Kayla Itsines is not a conventional celebrity as we’ve come to define it.
This doesn’t stop the 25-year-old Australian from sitting atop an empire of over 6.7 million Instagram followers, more than 11 million Facebook fans and her own fitness app reportedly raking in revenues of $17 million in 2016.
Last year she was named among Time’s top 30 most influential people on the internet and it’s no wonder she’s just topped Forbes’ list of Top Fitness Influencers.
We found out all you need to know about the social media fitness star and her meteoric rise to success.
Who is she?
Kayla Itsines is a 25-year-old personal trainer from Adelaide, Australia.
Though she had originally wanted to be a beauty therapist, she took up personal training after completing a course at the Australian Institute of Fitness in 2008 aged 18.
Upon graduating, she began working at a women’s only gym in her hometown where her clients told her their problem areas were their arms, thighs and abs.
Having been left in charge in her manager’s absence, she soon set about creating a workout to target those bugbears.
How did she get so famous?
Kayla soon left to establish her own company which would help women achieve their ideal body in the most effective and efficient way and the inconvenience of transporting her equipment as a mobile personal trainer forced her to come up with minimal equipment.
Once things started working for her clients, they eagerly began telling their friends about her and that was when she decided to start her social media accounts, sharing workouts, recipes and before-and-after pictures of her clients.
Speaking about her social media success she told Business Insider: “I didn’t even know what was happening [at first]… people were following and asking what I was doing, and I realised they were commenting.
“I know it makes me seem silly now, now that I know so much about social media.
“I didn’t want to make a name for myself, it just blew out… I can’t explain it. It’s crazy.”
She began interacting with her followers and decided to release an eBook of her programmes which proved so popular her website crashed as people flocked to download it.
Since then she’s gone on to share her Bikini Body Training Guide – or #BBG as it’s known on social media – and meal plans through her app, Sweat With Kayla, and sold out a 2016 US stadium tour in an hour.
Fans queued to take selfies with the fitness queen and some even reportedly cried as she told the crowd: “Don’t think of me as a celebrity. You don’t need me. You can do this by yourself.”
She’s also released a book, The Bikini Body 28-Day Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Guide, full of 200 recipes, which became a bestseller.
What about her app?
While she first achieved fame for her Bikini Body Guide, she has since said she regrets calling it that as she feels it excludes certain body types.
“I wish I’d made it more clear that anybody can wear a bikini and that a ‘bikini body’ isn’t my body,” she told Cosmopolitan.
“It’s feeling comfortable and strong and fit and great about yourself when you wear the least amount of clothing you can wear in public.”
When her fitness app launched, though the programme still carried the same name, she decided to call it Sweat With Kayla because she thinks of sweat as being empowering.
The app comprises of a combination of 28-minute high intensity workouts and meal plans that are all part of a 12-week programme and is the most downloaded fitness app on both Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
Her focus is on clean eating and reducing sugar intake. Women participating in the programme are advised to eat 1600 calories a day.
As of last month the hashtag #BBG and others related to her fitness movement had been used in over 10 million Instagram posts.
Photo credit: Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock