Kayla Istines shares her workout advice
Timothy Burgess
February 25, 2016 6:39 AM EST

During school, I was the girl who would get put down for being weak. Although I played basketball, I would eat a lot of sugary sweets and was frequently tired and sick. I wanted energy, I wanted to feel good and I wanted to feel confident.

I knew what I had to do and that it involved changing my life for the long‐term. I wanted to exercise, be healthy and get my body strong. I already had a passion for sport and for helping people, so it was then that I decided I would become a personal trainer. I wanted to learn and live everything health and fitness.

Over the last seven years, I’ve trained women exclusively, listening to their goals, hearing about the body shaming they’ve endured and listening to the diets they’ve been on and the stress they’ve often put their bodies through. That’s why I developed my own style of training specifically for women.

Read more: Kayla Itsines’ 28-Minute Total-Body Workout

I frequently get asked, “What’s the quickest way to be healthy and get fit?” and my response has never changed: Health and fitness is a lifestyle change. It’s not a diet that has an end date, it’s a long‐term commitment that you and your body enter into together. It can be confusing for women to truly understand how they can live a healthy lifestyle, as there are fad diets coming out so regularly. Instead, I can only tell you that there is no shortcut to health and fitness. My goal has always been and will always be to empower women by providing them with the right tools and information they need to become fit and strong and feel the confidence that they deserve for the long-term. The best thing about my BBG (which stands for “Bikini Body Guide”) community is that it is full of like‐minded women who share the same health and fitness goals and support, encourage and uplift each other every day.

I believe one of the biggest roadblocks women face is thinking exercise is something they have ​to do rather than something they w​ant ​to do. I want women to work out because they love their body, not because they hate it. I want to help women focus on f​eeling ​a certain way, not looking a certain way. If exercising and eating right helps you feel amazing, why would you want to stop? It’s important to keep setting goals for yourself, yes, but if you achieve your initial goal, then set a new one for yourself.

I love the feeling exercise and eating healthy gives my body; it thrives off it. I’ve stopped feeling tired and devoid of confidence—and I now feel happier and happier every single day.

Read more: 6 Things That Determine How Long You’ll Live

If you’re looking to start a fitness journey, my best advice is to make sure you have the right mindset first. You can have all the reasons to work out in the world, but when it comes down to it, you’re going to enjoy it so much more if you’re exercising for your health, fitness, confidence and happiness.

There’s no better feeling than looking back and knowing what you’ve achieved.

Love your body, and it will love you right back!

Kayla Itsines is a personal trainer based in Adelaide, South Australia. She is known for her Bikini Body Training Guides and has a newly released fitness app, Sweat with Kayla.

Contact us at letters@time.com.

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