout.
Right now I’m on my second round of BBG and I’ve just finished week 1. Since I’ve got a marathon on Sunday, I decided to completely give in to the last week of taper and not do any BBG. My body will be much happier on race day if it’s well rested! As I mentioned above, I finished the 12 week program the 3rd week of September. I loved/love every minute of BBG and I decided that going forward, I wanted to keep up with it. I’ve been back to work for 1 ½ months and I’m facing new challenges in life: I’ve got a 9 year old and I’m learning all kinds of new mom things! Trying to keep up with everything is a lot of work.
Running is, and always will be, my true love, and it will always take precedence over BBG. What works for me (right now) is a 2 day week of BBG, and sometimes one of those days in on a Saturday or a Sunday. I’m not placing any pressure on myself to do it. If I did? I would be SUPER stressed trying to cram every little thing into my day and when I did get a change to do BBG, I would feel like I’m forcing it on myself. It’s so dark in the morning that I end up doing the majority of my runs at night. If I can get my booty out of bed at a decent hour in the morning, I will cram in a few miles on my treadmill and do BBG at night while my daughter is doing homework. I still see results even though I’m doing it 1-2 times a week. I try to look at it like this: Even 1 workout a week is better than NO workouts a week.
The last two weeks, my schedule has looked like this:
Sept 28-Oct 4:
Monday: BBG Legs Week 1
Tuesday: 6 miles (PM)
Wednesday: 6 miles (PM)
Thursday: 6 miles (tmill/PM)
Friday: 6 miles
Saturday: 2 tmill miles followed by BBG Arms & Abs Week 1
October 5th-October 11th:
Monday: 4 miles (PM)
Wednesday: 7.5 miles (Track workout in the early afternoon)
Thursday: 6.35 miles (AM), PM BBG-Week 1 Full Body
Friday: 5 miles (PM)
Saturday: 11 miles (AM)
Sunday-5 miles (AM)
So you can see: It took me 2 weeks to complete Round 2/Week 1 of BBG, and during the 2nd week, I only did one workout. I would have started week 2 of BBG however, Oct 5/11 was a crazy busy week and I just couldn’t fit it in anywhere.
My advice to runners looking to incorporate this program into their lives and don’t have much time because LIFE gets crazy is this: You’ve got to learn to adapt. Don’t put pressure on yourself. If you know you have a busy week ahead of you, try to fit it in when you can. There have also been weeks that I have done two days back to back with BBG. It is what it is. Just like with running: If you WANT to do it- you will.
I hope this super long post is helpful to those runners out there who have been inquiring about this. Please comment here if you have a question, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂
Happy Running, my friends!