Kayla Itsines is 24 years old, has two dogs and a boyfriend — your typical, everyday 20-something... right? Nope. She also has 3.4 million Instagram followers, 2.2 million Facebook followers, and is a personal trainer to millions across the world. Those numbers are staggering enough, but she also spends her days traveling the world, inspiring and bringing confidence to women everywhere. Adelaide, Australia-based Itsines has made her living off her wildly popular Bikini Body Guide (BBG), a 12-week exercise plan made up of 28-minute workouts that get serious results. Her colorful, eye-catching Instagram account is littered with enough incredible before and after BBG photos to encourage anyone to take charge of their health and work for their own bikini body. We sat down with Itsines to learn more about her and her already impressive empire.
Skinny Mom (SM): What sparked your interest in creating a Bikini Body Guide?
Kayla Itsines (KI): It was all the women around the world that inspired me to create my Bikini Body Guide! It all began when I started uploading the transformation photos of my Adelaide-based clients to my Instagram account. Their motivating and successful transformations gained the attention from girls around the world who were curious and emailing me asking questions about how my clients and I were training and achieving such incredible results. It made me upset that I wasn't able to help all these women achieve their health and fitness goals, so this motivated me to create my Bikini Body Training Guide and my Healthy Eating Lifestyle Plan (HELP). It was my clients that inspired me to cotinue to grow and learn as they were finally feeling the confidence they deserved, and nothing makes me happier than being a part of their journey in some way and seeing them achieve their health and fitness goals.
SM: What is your go-to for healthy snacking?
KI: I LOVE snacking on fresh fruit! I love finding fruits that are in season, so what I eat depends on the time of the year. During summer, mangoes are definitely my favorite!
SM: What are some of your grocery cart favorites?
KM: Greek yogurt, free-range eggs, rye bread, berries, tuna. This list could go on and on, as I like to make sure I eat a wholesome diet incorporating foods from all five food groups, as shown in my Nutrition HELP Guide. By incorporating a variety of foods into my daily diet, I am able to maintain a healthy, well-balanced and interesting diet that provides my body with the fuel and nutrients that it needs.
SM: What inspires you to keep going every day?
KI: My incredible BBG girls are my daily inspiration! These women are SO dedicated and have put in so much sweat and hard work to feel fit, strong and confident. Their amazing transformations motivate me every day to continue to provide health and fitness advice and be the best version of myself!
SM: What is your favorite exercise move or type of exercise that you like to practice?
KI: I love ab workouts! Whether it’s training my clients or doing a workout at home, abs are my favourite! Box jumps are also a great challenge as you can aim to jump higher and higher. It’s a great form of motivation when you can see your own personal progress.
>> Work: Bust the Bulge Ab Workout [VIDEO]
SM: Do you have a favorite piece of equipment?
KI: I couldn’t live without my foam roller! I believe stretching and rehabilitation can be a vital part of your weekly training routine. Which is why I always try to incorporate one or two full stretching and rehabilitation sessions into my weekly exercise schedule.
SM: Between your world tour and creating fitness and health guides, when do you have time to relax?
KI: It may sound strange, but exercising is my relaxing time because it’s my time to focus on ME. My body thrives off of the energy exercise brings me, and it makes me feel happy and healthy. I believe it’s really important to have a healthy balance in your life incorporating all things you love, so I always make sure there’s time for my BBG girls, family, exercise and my dogs amongst other things.
SM: You are active, young, and have inspired so many women around the world. Where do you hope to be in the next 10 years?
KI: It has always been my mission to educate, help and inspire women worldwide on their health and fitness journeys. I have a lot of exciting plans for the future, but as long as I’m continuing to work on providing education and advice to women in the health and fitness industry, I’ll be extremely happy.
SM: What would you say is your biggest piece of advice to women who juggle a busy schedule?
KI: I see this all the time. So many women are time-poor between working, socializing with friends and family, and/or being a mum. My advice is to try not to forget about YOU! This is your body, and your life, so always remember to make time for you. Whether it’s having a bath or doing a fitness routine, listen to your body and take time to do something that you want to do. Before I started on my own healthy lifestyle journey, I was always lethargic and unmotivated, but exercising has made me FEEL amazing. My guides are perfect for women who juggle a busy schedule as the workouts are only 28 minutes long, which is only 2 percent of your day.
SM: You recently released your foam rolling guide e-book; do you plan on continuing to release more fitness/health guides in the future?
KI: I have also recently translated and released my Bikini Body Training Guide and Nutrition HELP Guide in German, which is really exciting for me. I want to make sure that girls from all over the world have access to the educational section of my guides, as for me I believe it’s so important to trust and understand the process that your body is partaking in. I’ve got some very exciting releases coming up over the next few months but you will just have to keep an eye on kaylaitsines.com!
SM: How do your workouts cater to the needs of women who are older (for example, women who recently have had a child) and are looking to become fit and healthy?
KI: I see so many transformations from new mums and older women using my Bikini Body Training Guide. One of the great aspects of my guides is that you can work out at an intensity that works for YOU, regardless of your age! It is so inspiring to know that many of these women are extremely busy either working, raising children or have raised children, yet they are still taking the time to focus on themselves. My plyometric resistance training circuits are only 28 minutes long and are designed to help individuals achieve the results that lots of women seek — toned thighs, flatter stomachs and strong, slim arms, without having to spend hours a day in the gym. My guides are REALISTIC and rather than being a weight-loss or a muscle-gaining program they are a plan for women to develop a routine and discipline themselves to keep active, and healthy in order to feel the CONFIDENCE every woman deserves.
Follow Kayla Itsines on Instagram and Facebook or check out her website here.
>> Want more? Check out our Healthy Hollywood interviews with superstar fitness trainer Jillian Michaels, champion boxer Laila Ali and U.S. Olympian Alex Morgan!