Interview

Kayla Itsines: "I just want to help people"

February 14th 2017 / Ayesha Muttucumaru Google+ Ayesha Muttucumaru

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We caught up with the fitness, social media and e-book megastar to talk all things wellness, workouts and gym bag essentials

With over 6 million Instagram followers, an app and a bestselling ‘Bikini Body Guide’ under her belt, Kayla Itsines is the very definition of a modern day fitness icon.

One of the most exciting stars on the wellness scene touted for her results-driven nutrition and fitness plans, her story dates back to 2008 at a personal training centre in her hometown of Adelaide. Upon realising that the workouts she was instructed to do often didn’t yield the results her clients were looking for, she set out to create a workout plan that worked when it came to targeting common problem areas - and from this, her trademark 12-week programme was born.

With her unprecedented presence on social media having created the most motivating of communities for training inspiration, the future looks exciting for the 25-year old star. One step ahead of the wearable tech game, in 2016 she appeared in an ad for the Apple Watch (she is rarely without the gadget) and launched her hugely popular Sweat with Kayla app which is available to download from the App Store.

We caught up with Kayla to chat exclusively about all things work and workouts, her Sweat with Kayla app and her gym bag essentials...

GTG: Have you always exercised and been healthy? Did you grow up with it as a child or was it something you learned to love?

KI: I’ve played basketball my whole life and have always loved to exercise and be fit and healthy, as I grew up in a great family who made amazing home-cooked meals. It was easy for me to be a healthy kid as my parents ate healthy food too (with, of course, the occasional treat in my lunchbox!). It was pretty great.

GTG: Can you briefly describe a day in the life of you?

KI: It really varies, but two things that I always do are train clients (as I still do personal training) and run my Instagram account. Other than that though, I could be doing interviews or jumping on a plane - it depends on the day.

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GTG: You really love your Apple Watch - how does it fit into your day? What do you use it for and how do you use it?

KI: You know how people say they feel lost without their phone? I feel lost without my Apple Watch as I have my calendar on it which has all of my PT client appointments on it – it tells me where my clients are before even I know. It also has a timer that I use for when I’m on tour and on stage and I love the activity tracking side of it too. If you know how to use it and are familiar with it, it’s the handiest thing in the entire world. It’s so easy to use and you can also use it to reply to text messages and answer calls too.

MORE GLOSS: A week in the life of an Apple Watch

GTG: What do you feel is the best all-over body exercise and why?

KI: If I had to pick one, I’d pick a burpee with a push up to work the arms, abs, back and legs and to keep the core strong too - it really is a full body exercise.

GTG: What is your favourite meal and why?

KI: Oooo, that’s a hard question! Anything my grandma cooks. My favourite meal though, is spaghetti marinara as I love pasta - I also love a Greek kebab too.

The app acts as a PT in your pocket

GTG: Do you take supplements and if so what?

KI: I don’t take one supplement religiously, but I’ve taken a hair, skin and nails vitamin my whole life and if I’m really sore (like when I’m working out every day), I’ll take magnesium.

MORE GLOSS: Amelia Freer - how to nourish yourself

GTG: Tell us about your Sweat with Kayla app?

KI: It was inspired by requests from my Instagram and Facebook communities – my favourite quote was, ‘We just want you in our pocket!’ So the app acts as just that - a PT in your pocket.

The guides are great, but you can put so much information on an app: it has my 28-minute workouts, provides water and progress tracking, shopping lists… It offers everything women need for health and fitness in one app that they can take wherever they go. It’s been a massive journey but the most awesome thing ever.

MORE GLOSS: Behind The Guide - Bikini Body Workouts Guide by Kayla Itsines

GTG: What are your essentials when working out? Do you wear makeup, what do you do with your hair and, clothing-wise, what are your all-time favourite pieces of fitness wear?

KI: I don’t wear makeup and I usually wear my hair in a bun. My workout essentials are: good supportive shoes, my Apple Watch, a crop top, a loose baggy top and loose shorts, a drink and a towel. I keep it quite simple.

GTG: Did you ever dream that the Kayla empire would be this big? How do you feel about being this famous? Have you had any career advice that has really stuck with you throughout your journey?

KI: I never ever dreamt I’d be where I am today. Adelaide is tiny - everyone knows everyone - and I grew up in a very traditional Greek family. So for me, this experience is insane, nuts. I’m honestly lost for words.

My family always told me to stay true to myself, to be honest, to remember where I came from, to stick to my morals and to never change who I was. I don’t want for this to be about me, me, me all of the time; I just want to help people.

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