At the prime age of 25, Kayla Itsines has secured her role as the strong, independent, and beautiful lady that every woman strives to be. With a solid yet petite physique, perfectly shaped eyebrows, and glistening white teeth, she appears flawless to the eye. But if you take a few moments to get to know her, you will realize her beauty runs much deeper than her Photoshopped appearance. She is devoted to empowering women and views each young lady as beautiful and an inspiration. Humbled in her presence and knees weak from the endless burpees, squats, and jumps, she is ready to embrace every unique and wonderful sweaty figure after the torturous circuits for their long-awaited photo with their role model.
How Big Is Her Army?
It is fair to say that Kayla has become a fitness phenomenon. With over 5.3 million followers on Instagram, she has reached almost eight times as many followers as Jillian Michaels. While it is difficult to calculate exactly how enormous the Kayla Army has become, Tobi Pearce (Kayla’s boyfriend and the CEO of the BBG franchise) recently claimed that 25 million people all over the world are using her guides. According to an online analytics company, Sweat with Kayla has produced more income than any fitness app this year, including both the Nike+ app and Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal. And what’s more impressive than the size of the empire? The loyalty of its members. Thousands of women fly to venues around the world just to attend Kayla’s boot camps. But as Itsines always states, she never thinks of it as a business. In fact, she often says, “Don’t think of me as a celebrity. You don’t need me. You can do this by yourself.”
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Her humbleness is only a reflection of her heart and one of the biggest reasons she is so successful. She did not get 25 million girls to listen to her by fat shaming them. She listens to them and does as much as she can to help them. She praises each and every girl for even the smallest victories. She brings out the strength they don’t know they have. In fact, that is how the whole movement started. She was once just another personal trainer at another gym. She used initiative to challenge her clients and motivate them. This sparked a desire in her to help women. When her sister’s friends asked for help to get into shape to make the netball team, she did not hesitate. Using Instagram to display her pride for her young clients’ successes, she began to attract attention from all over the globe. When countless women internationally were crying out to her for help, her boyfriend suggested designing a sustainable program that is both effective and simple to follow. The result is a simple guide that has shaken the fitness world.
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She remains grounded, and although compassionate with herself (which is often the hardest task for us ladies to master), she is also ready to give her own constructive criticism. Her original nutritional PDF was found to be too low in calories and not exciting enough for new dieters to maintain. Itsines addressed this matter with her professional dieticians, and they expanded the recipes, increased the daily calories, and created both vegetarian and vegan guides to suit all lifestyle choices. One thing she will not take up for discussion is the topic of alcohol. She calls it “poison” and does not believe anyone pursuing a healthy lifestyle should drink. But to me, the flawless young ladies biggest self-critique, the one that took me by surprise, is when she said,
Do I regret calling my guides Bikini Body? My answer is yes. That’s why when I released the app, I called it Sweat With Kayla. Sweat is so empowering. I love that
She went on to explain that referring to a bikini body implies that there is one ideal shape, size, or figure and that this belief in both unrealistic and destroying.
Someone asked me the other day, what my definition of strength is. You’d think it would be a pretty straight forward answer. Strength means to be strong? Right? Wrong.
See this photo, this is a photo of my abs, they look strong right? I am strong… I have ‘strength’? Wrong. I have abs. That’s it. Let me explain. ‘Strength’ is not lifting more than someone. It’s not ‘having abs.’ Strength is not how hard you can punch, how fast you can run, how high you can jump. It’s not what sport you can play, what team you are in or how much training it took you to get there. Strength is getting out of bed everyday when you don’t want to. Strength is forgiveness. Strength is helping others less fortunate that you. The term ‘strength’ has nothing to do with fitness and EVERYTHING to with mind set…because strength comes from within.
You can find her guides, quotes, and endless transformations here.