Proud2Bme | 'Exercise Queen' Kayla Itsines Regrets 'Bikini Body Guide'

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'Exercise Queen' Kayla Itsines Regrets 'Bikini Body Guide'

By Palmer Hipp--Kayla Itsines has created a fitness cult with just two words: bikini body. With more than five million Instagram followers, Kayla’s global network keeps growing. If you haven’t seen her face, you’ve probably seen the flood of hashtags used by Itsines and her followers to track their body transformations—seriously, the girl knows how to brand herself.

Despite the ‘movement’ aiming to be a motivational and supportive platform for women, Itsines now reveals she regrets using the body-shaming term ‘Bikini Body’ to brand her workouts. In a Bloomberg article, Itsines admits, “Do I regret calling my guides Bikini Body? My answer is yes,” and says the name ‘Bikini Body Guide’ implies only one body type can wear a bikini. She talks about the changes she’s making to be more body positive, mainly through her app, and says, “That’s why when I released the app, I called it ‘Sweat With Kayla.’ Sweat is so empowering. I love that.”

If you look up Kayla’s hashtags or her Instagram page, you’ll find countless ‘transformation’ pictures as well as six-packs and thigh gaps—which all look filtered and edited. By the look of her pages, one would conclude there is only one ‘bikini body.’ The ‘Bikini Body’ becomes something far beyond what you look like at the beach; it’s now a goal, and we must earn the right to wear a bikini. The ‘Bikini Body’ perpetuates a body-shaming culture, where there are good bodies and there are bad bodies. Those who do not fit into the idealized figure are often shamed and stigmatized.

Kayla wants to change that, and by denouncing the name ‘Bikini Body Guide,’ she asserts that there is no such thing as an ideal body type. All bodies are bikini bodies. It is important for those with such a large following, especially within the fitness community, to speak up about body positivity. Their voices have an impact and can truly make a difference in how their followers view themselves and treat others. Women should exercise to honor their bodies, not to punish them. Women should get bikini bodies from wearing bikinis, not from obsessing over what they look like in them. Kayla Itsines hopes to reassure women that their value comes from within, not from physical appearance. This is a positive step for the fitness community, and hopefully, others will follow along.

Itsines says her new app, ‘Sweat With Kayla,’ tries to move away from body-shaming messages, and with the empire she has made, she will continue to be an influential leader for women if she focuses on positivity and confidence. However, it seems Itsines marketing strategy doesn’t want to break with bad habits, with her webpage stating, “Get Bikini Body Confident,” and “Earn Your Bikini Body,” and those darn ‘progress’ photos are still running rampant. I guess good things take time.   

Top photo courtesy of Calum Robertson

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