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I worked out with Kayla Itsines IRL—along with thousands of screaming fans


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Photo: Instagram/@KaylaItsines

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Let me preface this by saying I’ve never followed Kayla Itsines on Instagram. Of course I knew who she was—you can’t exactly work in the wellness world and not know who she is—but when I was asked to attend her New York City boot camp as part of her 2016 Sweat Tour this past Saturday, I had no idea what I was in for.

When I arrived at Basketball City—a massive indoor basketball court located in downtown Manhattan—you could tell something huge was going on. Girls were surrounding the doors from all directions, dressed in neon shorts and crop top bralettes, their hair in perfectly executed boxer braids. (I did a double take of a Kayla look-alike more than once.)

And I’m not gonna lie, I felt a bit cocky as I strolled through the VIP entrance, bypassing the long line of die-hard Kayla fans who had been waiting for hours to enter the AC-ed arena for the 1 p.m. boot camp. But that confidence quickly subsided as I entered—without a yoga mat I might add—to find the oversized basketball court almost completely filled up with girls (and a few guys) who had smartly brought their own yoga mats, towels, and water bottles.

kayla-itsines-bootcamp-nyc
Photo: Instagram/@tobi_pearce

I awkwardly found a space on the far right of the stage, inching as close as possible to the front—which, in my defense, was a lot easier to do sans yoga mat—as I waited eagerly to find out what this bootcamp would entail.

Suddenly, Taylor Swift started blasting from the speakers, and the crowd went wild. You would have thought that Swift herself had appeared, ready to give a live performance. But no, instead a large, muscular man—Itsines’ fiancee Tobi—appeared at the top of the staircase, and jogged his way to center stage.

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Photo: Katie Maguire for Well+Good

Although the acoustics weren’t great and his quick-talking, heavily Australian-accented voice was hard to catch throughout most of his speech, I could tell he was genuinely so excited and grateful for all the fans and couldn’t believe that over 4,000 (!) people were there. After a 30-minute, pretty difficult-to-hear speech, the moment had finally come for Itsines to enter.

Running down the staircase to the stage like Kobe Bryant entering the Staples Center, Itsines made her way front and center—and waited waited for everyone to finish screaming. (It took two full minutes.)

By now it was well past 1:30 p.m. and I was getting slightly worried that my hour-long commitment to a Saturday boot camp was turning into more of a several-hour commitment.

But I was happily mistaken. Itsines was a true boot camp professional. She started us off with a game of “Never have I ever” burpees. Example: “Never have I ever felt sore after a BBG set.” If you have, drop and do one burpee.

After the fun and games ended, she launched into a 45-minute full-on interval boot camp, and it was no joke. She flawlessly demonstrated each move and did almost the entire sequence with us, only stopping to glance up at our collective form and shout out words of encouragement. What started out as simple-enough single burpees quickly turned into squat jumps, push-up planks, and alternating lunges.

Suffice to say, her perfectly sculpted abs and toned arms and legs are no illusion—she held perfect form throughout the entire sequence, even as she (nicely) shouted through the microphone for us to keep going. It was a tough workout by any standard and, although I wasn’t even a fan before, I was genuinely impressed by the boot camp—and maybe even followed her on Instagram after.

Not lucky enough to snag a coveted spot on Itsines’ Sweat Tour? Scroll down to see part of the workout and try it out for yourself!

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Kayla Itsines-inspired Boot Camp Workout

Her workout is all about doing as many high-intensity moves as you can within 30 seconds. While Itsines strongly encourages you to push yourself to your limits, she also says it’s not a one-size-fits-all workout—meaning the number of reps will (and should) vary among every person.

Our workout consisted of a variation of the moves listed. Do each exercise for 30 seconds each, as many reps as you can, and rest for 30 seconds in between. And don’t forget to cool down and stretch afterward, Itsines orders! Ready, set, boot camp:

– Star jumps
– Mountain climbers
– High knees
– Double squat jump
– Jumping jack planks
– Lunges
– Bicycle crunch
– Regular push-ups
– Plank
– Alternating hand-elbow plank

A workout like that deserves a refreshing, post-sweat treat. Try out The DogPound’s Dara Hartman’s super hydrating mango sunshine smoothie. Or treat yourself big time with these delicious, frozen desserts that will give you an energy boost (not a sugar high).

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