Kayla Itsines Has Officially Renamed Her Infamous "Bikini Body Guides"
It's been about 12 years since Australian trainer Kayla Itsines started sharing fitness content on Instagram, and seven years since she launched her hit Bikini Body Guide in 2014. It took the internet by storm, propelling her to a fitness stardom that led her to launch the Sweat with Kayla app in 2015, which promptly reached No. 1 in the App Store in 142 countries within the first year of release. She's since teamed up with other trainers in her newer SWEAT app, launched in 2017, to offer different workouts (and personalities) for any fitness need. And in 2019, after the birth of her daughter Arna, she launched a postpartum program called Kayla Itsines Post-Pregnancy.
This is all to say, Itsines has earned her spot as a notable fitness mogul and, in many respects, paved the way for the social-media fitness culture that exists today.
But while Kayla's life and business model has changed over the years, so has the wellness industry. We simply don't talk about people's bodies, health, food, or fitness the way we used to. The body-positive and anti-diet movements have gained traction and continue to evolve, and the focus of fitness has shifted from aesthetics to strength and ability to simply doing it to feel good. Any "love handle" or "muffin top" talk has been almost entirely outlawed, as have promises of quick fixes or six-pack abs. While, yes, weight loss is still a valid and admirable goal if that's part of your personal journey, the narrative around it has shifting entirely.
And this is all exactly why Itsines is (finally) changing the name of her first hit program, the e-book that arguably changed fitness forever. That's right: The Bikini Body Guides are no more. Now, her BBG program is named "High Intensity with Kayla," BBG Stronger is "High Intensity Strength with Kayla," and BBG Zero Equipment is "High Intensity Zero Equipment with Kayla." The guides still contain the same tried-and-true workouts, but they've been completely rebranded.
"It has been almost 10 years since I created BBG with the positive intent that every BODY is a bikini body," Itsines wrote in an Instagram post announcing the change. "However, I feel the name now represents an outdated view of health and fitness so as co-founder of Sweat, I feel it is the right time to change our approach with BBG and to evolve and use language that feels more positive for women today."
While she's just making the change now, her feelings aren't new. In a 2016 interview with Bloomberg, Itsines said: "Do I regret calling my guides Bikini Body? My answer is yes...That's why when I released the app, I called it Sweat With Kayla. Sweat is so empowering. I love that." That said, she didn't officially nix the name Bikini Body Guides until now.
"As you can imagine this is a huge moment for me personally as my programs with the BBG name are so well known and have been a massive part of building one of THE biggest female fitness communities in the world," she continued in the post.
Why did it take so long? Well, it makes sense that, when the start of her personal success was so heavily dependent on these guides, she'd feel apprehensive about totally re-branding. After all, the whole community modeled itself in her likeness: there are currently more than 7 million Instagram posts tagged with #BBG, and thousands of Instagram accounts started by BBGers who've created their own personal brands around documenting their experience with the programs.
But by renaming her guides now, Itsines is helping to continue the cultural shift that workouts aren't about the body they get you, but the way they make you feel and the things they do for your health. Yeah, she could've done it a bit sooner, but if the last year (and the emergence of cancel culture) has taught us anything, it's that we should allow each other to recognize our mistakes and make changes with grace.
"The fitness industry has evolved so much since I got my qualification as a personal trainer over a decade ago," Itsines told Shape. "The way women view and think about fitness has changed from focusing on physical appearance to embracing the mental and emotional benefits of exercise and living a holistically healthy lifestyle. I want my programs to reflect what fitness is today and that's why I decided to change my program names to 'High Intensity.'"
For Itsines, becoming a mother has been a major key in that awakening. "Since having Arna, I've become even more aware of how important it is that we use language that EMPOWERS women," she continued in the announcement. "I want to use language that is completely positive and inspiring for all women and that is the world I want Arna to grow up in. Over the last 10 years I've learnt that how we communicate to women and the language we use really MATTERS. I feel SO positive about this change. I'm proud that as a company at @sweat we can look at something and think that 'that's not good enough' or 'that's not right anymore' and make the relevant changes."
Loyal followers, fellow trainers, and other supporters commented on Itsines' announcement to show their support. "I love this step girl! Bravo! The words we use are so important 😍 love everything you do and stand for!" wrote one follower. "You are amazing! It takes a lot of courage to edit your past thinking so publicly! I'm so happy about this change. Sweat is so empowering and supportive, and now the name matches," wrote another.
And they're right. It may have taken a little while, but the change in branding for BBG is the perfect example of the fact that it's never too late to make a positive change.