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Kelsey Wells on motivation, body image, and getting started
Health and fitness can be an overwhelming topic for the best of us. With so much conflicting information out there, it’s hard to know what’s real, who to trust, and where you should even start.
To help cut through the noise, we took all your questions about all diet and exercise from the member forums, and had them answered by internationally renowned personal trainer and fitness guru, Kelsey Wells.
Here, Kelsey shares her best advice when it comes to motivation, body image and simply getting started.
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What are the best workouts for losing weight and toning up?
Kelsey says she stands by classic weight training for both fat loss and improving muscle definition, but believes that women will see the best results with variety in their workouts.
Her workouts include a unique combination of weights, cardio, plyometrics, and stability training all in one. “The science behind that is to maximise your time in the gym.” A mum and a buisness owner, Kelsey knows that women don’t have time to spend hours in the gym each day. “The way that we blend [the exercises] together is meant to get your heart rate up at certain times and to maximise your workout so you’re getting the best workout and the best sweat in the shortest amount of time.”
On the flipside, is there a specific diet someone should stick to for achieving fat loss?
“The thing with diets is there’s no such thing as one size fits all,” says Kelsey. “There’s no such thing as the best [diet.] And I know this might not be popular to hear, but while there’s so much research supporting all the different types of ways you can eat, there’s also a lot of research against diets that people claim are the best.”
Kelsey emphasises the importance of finding a diet that works for your body, as every woman has their own individual goals, body types, training styles, intolerances and the like. “It’s not about putting pressure on yourself. It’s about making nutritious choices that are going to fuel your body and help you feel your best.”
But above all else, Kelsey explains that it’s necessary to eat in a way that does not cause stress. “For me, something like intermittent fasting wouldn’t work. I don’t like to go hungry and I have a son so I need the energy. Eating like that would create stress for me and therefore wouldn’t be healthy.”
What is the best way to maintain your fitness regime when travelling?
Body weight workouts are the best when travelling, especially because we often don’t have access to a full proper gym, Kelsey explains. “I do two things. One, I do bodyweight workouts like resistance and cardio in my hotel room. And two, I always pack my resistance bands which allow me to add a little bit of resistance and continue training with ‘weight,’ if you will.” Kelsey stresses that working out, especially when travelling, should be enjoyable. Don’t force yourself to weight train if you hate weight training. Find something you enjoy doing. You can find examples of at-home (AKA hotel room) workouts on Kelsey’s Instagram.
What are some tips for making healthy choices when eating out or travelling?
Making healthy choices when you go out to eat can be tricky if you don’t know what to look for. Kelsey explains that if you’re worried about eating out or sticking to a specific diet, try your best to eat as similar as you can to how you’d eat at home. “For me, that looks like a high protein diet, lots of fruits and veggies, and minimal refined and processed sugars.”
Kelsey also suggests that when travelling, you should aim to have a bigger breakfast than you normally would. Whether you’re travelling for work or pleasure, your schedule is likely to be jam packed and you won’t have the energy you need to keep going if you don’t have a big balanced breakfast. This is more likely to prevent you from binging on junk food later in the day.
What advice do you have for women who feel pressured to conform to body trends?
While it can be hard not to compare yourself, Kelsey says that diet and fitness should be primarily about staying healthy, both mentally and physically, rather than trying to look a certain way. “My biggest transformation that I have made in my fitness journey has been being able to truly shift my perspective of fitness itself from ‘fitness is meant to change my body to help me look a certain way because I need to look a certain way’ to the idea that fitness is not about how you look, it’s about your health. And it’s not just about your physical health, but also your mental and emotional health.”
Kelsey acknowledges that this mentality is definitely easier said than done. “It’s not an overnight thing. It’s taken years as part of my journey. But that’s what’s most important and that’s why I’m so passionate about helping women gain strength and confidence - gaining power from the inside out.”
And if you’re really struggling with comparison or body image issues, Kelsey suggests safe-guarding yourself from Instagram and online. “Comparison really is the thief of joy. So [the internet] is maybe something you really need to step back from until you’re at a place where you can celebrate someone else’s body or achievements without taking away from your own.”
What advice would you give to women who are struggling to make that first step in their fitness journey?
Kelsey’s personal fitness journey started in a little corner in her lounge room where she would set up a yoga mat and do 20-minute bodyweight workouts to help her cope with postpartum depression. “Making a lifestyle switch is overwhelming, but there will never be a time that’s easier than right now.” Kelsey stresses that there will never be some magical day when you wake up filled with motivation and are ready to start. “My best advice is to just start. Don’t put a ton of pressure on yourself. Don’t go into it thinking that it’s another chore on your list.”
Kelsey recommends trying to shift your mindset from thinking about exercise as something that you have to do, to thinking about exercise as something that you get to do. Many people don’t have the privilege to move their body the same way you do. Working out should be a celebration of what your body can achieve, rather than a punishment for what you ate. “And the more you take it one day at a time,” she explains, “the more the days will add up and you will start to feel better.”
Are you thinking about making a lifestyle change? Do you have any other diet and exercise questions for our experts?
Main image via @kelseywells