If there’s one thing we’ve learnt about Kayla Itsines, it’s that she’s always got something up her sleeve. When her partner, Tobi Pearce, launched SWEAT back in November 2015, little did we know they had so much more planned.
It’s been a busy year. Not only has Kayla joined Sjana Ellis Earp and Kelsey Wellsas trainers on the new and improved SWEAT app, she’s also launched her brand new program, BBG Stronger, which teaches women to incorporate weights and machines into their training.
We sat down with the fitness superstar to find out more. Humble as ever, you’d never guess she was labelled the most influential fitness influencer in the world. No doubt she has many exciting things on the horizon but for now, here’s what she had to say.
How did this partnership come about? When did it begin?
“Between Tobi and I, or SWEAT?” she laughed. “Since Tobi launched SWEAT in November, he kept telling me that a lot of people were doing BBG but also wanting to do weights or doing BBG but also doing yoga or new mums were doing BBG but finding it a little bit hard for their abdominal muscles so Tobi came up with the idea of having multiple trainers that specialise in what they do.
Tobi presented the idea of being a SWEAT trainer alongside Sjana and Kelsey and it’s something that I’ve always dreamed of because my mission has always been to help as many women as possible. It’s all come about now and the girls are loving it—we’ve got such amazing feedback.”
You’ve always been the face of your brand. What made you decide to join these two girls on Tobi’s app, and why them specifically?
I’m still the face of my own brand and BBG is still my own brand but now I’m able to be a trainer alongside two other amazing women. I will still focus on my stuff, my community, growing the BBG brand and helping more and more women but now I am able to do it alongside two inspiring girls—they really are incredible.
What is your favourite feature? What is the most exciting thing about the app for you?
I love the apple music integration because I’m able to have music alongside my workouts. Also, having BBG stronger on there is huge. The girls are loving it. It went crazy in the community.
Talk us through your program specifically. How does it progress?
[My programs] take you from a beginner all the way through to an advanced session. With BBG, it slowly introduces harder and harder exercises. The time never changes so you are always able to work at your own pace but as you progress, you are able to do more and that’s what it’s all about: doing more and pushing your body as you get further out of your comfort zone.
[The programs are] constantly changing. BBG slowly integrates weights as you progress and now I’ve introduced BBG stronger, which involves more weights and machines at the gym. You have three or four resistance sessions each week if you want them and then you’ve got your cardio as well, which is just walking. I recommend this because I watch TV shows and walk on the treadmill at the same time!
There is also the recovery, which I try to push a lot for the girls so they don’t get injured. I’m big on education which you might’ve noticed on Instagram—I like to talk about feet, having the right shoes, your laces done up and so on.
The programs are designed to progress as you get stronger and fitter and we will continue to add to them but you can also manage your program from within the app too so if you feel like you want to go back to week one if you’ve gone on a holiday for example, you can. It’s really flexible.
Talk us through the meal plans. Were they developed by a nutritionist? Is there any macronutrient counting involved?
We have education surrounding the food but we don’t want to overwhelm women with calorie counting, macronutrients and micronutrients. We work with a dietitian to create amazing recipes and we try to keep it simple. We want to do the hard work so that the girls can make amazing meals for themselves and their families, to eat and feel good. There is nothing worse than feeling overwhelmed with your training and food regime.
How has researching for your new program, BBG Stronger, influenced your own fitness and nutrition?
Because I’ve been a personal trainer since I was 18, I’ve always had weights and machines around me in the gym so if I was training my clients, I would often do a BBG-inspired session but I might throw in a machine or two. I found that the women really loved using the machines, especially when they were able to do a heavier set than the previous weeks. They felt empowered and strong so that’s why I created BBG Stronger. I think it’s something that women need, that boost of confidence in the gym.
Would you recommend girls use both BBG and BBG stronger at the same time?
They’re able to do whatever they like—it’s an ‘everything’ app. If they’d like to do both BBG and BBG stronger, go for it! Especially if they have limited access to a gym, they can use BBG at home and BBG Stronger when they can get to the gym. A lot of the girls are doing BBG stronger and Sjana’s program as well.
You’ve often joked on social media that you don’t do yoga yourself, will this change now with the help of Sjana?
I did a recovery session of Sjana’s and it was really nice and relaxing. Tobi was laughing at me but it was so nice, I’m definitely going to start doing it.
I’d always seen yoga as something really relaxing, like stretching, and I started a resistance session of Sjana’s and I was seriously sweating—it’s tough!
Tobi is like my best friend. We really get along. We know our own strengths and we play to them. He is very intelligent and business savvy—he is amazing—and I care so much about people and love helping people so I think we’re a good mix.
The bad thing would probably be that we’re on our phones all the time!
If we’ve learnt anything by now, it’s that you’ve always got something up your sleeve. Anything already in the works?
There is always something in the works! My goal is to change women’s lives and I will do that forever. There are so many things that I want to say but I can’t!
You’ve remained remarkably down to earth, despite your incredible success. Who or what keeps you grounded?
My Greek family. It’s easy for me because they don’t speak much English so they don’t really have any idea of what’s going on. I don’t feel like I’m anything more when I am with them, besides family. That’s how I try to make the girls feel in the community, like a big family.
You’ve touched so many people’s lives for the better. Tell us about one of the most memorable fan experiences you’ve had.
Actually, yesterday I got a message from a girl it said, “Dear Miss Beautiful Kayla, I just want to say thank you. What you have given me is the best gift in the world. On Sunday the 14th May, I’m 2 years clean. These last two years have been the best of my life…I never thought it would be possible to feel happy again and feel good in my skin. I’ve learnt self-love and acceptance and I owe you my life.”
She was heavily addicted to drugs and alcohol and then found the program. That was pretty amazing.
1-Minute With Kayla Itsines
Wake up time: 6 am Most people probably don’t know this about me: how to pronounce my last name. It’s It-sin-es, like “It has seen us”…something has seen us. Everything else is on Instagram! Guilty pleasure: Greek cake 3 things vital to my day: water, my phone, my family Last thing I do at night: check my phone If sugar was a superfood, my diet would consist of: just fruit If I were a fruit or vegetable, I’d be: mango The one place I’d never wear leggings: on the Greek Islands