Redefine Fitness: Kelsey Wells Brings Mindfulness To Movement
Content warning: this article discusses a number of topics that may be triggering for some readers. This story is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional and Sweat encourages you to consult with your trusted healthcare provider if you are experiencing body dysmorphia, negative self-talk, disordered eating or other mental health issues.
Any woman who has embarked on a fitness journey will know that as much as it is rewarding and empowering, it can also be challenging.
Finding the motivation to keep going each day, to persevere when setbacks happen, and keeping the journey fun can all be tough. For Kelsey Wells and many of the women she has trained, one of the toughest things is battling what goes on inside your own head.
We tend to be our own worst critics, and working out can feel like a chore or punishment for many people, when it should be a joy, a celebration of health and what your body can do.
“Up until I was 24, I viewed fitness as the ultimate chore. I felt that it was something you did to change your body, because however my body was, it wasn’t good enough,” Kelsey says.
“I bought into all of the toxic narratives and beauty standards we are sold. Now, I exercise for my health and out of love, gratitude and respect for my body and to build a healthy relationship with myself and my body.”
And that is exactly where Kelsey’s new program comes in - Redefine Fitness: Strength and Mindfulness. This 4-week program is all about giving you the tools to build a healthier relationship with exercise, to have a positive motive for movement, and to work out with gratitude and joy. It’s exactly what Kelsey wishes she had when she was younger.
“I always create the content from the perspective of - what would 26 year old me have listened to? What would have given me hope or help? And I can wholeheartedly say that this program is it.”
What does it involve?
Each week, you’ll be training alongside Kelsey with four guided 30-35 minute ‘follow along’ strength workouts, paired with mindfulness practises, breath-work and affirmations to support you with every aspect of your fitness journey - mental, emotional and physical. It’s like a one-on-one training session with just you and Kelsey!
For beginners, Kelsey will meet you where you’re at with helpful exercise modifications or by focusing on bodyweight movement, or if you’re ready to turn things up, you can use heavier weights. These are your workouts, and YOU get to set the pace and intensity.
Kelsey’s new mindful strength training program really is perfect for any fitness level. All you need is a set of dumbbells and she will guide you through the rest. Get ready for workouts that will leave you feeling confident and connected, coaching you to gain strength physically while simultaneously remembering how strong you are, and always have been.
“When you use exercise as a tool for self-empowerment, you’re taking your power back. You’re saying, this is for ME.”
Finding strength through adversity
“In the last couple of years, I heard from so many women about past traumas coming back up or personal struggles getting more intense. The Covid pandemic is a mental health pandemic too, and I definitely haven’t been immune to that. My anxiety has been a tougher and more consistent battle than it has been in years.”
“Some of the other personal struggles I had formerly worked hard to heal from began coming back up too – I recognised the signs of body dysmorphia beginning to resurface, as well as some unhealthy eating habits. I knew I needed to get to a healthier place and to recentre my mental health in all that I do. I wanted to help others, too,” Kelsey says.
In 2020, Kelsey dealt with a number of personal struggles. Even knowing what she does about mindfulness, her personal practice of and studies in meditation, Kelsey felt her mental health slipping - an experience that was very humbling for her. At that moment, she knew she wanted to redirect what she was doing and how she was doing it.
“I’m very proud of the work I’ve put in and the healing and growth I’ve gone through in my life - certainly in the past couple of years. As a trainer and fitness professional whose whole message is centred around helping women redefine fitness, meaning let go of the negative dialogues they may hold surrounding exercise and reclaim movement as the powerful tool it was always meant to be, this program is exceptionally important to me.”
Redefine Fitness is something she has felt called to create for a long time. It is the culmination of both her personal fitness journey, and everything she has learned in her career from all of the women she has trained and spoken to.
“People often ask, how do you do it? If you’re in that mindset of exercising out of a place of negativity, how do you actually switch it? Like everything in fitness, the answer is individual. However, Redefine Fitness combines the three tools that I personally used to make the shift.”
Tools for the journey
So what does one of these mindful workouts actually look like? Each training session begins with a moment of grounding yourself through your breath, and setting an intention for your workout before you even begin the physical warm-up. Then, Kelsey will guide you through a strength workout with affirmations woven in, before wrapping up with a moment of gratitude.
Practising things like affirmations in the middle of your workout might sound a bit “woo-woo” to some, but recent studies and research have supported an association between gratitude and overall wellbeing.
Robert Emmons, a world-leading scientific expert on gratitude, has been studying the effects of gratitude on physical, psychological and relationship health for over a decade and the results have been overwhelming. Benefits can include a stronger immune system, lower blood pressure, improved sleep and higher levels of positive emotions - just to name a few.
“Yes, it’s about getting stronger, but more importantly, we are going to explore and remember the whole point of why you exercise in the first place,” Kelsey adds. Exercise should be about loving and respecting yourself and your physical body, and Redefine Fitness is all about helping you get there.
“If you’re nervous about taking that first step or trying it, that’s ok. I get it. I have been there. But the most important work I have ever done was shedding the toxic rhetorics and self-shaming beliefs I had subscribed to from the fitness industry in my youth, and redefining fitness for myself. It takes work, but no work is more worthy. Know that you CAN do it. Explore any and all tools it takes. I truly believe that for many women, this program is a powerful tool that can aid in their journey.”
You can get started with your mindful fitness journey today by selecting Kelsey’s Redefine Fitness program in the Sweat app.
“I can’t wait for my core community to have this program and I am so grateful it’s going to be in Sweat. It’s time to take back your power.”
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.