This fitness influencer is breaking the internet

She was recently named in the top 30 most influential people on the internet. She is a widely popular curator of “fitspiration”. So, who is she? She is Kayla Itsines, a well-known Australian personal trainer, author and entrepreneur.

What is probably most surprising to many people is that at a very young age, Kayla struggled with being unhealthy and underweight. At age 16 she was diagnosed with endometriosis and underwent surgery in an attempt to increase her chances of hopefully one day being able to conceive a child. Despite the devastating news, Kayla told Cosmopolitan magazine, “I went online where people were saying that there is something you can do: Make sure you’re healthy, fit, and strong. I went to the gym and started working out. It felt so good — even though I had no idea what I was doing.” It was this moment very early on that prompted her passion for healthy living and helping others

Kayla was not (Insta)ntly famous. Her success is warranted through dedication and hard work. After graduating from the Australian Institute of Fitness in 2008, she began working at a women’s only personal training centre and soon after opened her own personal training studio in Adelaide. This is where Kayla began to develop a program aimed at targeting areas she believed most women considered “problem areas”: abs, arms, and thighs. Those she trained began to spread the word about her and in 2012 she decided to capitalize on her growing following.

Photo courtesy of Business Insider

At the age of 26, she is the empress to a widely-popular workout empire! Kayla is the co-creator of a digital workout and nutrition guide, Bikini Body Training Guide. She created the program in 2014 with the help of her partner, Tobi Pearce, and today the BBG community is composed of hundreds of thousands of women worldwide.

According to Business Insider, her meal-planning and workout app, Sweat With Kayla, has generated the most revenue out of all fitness apps in the past year — even big names in the industry, like Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal’s premiere membership and Nike’s Nike+ app.

In 2015, Kayla traveled to Australia’s capital cities, New York City, Los Angeles, and London where she lead free group fitness classes as part of the “Kayla Itsines Bootcamp World Tour”.

With over 14 million Facebook followers and 7.5 million followers on Instagram, Kayla has turned her empire into a virtual movement. Kayla remains connected to her audience and informed about their progress with hashtags like #bbg, #bbg progress, #bbgcommunity, #TheKaylaMovement and many more.

Bikini Body Training Guide user @fit.momof4 sharing her progress with the program

Her most recent accomplishment is the release of her first hard-copy book, The 28-Day Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Guide. The book features all sorts of Kayla’s favourite recipes as well as tips on supporting a healthy lifestyle for oneself.

Of course, Kayla’s fame does not make her immune to online trolls. Last year she was facing so much constant criticism that she came very close to quitting. Borrowing from the endless stream of motivation she shares with her followers for herself, Kayla overcame the negative comments and remained confident in her ability to help other women reach their goals.

Kayla continues to resonate with so many women because she remains relatable to her fans and followers. She promotes the simple idea that to get in shape you have to do two things: eat well and excercise. Kayla is an inspiration to both beginners and fitness fanatics.

Itsines states on her website, “By uploading client transformations, healthy eating ideas, and some training tips, I was able to inspire thousands of women to move towards a healthier lifestyle and nothing makes me happier.”