After the birth of her baby, world-renowned personal trainer, Kalya Itsines explains the importance of adapting your workout routine post-pregnancy. In this episode, she shares her own experience, starting fresh at the gym, unable to do many of the things that used to be easy for her, and how she built up her strength, physically and mentally.
Personal Trainer & Co-Founder of Sweat App & BBG
Kayla Itsines has been named the most influential personal trainers in the world by Forbes. She and her partner Tobi Pearce have built a veritable fitness empire, with over 12 million Instagram followers and one of the top-selling apps in the iTunes store.
Maria Marlowe: [00:00:33] Welcome back to the Happier and Healthier podcast. Today, I’m joined once again by top personal trainer Kayla. It seems you may have heard our earlier episode, which was all about staying on track with your fitness goals and general health and fitness advice. This episode I brought Kayla back to talk about how to adapt your fitness and health routine a post pregnancy as she recently had a little baby girl. A quick announcement before we jump in. I recently re-launched my website healthybymarlowe.com, which is loaded with healthy recipes, nutrition and wellness articles, previous podcasts, meal plans and online courses. If you haven’t been there in a while or ever. Be sure to check it out. It is a wonderful resource. And while you’re there. Be sure to sign up for my Real Food Remedies Guide, which is all about using food as medicine to improve your digestion, slim down, increase your energy and clear up your skin.
Maria Marlowe: [00:01:41] Kayla, thanks for coming back on the show me. So you’re going to be at Dubai active this weekend.
Kayla Itsines: [00:01:46] Yes. Yeah.
Maria Marlowe: [00:01:47] You’re going to be leading. Is this your first bootcamp since having a baby?
Kayla Itsines: [00:01:51] Yes. This is my first.
Maria Marlowe: [00:01:54] So Kayla, last time Kayla was on this show was pre-baby, now post-baby. So how is life different?
Kayla Itsines: [00:02:01] Oh, my God. It’s so different having a baby and just changes everything. And I think it just changes your whole mind perspective, your priorities, like how you would try and things that you prioritize. It’s everything. Your baby. And that’s all we really care about. So it’s been great.
Maria Marlowe: [00:02:16] But yeah. But I know that you talked about having to begin again. So you are a top fitness trainer in the world and then you had a baby and then even you felt like you had to start all over.
Kayla Itsines: [00:02:28] Yeah, I felt what every woman has ever felt. And I think it was a big shock to me to be able to go into a gym and feel so conscious or feel anxiety or feel scared and didn’t really. I never thought that that would be me. But having a cesarean, you just like you’re on edge, like any surgery, any major surgery, you’re just on and you think, you know what’s going to happen. And so I just had to work it out on the back of that. I’ve just released two new programs because of it. So, yeah. Blessing.
Maria Marlowe: [00:02:57] Well, let’s talk about the beginner program first. So tell us about that. What who is that for and why is it different than your other programs?
Kayla Itsines: [00:03:07] Well, BBG, the original BBG. Everyone knows it’s the high-intensity program. And I felt that women who probably didn’t know what to do when they got into a gym didn’t know where to start. Someone perhaps over the Christmas period, had a big break. Getting back to the gym, I maybe did it by jumping to a high intensity program. Maybe they wanted something for because you just don’t have to be a beginner to do the beginner program. It’s just something that builds a foundational strength to be able to go into something like BBG. You be pretty strong or wherever you want to go in in your fitness and your health path. But yeah, it’s something for that woman that needs a little bit of guidance in the gym.
Maria Marlowe: [00:03:47] Ok. And so once they do the beginner program, then they’ll be ready to…
Kayla Itsines: [00:03:54] Yeah. They can transition to it. It’s a smooth transition straight into it. So it’s at add on weeks.
Maria Marlowe: [00:03:57] And so for someone that just had a baby, they would do the pregnancy program…
Kayla Itsines: [00:04:04] Yeah, definitely. There’s a big difference. An outlet that really quickly because I was like, okay, we can when I was pregnant like. Right. Just need a program that can transition you. That’s not how it works. You need a post-pregnancy program which is very specific to post-pregnancy, especially if you’ve had a cesarean. So I made sure that I kept that in mind when creating my program. And then from there, once you go, you have to get clearance first. A much better program that you can start a beginner program. But you don’t necessarily go train for beginner, post-pregnancy.
Maria Marlowe: [00:04:30] Yeah. OK. So let’s talk through the whole thing. For women who haven’t had a baby yet or maybe are about to have a baby or just they’re pregnant now. How does your exercise need to change and what needs to change during your workouts if you’re pregnant? Yeah. Let’s start from pregnancy to post-pregnancy.
Kayla Itsines: [00:04:47] So if you’re pregnant, every pregnancy is different. So I can’t sit here and tell you you can do this while pregnant. You can do that while you’re pregnant. When I was pregnant. I was sick for so long, I couldn’t work out or I just did my best like. So I’m not going to sit here until any pregnant person that they need to work out. If you don’t feel like working, then you don’t need to work out. With post-pregnancy. You need to make sure that you have clearance. So what happens is the journey is you give birth. You then have a waiting period. And that is decided by your doctor. A cesarean is just a minimum of six weeks. So you do nothing basically for six weeks. You can go for light walks if you can. But it is a major surgery.
Kayla Itsines: [00:05:21] If you have natural birth or whatever you want to call it? You have a clearance from your doctor and then you’re able to get back into what they like to call light exercise, which you have absolutely no idea what that means. Hence why I created the post-pregnancy program because I got cleared. Imagine a doctor saying to you right now. Cool. You’re cleared. Ok. But what am I cleared for? Oh, you’re free to just, you know, go back into light training. You know who I am? You know what I do? What does light training mean? So I was very confused. And that’s why I created post-pregnancy to do the post-pregnancy program as many times as you want until you feel comfortable and then you move into to beginner or wherever you want to go.
Maria Marlowe: [00:06:02] Got it. OK. And are there certain, I imagine after giving birth, that’s quite taxing on your body. I’m sure there’s different muscles and things that you need to focus on. Right.
Kayla Itsines: [00:06:13] Yes. So I think one of the main things that women automatically think is my abs, my stomach to go. That is the last thing you think about. You want to think about your core stability, but you also want think about things like posture. If you’re breastfeeding, like you’re like this. So your back is, anything you want to think about, increasing your back strength, your shoulder strength, things that you can do to be able to hold a baby. So these are the things that I keep in mind, like even squats, pelvic floor stuff. There was so many things that you need to do rather than thinking of my abs, I want my abs back.
Maria Marlowe: [00:06:44] Yes. Well, I know most women that have come to me if after they have a baby, they want to immediately get their stomach back like flat in their stomach and lose weight. But that’s not necessarily the thing that they should be focusing on. It’s more health, making sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need.
Kayla Itsines: [00:07:03] Absolutely, looking after your baby after so many things you should put your focus on. And I’m a trainer. You know, I’m the one that could sit here and so the world and say, you know, you need to do this. And you did. You don’t. If you’ve just given birth, there are so many things that you need to focus on. The last thing that you want to think about is what your stomach looks like. That is just…
Maria Marlowe: [00:07:25] So what are some things that have changed now that you have a baby? What was surprising to you about becoming a mother or having a care? Like, how has your life changed?
Kayla Itsines: [00:07:35] My life completely change. I can’t even I don’t even remember what my life was before. I don’t even know how much time I had in my day to just do whatever I wanted to do for now. I think the thing that has like is it has been a blessing, is a routine for Arna. So I’m able to work out her routine.
Kayla Itsines: [00:07:53] When she was about six weeks old, she developed reflux and colleagues at the same time, which for anyone who doesn’t know reflux is always that burning sensation of milk coming back up. And then the colic is when they can’t get the gas out. So your, stomach is like constantly if it a screaming & screaming, and you sort of have to kind of diagnose yourself, I guess. So there was like a period of time with that. But my life completely was consumed by trying to work out why my baby was crying all the time. Do you feel that the worst mother in the world and then suddenly doesn’t have colic anymore and suddenly she doesn’t have reflux and your lactating again, her routine changed. You just constantly working around. Feel like I’m babbling. You just want a fast forward. Yeah. My routine and my day is constantly changing.
Maria Marlowe: [00:08:36] Yeah, I’ve heard that from a lot of new moms is that you gave your baby a routine and then you just work around that.
Kayla Itsines: [00:08:41] Absolutely. Then worse like not the worst thing, but like a thing that like I just couldn’t do is try and fit it all into my routine. That doesn’t work. Yeah. I have terrible routine and then I’m like, okay she’s sleeping. Three, two, one dog two hours.
Maria Marlowe: [00:08:55] Yeah. So I know time is a big problem for a lot of people. Are it’s an excuse me. We all use whether you have a kid or not, nobody has enough time. So what tips do you have for someone who wants to get healthy or wants to start working out more but doesn’t have the time?
Kayla Itsines: [00:09:11] So something is better than nothing. It’s basically what I would say to someone. So whether you have five minutes, two minutes, whatever, that’s what I really started doing. That is how I am here today, about to move to by active boot camp, by literally going to gym and doing a two-minute workout, because that’s all I could do. Even my first workout I thought in my head was going to be a workout. I went to the gym, walked straight back out. I have absolutely no idea what was going on. So I’m too scared. I’m honestly too scared. I’m happy to admit that now walked onto the treadmill, got on the treadmill last 14 minutes on the slowest walk possible, got off crying. I’m being honest. that’s that’s me as a trainer and athlete my entire life. That’s what happened to me. So something better than nothing. So just do a little workout. At Dubai Active I’m going to show women how to work out in 2 minutes.
Maria Marlowe: [00:10:00] Ok. Well, I’ll definitely be there for that. Yes. I’ve got the 30 minutes of good. I like that. 30 minutes. Yeah.
Kayla Itsines: [00:10:07] Even twenty minutes is great. And that’s why we didn’t been so popular. But even post-pregnancy, I make some of the workouts. Eight minutes.
Maria Marlowe: [00:10:12] Wow. And for someone who is doing, let’s say, an eight minute workout every day, that’s still enough to get results. Absolutely. If you were doing nothing before that. Absolutely. Yeah. So for anyone who has lost their motivation to work out or they maybe they never have the motivation to work out. What would you tell these people? How do you start a fitness routine when you feel like your motivation is not there?
Kayla Itsines: [00:10:37] So the first thing that I think people don’t want to hear, but that you can never, ever rely on motivation to get you going. Motivation is very fleeting, comes and goes whenever it feels like you might watch something, become really motivated and excited or do anything at all. You get a period and you’re not interested in anything. So you have to rely on discipline. And the way to do that is things like looking in your workouts, like you would have an appointment getting a friend that’s going to motivate you to get you off the couch, surround yourself with people like a community that will motivate you to do more. Get them music playlist and actually organize your life, plan your workout. So someone that sweat up is amazing because it has you work out there. Show you the video. Tells you how long you’ve got. People need more education around why they’re doing what they’re doing. Get educated, you know, the benefits of doing something, you’re more likely to stick to it.
Maria Marlowe: [00:11:24] I agree 100 percent. I think I know personally for me that it’s work. And for so many people, so many clients that that is work. It’s having that strong y and really understanding why you’re making the change. It makes it much easier to stick to it. So do you have any other health habits besides obviously working out? What do you do to keep yourself healthy?
Kayla Itsines: [00:11:46] So I try and combine things that I love with fitness. One thing that like I have like a solid praise. I feel this is me, OK? Netflix will stand whatever channel that you want. Combined with cardio. I will not go to a gym unless I know that I can phone on the treadmill and watch my favorite TV show while working out because there is nothing more boring than walking on a treadmill listening to gym music. There’s nothing more boring. A living will likely last two minutes and go home. I combine like things I love. I watch my favorite TV show and walking at the same time. And some friends, like some strollers, have phone attachments. If you walk down the backstreets and you know, when you walk in without any cars, you can actually watch the show.
Maria Marlowe: [00:12:31] Oh, wow, that’s great. I know. I actually watched. I was very wasted. I don’t know. Gossip Girl is popular in Australia.
Kayla Itsines: [00:12:39] You know, I’m really bad with any sort of any of those shows. It is. But yeah.
Maria Marlowe: [00:12:44] This is very, very popular in the states. When it first came out and I was very late to the game watching like I started watching it after this whole thing. Here is that. And then. But that’s what I would do. I would only watch it when I was on the treadmill or when I was on the bike in the gym. Absolutely. And it really I ended up going to the gym quite frequently.
Kayla Itsines: [00:13:02] You know, you like what you’re doing? You like that’s fine. I’m going to. And then if you sort of stay in your head, I’m only going to watch it when I’m on the treadmill.
Maria Marlowe: [00:13:08] Yeah, then you’re there every day. Absolutely. Yeah. And what about some daily habits? Do you have a morning routine or an evening routine? Anything that you’re doing on a regular basis to.
Kayla Itsines: [00:13:19] Other than my walks? No, I want to be really honest with that. I’m not like I get up in the morning and stretch because I get up in the morning and I’m like I gotta get everything ready. It’s a bit crazy. The only thing that like I mean, I do do which is like take a warm job or go to sleep because otherwise, like my body is like. I feel like very tense. It was winter in Australia for so long, it never ended. So just making sure like. But other than that was eating well, I’m staying hydrated. Well, the personal trainer things, I think. Yeah.
Maria Marlowe: [00:13:46] Yeah. So is there any one tip or piece of advice for our listeners to live a happier and healthier life now that you’re a mom? Maybe there’s something new.
Kayla Itsines: [00:13:57] I think like try and incorporate or involve your kids as much as you can in your lifestyle. That was like the best thing for me. I like was almost too focused on Arna’s routine. I forgot that, like, maybe we can go out, maybe we can go to the pool together. But being a kid doesn’t mean like her sleeping. And me working out at a gym maybe is like her coming to the gym with me or ask going for a walk or going for a swim together. Still stay active. I think that like made our relationship so much stronger.
Maria Marlowe: [00:14:22] Yeah. Is Arna. I mean, she’s so tiny right now. Is she into your activities already? Like swimming.
Kayla Itsines: [00:14:28] And so she has always been the first memory I have. Honestly, is the doctor being like, how is she looking at you? I put her on my chest and instead of putting her head down like a normal baby, look that I have neck strain. She nearly lifted her head up and just stared at me in my face. The doctors like this is so weird. So she’s always been super strong. So right now she’s seven months old and he put her on the ground and she pulls her self up. I was a very early walker. I feel like she’s mini me.
Maria Marlowe: [00:14:57] You know, babies changes. Do you think she is going to be working out very soon?
Kayla Itsines: [00:15:08] Absolutely. I think, like my parents were big on us being active. They were pushy, but they were big enough being active. They didn’t couldn’t have video games or phones. Obviously, we didn’t have phones. I didn’t have a phone in high school. But, yes, I want her to be active with us. Both me and Toby are active.
Maria Marlowe: [00:15:23] Yeah, it’ll be great. So does that mean there’s a little kid program?
Kayla Itsines: [00:15:26] Oh, no absolutely. No BBG kids.
Maria Marlowe: [00:15:32] Thank you so much, Kayla. Thank you.
Kayla Itsines: [00:15:34] Thanks for having me.