In the world of health and fitness (and social media) you’d have to have been hiding under a rock not to have come across Kayla Isines and her rockin body, crazy ass, groupie toting, burpee commanding, sweating, heaving……ahem… workouts. I want to love her. I really do. But everything.hurts.
But more on that later.
First of all, she’d like you to know, it’s pronounced “It’s-Seen-Ess”
Her eminently popular guide (and now app) is called Sweat With Kayla. It consists of a 12 week programme of Body weight/ free weight Resistance Training sessions 3 times a week for around 30 mins a session. In addition, she recommends 2 – 3 sessions of Low Intensity Training and High intensity training. (For me, that means hiking up my hill.)
The Resistance Training is what makes up the guides.
For example Mondays will be legs and cardio (have the emergency services on speed dial for Mondays) Wednesdays will be abs and arms and Friday is full body.
There are 8 exercise sets broken down into two circuits. You complete each set with the number of reps it says, repeating the circuit until 7 minutes is up.
Then you rest (read: gag repeatedly and question your life choices) for 30 seconds to a minute and start circuit two for 7 minutes.
Ha, you thought that was it. No no my friends, you do this all AGAIN. In total, including rests it should be about 30-32 minutes.
There is also a meal plan that you are supposed to follow, but I have needs that are too complicated for Kayla and her super white smile, so I follow my own meal plan.
* * *
Enter, day one:
So here I was, guides in hand. I was going to do this. THIS time, I was really going to commit. (The two times I already tried didn’t count).
I’m not going to lie. I was scared. I had gained a bit of weight over the last 3 months and my fitness was not exactly at its zenith. There was a reason my formerly yoga-heavy Instagram feed had featured trees and coffee cups of late.
When you are setting the 7 minute timer and you know the first minute is going to be burpees, an aggressive wave of cognitive dissonance washes over you. “who needs fitness?” it whispers “no-one judges you for driving with your pants undone, they all do it too..” And so the battle of mind over matter ensues.
The biggest question still resonating in my mind: Is this all a big money making have?
But in Kayla’s defense, her programme doesn’t promise an overnight miracle. It’s no Ab Flex or scary UFO-looking -3 -minute-a-day gadget, it’s 12 weeks of hard core fitness. There are no sponsored foods or supplements; it’s all on me. I am the one who has to make it work.
After avoiding the thought of the workout for a couple of hours (second coffee anyone?) I decide to just rip off the bandaid.
I take off nearly all my clothes. This won’t be pretty, and I will not want to be weighed down by excess sweaty fabric, like pants.
The timer starts.
For the first couple of sets I think I’m pretty good. Yes, I’m sweating, and my heart is pumping harder than a bogan’s fist at a tribute Guns and Roses show, but I’m still alive.
I manage to complete the 4 sets. Then I go again because the 7 minutes is not up yet.
And then the sweat starts to really form. The pride I had in my first round is starting to look premature. I struggle to look at the guides, because my eyes have filled with sweat, and tears.
Why won’t the timer go off? Why am I still lunging?!
The timer finally beeps. I have never loved the sound of an alarm so much in my life.
After a 1 minute rest I have to dive right into circuit two. And everything in me is already the consistency of day old custard.
This is the point where I start calling Kayla very unsavory names. At this point I feel like she personally hates me on a really intimate level.
But teeth gritted, and hot- body-after-pictures burned in my brain, I keep going. And going, and oh lord going.
That’s half way. I have to do the whole thing again.
So after 4 weeks how do I feel, and what are the pros and cons of joining the #kaylamovement ?
I am getting substantially fitter. I now only rest for a max of 30 seconds between circuits, and I only swore 7 times last Cardio and Legs day. That’s pretty good I reckon.
I don’t know if I’ve lost any weight, but I can see a hint of definition attempting to make a comeback.
The things I dislike about it, (other than the actual process of performing it) are that there are no modifications on the guides. It feels like you already need to possess the fitness of a German personal trainer just to start the programme. Thankfully I’ve done this gym thing for a while and I know safe ways to modify an exercise, however my best friend ended up in A and E after a few rounds of Kayla.
She was the one who gave me the guides, and a thumbs up.
Oh, I should also point out that Kayla is 24. She embodies Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. She is the bounciest human you’ll ever see, in a very small albeit well formed body that has not had any babies squeezed out of it. I only mention this, because if you are like me you may take one look at Kayla and give her the finger. You know, because you were up all night with toddlers, or waiting for your teenager to arrive safely in an uber, or just generally not a size 8 with attention deficit disorder. But I challenge you to channel that rage. Rage burns calories. (It might, you don’t know).
I’m only into week 5, so I have a long way to go. But I am expecting good things by week 12. At the end of the day, you have to know that exercise, no matter what form, will only do 20% of the changing of your body. The rest is what goes in your mouth, and the levels of stress that you are under. Creating good eating and calming habits that persist well beyond the 12 weeks prescribed in this programme, will be the difference between the good ‘before and after” photos and the kind that have you cursing the name of Kayla and her million minions.
Your timer starts…… now.