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Bikini girl verses banana girl may sound like a new Marvel film but in reality an online feud between two of Australia’s most popular fitness bloggers has become so toxic lawyers are now involved.
Kayla Itsines, creator of the Bikini Body Guide, is bringing proceedings against Leanne Ratcliffe, better known as Freelee the Banana Girl. Itsines claims that Ratcliffe and her boyfriend, fellow fitness guru Harley Johnstone, published defamatory information about her to their respective YouTube channels.
The case was heard in the South Australian Supreme Court on Monday, with the judge recommending that the case proceed directly to trial.
Bikini Body Guide creator Kayla Itsines. Photo: Facebook
Itsines claims that the video in question contains inaccurate claims that her low-carb program starves people.
While Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide advocates calorie restriction, Ratcliffe’s diet philosophy focuses on high-carb veganism. Ratcliffe encourages her followers to eat over 10,000 kilojoules a day, the majority of which she says should be drawn from fruits such as bananas and mangoes.
An injunction has been issued against the publication of the video, however Mr Johnstone admitted in court that the material published on his YouTube channel was still online.
Freelee the Banana girl, Leanne Ratcliffe, is all about eating a lot of bananas. Photo: Instagram
“They can’t be viewed, but I’ve kept them on ‘private’ in case I need them or the comments posted on them as evidence,” he said, as reported by the Advertiser.
“I was just sharing my honest opinion, in the name of public interest, on YouTube.”
Itsines did not attend court.
Court proceedings between the two have been adjourned until next week.
As well as being into cardio, Ratcliffe is notorious for running her mouth.
She gained a significant amount of online notoriety in 2012, when she released a video responding to a Facebook comment that she should not be so judgmental towards other diets and that what people ate was “none of her business”.
“When your obese brothers and sisters get stuck on the stairway on 9/11 preventing fit people from getting through and surviving you make it part of my business,” Ratcliffe said in the video, which was published by US website Gawker under the headline, “Is this the worst person on the Internet?”
Meanwhile Itsines, who has close to 1.4 million Facebook fans and 2.4 million Instagram followers, has courted traditional media like Kim Kardashian.
“It is our company policy to see a full draft of the article before it goes to print,” her representative told Fairfax Media when contacted for an interview.
Kayla v Freelee
Who is Kayla Itsines?
Kayla Itsines is a 23-year-old personal trainer from Adelaide.
After getting her personal training certificate from the Australian Institute of Fitness in 2008, Itsines began to work at a women’s only gym.
While she was there, she realised that often the women she trained were just after one thing: a bikini body. So, she developed a system of targeted exercises to help them achieve that.
“Fitness has become my passion, and I now get to help women around the world every single day. I hope to inspire you to be the best you can be,” she writes on her website.
— Kayla Itsines (@kayla_itsines)
March 24, 2015
What is her program about?
Targeted exercise and eating clean (and eating a bit less than some say you should).
Her Bikini Body Guide is a 12-week program, which contains a clean eating meal plan and workout plan. The guide’s meal plan recommends that women eat 1600 calories a day (6720kj, slightly under the 8700kj recommended in by the NSW government), with a focus on reducing sugar intake and eating clean. Its workout plan is a range of 30-minute daily exercises.
Itsines has also held public bootcamps, and is beginning to try her hand at the overseas market: she held an “international virtual workout” earlier in January, and has plans to tour the United States and Europe later this year.
Where would I have seen her before?
If you are a woman who is Facebook friends with other women, probably in your Facebook feed.
Social media is Itsines’ thing. With 2.4 million Instagram followers she has more social media clout than trainer to the stars Tracey Anderson (and even Tracey’s A-list client, Gwyneth Paltrow). She even counts Victoria’s Secret Angel Candice Swanepoel among her social media supporters.
Itsines’ social media posts include a range of motivational quotes, healthy food inspiration as well as gym outfit ideas, but she is particularly well-known for her before-and-after photos, in which she posts pictures her fans have shared with her of their bikini bodies before and after completing her program.
In a 2014 interview with Today Tonight, Itsines said she didn’t care if her Instagram posts were helping two women or a thousand women, she just wanted to spread her health and fitness message.
“Fame wasn’t what I wanted, I just wanted to help people,” she said.
Freelee The Banana Girl:
Who is Freelee the Banana Girl?
Freelee is Leanne Ratcliffe, a Queensland-born Adelaide resident whose date of birth is unknown because she prefers to say she was born in 2012, the year in which she adopted veganism.
“I’ve been around the block a few times if you know what I mean, I used to take recreational drugs, be anorexic and bulimic,” she writes on her website. “I was a mess and I tried to hide it behind makeup and a well-rehearsed smile.”
She worked various jobs (including one at McDonalds) before becoming a personal trainer, where she met her first vegan client. However it wasn’t until she was at a raw foods picnic some years later that she discovered her high-carb vegan lifestyle.
What is her program about?
High-carb veganism. And eating a lot of bananas.
Ratcliffe’s program is called “Raw Till 4″. She encourages her followers to only eat raw foods (mainly fruit) until two hours before dinnertime, at which point they should have a small cooked meal.
A sample menu given on her website is a smoothie made with ten bananas for breakfast, three mangoes and six medjool dates for lunch and three cups of cooked rice with vegetables for dinner, with three litres of water consumed throughout the day.
The plan recommends women eat 2500 calories (10460 kj, well above the recommended 8700 kj) each day, with the bulk of those calories consumed while eating raw food before 4pm.
Where would I have seen her before?
While Itsines is the Instaqueen, Ratcliffe is all about documenting her high-fruit diet on YouTube.
You might have seen her consume 51 bananas during a video she made last year about a typical day in the life of the Banana Girl:
- Bikini Girl versus Banana Girl: Fitness trainer and Instagram star sues diet …
- The Bikini Body and Banana Girl Fight It Out in Court
- Freelee The Banana Girl’s Fruity Diet Has Her Eating Up To 51 Bananas A Day
- Fitness and Diet Tips from Instagram Sensation, Kayla Itsines
- Going Bananas on This Fad Diet is Dangerous Say Health Experts