The new wave of Instagram fitness models: Kayla Itsines, Taylor Spadaccino and Jen Selter

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Fitness has always been an important topic in society. People admire lean and trim models and seek to follow in their example of healthy physiques. A couple of decades ago it was adequate enough to put on a few exercise videos and work out in front of your television. However with the inception of Instagram in 2010, a new wave of fitness idols was created.

This previously only used to refer to present day industry giants, such as Jen Selter and Kayla Itsines, but is now starting to acquire new meaning with the growth of influencers like Taylor Spadaccino – a relative newcomer to the scene who has witnessed incredible growth in the past few years and is expected to continue exponentially gaining followers in the future.

Jen Selter

Jen Selter is a 28-year-old American famous for her fitness modelling on Instagram. She has experienced great success on and off the platform, managing to make numerous endorsement deals and public appearances, release books and fitness videos and work with companies such as Nike, Lululemon and New Balance.

Jen grew up aware of the importance of an active lifestyle, having started working out at the age of 15. Within a few short years she had already achieved her personal fitness goals of a well-sculpted body. She decided to try and capitalize on the growth Instagram was experiencing and took off.

Whilst still working two part-time jobs and studying, one of her workout pictures from a gym session went viral and Jen was famous overnight.

Kayla Itsines

Kayla Itsines is another massively popular model in the Instagram fitness world. The 30-year-old personal trainer and author from Southern Australia has previously been named as one of the thirty most influential people on the internet by Times Magazine.

Her journey began when she discovered her love for fitness at the gym in her mid-teens. She realized her passion for the sport was so great that she decided to become a personal trainer. She created aerobic routines that became popular and began organizing her students’ Before and After photos on Instagram.

Within a few short months she had gained hundreds of thousands of followers all eager for her nutrition and fitness advice. As a result of this growth, Itsines released her massively successful ‘Bikini Body Guides’ and watched as her online presence exploded.

Taylor Spadaccino

Taylor Spadaccino is a newcomer to the scene who is being compared by some to the aforementioned giants of the industry. The 32-year-old has taken quite the unorthodox route into the Instagram fitness scene, whilst her fellow influencers followed a more traditional route through a background of sport or weightlifting, Spadaccino’s passion for fitness was ignited in the United States Marine Corps (USMC).

Having joined the USMC after High School in 2014, the Instagram model finished an extensive four year term, during which was deployed in Afghanistan for seven months. It was here, where the self-described “little weakling” began lifting weights in her spare time as there was little else to do. She began the tour as a “skinny girl [who] couldn’t even do a pullup”, but when she was honorably discharged from the USMC the veteran was a changed woman.

Upon returning home from her tour Spadaccino began to further pursue this passion for fitness she had discovered, and found that it only grew with time. She found that “with each passing day, I like[d] myself more and more, and worry less and less about what the world wants me to be”.

This passion grew into a career when Spadaccino began to pursue bodybuilding professionally in the IFBB division whilst earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Her hard work in the gym evidently paid off as she was granted her International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) pro card in 2016.

Concluding remarks

Taylor Spadaccino shares much in common with these Instagram fitness superstars, in that she is driven, conscientious and talented, but is also unique in that her background is incredibly unorthodox and impressive. This is important because she shares all the qualities with Jen and Kayla that contributed to their success but is distinct enough that she will rise up within the industry and not be a carbon-copy of another model, like so many others.

Story by Virginia Sagal


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