WE CATCH UP WITH KAYLA ITSINES TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE GIRL BEHIND THE GYM KIT, AND HOW SHE BECAME TH E FACE (AND BODY ) OF #FITSPO…
Health and wellbeing has never been more prominent than it is right now, and it’s not gyms or schools that are responsible for this shift in attitudes – it’s the internet that is the driving force behind the movement. Yes, that same internet we spend hours using to idly peruse celebrity gossip or fashion websites, is also the tool that’s getting us off the sofa and in to a spin class. From Youtube yoga tutorials to weight lifting websites, a whole world of health and fitness is at our fingertips. At the forefront of this movement is Instagram, and more specifically, the influencers who are sharing their images, videos and tips via the platform.
With over 8million Instagram followers, 26 year old Kayla Itsines is undoubtedly one of the most significant fitness stars on the site. Last year she topped Forbes’ ‘most influential fitness stars in the world’ list, and to put it in context, that’s 6million more followers than Joe Wicks of Lean in 15 fame.
Since launching her Bikini Body Guide
(BBG) – fitness programmes to help real women get in shape in 2014, followed by her SWEAT app (which was the most-downloaded fitness app on both iOS and Google Play in 2016 – no big deal), Australian-born Kayla has become one
of the leading names in fitness. And with books, tours, more programmes and a whole BBG community under her belt,
it seems world domination is but just a few burpees away…
CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR JOURNEY SO FAR?
I’m Kayla Itsines, a personal trainer from Adelaide in South Australia. My partner Tobi and I co-created the Bikini Body Training Guides (BBG) together in 2014. We developed the BBG program to educate and support women throughout their health and fitness journey, helping them to feel stronger and more confident in themselves. In 2017, I became a SWEAT trainer and launched a brand new programme in the SWEAT app, BBG Stronger, which is a programme that incorporates weights in the gym.
The training and education provided in the BBG and BBG Stronger programme, together with the amazing support of the BBG Community, has helped millions of women from all over the world.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN FITNESS?
I love helping people, and I’ve always loved being active, which led to me studying personal training at the Australian Institute of Fitness. After graduating, I worked in a women-only gym before training girls in my own studio with my training methods. To keep track of my client’s progress, I used my Instagram page to upload their transformations and celebrate their hard work. This started to draw attention from other women around the world, who wanted to know more about my training methods. I didn’t want to turn girls away and say I couldn’t help them because I was on the other side of the world, so Tobi suggested I create an E-book so that I could reach these women. This is when we developed the very first Bikini Body Training Guide. Everything grew from there!
I’ve been so fortunate to be able to be involved in the health and fitness journeys of so many women as they become fitter and more confident.
HOW ARE YOUR PROGRAMMES DIFFERENT COMPARED TO OTHER EXERCISE REGIMES AND FITNESS GUIDES?
I think what makes my programmes stand out is the goal. It’s not about finishing a program after you’ve reached a goal weight. It’s a healthy, maintainable lifestyle change that focuses on the importance of eating well and being active so that women can feel CONFIDENT. I believe education is one of the most important aspects of any health and fitness journey, so I love being able to give women the tools they need to become fitter, stronger and healthier!
HOW DOES INSTAGRAM AND OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA HAVE A POSITIVE EFFECT ON YOUR BUSINESS?
For me, social media provides a platform and an opportunity to connect with the community and to celebrate their hard work and dedication. My social media pages, and the new SWEAT forum, is a space women can go for support, inspiration and advice from other women in the community as we all aim for our fitness goals. The great thing about social media is that I’m able to reach a wider audience globally, which I don’t think would be possible without it!
HOW DOES THE UK’S ATTITUDE TO FITNESS COMPARE TO OTHER PLACES?
I think, in general, fitness and health has become more important than ever, so attitudes across the world are changing a bit. We’re all different, so many of us approach fitness slightly differently. Like many women, something I hear from my BBG girls in the UK is that they find it hard to find time to workout. That’s what’s great about my programs – the resistance sessions can be done in just 28 minutes! I encourage all women to find something they enjoy, and to focus on their personal journey and their fitness goals.
ARE THERE ANY EXERCISES OR SPORTS YOU DON’T ENJOY?
I’m not sure that I would say I definitely don’t enjoy them, but I find commandos to be one of the most challenging exercises for me to do. They are great for working multiple muscle groups, but they aren’t my favourite exercise!
WHEN YOU’RE NOT IN WORKOUT GEAR, WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE ITEMS OF CLOTHING TO WEAR?
That’s a tough one, because I spend a lot of time in workout gear – if you follow me on social media, you’ve probably noticed this! I guess my style is very casual, I like to be comfortable in whatever I’m wearing. I do like to have the opportunity to get dressed up occasionally too, it’s nice to be able to wear a dress for a special event or occasion!
HOW DO YOU TRAIN? DO YOU FOLLOW A SET ROUTINE?
I follow the workouts in the SWEAT app, just like my BBG girls! I’m currently working through my BBG Stronger programme again, which is three to four 28-minute sessions a week. On the other days I will do HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) training sessions.
To help reduce post-workout muscle soreness and the chance of injury, I also include a rehabilitation session once a week, where I spend that session stretching and foam rolling. I also love incorporating one of Sjana Elise’s rehabilitation sessions from her BAM yoga program, found in the SWEAT app, into my routine too.
This can change a bit if I’m travelling, but I normally try to fit in my workouts by going to the hotel gym or doing a workout in my room if I am not able to make it to the gym.
WHAT ARE YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ANYONE WANT ING TO BEGIN THEIR HEALTH AND FITNESS JOURNEY BUT NOT SURE WHERE TO START?
My TOP THREE recommendations for anyone starting their own health and fitness journey:
- TAKE a progress photo and use that for your OWN motivation! Progress photos are amazing to help you see your own personal progress from all of your hard work and dedication. Try not to think of these as
‘before’ and ‘after’ and think about them as progress that will always be with you in life.
- SET yourself realistic goals, write these down and set a realistic timeframe. Remember that developing new habits can take a while, so it will take a little bit of time. Be kind to yourself if you miss a training session one day. Shake it off and get back into routine the next day.
- TEAM up with a workout buddy.
Find a friend to workout with so you can motivate and push each other on your health and fitness journeys.