You, Me, & BBG Make 3

My January and February were exceedingly sluggish and martini-soaked. Consequently, I gained about 9 pounds. Consequently, I had a major freak-out upon seeing a certain number on the scale and ordered Kayla Itsines' Bikini Body Guide e-book in a white-hot panic. Three weeks later, I look and feel as strong as ever, I'm exercising more than I have since the yoga teacher training days, and (real talk) you could bounce a quarter off my ass. Here are my thoughts on Itsines' runaway Instagram fitness phenomenon and how to make it work best for you.

Itsines' emphasizes hard work and sacrifice to achieve fitness goals. And she's right to do so. Photo:

Itsines' emphasizes hard work and sacrifice to achieve fitness goals. And she's right to do so. Photo:

If you like to work out at home or must squeeze workouts into an already-packed schedule, then you'll love BBG's low-maintenance requirements. Most exercises require no equipment, and those that do can be modified with pieces you have at home. If you take the domestic route, you will want to invest in a set of hand weights, a foam roller, an exercise mat, and possibly a medicine ball. Meanwhile, each session lasts just 35 minutes, so you will be hard-pressed to find excuses to skip.

Every resistance routine is just hard enough to make you sweat and swear. You'll want to use Sweat--Itsines' app--which has the same 12-week challenges as her ebook, as well as a calendar and food diary built in for accountability. I am very competitive with myself and thrive on finishing every week harder, better, faster, and stronger than I was the week before. Thanks to Sweat, now I can prove it. Speaking of proving it, Instagram's BBG community is enormous. Some of her devotees now boast hundreds of thousands of followers, and Itsines' shares before-and-after photos daily on her own feed. That feedback and sense of shared experience does wonders for those who may need the extra push. Women of all sizes and lifestyles have transformed their bodies with this program, and their #BBGprogress pictures prove it.

Of course, BBG and Sweat have their caveats: The app is still buggy and will sometimes start over on week 1 when you're really on week 4 or 7, etc. And the whole kit is pricey. Itsines' ebook costs $60 for 3 downloads, and the app requires a monthly fee of $20--chump change compared to a gym membership but no small amount when you get that double-digit Apple bill. I suggest splashing out for the app only, or going in with a couple friends on the ebook if you truly need offline access.

The biggest issue I have with BBG is that it neglects to include back exercises, which are critical for anyone doing so many ab and chest routines. To fix this, I mix in some back work after I complete a BBG resistance workout: either seated cable rows or dumbbell rows.

Kayla Itsines' body is her best advertisement. Those abs are no joke. Photo:

Kayla Itsines' body is her best advertisement. Those abs are no joke. Photo:

Last word: If you need an inexpensive alternative to personal training that will highly motivate you to compete against yourself and stick to a routine, then this is the program for you. It's certainly working for me.

Outfit-Making T-Shirts for Spring & Summer

When I first started running, I wore a Jay Dix Memorial 5-K race T-shirt almost exclusively. It was soft and paper-thin and stunk to high Heaven, and I was too green then to know about tech material. Those 100% cotton days are over, but my love of a good short-sleeve tee will never die. Whether you still wear them to work out (no disrespect) or just for lazy days (no disrespect) or with wedgie jeans and your highest heels for a night on the town (RESPECT), tees are tops. They are the decathlons of your wardrobe. They can literally do and be anything. Herewith, my top 10 favorite T-shirts to shop now for spring/summer 2017.

Love what you see? Click a T-shirt to view product details.

The Ultimate Melrose Place-Inspired Workout Wardrobe

 Lately, I am obsessed with Melrose Place, the mid-90s nighttime soap that gave us a (probably inaccurate) glimpse into the lives of West Hollywood's most beautiful neighbors ever. No special reason, other than an abiding love for Clinton era culture and Michael Mancini’s speedy evolution from devoted husband to villainous adulterer between seasons 1 and 2. But MP is not all power suits and incestuous love triangles. There’s also incredible fashion to be found at 4616 Melrose Ave., fashion for those who lean casual and those of the more glam persuasion, fashion for Matt and Amanda and everyone in between. One might go so far as to say that this Aaron Spelling-produced masterpiece is nothing more (or less) than a small-screen think piece on the relationship between clothes and personality in Gen X Los Angeles. But that’s a dissertation for another time.

If you want to live the Melrose life as much as I do, then you absolutely must start with your workout wardrobe. Think pastel shades mixed with bright white and Day-Glo pops, sporty stripes and big logos. Sneakers should be of the high-top persuasion and shorts nice 'n roomy. Terry cloth sweat bands will look right at home in Rhonda's dance class. Prefer to swim laps around Jack Hanson? Do it in style with a high-cut, zip-up one-piece. Herewith, all the best new arrivals in active fashion with an MP twist, Billy Campbell not included.

Above, from left:

  • Ballet Beautiful leotard, $65
  • Reebok Freestyle Hi Fitness sneaker, $70
  • InnoLife terry clotoh headbands, $10
  • Vintage '90s sunglasses, $23
  • Live the Process sports bra, $165
  • P.E Nation bike shorts, $100
  • Patagonia belt bag, $29
  • Lisa Marie Fernandez swimsuit, $370
  • P.E Nation sports bra, $100
  • Lucas Hugh short, $225