If there’s ever a time to avoid Instagram, it’s when we’re red in the face, huffing and puffing while exercising. But for Kayla Itsines it’s all in a day’s work(out).
Then again, the 23- year-old fitness instructor is sweat-free and picture-perfect in her posts . It’s perhaps the reason that the trainer, based in Adelaide, Australia, has two million followers on Instagram , including Victoria’s Secret angel Candice Swanepoel and Australian swimming gold medalist Stephanie Rice.
“I love how it makes me feel, definitely,” she tells Metro. “Staying fit keeps me healthy and happy — it positively affects my mood, sleep and self-esteem. I love that my body has created a habit and thrives off exercising.”
An avid basketball player and general health enthusiast in high school, she veered off her beauty-therapy path to focus on personal training to help teach others the joy of a healthier lifestyle. Not satisfied with the techniques she was being taught, Itsines developed her own High Intensity Training workouts with the goal of bikini-body confidence and shares them on her website (she’s also doing a boot camp tour of the world this spring) as well as before and after images of her clients’ success stories.
“Rather than being a weight loss or muscle-gaining program, my guides focus on helping women achieve a particular look, and most importantly, the feeling of absolute confidence,” she says.
To stick with your fitness goals, make them personally meaningful by answering the question “Why am I doing this?” If you feel your motivation lagging, “Remind yourself why you want to make a change,” Itsines says. “There’s no better motivation than seeing how far you have come, so start to make healthier lifestyle choices because you want to.”
Itsines’ favorite way to feel the burn is box jumps. “I motivate myself by measuring my personal progress, so box jumps are perfect. It’s so rewarding when you can jump at higher heights and at a faster pace. I love to add in a tuck jump or a pushup in between each jump to really challenge myself.” And, of course, she loves a toned core: “Abs, abs and more abs! I love every kind of ab exercise, but if I had to choose one, it would be toe taps.”
Itsines’ method has a strong nutritional component, so we got her top diet tips to bring your new healthy inspiration into the kitchen.
1. Moderation. A lot of her clients come with an all-or-nothing attitude, which can lead to overeating or, at the other extreme, anorexia. It’s OK to treat yourself — just keep it to once a week.
2. Always eat breakfast. Fuel your body with complex carbs, protein and healthy fats to ensure you’re ready for the day ahead. Try poached eggs with avocado toast.
3. Eat protein at most meals. Protein helps you feel fuller for longer and aids in balancing your blood sugar levels.
4. Be realistic. Improve your eating habits one step at a time. Make small, realistic diet changes that are going to be maintainable. Soon you’ll notice that these small changes have become an entire lifestyle habit.
5. Variety. Switch up your ingredients and cooking methods to keep things interesting. Put down the salt and pick up some fresh herbs to punch up flavors.
6. Be prepared. This will not only help save money but will also stop you from buying fast food when you just can’t be bothered to cook.
7. Swap it. There are so many healthier alternatives available, so keep your eyes open for them and make smart choices — like yogurt and berries instead of ice cream.