Instagram fitness sensation Kayla Itsines talks diet and fitness with HELLO! Online

With nearly 800k followers, 23-year-old Kayla Itsines is a bonafide Instagram fitness sensation.

Her method — the Healthy Bikini Body Guide, a definitive fitness programme that promises to transform your body — has been a resounding success. Here, the Australia-born star sits down with HELLO! Online to share her top exercise and eating tips.

Kayla Itsines has nearly 800k followers on her Instagram

How did it all start and what got you inspired?

Once I graduated high school, I actually started studying beauty therapy. However, my love of sport and basketball lead to me to Personal Training, and that's when I discovered how much I loved helping people to become healthier and happier! I have never looked back since, for me it was a great life changing decision.

Have you always been into keeping fit or did something trigger it?

I have always been healthy and fit. Whether it was basketball, other sport of just working out, I am far too impatient to not do something with my time. Now my mission is what inspires me. I have a dream to end confusion within the health and fitness industry. Fads and scams in this industry have created so much distrust and insecurity around weight-loss programs. I want all people to understand their body, have a place to learn about health and fitness and in turn feel confident & happy.

How is this exercise regime different to others out there?

I guess the biggest difference is the goal. Rather than being a weight-loss or a muscle gaining programme it is simply a plan to get you a particular look. It will help work both ways, to gain strength and to lose fat. The workouts aren’t easy but this is compensated by some amazing flexibility in my meal plan (and recipe books coming very soon). If you want to have a look at the results just visit my reviews page - or my transformations page - By putting an emphasis on confidence I have slowly been trying to steer women away from unrealistic body images and teaching them to be happy from the inside out.

What should you eat before and after workouts?

Eating before or after a workout is a personal preference. Some girls need to eat before working out, otherwise they feel ill. Others feel better working out on an empty stomach - everybody is different. I personally cannot train on an empty stomach. For me it really varies when I am training and also how long after I eat, that I will be training. If I am in a rush, a small snack like an apple and some nuts will be enough to fuel me through my workout and I can usually train within 30 minutes after eating them. However, if I am not in a rush and have more time between eating and training I will always have a proper meal such as a tuna salad or chicken wrap.

How long are the workouts and how many days a week?

The resistance workouts in my Bikini Body Training Guide are three days per week. The resistance training circuit workouts are 28 minutes long - which makes it easy for girls to fit in a workout during their hectic daily schedule! In between these resistance workouts is a small amount of both low and high intensity cardio. There is a huge variation in exercise type and most of the sessions can be done in 30 minutes, with almost no equipment.

What food should be cut out?

I prefer a wholesome and non-exclusionary diet. I incorporate the five food groups into my daily meals. Rather than cutting out certain foods or food groups. I try to make the best choices within these food groups or food varieties. For example, instead of drinking Coke for a sweet drink I will have a herbal tea or homemade iced tea. Alternatively, I would choose lemon, olive oil and pepper for a salad dressing then a bottled one. Although these changes might each only be worth 1 per cent. You still have to have one hundred ones in order to make one hundred, don't you? All of these small changes certainly do add up and not only to your appearance, but to the way you feel and the quality of your life.

What do you do when you hit a wall?

When you lose motivation, or hit a wall, it is so important to breathe and take a step back. If you stay in the moment/situation too long, you lose clarity. If you can't clearly see what's going on you won't make the best decisions for yourself, or your body. Step back, assess what you're doing and look at the weak points, make them strong ones and keep going. Don't get too emotional about it, that will slow you down. Turn that emotion into motivation and then you will start making some good progress again. For girls that are using my guide, I always say, "Re-read it, relax, plan and then act".

Can you name five essential tips to make exercising more effective?

1. Find a simple plan and stick to it. Consistency is the biggest piece of advice that can ever be given to anyone. If you train 110 per cent and eat perfect 110 per cent only 10 per cent of the time you’ll still only get 10 per cent results. I would rather eat and train well always, and get 100 per cent results.

2. Less equals more. A lot of the time people try and go too hard, too fast. The biggest causes are too much training, restricting calories too far or even not resting enough. This typically results in an overload of stress that can heavily prevent weight loss. If your body is comfortable and not stressed it will act the way you want. Basically if you overwork your body and treat it poorly it won’t do what you want.

3. Be patient and be smart. Don't expect it to be easy and don’t think that your body will immediately develop a habit. It takes time to re-write poor lifestyle patterns and it takes time to see significant results. The road to inner happiness isn't a straight one it’s a curvy, hilly drive.

4. Don't let other people bring you down. You are doing this to make yourself happy, not to please anyone else.

5. Take the advice of ONE person/programme. If you constantly change what you are doing, your body is always playing catch up. If you do the right thing, one way, all the time you will constantly progress.

How do you target problem areas such as bingo wings and the inner thigh areas?

Both "bingo wings" and inner thigh areas are common problem areas for women. They consist of multiple muscles (or muscle insertions). This basically means that in order to tone that area, you need to work all of those muscles, which typically require multiple movements, at differing angles. Unfortunately, it's not an easy area to work on!

What do you think of juicing and other diet trends?

I prefer a healthy, wholesome and balanced diet. I don't believe in "quick fixes".

How do you feel having nearly 1million followers on Instagram? Does it add pressure?

I feel extremely lucky to have such amazing online followers, who I am able to chat to on a daily basis! It's definitely one of the best parts of my job. I can't believe how much my method has grown — so much bigger then I ever expected, I pinch myself everyday. I always knew I wanted to help people, I just can’t believe I am able to reach so many women.

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