Podcast Strong Mind Strong Body

Strong Mind. Strong Body: Special Guest - Fitness Influencer Kelsey Wells

National Academy of Sports Medicine
National Academy of Sports Medicine
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In this episode, host Angie Miller is joined by Kelsey Wells, NASM CPT, and Fitness Influencer, for a forthright, thought-provoking conversation on women’s health and wellness.
Wells, a SWEAT trainer, and creator of PWR workout programs, discusses how and why she chose a career in fitness, her real-life struggles with postpartum anxiety and depression, turning her personal pressure into personal acceptance, and more.

 

 

 

 
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TRANSCRIPTION:
 
Angie Miller: 
Hi everyone, welcome to our "Strong Mind. Strong Body" podcast. I'm your host, Angie Miller. And today I have an amazing guest, the infamous Kelsey wells. Kelsey is an NASM certified personal trainer. But more than that she is a SWEAT trainer and she is also the creator of power workouts, okay? But Kelsey is going to introduce herself and I'm really glad she's on because Kelsey loves all things, healthy emotions, healthy mental health and healthy body. So she and I have some great things to share with you today. And I just want to introduce you and say thanks, Kelsey, for being with us today.
 
Kelsey Wells:
Absolutely. Thanks so much for having me, Angie. I, um, when I heard what your podcast is all about, I was so honored to come on here. So thank you for having me. Yeah, I'm just excited to be here. Excited to chat.
 
Angie Miller:
Okay, awesome. So, Kelsey, you're in Salt Lake City, Utah, right? Um, you are surrounded by beauty surrounded by mountains. Do you love to hike?
 
Kelsey Wells:
I do. Honestly, I feel like I took it for granted growing up here with how much nature is literally right in my backyard. And I think that was in big part to the fact that I wasn't very active growing up. But now as an adult, and as a trainer and a fitness professional, and being able to do cardio outdoors just so excessively. It's humbling. It's healing. It's amazing. So I'm so grateful. We are Okay, awesome.
 
Angie Miller:
So Kelsey, you know what, I read a really cool article about you recently. And it was an article about kind of how you got your start. And so I really want to start with that. Because I think you're an inspiration to a lot of certified trainers out there, as well as an inspiration to women. So because I know that that's one of your big target markets as you speak to women. And I just want to know, how did you get your start in doing all of this? I know you have a big Instagram following and have a large influence. How did you get your start in all of this?
 
Kelsey Wells:
You know, my start came later than I think most people expect. I was, um, you know, growing up, I had no understanding of fitness or nutrition or exercise, I was a large believer in a lot of the diet culture nonsense that I unfortunately internalized at a very, very young age, which led me and so many others and, you know, our generations to adopt this mindset that is not healthy. I used to think exercise was the ultimate chore. I thought it was something that you did to change your body. If you don't like your body, I thought it was a punishment. I thought, you know, eating healthy meant extreme calorie restriction or just really unhealthy bad diets. So I kind of fell into the truth of fitness, nutrition and health. After I had my son Anderson, he's now seven. So this was seven years ago, I struggled with postpartum anxiety and depression, which is something I'm very open about, because I feel like if more people had been more open about the reality of that, the commonality of that and what that can look like and feel like I wouldn't have struggled so much during that time. But I found myself in a really, really hard place. And that was coupled with the fact that my body had completely changed. Of course, it just grown a human being. I didn't recognize my physical body. And because my mindset towards my body was so unhealthy. I struggled mentally, I struggled in every sense. But I began exercising at that point, I was 24 years old, for the first time in my whole life, in an effort to help myself heal, instead of out of hate for myself. And that's really what it comes down to. It was recommended by a doctor of mine, like, hey, do you exercise? And I was like, No, but no offense, what does that have to do with anything like, I didn't understand that fitness could impact your mental health. But I was I of course was going to try and I did and implementing your regular exercise practice. For the first time in my adult life really saved me in a huge sense. It wasn't magic, so I could flip a switch. It's not like I didn't have anxiety, but it helped me cope. It gave me a bit more energy, I slept better. I began to value myself and my body because I was taking care of myself in my body. And, you know, looking back at those things in that shift, long story short, I mean, I couldn't My story is kind of interesting, and it can take a long time to tell but really, their partnership with sweat came, you know, a couple years down the road. And my first program I released was a post pregnancy program because that's kind of where what I would have needed when I began my journey,
but I think as a fitness professional, and as a SWEAT trainer and the creator of all my workout programs and all that I do online and in social media, it comes down to the fact that I believe everyone needs to redefine fitness for themselves, especially those who adapted the toxic beliefs that I did, which are still so prevalent. And if we can first do that, if we can understand what fitness and nutrition is really about and for and the power behind it, and the fact that it can and should be used as a tool for self empowerment, then the benefits that you'll bring to your own life are just exponential. And so all that I do is, you know, stemming from the most biggest surprise in my life, because I was able to empower myself using fitness as my primary tool. And now I want to help others do the same. Yeah, that's kind of how I got started later, I guess you would say I never ever saw myself as a fitness or health person never wanted to be a trainer. And I just fell into my passion. And now I just cannot imagine doing anything else.
 
Angie Miller:
Yeah, well, I love that. And you know, it's funny when you say that, when you say came into fitness late, I'm like, Yes, b2b too. So, I always joke that I was not Sporty Spice. Growing up, I never really did any kind of team sports, I was scared of any kind of balls flying through the air. And then I found my way to fitness when I first started teaching school years and years ago. And it came through a journey of being lonely and anxious and not knowing anyone in the city and joining a gym because I thought, well, at least I can meet healthy people better than beating meeting everybody at the bar, right. And so from there, I fell in love with group fitness. And I fell in love with working out in in large communities. And that's when I really did discover like you that it really helped to mitigate anxiety, it really helped to build my own mental and emotional health. And it empowered me from the inside out. And that's how my mission kind of became here. And I think that you're right, I think it has to start from a place of something that we personally struggle with. And then we have to build from there and find our tribe according to what matches with our own personal struggles. Because we can't step outside of that.

Kelsey Wells:
I don't know what it feels like to be a man and to have whatever struggles that they have. But I do know what it feels like to be a female, and to find my sense of empowerment emotionally and physically, by lifting weights and doing things that helped me redefine how I look at myself when I see myself in the mirror.
 
Angie Miller:
So yeah, I love that. We have a lot in common sounds like Yeah, definitely. So I have a question for you. Speaking of that, you said that you you know you had this kind of postpartum anxiety. And then somebody suggested exercise. And this is not the way that it always goes. Because when we're young and so much of the world, I work in clinical mental health, and yet, very few times do we ever prescribe exercise I do because of where I am, in my world, and I share space and both, but it's because, you know, pharmacology and so forth is highly used in it Lucky for you that you ran into a doctor who said, Hey, tried exercise, but um, you found your audience and it sounds like your audience, is women. Correct? And is that mostly young moms? Or who is your true audience? Or who you trying to most reach and speak to?
 
Kelsey Wells:
You know, Oh, definitely women, predominantly, I think, is self love, self respect, self belief. These are human things, right. And these are, I think, the right of every human being on the planet, and also the responsibility to nurture and cultivate those things if you forgot them. But my I feel called to help other women. And I think it's just what you said, that's, that's what I know intimately. That's what I understand. And I my focus with my workout programming is, of course, it would work the same as classic proven weight training. That's what it's based on. So like, it would work the same for a woman in demand, right? But for me, my focus, I'm always speaking to the women, as far as age, I don't care because I remember myself at 14 1516 really young, I remember myself in college, as a new mom, you know, as a young adult, I'm now a young adult, I'm about to be 32. And I think
I look at my mom, I look at my aunt's I look at you, I look at women that I remind admire and expect so deeply. And I feel like no matter where you are in your life, and especially in your womanhood, it's about connecting to each other and helping each other and lifting each other up and learning from each other. So I don't want to narrow my audience any more than a woman because I think it's really comes down to that for me.
 
Angie Miller:
Yeah, I agree with you. I think that all of us remember those experiences as females. We remember those experiences. Those formative years, we remember our high school years, our college years. We remember I remember my 20s. I remember being a young mom. And I remember helping my mom. But now I'm in an age group where I'm in midlife. And I'm like, and now I can relate to midlife women. So the more experiences you have, the more you feel like you can connect with women very, very deeply through different areas of your life. So I love that you're just out there helping women in general. And you're not saying I can only help you if you're a post, you know, if you just had a baby, so I love that. So you know what, I have to know Kelsey? So you've had all these experiences with it and send your this NASF certified personal trainer? What um, what are your struggles with, you know, what's your Achilles heel when it comes to fitness or nutrition? What do you struggle with? 

Kelsey Wells:
This question is always so interesting, right? I think my struggle, shift and change throughout, sometimes the day, but no, definitely the face of life that I'm in. And I feel like I as I learn and grow and feel like I work through something that has been a big struggle, a new one presents itself. And that's awesome. No, I actually spoke it's funny you asked this because so much just the last month and I just finished up a sweat challenge where it was like a six week workout challenge. Programming. And I felt so deeply that like the whole theme, essentially, non officially should be struggles and normalizing struggling, because I came to the point where it's like, why do we feel like you're either on or you're off, you're either thriving, or you're struggling, you're either happy or you're sad. It's like life is and not or, and I feel like a struggle and facing a struggle and going through struggle moving through it, embracing it. It's so empowering, and it makes you stronger. And I think when women can let go of like the shame that we tend to associate with struggling, that's really important, right? I mean, you would know better than anyone that is key to your mental and physical health. So I have so many struggles, you know, I struggle with anxiety, still, I have my whole life. It's definitely very, very intense in that postpartum period. But I still think that every day, some days more than others. And, yeah, I think it's really just about doing your best and moving through your struggles, validating whatever you're feeling and going through and winning, and continuing to go as new struggles.

Angie Miller:
Yeah, I love that. So by the way, I'm talking to Kelsey wells. And Kelsey is a SWEAT trainer. She's also an NSAM certified personal trainer, and she is the creator of power workouts, and she is the powerhouse herself. And so I just asked Kelsey, what her struggles were and Kelsey, I have to tell you, I really admire the way that you you articulated that a lot. You said that we need to normalize struggles, and I agree and that life is not and it life is life is and not or so it's like I'm either doing good, or I'm doing bad, or I'm doing great, or I'm doing awful. It's not your right it is I'm doing good. And I also have my struggle. So I absolutely love that. And it's true, because you know, I still struggle with anxiety, only the anxiety that I have now is different than the anxiety than I had when I was a young mom. And it's also different than the anxiety that I had when I was in college. And I often joke that jog on it, it's because I don't have all those good hormones anymore. So um, but anxiety is a struggle for me, sugar is a constant battle for me. But yet, I'm still a fully functioning human being we can normalize that we can have struggles and be fully functioning human beings. It does not make us it's not we're missing a limb or something is wrong with us.

Kelsey Wells:
Absolutely.

Angie Miller:
So, um, so I have to ask you, that said you know, all of this, you're, you're in the spotlight a lot, you have a lot, I can only imagine that there's a lot of pressure on you to, to maintain this, this space and to keep showing these women, everything that you have to offer. And for somebody who like you said, you know, anxiety is not too far removed for you indoors that for me, what are some of your fears and how do you use exercise to overcome those?

Kelsey Wells:
Yeah, you know, I think it's less about there is pressure I you know, I have to be honest, there's so much pressure from in like any way you any aspects you look at it, there's pressure there, but at the end of the day, I had to come to a precipice of acceptance, that regardless of pressure that people put on me or the career brings, which you are very familiar with. It comes down to the pressure that I put upon myself. And when I dropped the pressure of feeling like I personally have to
you know, always be in my peak, you know, the most lean the most like lifting my heaviest. When I dropped that pressure, when I dropped the pressure of worrying about what people are thinking about how I physically like, as a fitness professional are about if I'm doing enough, if I'm not doing enough, I'm doing it right. When I dropped all of those expectations, I came to my saving grace, which was the acceptance that you know what the pressure I put on myself is to show up for my community of women, the best that I can, will always show up the best that I can to better help them with my purpose, which is to help them empower themselves. And that's going to look different, you know, your best varies your best isn't always a PR, it's like some days as a mom, my best is cold cereal for dinner, the house is a mess, nobody got dressed, right other days, were thriving in that area. So it's like, your best is going to vary. And for myself, I will always do my best. And that's my commitment to my community and the fitness community at large. And I'm struggling and like you said, we're all human beings just learning and doing our best. So when I let the other pressures dissipate, and just commit to continually showing up and doing my best, whatever that looks like, whatever that brings, then I can sleep at night, and I can feel good and know that my intention is pure, and that my purpose is clear. And however that's perceived by someone else. Although it can be painful, you know, when you're misinterpreted or whatever, it's just not on you, and it's not on me. So that's kind of how I cope. You know, I think it's the only way that I can be honest.
 
Angie Miller:
Yeah, I love that. And I love that you said really the scariest fears the fear inside of our own head, which is essentially what I think you're saying, it's not really the pressure that other people are putting on us. It's a pressure that we put on ourselves, or this perception of the pressure that we think other people are putting on us, when really it's so much what's inside of us and what we think other people expect or what we think we need to deliver. And when we can drop that personal pressure, and we can turn it into personal acceptance that we are showing up as the best version of ourselves to other people. So I love that I love the way that you can reframe fear. And I think that that's that's really powerful. These two questions that I've asked you, I'm like you are spot on, I love the way that you see, I respect your opinion, not just as a fellow fitness professional, but as a professional in the mental health field. And so I means a lot. Yeah, that was fantastic. Really, you've learned to reframe fear. And if all of us could do that, because if we can all learn to face our own personal fears, it's amazing what we'll be able to accomplish. So in light of all of this, you have the sun, I know you have a spouse. And I would love to know, I'm assuming that your spouse is one of your greatest supporters. Who who has been there who's been the wind beneath your wings and kind of building you up and saying, Kelsey, you've got this, I know you could do this, because I don't think any of us could do this without a strong support system.
 
Kelsey Wells:
Amen. And you're absolutely correct. My husband, his name is Ryan, we have been together since we were 17 years old, we were babies, children, it's wild to look.
Because, you know, he saw and believed in me far before I began to see or believe in myself and so many senses. And he has been hands down my anchor and my biggest support my biggest advocate, then I'm just so grateful. I know that so many don't have that. And he, you know I'll be honest, and there's been some of the most difficult times in my life. Certainly, when it came to launching my career switching careers, you know, from what I was previously doing. I've been through a lot in my personal life around the same times that was so alienating and extremely painful and difficult. And through a lot of times, I have no one else besides him.
And as a woman, you know, you kind of have no one else besides yourself at some at a certain point. And I think I because I've been in those situations where I did feel very alone. I always like to say to women who are coming to me, you know, asking what to do in those situations. Like, I hope I hope that everyone has a network that is just flourishing, and people who are champion, championing everything that you do and believing in you. But whether you do or do not, that essentially doesn't matter. Because like we were just saying, like you just point out if you believe in yourself. That's it. Like that's what it hinges on because even if you have the support system, if you don't have the self belief, you'll go nowhere. And that be hard to get it but you can earn it, you can build it. And it starts by choosing it it starts by choosing yourself and at the end of the day as you know, trainers with exercise is that not what we're trying to help as many women as possible do it's not just workout because you need to take care of your heart health, which Yeah, that's huge. That's awesome. But like workout because you deserve to prioritize yourself. Right? Like it has to start there, you have to care for yourself before you can care for your kids and your spouse and whoever else. So, yeah, I mean, my husband's been an angel, and he is my anchor. But, again, to anyone out there who feels alone, it's okay, I guess that's what I mostly wanted to convey.
 
Angie Miller:
Well, and I think that that's where people like you, Kelsey do a really good job is because that is where social media can be very, very powerful, is if people find the right people to connect with on social media, they can gain that sense of connection, and companionship that maybe they're not kidding in their everyday life. And that's why social media has such power. And it can empower or disempower people, depending on who you're following. And so people need to be really, really careful. What are you eating in terms of social media? What are you putting into your emotional space, because whatever you're consuming, the most of is where your belief system is going to kind of lie. And so I love when I can talk to someone like you, who puts things out in the place that are very palatable, and very human and very real, because I think that that's what women need to hear. And again, I want to reintroduce you, I'm talking to Kelsey wells, and she is a sweat trainer, and then NASM CPT. So of course we love her for that. And at the same time, she's a big Mind Body advocate, she really believes in the power of a healthy mind and a healthy body. And you know, Kelsey, I've one other thing to add to that, and you kind of touched on it earlier is even if you don't feel like you have a strong support system. One thing that I tell my clients is, I think that advocating for others can really give us a sense of connection and purpose. And so you mentioned women building women up and so we can ask ourselves at the end of the day, what did I do to empower another woman in my world today? What did I do to whether it's a liking a post or saying something powerful to her that makes her feel good about herself? Because I do think that it comes back in spades. And if we can help one another, we can build one another up. So what do you think? I think that's incredible. And it's so true, right? empowered women empower women. It's, it's such a simple truth. And I loved when you said when you, you know, made the analogy of like, what are you eating as far as social media that thought of like, you know, we think about the food that we put on our plate and the nutrients we put in our body. But we most do not think about what we are consuming on the social media platforms that take up so much of our time. And I just love that I love that analogy, because it's so true. And I think that's very, very powerful. So thank you.
 
Kelsey Wells:
Well, good. I'm glad to hear that.
 
Angie Miller:
So I have a question for you. What do you think? Um, what are some mistakes that you think women, you know, women and men, what are some big fitness mistakes that you think people make, because I know that one of them is a fitness mistake, you and I said that we both made for years. And that was defining ourselves according to like waiting on a scale or making fitness a way to punish ourselves. If I you know, if I was if I ate too much pizza, or I had, I use food to fill my emotional loneliness that I felt when I was first starting out in my young 20s as a teacher.
That was a mistake, because that didn't make me feel empowered, and made me feel like I was going to the gym to sort of like, pay back from the the stuff that I had pulled like I had this big calorie thing. And if I ate pizza, I had to go back in and
put some stuff in there so I could pull again. So what are some mistakes that you think fitness people make and and help them kind of correct that?
 
Kelsey Wells:
You know, this is such a massive and overwhelming reality. And that is the fact that so many unfortunately, so many businesses and people in our industry are still furthering these toxic harmful narratives that it is about, you know, starving yourself, it is about being as tiny as possible or looking a certain way it is about all of those wrong things. And for decades, fitness has been kind of packaged and sold in these lines that it's literally all about your physical sex. And of course we know that throughout time. Societies history is like the ideal aesthetic is always changing and shifting right. And it will never make you happy. Right? If it's if you're not like hole inside and I think kind of just cutting through all of that. We say like what are the mistakes that you see people make? I see women make so many mistakes, but I feel like most of it, most of it stems from, it's unintentional. You know, I know that it certainly was for me until I was 25 years old like I don't know.
Kinda would just want to hug them and be like, hey, like, I don't think you're making a mistake, because that kind of requires some sort of intention behind it, maybe, but you're a victim of whatever it is that made you believe that your worth is tied to what you eat, or what you look like. And that might not be your fault that you've landed in this place. But it is your responsibility to do the work because it is work to redirect that narrative inside your head. And make your internal dialogue supportive and encouraging and loving and your motive for your movement, one of gratitude for your body, one of mine to care for your body. And I think, whatever, wherever you find yourself as a woman, or whatever mistakes you find yourself kind of falling into, it's about identifying This is not healthy, this behavior, whatever it is, is not healthy, whether that's mental health, physical health, and I am going to fix it, I'm going to be proactive at redirecting that behavior. And I think it comes down, it's the mistake is less important than the intention to do better for yourself. And I think are three more than I want to kind of speak to the women who feel like they're making mistakes. I want to speak to the fellow fitness professionals who need like, we all need to be doing better. Right. Um, so yeah, I mean, yeah, I think that was really well said in your in your right, it is kind of about reframing. It's not that you're making a mistake. It's that the where this is coming from whatever that internal dialogue is, that told you that you needed to work out because you feel guilty or you feel ashamed, or you need to work out because you need to look a certain way. And it's changing that narrative and saying, look, I want to work out because I want to feel really good. I want to work out because I want to love the skin that I'm in. And anything that I do is better than doing nothing. And so I just want to congratulate myself for doing my best on a day to day basis. And some days are better than others. Some days I'm lucky if I get a walk in some days, I eat too much chocolate. Some days, I don't sleep very well. But I'm, I'm a work in progress as far as overcoming that shame of all of that and say, You know what, I'm just me. And I got to show up the best that I can. And I think that's what you're saying is that you keep you said you're doing your best, right? And that's it you like you are the perfect example of like, this is what we see women doing right? They'll do something, they'll each have a shop or like you said, they'll feel sick to their stomachs. Maybe they really overindulge. And then what, instead of just realizing like you just said, Hey, I'm an ebbing and flowing, I'm doing my best each day to focus on different aspects of my health. Unfortunately, the biggest mistake I see women doing at that point is compounding a negative with a negative and they're just piling up self shame. And they're like, Oh, I cannot believe I did this or I didn't do I regret and it's like they just put themselves down and tear themselves apart for these mistakes. And that is you can never move forward, you can never heal, you can never reach a healthier place. If all of your motive for your redirection is coming out of guilt and shame. So when you just said like, I understand that I'm not gonna be perfect at everything all the time, but I'm doing my best. It's exactly that. I think what you just described is like, exactly what it's about everyone just rewind. And it's a very powerful example of a healthy, balanced life is never about being perfect. Our progress dictated by our direction, not perfection. 
 
Angie Miller:
I love that. And I'm inclined to now tell myself, it's not permanent. It's not permanent. This moment shall pass. And then we're on to the next moment. And the next moment, life is constantly moving. It's not permanent. Okay? This feeling isn't permanent, this day is not permanent. It's just one more day that I'm showing up doing my best and some days are better than others. So, but Kelsey, I think that you're an inspiration. I'm really glad that I had the opportunity to meet with you to talk with you. I think that NASM Certified Personal Trainers can learn a lot from following you just as everyday women can follow you. And I think that the more we can do to speak one another, speak to one another, support one another and spread a love for fitness being as much about mental health and wellness and emotions as it is about the way that we embody our physicality. Right? Human
 
Kelsey Wells:
Yeah. And thank you so much, Angie. It's very mutual. I'm so honored that we got to chat. You are so lovely and, and genuine. And I appreciate that. And I'm grateful for your presence in our industry.
 
Angie Miller:
Oh, well, thank you and me as well. So you know, I Kelsey wells, keep doing what you're doing. Keep inspiring the masses. And thank you so much. Thanks to all of you all of our NSM and APA family. Thanks for tuning in. And you can catch this if you don't catch it live. You can share it with people on Spotify on Apple podcasts. And thank you again, everybody. Have a great week.
 
Kelsey Wells:
Thanks. See ya.
 
 

 

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National Academy of Sports Medicine

National Academy of Sports Medicine

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