Keeping up with top fitness influencer Kayla Itsines
Kayla Itsines to headline FitnessFest 2018
Nine years ago, a then-18-year-old Kayla Itsines was a newly certified personal trainer who deferred her university degree in a leap of faith to pursue her dream of becoming a professional.
Her parents were initially worried about her decision, but as soon as they saw how much she enjoyed her budding career and how serious she was about starting her business, they changed their minds.
Itsines told The New Paper in an e-mail interview: "They always knew how much I loved playing sport and being active, so they were really supportive of me wanting to work in this industry."
Fast forward to today, and the 27-year-old Australian is influencing millions of people around the world to keep fit and healthy with her wildly popular Bikini Body Guide (BBG) fitness programme, which involves an intensive 28-minute workout, nutrition plans, recipes and dietary advice.
Hailed by Forbes as the top fitness influencer of 2017, she has more than nine million followers on Instagram, which she uses as a platform to encourage those who follow her BBG programme.
Itsines, who is based in her hometown of Adelaide, also created fitness app Sweat last year alongside her fiance and business partner Tobi Pearce, and has published books on workouts and clean eating.
Her world tours in 2015 and 2016 - where she led BBG bootcamp fitness classes in major cities such as New York and London - were almost sold out.
She said: "I feel incredibly blessed to be where I am in my career, and that I get to do what I love every day. I am excited to continue to develop my programmes in the Sweat app and travel to different parts of the world to meet my BBG community."
Itsines will bring her BBG bootcamp to town for the first time as the headliner for the second edition of FitnessFest 2018 presented by AIA on May 19.
It will feature a heart-pumping 12-hour "fitathon" with over 60 multi-level workout sessions brought to you by an A-list line-up of fitness celebrities.
After she became a qualified personal trainer, Itsines started out by training women in small groups and one-on-one sessions, using a training style that involves a circuit of standard exercises such as leg lifts and burpees.
She then joined Instagram in 2012, where she posted photos of her clients and how much weight they managed to lose.
As word spread and her Instagram following grew, women from around the world began contacting Itsines for health and fitness advice.
"To cater to this demand, Tobi and I co-created the Bikini Body Guide in 2014. Now I am a Sweat trainer and my programmes, BBG and BBG Stronger, are in the Sweat app.
"BBG is designed to help women become fitter, healthier and stronger to achieve bikini body confidence as they work towards their health and fitness goals," she said, adding that BBG is not about a number on a scale or a measurement.
"It is not about what you see in the mirror, it is about how you feel inside. If you feel happy, healthy and confident, then that is all that matters."
For her daily workouts, Itsines is now in the midst of her own BBG Stronger programme in the Sweat app.
"I am doing three resistance workouts, focusing on my legs, arms and abs, and three cardio workouts, including both low-intensity steady state and high-intensity interval training."
She also does two recovery sessions each week to help her body recover from previous workouts.
Although it may be hard to believe, Itsines said she has had moments - just like everyone else - where she lacked motivation to work out.
"Sometimes when I am travelling, the jetlag hits me really hard and I just want sleep, but then I remember that getting up and going for a gentle walk will actually help me feel better," she said.
"That is why when I travel, I try to stick to routine. It helps me bounce back quicker."
For those who struggle to keep healthy and fit on top of their busy schedules, Itsines recommends taking a 15-minute stretch break at their desks in the afternoon.
"Walking is another simple but effective way to get your blood flowing and re-energise," she said.
"Make it a social thing and grab one of your work buddies for a walk around the block at lunch."
Staying hydrated is also key to keeping energy level up, she said, adding that everyone should drink around two litres of water every day.
"It doesn't matter if you are working up a sweat in the gym or sitting at your desk, you need to make sure you are drinking enough water so that you function at your best," she said.
WHAT BBG Bootcamp with Kayla Itsines
WHERE Marina Bay Sands Convention Halls E and F, main stage
WHEN May 19, 12.15pm
TICKETS $55 from fitnessfest.sg/tickets/