In 2008 Kayla Itsines (pronounced it-seen-es) embarked on a Personal Training course in sunny Australia. After qualifying she quickly came to the conclusion that traditional training methods were falling short with regards to what the clients were requesting and so started researching and trying out methods of her own… And so the BBG (Bikini Body Guide) was born. Now the most downloaded app in the Fitness Section of Apple’s App Store, and with over 5 million followers on instagram (her feed bursting with amazing transformation pictures of real women who’ve completed her 12 week guide – it has to be seen to be belived), Kayla has become one of most influential (and inspiring) women the fitness world has ever seen. Now, on her 2016 Sweat Tour, which stops off in London, New York and LA, we were lucky enough to catch up with the international fitness phenomenon that shows no sign of slowing down.
What’s the most rewarding thing about doing your Sweat Tour?
Without doubt it is meeting the girls who come to the tour. Having them come up and tell their stories is pretty amazing. They tell me that I have changed their life, but I haven’t – they have done it all by themselves.
Tell me more about your app, Sweat with Kayla – how does it help make you fitter?
It’s a personal trainer in your pocket for the price of a cup of coffee. The app has shopping lists, order tracking, progress tracking, workouts, and challenges. The training sessions are a short but intense 28 minutes each where you need to work as hard as you can. Plus recovery and cardio is also included in the program. You also get a daily menu and weekly shopping list and it remembers things like what you’ve bought before so it’s minimal effort to use. It is now the top grossing app in the app store’s fitness sector.
What’s your favourite thing about your apple watch? How do you use it in your day?When I wake up I check my calendar on it as I have personal training clients when I am at home in Adelaide. It’s been vital for the Sweat Tour as well, as I use it for it’s timer as all the exercises are done in 30 second blocks, so it is really handy to have it right there on my wrist. It has genuinely become one of my most used items now – I can’t leave the house without it.
What made you want to develop the BBG program to begin with?
It was actually my boyfriend, Toby’s, idea. I had a lot of Personal Training clients and was tracking their progress using photos, which I just stored on Instagram. It then started gaining a following and I’d get messages from people from all over the world asking me to train them and then Toby suggested I make an e-book that I could send them instead. At first I thought it was a terrible idea – but Toby persuaded me that it would be better to send them something they could use that might help them than to just keep saying no all the time. The name came about because a lot of my clients were mums and I would always ask them what they wanted to get out of our sessions and they all answered that they just wanted to feel confident in a bikini, hence the Bikini Body Guide which was released in 2014 when my following was no more than 100,000. The last 18 months have been phenomenal.
What do you do to workout yourself?
I train in the exact same way as the app. I have been training that way for six years before we created BBG. I don’t run or do anything else. My cardio consists of fast walking and maybe I’ll go to a HIIT training session, but I generally just stick to what I know, which are the 28 minute workouts.
What is a typical day for you?
I start my day off with a good breakfast, at the moment I’m loving eggs on toast with chili kale. Then I train my clients before having lunch myself. I don’t follow any particular diet or cut out anything. Because I was brought up in Australia I think that naturally I eat really well. Things like fast food restaurants just don’t really exist here like they do in other parts of the world. Lunch, if with friends and family, is often at my Grandmas where we’ll eat something delicious like fresh pasta. In the evening I’ll relax by getting a sports massage (which is actually not that relaxing) and then I’ll chill with Toby and watch something like Netflix or go for a slow walk.
Why do you think you have such a strong social media following?
Because it’s not about me – it’s about the girls and their journeys and what they have been through. Which is why I always include the girls social handle in the caption so that followers who are inspired by that particular image can leave my page and follow them instead. People always think that I am the one who inspires everyone but it’s not true. It’s the people who have managed to work out even though they have two kids and it’s raining outside for example. If you see that and can relate to it than it’s really inspiring for you. It is the community that makes it so popular – not me.
What would be you biggest piece of advice for women out there following your program?
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else and focus on how you feel rather than how you look.
Have you seen Kayla’s new ad with Apple? Check it out here!