Fitness star Kayla Itsines has taken to social media to share a strong message with her 12.1 million Instagram followers.
The Australian entrepreneur behind Bikini Body Guide revealed that as a young girl she was often teased for looking fit and wanted to remind her fans that "muscles are for everyone".
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In an Instagram post on Monday, Kayla, who boasts a multimillion-dollar fitness empire, said growing up she played a lot of sport and her strong physique was always a topic of conversation — and not in a positive way.
"I remember a girl coming up to me and lifting up my T-shirt and saying 'SEE, she has a six pack — she's a boy! You're a boy!'" she wrote.
"I actually tried to argue with her saying 'I'm not a boy!' and she said 'Yes you are! Only boys have six packs and can do push-ups'.
"Just to be clear I definitely didn't have a 'six pack' haha, but apparently because I had strong ab muscles and could do push-ups when I was 11 years old … I was a boy?" Kayla wrote.
The 28-year-old mother-of-one also revealed that in 2009 when she became a personal trainer, someone had told her push-ups on your toes are for men and the one's on your knees are a "girl push-up".
"I'M SORRY, WHAT IS GOING ON!?! Ladies, can we please teach the world that muscles are for everyone, fitness is for everyone, health, weights, training and working out is for EVERYONE!" Kayla wrote.
She concluded the post reminding her followers: "You are NOT a 'man' or a 'body builder' if you have muscles. You are strong and amazing and PLEASE don't let anyone tell you otherwise."
Kayla, who gave birth to her first child in April last year, shared the motivational post alongside a photo of her toned stomach.
Both her words and her snap received applause from other women who used the platform to share similar experiences.
One of the more than 1700 women to comment revealed how she regularly experiences sexism in her local gym.
"I also hate the free weight section being the 'boys section' of the gym. I'm a girl and I lift too thank you very much," to which Kayla responded, "Yes the whole gym is for everyone!"
"Amen! I've had people tell me I'm strong for a girl. What?! I'm just strong!" said another.
While a third added: "I still remember being 13 and a girl told me my shoulders were too muscular to wear singlets! I am proud of my strong arms now."
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Have you ever wanted to ask a fitness question on social media but felt embarrassed, scared or silly?? I got you. Two words: @SWEAT forum. For the ladies who don't know, you can find the #SWEAT forum under the 'Community' tab which is in the bottom right hand corner of the SWEAT app. It is a supportive space where women connect with each other, ask questions, get advice and gain confidence TOGETHER. There are NO silly questions - it's all about educating yourself and learning with an amazing bunch of women around you. It's SO important to surround yourself with a network who will support, encourage and keep you accountable on your fitness journey and I'm telling you, if you sign up to the SWEAT forum - you will never be alone!!! There has never been a better time to join SWEAT because in LESS than a week, I will be LIVE on the forum answering all of your #SWEATChallenge questions. It's 9am Thursday, January 30, 2020 (ACDT) and I can't WAIT. www.kaylaitsines.com/my-sweat-challenge #BBG #BBGStronger #BBGBeginner #BBGcommunity #BBG2020 #SWEATForum
Another follower explained that when she was in primary she was bullied for training in martial arts.
"Not only my mates found it strange but also their parents were criticising my mum for letting me practice karate, as if it was only for men," the woman said.
The Adelaide-based entrepreneur, who last year came fifth in the Financial Review's Young Rich List with an estimated net worth of $486 million (together with fiance Tobi Pearce), continues to remind her followers to celebrate their bodies.
In separate posts since giving birth in her daughter Arna, the fitness guru has revealed both the highs and lows of her post-baby body.
"Every woman's journey through life but especially pregnancy, birth and healing post-birth is unique," she wrote.
She said regardless of how her body healed after giving birth, she felt it was really important to embrace, appreciate and celebrate her body.
"The same way that I tell all the women in this community to celebrate their body.
"As a personal trainer, all I can hope for you ladies is that you feel encouraged to do the same regardless of whether you have just given birth or not, celebrate your body and the gift that it is."
Kayla and her fiance have built their huge fitness empire since they first met in an Adelaide gym in 2012.
The couple has made almost half a billion dollars through Sweat with Kayla, a workout app based on Kayla's personal exercise routine which she calls the "Bikini Body Guide" (BBG).
The power couple announced their engagement in April 2018 but are yet to marry.