Keeping fit is hard work (quite literally). We love imagining ourselves running down the beach in typical Baywatch slo-mo fashion, but then so few of us feel like we have the time to get out and do it. Between work, friends, family and play, who has the energy to do a proper work-out and then make those perfect carb-free or whatever diet is currently trending meals each night?
Well, because we’re constantly aspiring to greatness (if not always achieving it), we chased down everyone’s fitspo, Kelsey Wells. If you don’t know her by name, you’ll probably recognise her Instagram – she’s the super toned, superstar SWEAT trainer who created the PWR Programs. And, if you’ll believe it, she wasn’t always so dedicated to her fitness either.
Lucky for us, Kelsey is about to headline FitnessFest by AIA 2019 at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore on 27 April. This gave us ample opportunity to chat with Kelsey about getting healthy and her advice for the rest of us. Read on to find out what she had to say!
We’ve heard you weren’t the healthiest person prior to having your son. Can you tell us a bit about your pre-PWR habits?
I have always done the best I could for myself, but prior to having my son, I had no real understanding of fitness and nutrition. I often drank soda and ate fast food and viewed exercise as the ultimate chore. I thought that fitness was about aesthetics and soon after embarking on my fitness journey I realised I had it all wrong. Fitness is a tool for self-care, and it is about health. We all need to care for our health – mental, emotional and physical.
What was it about your pregnancy and post-pregnancy journey that made you want to change your life?
I found myself in a very negative place postpartum – I was battling anxiety as well as a very negative self-image. I knew that I needed to make a change. I was very surprised to see just how quickly I started to transform when I began exercising; I am not talking about a physical transformation either, I’m referring to gaining a sense of self-acceptance and appreciation for my body, having more energy, sleeping better and coping with my anxiety.
You made the changes over months rather than all at once – do you think this helped keep you motivated? Would you recommend the approach to others?
It’s nice to discuss fitness in terms of approaches, but then there comes the point when you’re actually in your journey when you realise it’s about what is reality. It has nothing do with what approach I was taking, it was simply the reality that I could only do so much, and that meant slow and simple. I think too many women put too much pressure on themselves when starting to make a change; we need to realise that it’s not a race to be run or an obstacle to be tackled it’s about learning how to care for our health. Implementing one simple change at a time until it becomes part of your normal is powerful because that is where longevity lies.
As someone who was working full time as you raised a child and tried to change your health habits, how did you maintain your work-life balance? Is there an approach you would recommend to other working mums?
One day at a time. Though you should be disciplined in choosing to exercise each day – you need to be flexible with how and when you fit it in and understand that as your life shifts your routine will as well, and that’s ok. Some weeks you will do great and others you will feel thrown off, but it’s irrelevant if you just continue to keep doing your best.
It is so easy to feel like you’re too busy to take care of yourself. Did you ever feel like giving up on your fitness journey or that it was just too hard to balance everything?
Almost every day I felt overwhelmed, and I felt it was too hard. We all have fears, and we all have insecurities, but instead of compounding a negative with a negative and feeling guilty for those, we need to understand our fears and feelings are always valid. But we must choose only to entertain the thoughts and feelings that serve us.
How do you feel the life change improved the emotional aspect of your life?
My mental and emotional changes preceded any physical transformation that I have had. More importantly, I have a deep understanding that our mental and emotional health is just as important as our physical health. If you were given your absolute dream body overnight, you would be no happier than you are right now. I know that might sound hard to believe, but if your internal dialogue is negative, you will never be able to find anything but fault with yourself. On the other hand, if your internal dialogue is positive and self-appreciating, you will be filled with a confidence and love for your body at every stage.
What made you decide to share your journey with the world?
I never made the decision to share my journey with the world, I made a decision to start a fitness Instagram account, because I was at a place in my life where I wanted a safe place, a place to connect with like-minded women, and because I wanted to encourage other women who were also on their journeys alone. I quickly found that there is massive power in vulnerability and as I opened myself up and genuinely shared my journey and my truth with the world others reciprocated. Now I am filled with the beauty of my community and the safe place that we have built to come share and support each other.
Can you describe what PWR is and why it is effective for women?
PWR is a hypertrophy based weight training program that takes classic and proven weight training exercises and arranges them in a unique blend of weight training techniques such as activations, pyramid training, supersets and optional burnouts to ensure women really maximise their time and effort in the gym. My program is designed for any woman interested in weight training, whether you have been in the gym for years or are wanting to try for the first time – I want every woman to feel confident and empowered to step into the weights section of the gym.
You’ll be headlining FitnessFest by AIA at the end of April. What makes you most excited about the event?
The opportunity to meet incredible women! My favourite part of all that I get to do is to meet someone in real life and feel of their joy and energy and hear of their own journeys with empowerment through fitness.