"When will I ever be able to do what I used to be able to do again?"
It's a question Sweat personal trainer and fitness influencer Kayla Itsines remembers asking herself after her first pregnancy four years ago.
And while much has changed this time around, after the 32-year-old welcomed her second child in January, Itsines remains open about sharing her honest post-baby fitness journey online.
At 16 weeks postpartum, from the outside it may look like the trainer has completely "bounced back" from pregnancy, but Itsines takes great pride in pointing out that all is not as it seems.
"When people look at my body and think 'how?', number one, there's genetics, two, I'm a trainer and this is my job," Itsines tells 9Honey Coach.
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"Your job is not to get back into the gym. And three, I have a massive advantage over 99 per cent of the population because I've one done it before and I know what I'm doing."
She says her biggest pet hate is when people aren't honest about their situation online.
"Please don't compare yourself to me, I have so much help! People honestly ask celebrities how they did it. Are you joking? It's because they have nannies? That's how. They have night nurses. They get eight hours of sleep.
"Like, let's not be stupid with that sort of stuff. So for me, my family lives on my street. Any second of the day if I need two minutes I'll get two hours. That doesn't happen for most parents."
Getting back into the gym
After giving birth via c-section, Itsines started training with clearance from her doctor just over six weeks post-birth – even though she tried her luck at going back after four weeks.
"The doctor was like, 'What are you doing, you had major abdominal surgery, you don't get special clearance because you're Kayla itsines, you don't recover any faster than anyone else!'" she recalls.
Of course, clearance doesn't mean you're back into training like you were before, as Itsines stresses it's clearance for the "bare minimum".
To kick off her actual training, Itsines fitness tested herself against every exercise she was able to do before pregnancy – think push ups, squats, pull ups etc.
"I was not able to do a burpee, not able to do a sit up, but squats, I thought 'let's see how many I can do' and then I would sort of just write it down on a piece of paper," she says.
"And then I'll come back a few days later and do it again, just literally slowly building up."
It's a far cry from how she felt after her first pregnancy, admitting she is a lot more confident this time around in what she's doing.
"If you asked me this four years ago, I would have been like a little scared person because even as a trainer, I was like, 'I've never had major abdominal surgery before'.
"I've never felt a responsibility to just get back into fitness and back into bootcamps. This was pre-COVID, I was touring the world. I felt like I was completely lost and I remember being like 'if I feel like this, how does the rest of the population feel after they've had a baby?'"
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Using a combination of her own post-pregnancy and strength training programs, Itsines says her motto is "it's temporary".
"This time around I honestly use humour as the approach to this. I'm laughing that I can do three push ups. Because I know, that's not going to be me in a year. Everything is temporary and just enjoy the journey," she says.
Kayla Itsines' advice for post-pregnancy
Having a baby is the "hardest thing", Itsines says, and if she had to give one piece of advice it would be to actually "do nothing".
"No matter how you have the baby, if you had a cesarean, vaginal birth whatever, the post-pregnancy time is the hardest.
"So if I can say anything, it's just do nothing. I'm not asking you to do anything. I'm asking you to do the absolute bare minimum.
"I'm not going to say eat nutritious meals, just eat, just eat something. Go for a walk if you can, but if you can't do anything, just don't. Sleep will help you recover more than anything.
"My recommendations are sleep and vitamins. Just make sure you get some vitamins in and sleep and because it's actually impossible [to cope] otherwise."
Catering for all her followers
While her own journey currently is getting her strength back after having a baby, Itsines knows not all her followers are at a similar stage in their lives or fitness.
And so one of the biggest challenges has been continuing to cater to everyone, while remaining honest about her own progress.
"Right now, I'm almost four months postpartum. I've only just been able to do three sit ups. But [on my feed] it looks like I'm very advanced," she says.
"It's very hard to cater to the masses, but I think the way that you film something and the way that you actually are, are two different things.
"I'm working closely with healthcare professionals and my team to gauge what I can provide. I'm still able to film a high intensity workout, but am I not able to do a high intensity workout."
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Overall, Itsines says she's had very positive reactions from her community in response to her journey online, though she says it took some people a while to really understand how much help she has behind the scenes.
"Prior to having Ana, it was a lot of people saying 'you just wait 'till you have kids' and I really had in the back of my head like you guys don't understand how much help I have.
"I feel like now that I have two kids, everyone's like, she's got this."
'Getting my body back'
Despite this, Itsines still makes sure to clarify anything that might be misunderstood. For example, she doesn't want to add to the pressure women might feel to 'get their body back', explaining what that means for her.
"When I say, 'I just want my body back', I don't mean my physical-looking body. And I think only a mother will understand this. What we mean is, I want my body, my hormones, my skin, my hair, to function the way that I used to function.
"The baby takes control of your entire life and you don't care because it's your baby, it is priority number one, but your body is no longer yours.
"Every single day when I was feeling so sick I would think I just want to feel like what I felt like four months ago, or six months ago. When I was on holiday living my best life and now I'm like throwing up over a toilet. So that's what I mean by that."
As for what's next in the gym, Itsines says her goals have shifted slightly.
"Previously my goals were all about being able to get up on stage and run a bootcamp and be able to speak and train at the same time," she tells us.
"Now it's about strength, I want to be as strong as possible. So still high intensity training, but more with a strength element to it. I want to have strong legs, strong arms, do the most chin ups, like just impressive stuff.
"Just to prove to myself that I can do it."
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Experts break down some of the top online fitness trends View Gallery
Experts break down some of the top online fitness trends
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Calories burned in 30 minutes:
Generally, running is the best calorie-burning exercise. But if you don't have enough time to go on a run, you can shorten your workout into high-intensity sprints.
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Babies who were born vaginally may have an elongated head or "cone head" due to pressure on the skull to fit through the birth canal; babies born by C-section will have a rounder head. You may notice changes in your baby's skin, limbs, genitals, stool and urine over the next few weeks.Can you sue if baby is cut during C-section? ›
Yes. Your infant's fetal laceration may be caused by your doctor's inexperience or negligence. If this is the case, you have the right to sue your doctor for causing fetal lacerations in a medical malpractice lawsuit.Who is Kayla Nicole Jones baby father? ›
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It's been a big week for Kayla Itsines and Jae Woodroffe. Last Tuesday, the pair announced that they were engaged in a joyful Instagram post where Itsines showed off one of the most stunning (and sparkling!) engagement rings we've ever seen.
As of 2023, Kayla Itsines has a net worth of $270 million Australian dollars. When she was with Tobi, they had a combined net worth of $486 million. She had half of this, and 4 years later, she has increased her net worth mostly by herself. This is based on the value of her Gold Coast home, her gym and online business.How much does Kayla cost? ›
Cost: You can get the "Sweat With Kayla" app free for a week. After that, it's $19.99 (U.S.) a month. Good for Beginners? Not if you're very much out of shape.