Six things I’ve learnt from doing Kayla Itsines plan and how I finally got abs in my 30’s

By Alice Dore-Jones
I’ve been chasing abs for years. Literally running after them hoping that I too could be the owner of a flat trim tummy like those seen on Victoria Secret models. Problem was I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere and I’d come to a point where I thought it was never going to happen for me.

Then I found Kayla Itsines. Kayla has an amazing body and is basically a walking billboard for her product. However, she’s not another model who is trading on good genes telling us we can have the same body. She is in fact a personal trainer, with a 12 week plan and hundreds of transformations under her belt to prove it works.  She is also a no-nonsense person who really wants the best for girls and this shows in her approach.

Based on all of this I was sold and so began 12 weeks of pain, joy and everything in between. Here is what I’ve learnt from it and my over all results:

1) Less really is more

Before the plan

I’d done a marathon the year before. I was now running, doing sit-ups and some weights. I’d found a few workout videos I could do at home but nothing was really sticking. So, I was basically running five days a week and walking to work when I could. I was feeling fit and it was keeping me at my goal weight. But I felt weak when it came to picking things up. I also didn’t have the toned abs I really wanted.  Basically, it felt like the harder I worked the less progress I saw and instead of being strong and fit, I looked just weak and thin.


Wow, I’m feeling strong. I can push out way more push ups then I use to be able to do (it’s not heaps but hey it’s a 300% increase and I’m still doing more each week). My legs feel strong but in a different way to having toned legs from just running alone. Best of all, my abs are coming along! I’ll never forget the moment I was in a change room trying on a dress and looked at the mirror and realised I actually had a toned stomach.

I get so much more out of these 28 minute work outs than the 40 minute runs I was doing.  I’ve come to see that it’s better to do a super charged workout and give it my all for that shorter amount of time, then muddle along for longer then needed. I’ve stayed the same weight (but my body has changed). I’m still running but twice a week, then one walk and three of the Kayla workouts. Overall I have more balance in my fitness approach.

2) You have to push yourself.

I felt like I was starting all over again. My fitness level in running was great but this demanded something new. I had to push myself through every work out. It’s just you and the program when it comes time to do it. So, you have to make the commitment to getting through those 28 minutes. Kayla isn’t there to push you through it. My advice is to not wuss out. Push yourself to get through that set of push-ups, those extra burpees.  I had to pep talk myself so many times. “Just two more… COME ON!” I’d say to myself and I’d force myself to just do it.  Don’t think it’s impossible, just keep going. Also, if it takes a little longer then the 28 mins, then so be it.

3) Think outside the plan when you need to.

Every now and then there might be equipment or space that I didn’t have. For instance,  I couldn’t do a set of broad jump burpees in my spare room (I’d run into the wall and I was already face planting enough when it came to the push-ups!). I also don’t have a bench seat either. So, I modified the exercises to doing as close to the plan as possible. This might call for a little research or work shopping moves till you have something that will make it work.  I figured as long as I was giving it my all (not changing things to make them easier but so I could actually complete the workout) then Kayla would approve.

4) Be happy for pain.

During these 12 weeks I’ve gone to bed hurting like I never have before. I’ve had moments where I’ve felt a muscle pain in my butt cheeks with each step. You have no idea how much you move parts of your body until they are in pain. But you know what, I felt amazing too. It’s totally worth it to know your pushing your body to a place it hasn’t been. What’s that saying… No pain. No gain!

5) Built a community around you.

I actually had my Husband start working through the plan too.  It was great to have someone else know what it was like to have such a sore butt or laugh about how I thought I was dying after certain workouts. Also, I looked online to see what other people were doing . I loved checking out the YouTube video’s that other girls had made doing workouts or when they shared their pics. You are not alone in your attempts.

6) You get out what you put in.

It’s not just about doing the workouts. You have to also look at what you’re eating. We’ve all heard the saying that great abs are made in the kitchen not in the gym. Well it’s true.

Kayla has an eating plan as well. I looked at it but I decided to stick with my current diet. Mainly because I found her plan very similar to my diet anyway but also I’ve worked pretty hard over the last 10 years to be a healthy person.  I did modify my eating in terms of portion size.  Her plan made me realise while I was on track for the most part, I was sometimes eating more than I needed.

But if I’m being completely honest I follow this style of eating 80% of the time. I have a vice in that I do drink alcohol and on weekends let my hair down a bit with meals out with friends and my husband. I’ve done the 100% in the past. For me I know when I’m super healthy than results shine through but I’m not happy. I find balance in the 80% and that’s what I practised over the 12 weeks. Always aiming for healthier choices and not beating myself up for the occasional treat.

So, in saying this I’d say I got 80% out of the plan. But that 80% was far better than anything I’d had before in terms of muscle toning and reaching body goals.

Wrap up

Would I do it again?? Hell yes! Should you give it a go?? I’d recommend it to anyone.

I’m hooked. In fact I plan to buy Kayla’s weeks 13-24 ASAP. I’m nervous for the pain and what it will be like to go to bed sore again (I feel like my body only just got use to those step-ups) but I’m also motivated by results which I’d never thought were possible.

I’m happy to answer any questions about this or I’d love to hear your own experiences. I’m going to share my new fav workout for when I’m time poor or away from home next time.

My results


Yep… just chilling in my swimmers or underwear as you do…

Below is a sample of one of the workouts in the plan and you can find out more from Kayla’s website here.


5 thoughts on “Six things I’ve learnt from doing Kayla Itsines plan and how I finally got abs in my 30’s

  1. Pingback: Bump ahead | Chalk
    • chalkitupaus says:

      Hi Sara, When I’m trying to be “good” I do Vodka soda and lime. But I like to have wine. I tend to drink a three times in the week. Sometimes it’s a glass or two- other times it’s a quite a few more then that. Good luck with the 12 weeks!

      • Sara says:

        So you drank 3x a week or whatever when you did it? I didn’t start today but think I’m going to bite the bullet and start. I currently do Buti yoga and love it but see such great results on Instagram from Kalya too.

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