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INSANITY, T25, BBG : WHAT ARE THESE 3 WORKOUT PROGRAMS WORTH ?

opinion workout programs, insanity workout program, t25 training program, how to use the bikini body guide, is the bbg by kayla istines efficient

In my workouts like in my everyday life, I quickly get bored and I always need to renew things. I don’t count the number of activities I did when I was a child : from gymnastics to horse riding, basket-ball, badminton or roller, I’ve tried a lot of things.
Today, I still like to vary my activities, and I’ve had the chance to try three different workout programs, that you can do at home. You might have heard of them : Insanity and T25 were created by the trainer Shaun T. and are really popular in the United States, and the Bikini Body Guide by Kayla Itsines, which is quite popular at the moment.

To be clear, even if I have tried these three workout programs myself, I am not a health care professionnal nor a personal trainer.
All the information you can find in this post only comes from my own feelings and my personal experience.

                                                                                                                                                 

INSANITY (60 DAYS)

What is this ?
Insanity, created by the inspirational Shaun T., is the largest-selling workout program in the US… probably because it is the most efficient. I warn you, this is really difficult and the rythm is intense.
The training covers a period of two months (60 days). During the first month, the sessions last about 40 minutes 6 days/7, followed by a “soft” week to recover. The second month, the sessions can last up to one hour, still 6 days/7.
This program combines cardio – mainly – and strength training.

What does a typical session look like ?
The sessions are diversified, so we don’t get bored. We start with a 10 minutes warm up (don’t trust the word “warm up”, it’s kind of intense) followed by a long session of stretching (don’t skip it ! it’s important). Then, we can start the serious part : around 20 minutes of “max interval training”, which means long and intense periods of activity followed by short periods of rest (usually, 3 minutes of intense activity followed by 30 seconds of rest).
In the middle of the week, the session is calmer : this is the “Cardio Recovery”. No cardio, only stretching and strength training. It is still difficult, but comparing to the other days, it looks like you’re naping.
Every two weeks, you can do a “Fit Test” of 20 minutes that shows you how your performance improves. I really advise you to do it, especially if this is your first time doing Insanity, it’s really impressive to see your progress !

For who ?
If you have never practiced an intense activity in your life, you might want to reconsider. These exercises are not for beginners ! Even a confirmed sportsman won’t find the sessions easy.
However, I really encourage everyone to try this program, which is, according to me, excellent. Just be careful if you’re starting, don’t hesitate to take breaks if you are tired, and wear a cardiofrequencemeter to check your heart rate. You can also ask your doctor before starting the program.

Is it efficient ?
This program is the most efficient among the three. Obviously, if you work hard, it will pay off. And this, in the first few weeks. A friend lost more than 25kg thanks to Insanity, and the help of a healthy diet, of course.
It is sometimes a difficult moment, but Shaun T.’s energy really helps, and you will feel like you can move mountains afterwards (well… moving mountains while dying in a puddle of sweat, if you know what I mean).

The pros :
◆ Really efficient, quick results.
◆ Good for the mental : the program is difficult, so you can be proud of yourself after a session.
◆ No material needed, you can do everything at home !
◆ Shaun T. : his energy is really motivating (and he’s not unpleasant to look at).

The cons :
◆ Really difficult, especially for a beginner.
◆ A lot of ground impacts : all kinds of jumps, run… If you have articular problems (especially in the ankles and in the knees), this might not be the right program for you.
◆ Difficult to keep up the rythm in the long term : the training is quite exhausting, 6 days a week… And during month two, you have to find one hour every day to train. But if you are motivated, go ahead, it’s really worth it !

The package costs about 120$ and contains ten DVDs, a nutritional guide, a planning to track your workouts… You can order it here.

                                                                                                                                                 

T25

What is this ?
This program has also been created by Shaun T. It looks like Insanity, but is way easier. And the sessions all last, you guessed it, 25 minutes.
T25 is divided into three steps, which all last 5 weeks and which are more and more difficult : Alpha, Beta and Gamma. Therefore, we have a 15 weeks workout program, which combines cardio and strength training.

What does a typical session look like ?
25 minutes go by really quick ! No warm up, the two minutes stretching at the end is optional, but strongly advised. No break either, but don’t panic ! Even if you are constantly moving during 25 minutes, most of the exercises are done at a medium pace. Totally doable for a moderately active person.
The big asset of T25 : the modifier ! One of Shaun T.’s students is doing a modified version of the exercises, in such a way that there is no ground impacts, with the same efficiency. A great thing if you have articular problems !
You will need a few tools after the first weeks : two dumbbells and a resistance band.

For who ?
Everyone, and especially busy people who don’t have a lot of time in their hands. We can all find 25 minutes (5 times a week) to workout !
This workout program is the easiest of the three mentioned in this post. However, this is not a healthy walk, expect to end up in sweat.
T25 is ideal for beginners, or for moderately active persons. The sessions can be a bit limited for someone who works out a lot, but they can easily be integrated into a workout routine, to add a bit of cardio, for example.

Is it efficient ?
The efficiency of T25 can’t be compared to Insanity’s, but if your are consistant in your training, you can start noticing nice results after the third or the fourth week. Not to mention the positive effects on your overall health : more energy, more breath, more endurance…

The pros :
◆ A complete and intense session in 25 minutes.
◆ The modifier that allows you to realise the exercises without ground impact.
◆ The “medium” level of the program, which makes it more accessible.
◆ You can do it from home !
◆ Shaun T., again.

The cons :
◆ Somewhat limited if you are really active, the program can however complete a workout routine.
◆ A bit of equipment is needed (two dumbbells and a resistance band), but this is not expensive and you can find that in every sport store. The resistance band is even included in the T25 package.

The package costs about 120$ and contains 10 DVDs, a nutritionnal guide, plannings to track your workouts, a resistance band… You can order it here.

                                                                                                                                                 

Bikini Body Guide

What is this ?
Unlike the two previous workout programs, this guide, created by Kayla Itsines, is an ebook that you can consult on your laptop/tablet/smartphone, or print. It is mostly dedicated to women and covers 12 weeks, but a second guide for weeks 13 to 24 has recently been published by the author. This workout program proposes cardio and strength training (legs, arms, abs).
There are only three sessions per week, and they each last 30 minutes. The other days of the week, Kayla recommends you do a “LISS” activity (Low Intensity Steady State) at the beginning : a form of less intense cardio training, like walking, running, swimming, anything you like, and some HIIT sessions after a while (I wrote a post about that, for novices). Not to forget a quick stretch session, that you can do on sunday, for example.

What does a typical session look like ?
For each session, you have two different circuits, and they all contains 4 to 5 exercises.
You need to get a timer (use your smartphone), set it on 7 minutes and do the first circuit as many times as you can during these 7 minutes. Then, the timer goes off, and you can rest for 30 to 90 seconds. Set your timer again for 7 minutes and do the second circuit as many times as you can. After the 7 minutes, the timer goes off and you can rest for 30 to 90 seconds again. Repeat the whole process a second time.
We get : circuit 1 (7 minutes)/restcircuit 2 (7 minutes)/restcircuit 1 (7 minutes)/restcircuit 2 (7 minutes)/rest. A session lasts approximately 30 minutes (28 minutes of exercises + 2 minutes of rest all in all).
In 7 minutes, I usually have the time to do a circuit 1,5 time to 2 times.

For who ?
Answering this question is going to be difficult because I found this BBG quite easy, whereas friends or unknown people on the internet found it really intense. This is proof that it all depends on your capacities and on the workouts you are used to doing !
Even if this program is not easy as pie, I think that a beginner can totally try it, even if you need to do the exercises slowly at first, or to take longer breaks.

Is it efficient ?
Kayla Itsines’ Instagram account is full of amazing “transformations” pictures. Some of them are wonderful, but others leave me a bit skeptical regarding their authenticity (sometimes, a really impressive transformation has been supposedly achieve in 6 to 12 weeks, whereas, according to me, this is more a 6 to 12 months job to obtain such a result). But if this is real, I take my hat off to those girls who must have worked really hard for their new body !
If you are looking for a change like that, I can only advise you to follow a really balanced and healthy diet (you can use the guide) and to do a workout activity of your choice in parallel, with a bit of strength training. Because the Bikini Body Guide only, with its three weekly sessions of 28 minutes, won’t be enough to radically change your body.

The pros :
◆ Quick sessions, only three times a week.
◆ We can find really encouraging results on the internet, and all those “beforer/after” pictures are really motivating !
◆ A strong community on the social medias (especially on Instagram).

The cons :
◆ Hard to stay motivated with a simple sheet of paper…
◆ You have to be independant, because what’s in the BBG is in fact only half of your training. You need to schedule yourself your “LISS” and “HIIT” sessions.
◆ Equipment is needed, and going to a gym could be necessary.
◆ The exercises are not always well explained (this is the problem, without the video) and it’s hard to tell if your position is right or not. You can injure yourself more easily.
◆ Lots of ground impacts.
◆ The sessions are redundant, and quite boring.

The training ebook and the nutritionnal guide cost 70$ each. However, you can buy the two together for about 120$, here.
Kayla offers a free week of workout on her website (here). Perfect to make your own opinion before buying the guide !

                                                                                                                                                 

IN A NUTSHELL

◆ You are looking for an efficient program and you’re not afraid of the challenge : Insanity.
◆ You really want to change your body and to gain muscles : Insanity or BBG.
◆ You are moderately active and you want to start a training again : T25 or Insanity.
◆ You have never worked out before, but you want to start : T25, after a doctor appointment.
◆ You have a really busy schedule : T25 or BBG.
◆ The fitness world is new to you and you need to be guided : BBG.
◆ You have articular problems, back pain… : T25 with the modifier.

                                                                                                                                                 

MY PERSONAL AND HONEST OPINION

I really like Insanity and T25. The first one suits me very well because I like it when it’s not easy, and I need to give all I have. The quick results are really encouraging, and I love this idea of “challenge with oneself”.
T25 is a really good alternative for those moments when I don’t have enough time, while still being efficient. For me, workout programs in video are ideal : you can visualise the form, and the trainer’s encouragements really help to keep going.

I didn’t really like the BBG : the sessions are too boring for me. If you workout a lot and if you know a thing or two about fitness, this program can seem a bit useless to you. For the more subjective part, I think that the price is unjustified : even if it offers useful information for beginners, this ebook only contains 3 sessions per week, for the rest, you have to do it yourself. In addition, the nutritional guide is good but not new… For half the price, you can find something more complete on the web (I’m thinking about the Sophie Gray a.k.a. Way of Gray ebook, which seems to be a good program, or the free videos/plannings/nutritional plans of Cassey Ho, a.k.a Blogilates).
But if you are new to the fitness world and don’t really know where you’re going, the BBG will be a great start.

                                                                                                                                                 

LAST WORDS

It is important to keep in mind that our progress and physical changes are not the same for everyone. If you neighbour got an amazing body after 12 weeks of the Bikini Body Guide, it doesn’t mean that you will get the same results. You don’t have the same bdoy shape, the same metabolism, the same diet, the same training, the same muscular mass… as her.
On the other hand, I’d like to insist on something : we usually think – wrongly – that working out is all it takes to have a nice and toned body. This is wrong. You can workout during 3 hours everyday, if you eat crap, you will get no (or few) result. Be really careful about what you eat if you start a workout program to change you body, and it will make the difference. Treat yourself, but be reasonable. Increase your intake of proteins, vegetables and fruits, limit the carbs and always go for the wholemeat flour, and finally, try to avoid every industrial, sugary, or full of saturated fats food. Don’t forget to drink at least 2L of water per day, and observe a one day rest every week to allow your body to recover.
Finally, if you manage to do a workout program until the end, don’t go thinking you can rest for the rest of your life. If you stop all physical activity and take your bad habits back, the weight will come back and the muscles will go away. You can start the program again, start a new one, or create your own workout routine with cardio and strength training, thanks to a few exercises that you can find in the programs, on the internet, in your local gym…

opinion workout programs, insanity workout program, t25 training program, how to use the bikini body guide, is the bbg by kayla istines efficient

10 comments

  1. Thanks, I found this really useful! I am almost through month 1 of insanity and keep hearing a lot of hype about the bbg (which I have tried but found dull and repetitive). I Can identify with your reasons for choosing insanity and will keep going! Thanks!

  2. Thank you very much!!! I began doing BBG because I heard it was awesome, but as soon as I started, I got incredibly bored and couldn’t do it anymore. I just couldn’t keep motivated. I tried t25 before, I saw the results (weren’t that impressive but maybe because I didn’t do it everyday) and I could stay motivated with Shaun T telling me to not stop 😀
    I’m glad to know I wasn’t the only one getting bored with Kayla Itsine’s book hahaha
    Stay strong!

    1. I totally get you ! I found the BBG really boring too. I even tried and started it again this week, because I wanted some relatively “light” and “quick” workouts for the moment, since the weather is so hot in my country during the summer and I’m quite busy right now. But I found it hard to stay motivated for the three training sessions.
      Maybe I should start T25 again, I also really like this program, easier than Insanity (and quicker obviously !), but still challenging.
      Have you tried Insanity ? It’s difficult, but if you’re looking for results, you might like it ! 🙂

  3. Hey! Thanks for your review it was awesome!! I was just wondering, do you think it would be bad if I were to do Kayla the 3 times each week, and for the days in between do insanity?

    1. Hi ! I’m glad you enjoyed this post, thanks ! 🙂
      Honestly, I don’t think this would be bad, but I’m not a health professional so I might be wrong… Insanity is an intense program and I think that the BBG is much easier. If you alternate between both, it will probably be less difficult than if you do all the Insanity workouts. But don’t forget to always take at least one day off during the week ! 🙂

  4. I loved this! I’ve completed insanity some years ago and I’ve tried both t25 and bbg. I’m currently doing some kind of hybrid of the last two (2/3 bbg sessions, 2/3 t25 videos) and I must say I’m quite excited about it. Have you tried it? I was looking for an opinion on that when I came across your post 🙂

  5. Hi Charlotte,

    Looks like I’m the only one who found absolutely NO results doing the Insanity workout. I did 7 weeks of it and saw absolutely no change. I know there was just one week left to complete the program, but I was just waaaay too disappointed to complete it. The first month I stayed on my original diet, which IMO is pretty healthy, but when I didn’t see any change on the scale or my body, I decided to follow the diet recommended by Shaun T, and that just made me gain weight. I’m back to weight training and I’m seeing results, but slowly. A friend said she started the BBG and that she’s seeing results, so I’m going to give that a go next, but reading your article now, I’m not sure if I should.

    After speaking to fitness professionals to determine why the Insanity workout did not have any affect on me, they told me that it may be because I was pretty active to begin with and it was mostly effective for people who weren’t active in the first place. I was also told that a hybrid workout would be more efficient, will try that, I suppose. Maybe I’ll switch between BBG and weight training. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Anna !

      Yes, I’m actually surprised to read that you had no results with Insanity, which is a very intense program, especially since you were also eating healthy. But I know that some types of exercise don’t have the same effects on everyone and it can depend of a lot of different things, like stress level, sleep, metabolism…
      The fitness professionals you spoke to are probably right, and if you used to have a more intense physicaly activity before starting Insanity, it’s normal that you didn’t see any changes with the program. It’s possible, for example, that you used to burn more calories with your previous physical activity. Therefore, when you were doing Insanity, you were burning less calories than before, so you were not losing weight. I’m not sure if I am being clear, but that could be the reason why.

      Regarding the BBG, you should try it ! I personnally didn’t enjoy it and didn’t find it efficient, but it could be different for you, so give it a go ! 🙂
      I also tried a different program a few months ago, but I haven’t mentioned it on my blog yet : it’s the Top Body Challenge by Sonia Tlev. It’s similar to the BBG, but I think that it is much better, and even if I only did half the program, I was already seeing progress. So you can try that too if you don’t like the BBG ! 🙂

      I hope this will help you !

  6. What a great review! I’ve been doing Insanity off and on for 2 years and I’m looking to switch up my workouts. T25 seems too easy after doing insanity and i feel like id be unmotivated with bbg. I may just stick with insanity because it works. Thanks!!

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