Digitally Fit: Kayla Itsines

Digitally Fit: Kayla Itsines

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It’s no secret the world has gone digital, and the fitness industry is no exception. Companies must compete not only to provide the best results to customers, but to spread the word of those results via social media. My plan for this blog is to try out different workouts and discuss my opinion on the actual workout as well as the social media strategy the brand is using. As someone who loves fitness, I’m very interested to see for myself whether these brands are just using smoke and mirrors or are actually effective.

When I began thinking of brands that are thriving in the digital age, Kayla Itsines immediately came to mind. Her Bikini Body Guide is a PDF that you purchase for a whopping $90 and which includes 12 weeks of workouts as well as a meal plan. Kayla’s claim to fame is her Instagram, where she posts transformation photos of her impressive 8.5 million followers. Girls upon girls are showcased going from pale and mildly overweight to freshly spray-tanned with abs. I’m not sure where the spray tan comes into play or how they’ve coordinated this, but it’s a definite trend. Her workouts are basically very fancy, very intense cardio. I would describe them as cardio, but super extra. Each workout contains two circuits which you complete in 7 minutes each and repeat twice for a total of around 30 minutes. This is another aspect of Kayla’s genius –She has catered to the modern culture of never having enough time and eliminated the most common excuse people use to not work out.


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As far as the workout, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was too easy for me. When I tried Kayla Itsines freshman year in my dorm, I was sure I was going to have a heart attack and my roommate would find my sweat-soaked corpse. Three years of loving fitness later, I actually ended up doing some other stuff in the gym because I didn’t feel like I could count it as a full cardio workout, let alone the arm workout it claimed to be. It definitely got my heart rate up a bit and got me doing exercises I don’t usually do (I simply don’t hate myself enough to do burpees on my own free will). The one thing I struggled with was the self-motivation aspect. I’m great at motivating myself to do workouts I want to do…But intense cardio is not on that list. I kept wanting to stop and look at my phone, especially when I had to check it to see what was next on the guide. Overall, I left the gym at a very average sweat level.

Final Verdict: It’s a no from me. I won’t bore you by getting into the nutrition element of her plans, but basically she recommends 1200 calories per day regardless of age, weight, height, or really anything that a reasonable person takes into account when deciding how many calories to eat. This paired with doing crazy intense cardio 5 days a week will obviously make you lose weight. Touting these girls who have lost weight by starving themselves on her recommendation is unethical, and many professionals in the fitness industry have commented on it. I definitely admire her eye for business and her ability to stay on top of digital trends, but I think she could spend more time developing her knowledge of health and exercise. She has developed a business model which requires minimal actual work from her. She does no customized consulting with her “clients” and it’s very easy to buy the guides and never use them (aka what I did freshman year). She has successfully used social media and digital technology to take an industry that generally has clients and turned them into customers.

If you just want to lose weight and don’t care about building muscle, this could be a good guide for you. If Spring Break 2k18 is looming and you’re trying to get some semblance of abs before bae sees you in a bikini at PCB, this could work. But you could also just, ya know, jump around for 30 minutes. Pretty much the same thing. And free.

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