These stunning before-and-after photos are helping an Instagram star launch a fitness empire
You may not know her by name but you probably have seen her workout videos pop up on your Instagram feed.
Kayla Itsines is a social media star and trainer who has built a massive empire with millions of followers.
The 25-year-old Australian has become Instagram-famous with her
Bikini Body Guides. She also has an app that essentially puts her training in her fans' pockets.
The star has cultivated an online community that calls itself "Kayla's Army," largely by sharing impressive progress photos - or "transformations" - of the women who are committed to her program. It serves as visible inspiration.
These are some of the photos Itsines has shared:
The Bikini Body Guides are relatively simple.
Itsines provides her clients with three days of circuit-training routines that change every week. She encourages women to do sessions of "LISS" (low-intensity steady-state cardio) and later incorporate "HIIT" (high-intensity interval training) into their training regimen.
The "HELP" — Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Plan — guide features two weeks of diet plans.
It's a 12-week program, and many women appear to repeat it. Itsines also offers a "2.0" version for people who finish the first guide and want more of a challenge.
Itsines is such a big hit on Instagram that even Victoria's Secret model Candice Swanepoel follows her.
"Yes! Candice started following me, which is amazing," she said to Shape. "I think that she is gorgeous. It was so good to see that a supermodel found my Instagram or program of interest." But Itsines didn't intend to become so popular.
Itsines' brand, though, is not about her — it's about her clients.
Some of the hashtags these women use to share their journeys are #BBG, #TheKaylaMovement, and #KaylasArmy. But the community extends beyond the Internet.
Her app, Sweat with Kayla, is her latest venture.
It has come under fire, though.
Itsines' website promises that users will "be in the best shape, ever!" That's a lofty promise.
But the photos that Itsines shares seem to tell a different story.
Additionally, Itsines — who has debunked " 30-second transformations" — picks the photos from Instagram accounts that she finds. They're not necessarily business affiliates, but some bloggers are affiliates.
That said, the focus on obtaining a so-called bikini body could garner criticism — especially in this age of body positivity.
Itsines swears that she's not promoting thinness.
In fact, she's shared photos of women who have recovered from eating disorders by using her program.
And though she's steadily cultivating her own fitness empire, she doesn't think of it that way.