Natasha O’Neill
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Fitness Brands on Instagram: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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Instagram, the social app that enables people to capture and share pictures to the world, transforms your own pictures into works of art and follows the lives of other people or celebrities.

I wanted to look at how Australian fitness sensation Kayla Itsines has risen to fame and fortune through Instagram. There is no doubt that her product is powerful, has a strong message and can seemingly be effective, but I cannot help but wonder – at what cost?

At 18, Kayla designed a Bikini Body Guide eBook, appealing to 20 – 40 year old women, consisting of a 28 minute training program. For arguments sake, we’ll call it a training program. It consists of four repetitive sets of high intensity training and is accompanied by a healthy eating guide.



Kayla uses Instagram as a living and breathing sound board for her training program. Daily, or in most cases, hourly, Kayla posts images or videos of her latest work-out routine and newest gym bra. She also gives her 3.6 million “followers” some insights into her personal life with the odd picture of the two huskies or a fleeting reference to her fiancé. I suppose this really helps personify her brand and strengthens the perceived connection between her product and the seemingly amazing lifestyle that she lives.

At a glance, Kayla’s formula looks pretty straight-forward – book seriously beautiful people, dress them in seriously beautiful clothes, shoot them in dreamy coffee shops, and share with the world.  But I must say, this view might be a little too critical. Timing also played a huge part in her success.

People want dramatic changes and immediate feedback. In a world filled with instant coffee, instant breakfast, instant credit, instant shopping, instant information, and 24/7 news, we have come dangerously close to losing touch with reality and believing that we have access to instant life.


People want the “Instant Body”; they want it now and they want everything that comes with it.  

Kayla taps into this psychology quite magnificently. Her workouts are 28 minutes as opposed to the conventional 45 – 1 hour session. Even more powerfully, she has harnessed her influence with the aid of before and after transformational pictures from her fans; curating consistently relevant and addictive content. It’s gripping, believe me, I would know.

Still, I wanted to finish on a high. The product is very strong and appealing for those with an extremely hectic schedule. The dietary programs are sound and Kayla seems to be an exceptional role model. There are no vulgar 3am posts from a swanky nightclub on Chapel Street. She says her success is ‘listening to the needs of her followers’ as they were the ones who requested the eBook in the first place and in that respect, Kayla is giving her followers what they want.



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By Natasha O’Neill

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