Kayla Itsines fitness blogger fitness tips

Instagram Fitness Star Kayla Itsines' 9 Tips For Staying In Great Shape, Even If You Can't Afford The Gym

From burpees and lat pull downs, to squat lunges and dead lifts, we sat down with personal trainer and Instagram star Kayla Itsines to grill her on how to get fit, stay focussed, and enjoy exercise when working out in a bedroom the size of a Nissan Micra.

Fact: Every woman with a love of fitness, an Instagram account, or wifi connection will know of Kayla Itsines.

With 7.1 million Instagram followers, 192,000 Youtube subscribers and an Apple campaign in the bag, the Australian Instagram star's influence in the well-being and social media sphere is unprecedented, and certainly shows no sign of stopping.

In 2008, Australian-Greek Kayla – who just topped the fitness category of Forbes' inaugural Top Influencers list this year – was working as a personal trainer in her hometown of Adelaide when she began thinking about the gender stereotypes and fears women face in the gym on a daily basis.

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'Women need to understand that when you first ever go to the gym, no one knows what they're doing,' the 26-year-old reveals to ELLE UK.

Best way to finish the day!! In sunny Central Park 😍 @goodmorningamerica www.kaylaitsines.com/app #bbgstronger

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'For a lot of women, the intimidation factor means there are whole sections of the gym they won't approach. They often think they need to stick to cardio machines because men are the only ones allowed to use rowing machines,' she adds.

Fast forward nine years and Kayla has grown her internationally successful fitness programme, BBG – a 12-week 'Bikini Body Guide' for women - into something of a global movement. With Sweat (an app founded by her partner and CEO Tobi Pearce) plus a devoted social media community comprising of millions of fitness enthusiasts across the world on a mission to inspire each other's goals with hashtags such as #bbgsisters, #thekaylamovement, and #kaylasarmy, she's basically unstoppable.

Speaking of her latest venture into fitness and technology, Kayla explains 'Sweat with Kayla' – an app including specially curated recipes and exercises incorporating weights – came about out of the realisation that women wanted more from their BBG workouts.

#bbgstronger www.kaylaitsines.com/app

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'There are weights in BBG but no inclusion of machines. A lot of girls were asking me "how can I incorporate a leg press into my workout?" or "how can I use a splinter machine?"' she says.

'As a result, Sweat came about and with the launch of BBG Stronger [another of Itsines' workout programmes]. It's really taken off and women are loving going to the gym and having a better idea of what they should be doing.'

We sat down with Kayla to find out all about her new favourite exercises, how to overcome burn-out, plus how to workout in a room the size of your garden shed (if you're even lucky enough to own a shed. Or garden):

1) If you had time for only three exercises right now to tone up and build strength what would they be?

I love to workout with machines, so I'd do something like a lat pull down, and then slowly build up to doing chin ups as part of the cable machine. With a chin up, there's a curved bar which you simply grab, pull down, and slowly release. It's an upper body workout which means you're working your arms but your core and legs are also engaged. I'd do 15 reps for three sets.

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I'd also add in a dead lift, squat and lunge in order to get my legs moving. I may also include a workout for my abs, such as a bent leg jackknife.

2) What's the one move you couldn't live without?

To be honest, I could live without burpees [laughs], but they're great because there are so many variations to a burpee that you can change up depending how easy or hard you want to exercise. For example, for people who aren't as experienced with the jumping motion, you could do a gentle step in and step out move.

There's so many ways to modify a burpee with a tuck jump, squat, push up and even a plank.

3) If you had 30 minutes to workout what would be your key exercises?

BBG is broken down into seven minute circuits (total workout time 28 minutes) so I'd suggest doing doing a set of four moves, such as lunges, push ups, ab bikes and triceps dips. Decide on the number of reps you want to do, for example 10 reps for each exercise, and see how you feel.

You can then choose to try another four exercises in another seven-minute circuit or continue with the previous circuit, and repeat it four times. Before you know it, your 28 minutes will be up.

4) After a few weeks of exercising, a lot of women experience a plateau. What does this mean?

Plateauing happens when you do the same thing over and over again and expect change. When you work out, you want to continuously push your body in different ways, working different muscle groups, machines, and stimulate your mind.

BBG and BBG Stronger are designed in a way that changes every four weeks and increasingly push you each week, without you even realising it. There are women who have been doing BBG for months and have learned to focus on how they feel, rather than how they look. When workouts are constantly changing, its more fun.

Women need to stop focusing on plateauing because it's completely normal. For example, I haven't worked out in two weeks as I've been suffering with the flu so have been unable to head to the gym. Instead, I've been doing walks and training videos to maintain my fitness.

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I'm not going to be upset about [not being able to workout], say I've plateaued and lost motivation, or question if I'm ever going to be able to get into exercising again. You just do.

Yes, you're going to feel a bit crappy for the first week having not exercised for a while, but we shouldn't beat ourselves up about it. We put so much pressure on ourselves and we shouldn't.

5) BBG is pretty gruelling so how can you avoid the feelings of exhaustion or burning out?

Take rest days, eat dessert and do everything in moderation.

A lot of my clients have this fleet of motivation on a rest day and wake up thinking 'Yeah, I'm going to do everything!'. I say: 'No, go for a walk, have a rest or stretch day, enjoy a massage and have some time to yourself.

Looking after yourself is a form of self-love.

Anytime anywhere 💜 28 minutes 💛 Check out www.kaylaitsines.com/app

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6) A lot of women feel the urge to pig out on sweet treats after exercising. How do you avoid this?

Be organised. As women, we organise our lives so well; we organise our kids, make sure they have food, rearrange everything in perfectly coloured folders, but we rarely cook and plan our food in the same way.

Prep your meals and make sure you've got a healthy option, so when you open the fridge – whether it's an apple or can of tuna – at least you'll be eating the right things when you're hungry. Don't get me wrong, if you open your fridge and feel like some chocolate, why not? Don't beating yourself up about it, but have moderation.

7) If you don't have much space at home or want to exercise in a hotel room, is there any equipment you recommend buying?

Nothing - you don't need anything. There is so much you can do with just a roll mat. To be honest, you don't even need a mat! Even if you fill a bottle up with water, you've got a weight or use a stable chair.

8) Eating healthily is a big part of staying fit. What do you enjoy eating on a daily basis?

In the morning, I'll eat two pieces of toast, scrambled eggs and have a green tea, and then I'll snack on things during the day like fruit or yogurt.

For lunch, I'll have a chicken wrap or some stuffed vegetables, like okra with a red pasta sauce and rice. I might also have some crackers with tuna, tomatoes, olives, and salt and pepper.

I also love avgolemono soup, which is a Greek dish that translates into english as 'egg lemon soup' - I know, it sounds horrible. I actually just spoke to my mum back home in Australia and said: 'Mum, make sure I have that soup when I land!'

9) With the summer and festival season upon us, what would be your go-to exercises to tone up our abs and bums?

I can name leg and ab exercises that I love but I don't want them just to be for the summer season.

I'm trying to teach women that this is training for life - I don't want exercise to be seasonal. You should work out because you want to feel good, you shouldn't work out because you want the best bum.

Check out Kayla's new BBG Stronger programme in the SWEAT App now.

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