Breaking a Sweat with Kayla Itsines

Kayla Itsines is #goals. She’s a self-made fitness sensation, champion of body positivity and co-founder of the largest online female workout platform. Forbes once named her social media’s Top Fitness Influencer, a title befitting of someone whose fandom totals over 10 million followers and whose health and wellness empire includes sold-out stadium tours, best-selling eBooks and an even more popular app. She’s one of Australia’s most talked about figures, and celebrities such as Katherine Heigl have used her Bikini Body Guide to get themselves back into shape. 

But with the oversaturation of Internet fitness professionals, it can be easy to write Itsines off as just another Alo Yoga-wearing, supplement-selling face on our Instagram feeds. However, despite her growing brand and enormous fan base, Itsines has stayed true to herself during her unintentional rise to fame.

think that people recognize and connect with my authenticity. I still run my own Instagram account and only post content that I know will help the community,” Itsines told me. The 27-year-old first got her start working for an all-female training facility back in her hometown of Adelaide, Australia after high school. During her time there, she started developing her signature 12-week workout routines with the simple goal of helping people live a healthy lifestyle. The transition from teaching classes to posting videos and client before-and-after photos quickly snowballed into a virtual community where women from all across the world could come together to support one another and train.

Through the Sweat app, users can find Itsines’ curated workouts alongside nutrition plans, recovery exercises, a weekly workout schedule and a section for posting progress photos. The weekly schedule (which builds in intensity) includes three 28-minute workouts—targeting your legs, arms and abs—four cardio sessions, one cool-down with stretches and a rest day.

Today, Itsines’ ability to inspire other women extends far beyond the gym—although she still holds training sessions with clients back home. Her social media page is overflowing with sentiments of motivation and workout clips, her app recently welcomed two new trainers to the team and Itsines announced in December that she’s expecting her first child with fiancé and business partner, Tobi Pearce. I caught up with Itsines to chat about all things fitness—from her routine, journey to success and how she stays motivated.


On Becoming a Fitfluencer

“Being fit and active has always been a part of my life. When I was younger I played a lot of sports including basketball and netball, and loved how it made me feel. I would finish the game, and whether we had won or lost, I’d leave the court feeling like the best version of myself.

When I finished high school and had to choose a career path, I knew it needed to involve health and fitness so I studied to become a personal trainer. It is my honestly my dream job, getting to help women every day from all around the world to feel like the best version of themselves through improved health and fitness.”

On Her Female Following

“Using social media has given me the ability to reach women all around the world, over 40 million! It also gives women the space and opportunity to connect with each other and be a part of our community. I love nothing more than to see women encouraging and supporting each other on our social platforms. 

The content that I share on social media always has and always will be focused around our community. Whether that is a quick ab workout for beginners, tips on how to stretch after your workout or nutritional inspiration—if it will add value to the community, I will share it.”

On Creating the Bikini Body Guide

“In 2014 I started running women’s only training sessions in my gym. My clients loved the workouts and how fun and varied they were. Word started to spread and not long after starting my training sessions I was booked out for weeks in advance. I still really wanted to be able to help my clients and other women all around the world who were reaching out to me, so my fiancé and Sweat CEO Tobi Pearce and I developed the Bikini Body Training eBook (BBG).”

On BBG vs. BBG Stronger

“BBG is now available in the Sweat app. It still follows the same circuit style of training as the first sessions I had with my clients in 2014, and can still be done at home with minimal or no equipment. The resistance-based workouts take 28 minutes, and can be completed three times a week. On the other days, you can complete either low-intensity cardio or high-intensity interval training, with one rest day recommended each week. 

BBG Stronger was launched in the Sweat app in 2017, and is perfect for women who love to train in the gym. Like BBG, it is also a 28-minute workout, however it uses more weights and gym equipment. I was really excited when I launched this program, as I want to help women not to feel intimidated when they enter the weight room at the gym. By teaching women how to use the gym equipment in my BBG Stronger workout, I hope to empower women to feel more comfortable and confident in that space.”

itsinesOn Her Routine

“I wake up early each morning, around 6 a.m., and like to start my day with a 20-minute walk on the treadmill. It really helps to wake me up and get energized for the day. I am also using my BBG Stronger program, and I’m up to week 14 at the moment. I’m loving the challenge!”

On Staying Motivated

“I genuinely love what I do and am very self-driven, but like everyone, I too have moments when I feel low in energy and a little unmotivated. For me, I know that if I skip my morning walk, for example, I will feel sluggish throughout the day, so I always make sure I schedule time in to do it as a non-negotiable. 

I am also constantly inspired by my community to create new content for them everyday. I see the positive impact that it can have in their lives, and honestly nothing motivates me more to keep going.”

On Pregnancy and Exercise

“I’ve wanted kids ever since I met Tobi and it’s something we have always talked about. It turns out that when we were ready it was just perfect timing…I’m so blessed to have such a strong BBG community, including many BBG moms throughout the world. I’m so excited to relate to my BBG moms even more through my pregnancy journey.”

On Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

“A lot of women tell me about their ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ they are going to set. Whilst it’s fantastic to want to start the year with a new health and fitness routine, it can be easy to get carried away in the moment and set goals that are unachievable, or commit to too much at once. My advice is to start small and pick a few goals that you can commit to. Maybe it’s going for a 20-minute walk every morning, or not adding sugar into your coffee, even little changes can make a big difference.”