She literally has an army of fans on social media (9.8 mil to be exact), who hang off her every crunch/burpee/bicep curl. But Kayla Itsines wasn’t always the definition of #fitspo.
Taking to Instagram, the 27-year-old admitted she was bullied as a youngster for being too muscly.
“In primary school I played a lot of sport,” she captioned a snap of her abs. “I remember a girl coming up to me and lifting up my t-shirt and saying, ‘SEE, she has a six pack – she’s a boy!! You’re a boy!!’. I actually tried to argue with her saying ‘I’m not a boy!’ and she said ‘Yes you are! Only boys have 6 packs and can do push ups’. So apparently because I had strong ab muscles and could do push ups when I was 11 years old… I was a boy? (I did not have a six pack).”
With super toned influencers like Anna Victoria hitting back at critics who say a fit physique makes you ‘manly,’ more women than ever are rejecting this old-school stereotype.
Still, Kayla believes there’s a lot of work to be done.
“When I started personal training in 2009, someone told me that a push up on your toes is called ‘a man push up’ and the one on your knees is ‘a girl push up’. I’M SORRY WHAT IS GOING ON!?!,” she wrote. Yeah, this terminology might seem harmless. But it’s actually reinforcing the (totally warped) belief that strength training isn’t feminine.
“Ladies, can we please teach the world that muscles are for everyone, fitness is for everyone, health, weights, training and working out is for EVERYONE!” Kayla added. “You are NOT a ‘boy’ if you have muscles. You are strong and amazing and PLEASE do not let anyone tell you otherwise!!”