Considering she’s now one of the biggest names dominating the fitness world—working alongside the likes of Kayla Itsines and Sjana Elise Earp as a SWEAT trainer—it’s astonishing to think that Kelsey Wells barely moved a muscle before the birth of her gorgeous son (Anderson, 4).
Prior to pregnancy, Kelsey admits that working out and eating healthy felt like nothing more than a chore. Now, she has wholeheartedly embraced living an active life—and with over 1 million IG followers, inspires other women all over the world to do the same.
Hailing from the US state of Utah, we caught up with Kelsey when she was last in Sydney and chatted about everything from her favourite running spot to her thoughts on Vegemite. But our all-time favourite part of the interview is the bit where she basically said that us Aussies should stop complaining about ‘not having the motivation to work out in winter’. Her response is epic! Keep scrolling to read more.
Can you take us through your shift on mindset pre-mum life and how your health and fitness journey came about?
I actually had never exercised regularly in my adult life until after having my son. Pregnancy and delivery were extremely hard on me mentally and physically, and I knew I needed to make a change. I could never have imagined that what began as small efforts to live a healthier would positively affect my mental, emotional, and physical health so much. It also lead me to find my true passion in fitness and women empowerment. Now I cannot imagine having any other career.
Tell us more about your two programs on the SWEAT App.
My Post-Pregnancy program is designed to help attend to all the changes that the body goes through during pregnancy and delivery and help you heal while safely regaining strength. The program helps to regain loss of core and pelvic floor strength and correcting postural alignment, to name a few. My [latest] PWR program is a hypertrophy based weight training program designed for any women interested in weight training, whether you have been in the gym for years or are wanting to try for the first time. It takes classic, proven weight training exercises and blends my favourite weight training techniques resulting in a unique and fun training experience that will maximise your time and efforts in the gym.
What are the physical benefits that women can expect from doing your PWR program?
My PWR program uses free weights, gym machines and other equipment, along with cardio and body-weighted exercises. It includes a combination of weight-training techniques such as pyramids and supersets. All of these exercises and techniques are designed to sculpt lean muscle and increase overall strength.
What advice do you have for busy mums struggling to stay on top of their fitness goals?
Make self-care a priority. Being happy and healthy in yourself allows you to take better care of those around you. If your efforts to be healthy are rooted from a place of positivity you will go so much further.
Focus on the non-physical benefits of exercise.
Celebrate the little victories and take it one day at a time.
Don’t allow any guilt.
Find a balance that works for you and utilise your time. Getting active doesn’t have to require a gym or lots of equipment. A walk pushing the stroller is a great way to get moving as well as spending time with your kids.
What is one thing you wish someone told you?
To be kind to yourself—and to really understand what it means to do that and how it can be done.
Apart from time (or lack thereof), finding the motivation to workout would be a huge factor for busy mums. How would you respond to this?
Stop worrying about, and waiting for motivation and do it anyway. You have the option to choose to work out whether or not you have the energy or whether or not you feel motivated.
We love your balanced approach to eating. Can you describe for us your typical day on a plate?
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs filled with vegetables and vegetarian sausage. Mid-morning snack: Protein shake after workout. Lunch: I keep it simple because I’m always busy, usually it’s a chicken salad. Afternoon snack: Typically a cheese stick with veggies and hummus. Dinner: Crock pot meals, a chilli con carne in the winter or a shredded chicken with veggies. Dessert: Fruit with almond butter or Greek yoghurt.
What is one thing you love most when visiting Australia?
First and foremost, I love getting a delicious iced-latte. Australian coffee is the best! Second, I love going for a marvellous run around Sydney Harbour under the bridge and around the Opera House. It is truly my favourite place to go for a jog in all of the world.
What are some weird things Aussies do (or say) that surprise you?
Every time I come down under I am surprised when I hear a new Australian term for something, but it’s funny because when I get home I’ll catch myself adopting some of them and Ryan [husband] looks at me like “where did you get that?!”. One thing I’ve picked up this time is to “have a suss”—we don’t say that back home.
We have to ask—Vegemite, yay or nay?
I’m neutral on the Vegemite, it’s not what I expected. I would never look forward to it but I don’t mind it either.
Do you find that the health and wellness scene differs between Australia and the US? If so, how?
Yes I do feel that Australia is more fitness forward—I think it is easier to find fresh healthy cafes and food options then it is in the US. However, with social media being so global we are more connected than ever before and it’s really cool to be able to influence each other in positive ways and support each other to live healthy lifestyles.
You have over 1 million fans on Instagram who tune in daily for their dose of motivation. What do you do to perk yourself up when you’re having an off day? Do you just ever let yourself have an off day?
Of course I have off days—everyone has them. However I think it’s important to share those moments as well. I never write anything or post anything unless it’s coming from an authentic place. Although I work hard to always choose to look at the positive in life, that doesn’t mean I am naive or without struggles. We empower eachother when we share our ups and our downs.
You’re quite open and honest on social media and have recently touched on your struggle with anxiety. How has fitness helped you managed this and what is it about fitness that you credit this to?
Fitness enables me to quite literally cope with and help my anxiety holistically without medications. There are so many incredible benefits to healthy living, but the very top of my list will always be that and it’s something that I am acutely aware of and grateful for.
Top tips for staying motivated to workout as winter approaches here in Aus?
I don’t feel bad for you because though you’re going into winter, you’re not going into snowy blizzards so you have no excuse. Jokes aside, health and wellness should be a year-round holistic approach. You shouldn’t ever be looking at your fitness journey seasonally—you should exercise and take care of yourself so you can feel good year-round.
What’s next for Kelsey? What can we look forward to?
A massive priority for me will always be working on my programs within the SWEAT app—I am constantly taking in feedback and working hard to approve upon those. So many things! I am so fortunate to be able to be doing quite a bit of travel this year. There’s nothing I love more than meeting women around the world—it inspires me so much.
Beach or snow? Beach. Sneakers or heels? Sneakers. Sweet or savoury? Sweet. Morning or night? Night. Guilty pleasure… The bachelor—I don’t watch any TV except I find the Bachelor so entertaining. Current obsession… Apple AirPods. Favourite quote… Thats a hard one, I’m a big quote person. The first that popped into my head is “gratitude turns what you have into enough”. People don’t know this about me, but… I fell in love with my husband when I was 17 and we have been together for 11.5 years. On a Sunday night you’ll find me… Enjoying Sunday family donut funday with my boys—it’s a weekly tradition. My idea of balance is… Letting go of what others expect of you or think of you because true happiness is found in simply living authentically and being true to yourself.