Personal trainer Kelsey Wells: Mums don't need a gym... you can exercise anytime or anywhere
With two million Instagram followers, Kelsey Wells has become one of the most famous personal trainers in the world. She talks about strength training, motherhood and staying grounded. By Liz Connor
Known for her sculpted abs and incredible endurance, the 29-year-old fitness star originally rose to fame four years ago after she shared her amazing post-partum body transformation - which she achieved by following Kayla Itsines' Bikini Body Guide programme.
Now the US trainer has found a global following with her own training programme, called PWR (sweat.com), which encourages women to ditch the scales and workout to feel strong and powerful instead. Ahead of her appearance at Balance Festival (May 10-12, balance-festival.com), we sat down with her to chat all things fitness, health and wellbeing.
You have an amazing physique. How often do you work out and what do your workouts look like at the moment?
"Most of the time I workout six days a week following my PWR weight training programme, which is hypertrophy (a style of resistance training) that's designed to sculpt lean muscle while increasing overall strength.
"I have a passion for strength training, so I often follow weeks nine to 12 of my programme, which consists of four to six lifting sessions and two cardio sessions."
How do you like to start your day - do you have a morning routine?
"My son, Anderson, is the best alarm clock and always wakes me up at 6am. I always want to ensure I get the best out of the day - for me, that starts by getting into a positive mindset through mindful meditation or listening to a motivational podcast.
"Next I focus on fuelling my body with a wholesome, nutrient-rich breakfast and a superfood green drink with apple cider vinegar to kick-start my digestion. The mornings are my time at the gym to get my body moving and film content for my social media accounts. No matter how busy I am, I always make sure to allocate the mornings as my workout time."
What's your diet like?
"My approach to food is centred around three key things: balance, consistency and 'everything in moderation'. Overall, my aim is to have a healthy, balanced diet full of wholesome, nutrient rich-foods with the occasional treat.
"I personally don't believe in restrictive diets as they can create an unnecessary amount of pressure."
What are your gym bag must-haves at the moment?
"I love so many active wear brands, but some of my current favourites are Koral (koral.com), Aloe Yoga (aloyoga.com), PE Nation (pe-nation.com) and Adidas (adidas.co.uk)."
You've got more than 2 million followers on Instagram. Do you ever feel the pressure to look perfect all the time?
"I'm fortunate to have an extremely supportive community who help to foster a really positive environment on my social channels. However, I think we all feel pressure at times for various reasons.
"For me, focusing on maintaining a positive dialogue with myself, living my truth and doing what I am passionate about every day helps to block out any outside pressures and focus on what's important.
"I think it is imperative for women to listen to family and loved ones, hang on to the moments where you feel beautiful and don't let negativity get you down."
Your fitness journey started after you had your first child - what shifted in your mindset to make you love working out?
"The mental and emotional benefits I felt almost immediately after introducing exercise to my lifestyle were so momentous for me. After having such a negative relationship with my body for a long time, to being able to suddenly find this love and appreciation for what my body had been through, and what it was capable of, was so wonderful."
You're appearing at Balance Festival in the UK this year - what's your favourite thing about the UK fitness scene?
"I'm beyond excited to be returning to Balance Festival this year! What I love about the UK fitness scene is its holistic focus on health and wellbeing, and Balance is a great example of that. I can't wait to be back in London and take my PWR community through a challenging full-body workout and help them empower themselves through fitness."
What advice do you have for busy mums that are struggling to fit in working out around their family?
"Firstly, be kind to yourself and know that you're doing the best you can. Secondly, it's important to find a balance that works for you and utilise your time wisely. Being active every day doesn't have to require a gym or lots of equipment; you can get your sweat on anywhere, anytime.
"One of the key things I want mothers to focus on are the non-physical benefits of exercise - when you feel good about yourself, you're able to share that positive energy with your family and set a great example for your kids. Last but not least, take time to celebrate the little victories each day and don't allow any guilt."