If you haven't heard of her before, Kayla Itsines is an Australian trainer that with the help of a great marketing team, has become rich and famous in the world of training. I stumbled upon Kayla Itsines on Instagram one day, as her fitness post had made it to the "Most Popular" page. A week later, a friend of mine purchased Kayla's programs with a group of friends and commenced her workouts. With a little coaxing, my room mate sent me the Kayla Itsines workout and nutrition plan to look over. The workouts consisted of mostly body weight exercises, such as burpees, and body weight step ups, that if done in the prescribed sets, would surely make even the fittest person sweat, feel a burn, and feel like they "did something". But, I have a problem with Kayla and her workouts.
First off, no matter what Kayla does, she will probably have that body. She is tall and lean by genetics. She could be selling "Skinny Tea", surfboard yoga, or hell, she could probably sell you a weight loss program that was plain old Savasana that people would buy if they believed that's what Kayla did to get her body. Lucky for her, that body is desirable to over 5 million of her followers that think they too can get her body via body weight exercise and "only 8 weeks".
So secondly, this is poisonous for two reasons, one being, that's just NOT the case. You cannot get Kayla's body in 8 weeks if you are the average person watching her on Instagram, and purchasing her program, because the average body is naturally more muscular, shorter, and less ectomorphic than hers - and while they can maximize what their momma gave them by becoming more lean and more fit - they truely may never look like her. Even if you were only 15lbs over your goal weight, and integrated Kayla's rigorous workout regime along with her strict nutrition plan, it would be unlikely that these quick changes to your day-to-day regime would stick. Most people that seek quick weight-loss regimes have more than 15lbs to lose though, and U-Hauling diet, nutrition, and mindset in one go is almost always un-achievable.
The fact that Kayla's marketing team is so good at selling her figure is poisonous for a second reason, which is the fact that when people believe that models with marketing teams can get them the best body, actual credible trainers, who have actually gone to school and worked hard to build a well-rounded knowledge of training, lose their credibility if they don't look like Kayla or the male equivalent for male trainers. This is poisonous to those purchasing the programs, as well as to trainers who are great at their job, but don't necessarily "fit the part" in the minds of clients who think that their trainer should have the esthetic of Kayla. Also, Kayla's programs progress in a way that is almost unattainable. In an 8 week program, burpees go from being hard naturally, to more advanced, including more jumps and more difficulty on top of an already difficult exercise. Why not master strength and form in a less complicated exercise? If you cannot do 10 strict pushups, why are you doing 20 awful-formed burpees? As a strength and conditioning coach, I can't think of a worse exercise for my clients. Not to mention, my clients are 95% athletes! How is this possibly OK to prescribe to an individual with back pain, that sits in a desk all day, and carries potentially a lot of extra weight?
I want you to stop for a second, before you go purchase a cheap, non-individualized program from Kayla pictured below (because I know there are people that will), and ask yourself if you're buying her program because you want her body, or because you think she can really help you to overcome your barriers to exercise, help you prevent future or past injuries from occurring, and help you meet your body composition and strength goals with the minimum effective dose of exercise.
Lastly, in a world where people are getting a grip on their health and starting to realize where their food is sourced, why would you support Kayla Itsines and her million dollar following? Why not support local business owners and trainers, who are trying to make a living next door to you, and who actually give a S#*T about you?
Don't get me wrong, girls' got a great body, but does she even lift bro? #VitalStrength