Introducing: Womaneer, our new series that highlights and celebrates the oft–overlooked women of our day who are making waves in the fields of politics, crypto-currency, not-for-profit, and design. Each of these women have something in common: vision, grit, and a heavy dose of persistence that keeps them going despite the odds.
These women are proof that the gender gap is closing… that is, if you fight for it. With some guts, you can become the next pioneering voice in your field—a Womaneer. We’ve heard from ballerina, Leanne Stojmenov, and now for the next Womaneer in our series, we chat to well-known personal trainer and entrepreneur: Kayla Itsines.
According to the ABC, the Australian fitness industry is now worth around $2.4 billion dollars. And with a generation who are more educated than ever before about the positive, long-term effects of wellness, this number is only set to grow. Thanks to the rise of social media and technology, what was once a one-size-fits-all regimen and mentality has transformed into a focus on creating a lifestyle that works for you.
When entrepreneur and fitness guru, Kayla Itsines first started posting before-and-after pictures of her clients, she couldn’t have possibly known that not only would her Instagram account skyrocket to 9.8 million followers, but that she would also become the go-to resource for millions of women around the world. Making her one of the top five women on the 2017 Financial Review Young Rich List, it goes without saying that her platform has propelled the fitness star to a new level of success. Yup, she's impressive.
While many headlines might credit Instagram as the driving force behind Kayla’s success, after interviewing her it’s clear that while she was an early adopter of these social platforms, the growth of her brand comes down to the high quality that she and her fiance, Tobi Pearce, are able to produce with each and every product they put into market. Read on to learn more about Kayla’s career journey thus far.
Yes. From a young age I loved being active and how good it made me feel. I also knew that I liked helping people, so working in the health and fitness industry was the perfect combination.
After high school, I studied to become a personal trainer at the Australian Institute of Fitness. When I started running my one-on-one personal training sessions, I quickly found I was booked out for weeks in advance. I also didn't have any capacity help other women around the world who would reach out to me online. This really frustrated me, so to be able to help women and provide them with the tools they needed, Tobi and I co-created the Bikini Body Training Guide eBook (BBG) together in 2014.
The primary aim when developing the BBG program was, and still is, to educate and support women throughout their health and fitness journey, and help them to feel stronger and more confident in themselves. Since then, Tobi—my fiance and Sweat founder and CEO—launched the Sweat app in 2017. My BBG and BBG Stronger programs are both now available to use within the Sweat app. The training and education provided in the BBG and BBG Stronger program, together with the amazing support of the BBG community has helped millions of women from all over the world. It still gives me butterflies when I think how lucky I am to be able to help so many women around the globe.
Tobi and I are both constantly researching, listening to and taking on the feedback of our Sweat community, as well as further developing our products and finding ways in which we can really give our users the best experience possible. With over 35 million women worldwide a part of our community, we have an unparalleled opportunity to really understand what women need to help them achieve their goals.
Early on when Tobi and I launched my eBook online, so many people tried to download it at once that the website crashed. We didn’t expect so many people to be interested in it straight away. We quickly learnt from that and now have an incredible to team support us.
That I run my own Instagram account. So many people assume I have outsourced it or that I have a team running it for me, but I proudly correct them. It’s important to me that my followers really know me and can see my authenticity through what I post. It’s also a really important way for me to keep in touch with my community.
I can only speak for myself and my own journey, but I know when I started in the industry, it was really male dominated. There weren't any programs out there designed specifically for women, and the workouts that women were doing were actually designed for men but just altered slightly. There also wasn't a strong female voice encouraging women to be strong and not be intimidated in the gym. Being the first to really work in this space was intimidating, but it has also helped me to be in the position I am today, helping millions of women all around the world.
Even though I have always been driven in my career, I’ve had my fair share of doubts. I’ve been told that ‘a career in fitness isn't sustainable’, and that ‘girls can’t work in fitness’. I listened, but then I pressed on and continued to follow my dreams. Everyone will face fear and doubt, but it’s important to not let it stop you and remain focused in what you want to achieve.
My voice has always been my own, and I’ve never changed it because someone said to or spoken about something I didn't believe in. Being authentic and honest has definitely lead me to be in the position I am now. I am confident in what I do and what I speak about as I have done my research, completed my training, and worked with experts in the field to give my community the best advice and experience possible.
With my busy schedule I have often had trouble maintaining a healthy work/life balance. I am so lucky that I get to travel so much and meet my BBG community all around the world, but it often means I am away from my family and friends for long periods of time. Now, I make sure I am not away from Adelaide (where my friends and family live) for more than two weeks at a time. I also make sure each day I am away that I have time to catch up with my loved ones on FaceTime. It’s not quite the same as having a coffee with them in real life, but hearing their voice and seeing their smile keeps me going.