BBG vs PWR: Fitness Program Comparison

A Brief History

I have been training with the SWEAT App since January 2019, following either the BBG and PWR program almost exclusively. Prior to signing up for the mobile app, I used Kayla ItsinesBBG 1.0 & 2.0 PDF eBooks for 8 months.

My Hesitation

In the beginning I was not super confident that I would stick to the program. I wasn’t confident at all, actually.  I didn’t want to waste my money on an app subscription. As a stay-at-home mom with no income of my own, it almost seemed silly to pay money for a fitness program. Especially as I’d been working out, at least on and off, for most of my adult life. I “knew” what to do, I just needed to do it.

I’d already taken the plunge, made the investment, and joined a gym. Mostly for the Kidcare, and it’s at one of those more affordable gyms that offers a basic membership plan for only $9.99/mo. Unfortunately, to get the Kidcare add-on you need the upgraded “fitness” membership. And after tacking on the Kidcare option, my membership is $45/mo. But still, pretty cheap as far as gyms go.

I wasn’t about to spend more money on my crackpot weight loss scheme, though. After all, I’d probably give up in a few weeks anyway and I didn’t wanna lose my money and my pride.

**Disclaimer: This BBG vs PWR post may contain Amazon affiliate and other affiliate links. Any purchases made through these links may result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you), but all opinions are my own. Thank you 🙂 **

Why I Started

It must have been my lucky day, because somehow, some way, I found the BBG PDF books online for free! #sorrykayla. I literally had nothing to lose besides all the paper and ink I used to print out all the pages at home. So, I started.

And the rest is history.

SWEAT App PWR vs BBG Progress
My postpartum fitness journey with the SWEAT app. My progress working out with BBG and PWR programs.

RELATED POST: My Kayla Itsines’ BBG (Bikini Body Guide) 60-week Review

Why BBG Worked for Me

No, but seriously, I ended up loving the program. It was exactly what I needed, when I needed it. I could squeeze workouts in here and there around the kids’ preschool, nap, and feeding schedules. I didn’t have to create my own workouts. And I could do the workouts in any room of the house, and even outside or at the park with the kids.

RELATED POST: My Postpartum Fitness Journey with the SWEAT App

I took advantage of SWEAT’s 3 months for $1 promotion in January of 2019. I no longer had to use the PDF printouts and the timer app on my phone. With the app, the workouts are outlined along with videos on Kayla performing the movements, and the timer is built in. Plus I had access to additional workouts, challenges, and programs. I fell in love and have been paying for and using the SWEAT app ever since. I continued with BBG for 6 months after subscribing, making 14 months total.

Why I Switched to PWR

I’d always been curious about SWEAT’s PWR program, but the additional time and equipment it required made me nervous. Eventually, however, my daughter’s naps became more predictable and their frequency lessened. It got a little bit more convenient and teensy bit less stressful to make the trek to the gym.

I switched my program within the app to Kelsey WellsPWR program.  I made more of an effort to get there 2 or 3 times per week. Sometimes it happened, sometimes it didn’t. In the beginning my plan was to alternate between the PWR and PWR at Home programs, as needed, depending on whether or not I could make it to the gym.

I quickly discovered I much prefer the structure and workout style of the gym-based PWR program than that of PWR at Home.  Instead of switching back and forth from one program to another, I decided to stick with gym-based PWR and simply modify any moves I didn’t have the proper equipment for when I was training at home.  Luckily, I have a decent variety of equipment and a workout space set up at home.  And Google and YouTube are very helpful resources for exercise modification ideas! 

RELATED POST: Kelsey Wells’ PWR and PWR at Home Programs: How do They Compare?

Now for everything you need to know about BBG, PWR, and BBG vs PWR!


What is BBG?

BBG, or Bikini Body Guide, is a high-intensity circuit training program created by trainer Kayla Itsines. Each “round” of the program consists of 12 weeks of programming. Once you complete the first 12 weeks (BBG 1.0) you can choose where to go from there.  You can either move on to the next 12-week round (BBG 2.0), or repeat BBG 1.0.

There are currently 7 available 12-week rounds of BBG, but SWEAT and Kayla are continually adding to the program. In addition to the “regular” programming, there are 8 “beginner” weeks available for those who are just starting out.  These are still challenging, but might be a bit more of an ease into working out if you don’t have much experience with fitness.

The BBG program is very cardio-focused, and your own body weight is typically all you’ll need to get your blood pumping a mile a minute.  Your heart rate will soar, you will sweat like a horse, and you may even puke.  I’m sure I’m really selling you on this program right now… Yeah, no, I’m not sponsored by SWEAT or anything – just sharing my experience.

Frequency of BBG Program Workouts

Every week there are 3 assigned resistance workouts, each focusing on a different area of the body. Each session is 28 minutes in duration. In addition to the 3 weekly 28 minute resistance workouts, the program calls for incorporating LISS (low intensity steady state) and/or HIIT (high intensity interval training) cardio sessions into your routine. The goal is to move intentionally for 10-60 minutes (LISS) or 10-20 minutes (HIIT) a few times each week outside of your usual BBG resistance workouts.

Depending on where in the program you are, there are anywhere from 1-3 suggested cardio sessions. LISS/HIIT should be tailored to fit your lifestyle and preferences.  If you enjoy jogging, jog.  Prefer to walk? Walk. Does skipping rope sound fun? Do that.

The Anatomy of a BBG Workout

Kayla doesn’t come to play.  Don’t be fooled by the relatively short workout length! BBG is no. joke. You will be moving for 28 minutes straight!  And not just moving, but squatting, jumping, lunging, push-upping, and burpeeing.  Each 28-minute workout consists of four 7-minute long circuits.  You are given 2 unique circuits, and repeat 7 minutes of each of them twice. You do get a 30 second rest period between circuits. So generous, right?!

BBG Workout Splits

Depending on where you are in the BBG program, you will see a combination of three of the following splits each week:

  • Legs & Cardio
  • Legs
  • Arms & Abs
  • Abs & Cardio
  • Arms
  • Abs
  • Full Body

As you can see, each workout is specifically targeting a certain area of the body.  The titles don’t indicate individual muscle groups, per se. But they suggest whether you’ll primarily be working your upper body, lower body, full body, and/or abs.

Equipment Required for BBG Workouts

BBG may seem innocent to an outsider looking in, because the workouts are short and require very little equipment.  I started with nothing but a yoga mat, set of light dumbbells, skip rope, step stool, and a loop resistance band. Eventually some workouts call for a BOSU ball, but I modified those moves until I got a knock-off one for Christmas. Then, of course, the BOSU ball moves rarely made an appearance again. Haha

Note: In addition to regular BBG, BBG Stronger, and BBG Post-Pregnancy, Kayla has also released a BBG Zero Equipment program within the SWEAT app.  If not having access to any equipment whatsoever is an issue for you, this is a great option!

RELATED POST: 11 Fitness Essentials to Kickstart Your New Year’s Resolutions – Found on Amazon!

Why You’ll Love BBG

As much as BBG was pure torture, it was also pure pride.  I may have felt like I was gonna die for 28 minutes straight, but damn did I feel alive lying there in a puddle of my own sweat when I was done. They say fitness is more than physical, and they are right!  Proving to yourself that you can do hard things is an amazing feeling that will boost your confidence.

RELATED POST: How Fitness Made Me More Productive


What is PWR?

PWR looks like an acronym, like BBG, but doesn’t stand for anything besides being a shortened form of “power.”  The program’s weights-based training style is designed to build muscle and progressively increase strength. Created by trainer Kelsey Wells, PWR will have your muscles working. Workouts are primarily lifting-based, but bouts of high-intensity training are sneakily sprinkled in, as well.

Just as with BBG, each round of PWR is 12 weeks long. Currently there are 4 available 12-week rounds within the SWEAT app.  Six more weeks are going to be released later this month!  I’m guessing another 6 weeks aren’t far behind to round out a full 12-week round for PWR 5.0. For members who are new to weights and/or fitness, PWR offers 4 beginner weeks.

RELATED POST: My Kelsey Wells’ PWR Program 6 Month Progress and Review

Frequency of PWR Program Workouts

Typically, there are 4 “required” PWR resistance sessions each week, plus 2-3 optional splits.  The optional sessions are labeled as such, and typically include splits such as Glutes & Hamstrings, Full Body, Shoulders & Abs, and Abs. The number of required workouts and the splits vary depending on which week or round of the program you’re in.  You can pick and choose the splits you want to do regardless of if they’re labeled as optional or not. PWR resistance workouts typically take around 45 minutes to complete, give or take 5-10 minutes.

There are generally 2 suggested cardio sessions per week in PWR – one LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) and one HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).

Depending on my schedule and what I feel like, I do anywhere from 4 to 6 resistance sessions each week.  When I’m doing 4 I’m also trying to get one or two 30+ minute walks in per week. When I’m doing 5-6 PWR sessions I usually don’t strive for any formal cardio sessions. I used to do HIIT, but don’t like it so I don’t do it anymore.

The Anatomy of a PWR Workout

Resistance sessions are made up of a few different segments, depending on which week of the program you’re on.  They all start with two 4-min activation rounds, which are primarily bodyweight warm-up type moves that compliment the upcoming lifts. The three pyramids follow, made up of 3 or 4 sets of decreasing reps, with the goal of increasing weight with each set.

After the pyramids comes either one triset, or two supersets. These can either be timed or repeated for 3 rounds, depending on the week. Trisets/supersets are typically a combination of weighted and/or bodyweight exercises. As you progress through the program 2-3 optional “burnouts” appear following the triset/supersets.  You will do each exercise for 1 full minute straight, for each burnout.

PWR Workout Splits

Depending on what week of the program you’re in, you will see a combination of the following splits to choose from each week:

  • Legs
  • Glutes & Hamstrings
  • Back & Shoulders
  • Back & Biceps
  • Chest & Triceps
  • Shoulders & Abs
  • Abs
  • Full Body

As you can see, PWR targets specific groups of muscles each session. You’ll find you have a favorite – and least favorite – split as time goes on!  I love most every session, but sometimes find myself putting the chest & tris split off as long as possible. 😉

RELATED POST: 6 Things You DON’T Need to do to Lose Weight

Equipment Required for PWR

PWR is designed to be performed in a gym setting.  The workouts call for exercise machines like cable machines, leg extension, leg press, and hamstring curl.  They also require gym equipment like a squat rack, dumbbells, barbells, weight plates, fit balls, slam balls, and a weight bench etc.

As much as I adore working out at the gym, sometimes it’s more convenient and/or necessary to workout at home.  Whether it’s because of kids, appointments, time restraints, inclement weather, or COVID, home workouts are a common occurrence for me.  More common than workouts at the gym, honestly – even before COVID. I often make due with equipment I have at home.  I am able to modify most PWR exercises at home using resistance bands and dumbbells.

Note: During quarantine Kelsey released a PWR Zero Equipment program in addition to gym-based PWR, PWR at Home, and PWR Post-Pregnancy. All are available within the SWEAT app, and included with your membership fee.

Why You’ll Love PWR

When I made the switch from BBG to PWR I found myself longing for the “omg Imma die” feeling in the beginning.  I was afraid I wasn’t getting as good of a workout because I wasn’t left as breathless or drenched in sweat with PWR as I seemed to always be during and after a BBG workout.  I was wrong!  My muscles are strategically targeted and fatigued with PWR. But more importantly, I feel powerful. I feel strong. I feel badass.  And if you enjoy weight training, you will, too.

And now for the question I receive alllll the time in my Instagram DMs…

Does BBG or PWR Get the Best Results?

I’ve got a total copout answer for you on this one. I’m sure you can see it coming, and you’re preemptively rolling your eyes. But I’m gonna say it anyway, because it must be said.

**Whichever program you will more consistently do will give you the best results.**

Sorry, not sorry.  Both programs can result in weight loss. They will both improve health. And both programs will increase strength. If you do them consistently and push yourself during your workout more often than not. Because, honestly, sometimes 60% is your 100% and there’s no way around that.  It happens.

Though at different ratios, both BBG and PWR incorporate weights and cardio. So both have the potential to build muscle and improve body composition. Choose the training style you prefer and don’t dread doing.  Consistency with the program gets results, not the program itself.

RELATED POST: The 5 Pillars of Diet-and-Exercise Success

My Nutrition During BBG vs PWR

Now for the next copout, eye roll-inducing truth bomb…

**Nutrition has a greater impact on progress than training does.**

Big time. You can’t outtrain a bad diet, and calories count whether you track them or not. You can work your ass off in the gym, but if your nutrition sucks you’ll see zero results.  Fueling your body properly is more important than your exercise routine. Depressing, right?  Nutrition can be the most challenging part of any fitness journey.  You might think the working out part would be the hardest hurdle to overcome but, for the majority of us, eating well is far more difficult.

RELATED POST: How to Set Your Macros For Beginners: A Step-by-Step Guide

When people ask about my BBG vs PWR progress it’s hard for me to answer.  My nutrition habits were very different from one program to the next.  It’s like comparing apples and oranges.

My Nutrition Habits During BBG

When I did BBG I was much more mindful about my nutrition than I was prior to following the fitness program.  I’m hesitant to label my eating habits as “intuitive,” just because it’s such a buzzword in the fitness industry, but that’s basically what I did.  I made a conscious effort to only eat when I was hungry, and to stop eating when I was full. I simply ate more veggies and fruits, drank more water, and limited my junk food.  Every little change and step in the right direction pays off big! I was very pleased with my BBG + mindful eating progress.

BBG program progress pictures
I feel so damn proud. Thanks, @kayla_itsines and @sweat! Also, thanks to that determined girl on the left. And while I’m at it, thanks to that determined girl on the right. **Click HERE for full Instagram post and caption**

RELATED POST: How to Set Fitness Goals and Actually Reach Them

My Nutrition Habits During PWR

When I made the switch to PWR, I also started macro tracking.  Rather than eyeballing portion sizes and just trying to be reasonable, I started weighing and measuring my food.  Instead of just trying to eat lighter and get in more fruits and veggies, I had a calorie target and protein goal. I am very pleased with my PWR + macros progress.

RELATED POST: I Started Tracking Macros at My “Happy” Weight, and Here’s What Happened

PWR progress picture
⬆️THIS is #PWR Progress⬆️⁣
⬇️Side Effects May Include⬇️⁣
**Click HERE to read full Instagram post and caption**

Whatever your goal is, you need to eat in a way that supports it. No ifs, and, or buts. Exercise programs are great for your overall health and all, but you need to pay attention to your nutrition alongside them. If you don’t, don’t expect to see impressive weight loss or visible physical change.

RELATED POST: Calorie Cycling: Why I Cycle My Calories and Why it Might Be Right For You, Too

Summary of BBG vs PWR

Here’s a little BBG vs PWR summary table of how the two programs compare.  I hope it helps you decide if you are trying to choose between them!  Just remember to take your goals, time, and preferences into consideration.  That’s what your fitness journey is all about: you! Your workout routine should work for you and make you feel great.  Cheers to figuring out the best program for you to live your best, healthiest life!

BBG vs PWR: Quick Compare

ProgramBBGPWR (Gym-based version)
Length28-35 min45-55 min
# of Weekly Resistance Training3 required4 required, 2 optional
# of Weekly Cardio Sessions32
Equipment NeededLittle to noneGym machines and weights
FocusHigh-Intensity circuit trainingStrength/weights training
Structure4x 7-min circuits2 activations + 3 pyramids + 1 triset or 2 supersets + 2-3 burnouts
Pros-Short workout duration
-Can be done anywhere
-Little to no equipment required
-Variety in the structure and moves keeps things interesting
Cons-Repeating circuits can get boring.-Lots of jumping if HIIT isn’t your jam-Requires gym membership if you don’t want to modify moves or don’t have access to any equipment.
BBG vs PWR Comparison Table

What’s your favorite training style?  Let me know in the comments!  Follow me on Instagram to see how I train and eat to maintain my 30 pound weight loss since having my 2nd baby.

Thanks for reading BBG vs PWR!

Other posts you may enjoy:

Why Your Fitness and Nutrition Routines Should be Totally Average

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Fitness Journey

10 Tips For Healthier Snacking

Why a “Bad” Diet Day is Actually a Good Thing

Macro Tracking Tips and Free Printable Macros Cheat Sheet

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