Kayla Itsines says it exactly how it is...

She’s the global fitness sensation who’s helped transform the bodies of thousands of women with her famous Bikini Body Guide (hunt for #BBG on Insta ASAP) – but what we really love about Kayla Itsines, 26, is her no BS approach to staying healthy.

Now’s You and Improved Ed Lucy Gornall caught up with the Australian fitspo to set a few things straight…

Weights will NOT make you bulky

You’ve heard it before, and Kayla’s saying it again: lifting weights will not leave you looking like a female bodybuilder.

‘The dedication and time it takes to look like that is more than the average person would do in the gym. They train to look that way,’ reveals Kayla, who says that lifting weights helps you feel a sense of empowerment, especially in a world where women are seen to be ‘weaker’.

Stop focusing on how you look

Ready for a challenge? Kayla tells Now: ‘We’re always told: “Wear this” or “You’ll look better in this dress.” But imagine I was blind and tell me something you like about you. For me, I like that I’m helpful and that my main focus is my family.’

She adds: ‘Think about the most beautiful person you know; they’re not beautiful because of what they look like, they’re beautiful for who they are. The more confident you are as a person, the less you care about what people think of you because you know your own worth.’

MORE: Is boxing the latest fitness trend celebs just can’t get enough of?!

Surround yourself with positive people

That’s people who inspire you, motivate you and say ‘well done’ to you. ‘When things are going right, you want people there for you. Friends say: “Oh, when I’m upset she’s there for me,” but what about when you get a promotion?’ asks Kayla.

Don’t compare

This is a tough one, especially with social media. Kayla explains that you may have the greatest body in the world but secretly you’re scrolling through Instagram thinking: ‘Why don’t I look like that?’

‘People are wanting to be you when you’re wanting to be someone else – we’re not happy with what we have. And until we are, things aren’t going to change. Really appreciate what you have,’ she says.

Do what YOU love

‘One thing that knocks women’s confidence is when they go with trends they don’t like just because everyone else is doing it.

Be confident in what you like doing, whether it’s a spin class or going for a walk,’ says Kayla, who adds that we need to stop focusing on ‘fads’.

‘One minute everyone wants a bigger bum, a few years back it was abs, when you’re about to get married it’s all about arms and back. We don’t need to focus on these things.’

Enjoy your CARBS

Everywhere we turn there’s a new ‘no carbohydrate’ diet or new rule that, quite frankly, leaves us hangry.

‘Carbs are energy and our body needs energy. Carbs aren’t unhealthy; it’s what you put with them that makes them unhealthy. If you top plain pasta with a creamy sauce, it’s unhealthy,’ says Kayla who also laughs at the idea of banishing ‘bad’ white carbs.

‘Brown pasta and brown bread are better options than white but there’s only a slight difference between them. It’s like a leg press and a squat; they kinda do the same thing but the leg press is just a little bit more effective.’

Remove the guilt

‘I refer to a dessert as a “cheat meal”, but it really is just a dessert – it’s not a cheat,’ Kayla says. ‘When I die, I want to look back and know that I did what I wanted to do and didn’t spend my whole life on a diet – for what?’

There are no ‘bad’ foods

That burger might not be so bad after all. Kayla explains: ‘When you eat a burger, your body doesn’t go: “That was a burger, that’s bad.” It goes: “How much of this is carbs, how much is sugar, how much is vegetables?” So out of a block of cheese and a burger, the burger is better. It has protein, it has veg, it has salts.’

So when you think: ‘Oh, I shouldn’t have eaten that!’ – really, who cares?

Check out Kayla’s new BBG Stronger programme on the SWEAT App – www.kaylaitsines.com/app #BBGStronger #SWEAT