Hailing from Adelaide, the 24-year-old personal trainer has gained a cult following through her popular Bikini Body Guides, which include a 12-week diet and exercise plan. Her Instagram account alone has amassed almost four million followers from all corners of the globe.
Just yesterday, Itsines was named Woman of the Year at Cosmopolitan magazine‘s Fun Fearless Female Awards. We caught up with the fitness guru to find out her thoughts on #fitspo, social media ‘experts’ and exercise myths.
Are there any fitness myths you wish people would stop believing?
“Two that I come across regularly are ‘Doing weights will make you bulky’ and ‘To lose weight you shouldn’t eat certain food groups’. Resistance training not only gives women the tone and definition they’re wanting, but the health benefits of this type of training are endless. I frequently hear girls saying they’re avoiding carbohydrates because they want to lose weight. Unless you have an intolerance, it’s important to eat a balanced diet consisting of foods from all of the major food groups. Cutting out food groups entirely from your diet can potentially lead to lack of energy, difficulty in digestion, weakening of immune system and production of certain hormones can begin to slow down. I believe every women is different and what works for one person may not work for the other.”
Looking for a true core workout? Paper Tiger show us one in the video below. (Post continues after video.)
You’ve said before you have a mission of “ending confusion within the health and fitness industry”. What is the main confusion you’d like to clear up?
“I have been in the fitness industry for over seven years now and have spent this time specifically training women. In that time I have seen hundreds of different weight loss plans, fad diets and fitness crazes. The industry has new “fads” coming out so regularly, that it can be confusing for women to truly understand how to live a healthy lifestyle. My goal has and always will be to empower women by providing them with the right tools and educational information so they can become fit, strong and feel the confidence that they deserve. I believe it’s really important to help your body develop a habit to a healthy lifestyle for the long-run and understand that it takes hard work and dedication.”
What's the most common fitness question/concern you hear from your followers?
"I frequently see girls feeling totally discouraged and guilty because they ate a slice of cake or took a day off from exercising. Something that I have always tried to encourage and teach is that eating healthy and exercising regularly isn’t a fad, it’s a way of life. And this includes the occasional treat and rest!"
You're a PT, so you're qualified to give out fitness advice. How does it feel when you see other prolific Instagram personalities without any training giving their followers advice?
"On one hand, I think it is fantastic to see so many women embracing a fit and healthy lifestyle and encouraging others to do the same. On the other hand it can also be quite dangerous if these people are giving advice on things that they’re unqualified for. I think it is vital for all women to consider the qualifications of the person or people that they are taking advice from, and to do your own research beforehand." (Post continues after gallery.)
We've heard you originally started out in beauty therapy - why did you change? What's your best beauty trick?
"When I finished high school I enrolled to study beauty therapy, but I didn’t actually begin the course because I realised very quickly that Personal Training was my true passion, so I switched my study to that instead. My top beauty tip is to always take care of your skin! Nourish your body with the right foods, drink plenty of water, cleanse and moisturise daily and change your pillowcases regularly."
Do you think "Fitspo" can sometimes be harmful? How do you select the images you share with her followers and what message do you hope to spread?
"I think 'Fitspo' is great as it’s another way to motivate people. In saying this, I will always encourage women to focus on themselves and their own personal goals. This is because we are all different and what might work for one person might not work for another, and that’s okay! I recommend that girls take progress pictures throughout their fitness journey so they can be their own “fitspo” and motivator."
If you had to choose one workout/exercise to do on a deserted island, what would it be, and why?
"I would choose burpees because they’re a bodyweight exercise that you can do anywhere, even on a deserted island! I love adding moves to my burpees to make them harder, such as push ups, lay downs and tuck jumps."
What are your go-to, best-results workouts for the following: arms, tummy, legs and bum?
"For an effective full body workout, I recommend the following exercises:
Arms - Commandos
Abs - Weighted Straight Leg Jackknifes
Legs - Walking Lunges
Bum - Weighted Sumo Squats."
Have you tried Kayla Itsines' training guides? What did you think?