I've been doing CrossFit for 21 months now, but scrolling through Instagram and seeing amazing mind and body transformations from women following Kayla Itsines's BBG program totally inspired me to give it a try. I stopped going to CrossFit for one week, signed up for the one-week free trial on the app Sweat With Kayla, and decided to see what these workouts were really like and how they compared to CrossFit.
What I Did
I chose to do Week 1 of her basic BBG program, which has three workouts: one for legs, one for arms and abs, and one for full body. She recommends doing three to four of her workouts each week, and the other days doing LISS cardio, which stands for low-intensity sustained state. I chose walking in the woods for 30 to 45 minutes. Here's how I broke down the week based on what I could fit in my schedule:
Aside from using the app, I also found printouts of her workouts on Pinterest and used them in conjunction with the YouTube videos I found of BBGers videotaping themselves doing the workouts (click on the links above to see the videos).
What I Thought of the Workouts
Wow! I was shocked at how hard they are. I'm used to doing AMRAPS (as many rounds as possible) in my CrossFit classes, but they're usually eight to 12 minutes long. These workouts were four seven-minute AMRAPS with 60 seconds of rest in between. The exercises were pretty basic, like jump squats, push-ups, bicycle crunches, and burpees (my favourite), but that didn't mean they were easy!
I was huffing and puffing, and my muscles were burning after the first seven-minute workout. I was very impressed. I was also glad I had experience with CrossFit because I didn't have to think too much about my form; I could just move quickly. Although I had the app on my phone, I preferred following along to YouTube videos of actual women doing the workout. It was fun trying to keep up!
What I Liked
I loved the intensity of the BBG workouts and also loved that they were quick! I could do them in my basement home gym while the family was sleeping, listen to my own music, and I could wear whatever since I wasn't going to see anyone. A huge bonus was that I was done within 31 minutes. Having to drive to my CrossFit gym for 60-minute workouts takes almost two hours out of my day, so this was a major time-saver. I also have to wake up at 4:45 a.m. in order to go to CrossFit, which means I have to go to bed stupidly early if I want to get eight hours of sleep. During this week of BBG, I could get up at 6:15 a.m., which meant I was able to go to bed a little later (and got to spend extra time with my husband).
I also loved the LISS workouts. I did walks through the woods for all three, and it was so nice getting fresh air, walking with my dogs, and having some time to myself. I felt really calm, grounded, and energized on those days, which made those intense 31-minute workouts easier to tackle.
What I Didn't Like
BBG workouts were basic, which I can appreciate because they're effective, but they were boring. I found myself staring at the clock, not really motivated to be repeating the same circuits over and over again. At my CrossFit gym, our workouts are different every single day — truly, I have not done the same workout in the 21 months I've been there, and I go three to four times a week.
I was also surprised that I didn't love working out alone. I push myself way harder when I'm sweating it out with other people — maybe they'd be more fun if I had a few girlfriends come over to do them together. I also missed the superloud booming music, lifting heavy, and all the gymnastics-type moves in CrossFit, like pull-ups, box jumps, and handstands.
Will I Give Up CrossFit For BBG?
If I stuck with the program for 12 weeks, I can see getting excited about watching my progress with strength and speed, but after one week, I was itching to get back to my CrossFit family. I did appreciate the break from CrossFit because it ignited my passion for getting a barbell and rower handle back in my hands.
I will say that if I can't make it to a class because I'm crunched for time or I'm on holiday, it's great to have these BBG workouts in my back pocket to do in a pinch. And although I liked trying something new and I loved saving so much time and getting to sleep in, BBG just didn't speak to me the way CrossFit does. Back to the box I go!