Kayla Itsines has just been named one of Time’s most influential people on the internet.
The 24-year-old fitness guru has made a name for herself as a go-to health and fitness advisor online, garnering over five million likes on Facebook and 4.6 million followers on Instagram through her BBG fitness programme. By regularly sharing before and after photos of women who have adopted her regime, she provides photographic evidence of the results if people follow her programme.
Itsines beat thousands of fitness bloggers to appear on the list with a workout programme now heralded as a “virtual movemement”.
Adelaide native Itsines began her career working in a women’s only personal training centre. Writing on her website, she explains she didn’t feel the instructions given to women at the centre provided the results so upon doing her own research developed her own exercises.
According to Business Insider, Itsines’ vast social media presence was an accident as she didn’t actually realise followers could view her posts.
“I didn’t even think about it at the time. I used Instagram and had my own blog but, I know this sounds stupid, but I didn’t know people could see what I was uploading […] I didn’t want to make a name for myself, it just blew out… I can’t explain it. It’s crazy.”
Bikini Body Guides, abbreviated to the ever-popular hashtag #BBG is a combination of short aerobic exercise and meal plans. The 12-week programme consists of daily 28 minute workouts and a clean-eating meal plan, which can also come in vegetarian and vegan forms. The 28-minute workouts are something Itsines believes might have contributed to her success, telling Business Insider: “A lot of women lose motivation because they think ‘I have to workout for an hour and a half every single day, five days a week, and when they start not doing that, they think ‘Well, stuff it, I’ve stuffed it now, I’m not going to do it anymore. I think that’s what people love about my programme – I’ve taught them you don’t need to kill yourself at the gym. It’s 28 minutes, it’s high intensity and then you’re done.”
Itsines regularly posts videos of herself doing various workouts and has also toured with her boot camps to locations including Sydney, Berlin and Amsterdam.
In between the classic fitness blogger pictures like avocado toast, fresh fruit and yoghurt (there’s lots of these ones) and inspirational quotes, one post commonly associated with Itsines’ programme is the before and after images.
Itsines shares photos submitted by girls who have used the programme along with the hashtags which have now become affiliated with her: #TheKaylaMovement #KaylasArmy and #BBG and Itsines often comments on the “transformations” herself, praising the women for their hard work and dedication.
Itsines released her app, Sweat With Kayla, last year. It’s a subscription-based app for which the subscription is £42.99 for three months – which in fairness is cheaper than most gym memberships but seems pretty expensive for an app.
According to the Daily Mail, long-time fans voiced criticism of the price tag in November particularly among existing members of her programme who had to pay to use the new app. Itsines defended herself telling the newspaper the app was 50 per cent cheaper than her previous products and the price was the same as “a large cup of coffee each week”.
It’s currently the second highest grossing app in the Health & Fitness section of the App Store, one behind the Headspacemindfulness app.
HOW REAL IS IT ALL?
When Essena O’Neill sent the internet into a frenzy at the end of last year by proclaiming “social media isn’t real”, many of her fellow bloggers hit out at the 19-year-old with some suggesting it was a hoax.
Itsines responded to the controversy with an essay on Instagram which agreed with O’Neill to some degree by sharing the sides of a blogger that followers rarely see, including 5am wake up times and the “constant bullying”. However, Itsines also maintained she has never done the three things she said she wouldn’t when she got Instagram: “I would never promote something I didn’t believe in (detox, fads, quick fixes) […], I would never sexualise myself or pose provocatively to sell anything and I would never only post information that suits my lifestyle”.