If you enter the University of Edinburgh Centre for Sport and Exercise and make your way to the back, past the cardio and Eric Liddell gyms, you will find a small room: MyGym. Here, hundreds of girls work their muscles off every day in order to finish a 28-minute workout that includes burpees, push-ups, mountain climbers and even some rope skipping for those who want to remember their childhoods.
This phenomenon that has taken over our University is no other than Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide, an exercise and training guide that not only helps you achieve your dream body but makes you feel comfortable about it. The starting body shape does not matter, neither the fitness condition – although some basic cardio would be useful. This guide helps you achieve your goal, whatever that is, with a combination of circuit exercises, cardio, stretching and healthy eating.
The e-book can be purchased together with a nutrition plan and a healthy foods recipe book that does not make you starve but instead combines proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats, leading to major changes in your diet.
The workouts take 28 minutes each, and should be done three times a week, each day working on either arms, abs, legs, cardio, or a combination of these. Each workout consists in two circuits made up of four exercises each. The objective is to set the timer for seven minutes and repeat the first circuit as many times as possible, aiming to do two complete cycles in those seven minutes. This should be repeated with the second circuit, then going back to the first and the second again, making up a total of 28 minutes plus recovering time, which should be between one and two minutes.
It does sound easy, but it is definitely not, and you will be sweating like crazy – not to mention you’ll become something of a muscle specialist after your first workout, when your body begin to ache and you discover new muscles that you didn’t know even existed. But it is worth it.
“I am on week five and I can already feel a difference. My arms are stronger and I can now see the ab-lines on my stomach”, said Yoxin Chin (21) when asked if she could notice any differences.
Kayla encourages girls to take before and after pictures because she does not believe in scales or measurements, since this can be deceiving when gaining muscle mass and losing fat.
“It really helped me with my resistance training. I can now run further without getting tired that fast”, told Jasmina Kerla (22) to The Student. This is because the guides combine the high intensity circuit training, with three times a week of LISS (low intensity steady state), such as walking or running, in order to lose fat and then build lean muscle easily.
Kayla Itsines’ Instagram account (@kayla_itsines) shows not only videos and pictures of her training routine, but also incredible transformations of girls who are now on the first or second round of her Bikini Body Guide. If you managed to read all the way up to here and you are still thinking that this is not for you, I can assure you that I tried it myself and it works. It can be hard to get the motivation needed to workout, and eating healthy while coping with university deadlines or after a hangover is not easy. But it is much more fun if it is done with a friend: that way you can empower each other and keep track of your progress.
The workouts can be fitted between a library study break, and the first weeks can even be done at home if you are feeling insecure about using the gym.
So grab someone who will be willing to start this challenge with you and get ready to have your bikini body. There’s still plenty of time before the summer, so why not try this before it’s too late?
Image: <Paula Blanco>