Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last two years, there’s a good chance that you have heard, or at least seen photos of, Kayla Itsines.
The fitness star, who launched her Bikini Body guides in 2014 after unintentionally becoming an Instagram sensation, has revealed that before she struck fame, she almost gave up her gig completely.
“As a kid I wanted to make a career out of sport,” Itsines said today at an event to announce the launch of her Sweat with Kayla fitness app.
She went to university with the intention of becoming a PE teacher, and also started a personal training course.
“As soon as I started the personal training course I was like ‘This is exactly what I want to do, this is the most amazing feeling being able to train women’.”
But having grown up in a traditional Greek family, her career path was not initially accepted by her relatives.
“If you’ve grown up with Greek grandparents, or Italian grandparents, you’ll know they’re never happy for you,” she said jokingly.
“Like when I got an A in Chinese, they were like ‘Well, what about Greek?’.”
She told them that personal training was what she wanted to do in life but they didn’t understand how it would help people.
Her grandfather said she was a girl and too weak to do such a profession.
Her grandmother said: “I know that you want to help women but you’re not going to be able to do it this way, so become a nurse.”
Discouraged and disappointed in her family’s lack of support, Itsines quit personal training all together.
“So I stopped personal training,” Itsines admitted, “I was like ‘Fine, I won’t do it’, and I got really upset.”
Not long after, her parents found her crying and asked her what the matter was. When she told that she had been really excited about the prospects of a career as a personal training, it was her dad that gave her the advice that turned it all around.
Itsines repeated his words for the launch:
“So you’re going to stop every time someone doesn’t like something about you? Every time someone doesn’t like what you’re doing, you’re just going to change to please them? Is that what you’re going to do for the rest of your life?
“Do what makes you happy, do what you want to do with your life. You only get to live once, and if this is what you want to do then follow your dreams and just do it. Stop crying and get up and do something about it.”
“And I thank my parents for that every single day,” Itsines said, “because I started training again.”
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