Obviously, she's had the last laugh.

By Renee Cherry
Photo: Monica Schipper / Getty Images

Kayla Itsines may be treated like a fitness goddess now, but back in the day, her strength was the cause of grade-school taunting. She posted a photo to Instagram and wrote about her experience being shamed for having muscles when she was younger. (Related Video: Instagram Star Kayla Itsines Shares Her 7-Minute Workout)

"In primary school, I played a lot of sport," Itsines captioned the pic of her flexed 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)." (She still gets unwanted critiques, but Itsines refuses to wish her body was built differently.)

Sure, times have changed since Itsines was younger. More women are trying to gain muscle through diet and exercise than in the past. But Itsines pointed out in her post that we still have work to do. Women are still criticized for their muscles way after elementary school. Just take Anna Victoria, who's been told her body would look better "less toned and curvier," or Chyanne Weatherby, whose muscles have been deemed "manly." And it's not just internet trolls who are to blame. In her post, Itsines pointed out how the harder full-plank version of push-ups are called "guy push-ups" and the easier version on your knees are "girl push-ups." The terminology seems harmless and is so ingrained, but it's one of the subtle ways we reinforce the stereotype that strength training isn't feminine.

Itsines ended her post with a plea for women to fight the notion that muscles are manly. "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! You are NOT a 'boy' if you have muscles. You are strong and amazing and PLEASE don't let anyone tell you otherwise!!"


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