With the help of the online "BBG" fitness community, Samantha McRoberts dropped four sizes and toned up all over.

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social media saved my body
Credit: Tommy Garcia

Samantha McRoberts, 25, 5'5", from Los Angeles
Before: 170 lb., size 14
After: 138 lb., size 6

Total pounds lost: 34
Total sizes lost: 4

I was raised in a home where the focus was on filling my plate with tasty comfort food—not healthy eats. That’s probably why, by middle school, I hit 168 pounds, a weight that stuck for the next 12 years. I tried several diet and fitness regimens over the years, but I just couldn’t commit long enough to get lasting results. Even when something started to work, one binge session was all it took to knock me completely off track. My self-esteem hit an all-time low while I was in graduate school, when I realized my size XL shirts were suddenly becoming snug.

Clicking with Kayla Itsines

Still, it wasn’t until after graduation that I decided to finally take control of my health. I purchased and downloaded Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide (BBG), a 12-week fitness program, timing the plan to end on Christmas day. My first workout was a real struggle; I had to modify every single move and could do only about a third of the recommended reps. I was frustrated, but I kept telling myself that it was just 28 minutes a day. When December 25 arrived, I had lost 16 pounds!


In January, I began another Itsines program. I didn’t see much progress in the first few weeks, so I turned to other Instagrammers on the plan. Their posts of healthy recipes, such as avocado toast and smoothie bowls, gave me the extra motivation I needed to clean up my eating habits. In fact, this online crew was so inspiring that I began attending monthly BBG meetups. The sessions really pushed me while keeping me accountable. Now I’m at my lowest weight—138 pounds. Best of all, I've met some of my closest friends through this empowering fitness community.

Steal Samantha’s “like”-worthy tips

What helps Samantha keep up the great work? Check out her secret weapons.

Reward yourself: Whenever I meet one of my goals, I give myself a healthy gift, like cute new workout clothes or SoulCycle classes. It’s always something I truly enjoy, but it also keeps me in a fit frame of mind.

Zest up your hydration: I’m obsessed with my Citrus Zinger water bottle ($16; amazon.com), and I carry it everywhere. I typically add a lemon or orange wedge to the bottom to bring a little life to basic water. The hint of citrus is super refreshing.

Share your sweat sessions: I am always posting my workouts on Snapchat and Instagram. It may sound silly, but constantly posting actually makes me stay focused—plus, I can’t really have a lazy day without all my followers knowing.

Samantha's wearing gear from MPG Sport: Halogen Jacket ($100), Agami Sports Bra ($54), and Mantra Tight ($58).

As told to Lindsey Murray