Life Wellbeing ‘Fitspo’ mogul lunges onto young Aussie rich list

‘Fitspo’ mogul lunges onto young Aussie rich list

kayla itsines
Itsines has inspired the fitness journeys of millions. Photo: Instagram
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A 25-year-old fitness entrepreneur from Adelaide has landed herself on BRW’s Young Rich List of wealthiest Australians with a net worth of $46 million.

Kayla Itsines, along with partner Tobi Pearce, is the brains and brawn behind the wildly successful Bikini Body Guides and top-selling health app, Sweat With Kayla.

Up to 25 million women worldwide have interacted with Itsines’ health programs, according to the mini-mogul.

Itsines joins the ranks of tech company Atlassian’s co-founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, and Swisse Wellness CEO Radek Sali on the list for 2016.

But being the face of the Instagram fitness world hasn’t come without its challenges – with Itsines battling accusations she promotes a ‘one shape fits all’ approach to health.

The online health prodigy

Straight after graduating from the Australian Institute of Fitness at the tender age of 18, Itsines began making waves in the social media fitness sphere with her ‘body transformations’ – also known as ‘before and after’ pictures.

For someone who has now amassed a social media fanbase of 12 million, it’s difficult to imagine that Itsines didn’t know what a ‘follower’ was only a few years ago.

“I used Instagram and had my own blog but, I know this sounds stupid, but I didn’t know people could see what I was uploading,” she told Business Insider in 2015.

Viewers clearly liked what they saw, leading Itsines to swap personally-tailored fitness programs for a generic Bikini Body Guide.

@sobrina you look absolutely GORGEOUS!! I love seeing that happy smile in the after photos!! www.kaylaitsines.com/app

A photo posted by Kayla Itsines (@kayla_itsines) on

“Obviously I couldn’t get to everyone, so I started developing an exercise plan people would be able to do at home,” she told News.com.au in 2014.

Flogging the downloadable PDF guides for $70 proved lucrative, but it was Itsines’ Sweat With Kayla app – currently the most downloaded fitness app ever – that propelled her into this year’s rich list.

For about $20 per month, Itsines devotees receive weekly 28-minute workout guides and meal plans complete with ingredient lists.

Her ‘BBG’ girls can talk to each other, compare each other’s “progress” pictures and share tips.

Bikini backlash

Following the launch of the app in November 2015, Itsines faced a barrage of criticism from angry fans who had shelled out for her original offering.

Users complained they had paid up to $120 for her Bikini Body Guides, only to have to pay another subscription to access the Sweat With Kayla app.

“Maybe you should look at your loyal long time followers and allow them the app [sic],” one disgruntled reviewer posted.

Others called the $20 monthly subscription a “slap in the face” to fans.

Itsines has also been pressed over her decision to call her program the Bikini Body Guide, with some suggesting the name implies only a certain kind of body shape deserves to step into a bathing suit.

“Do I regret calling my guides Bikini Body? My answer is yes,” Itsines told Bloomberg.

“That’s why when I released the app (in November last year), I called it Sweat With Kayla. Sweat is so empowering. I love that.”

Itsines adds to her app offering with an online shop that includes towels, weights, skipping ropes and recipe guides.

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