Healthy and Anxiety Free | Celena Kinsey
Celena Kinsey is a fitness enthusiast and mental health activist. Her main goals are to live a healthier lifestyle and find ways to manage my anxiety, while also trying to shine a light on mental health and reducing the stigma surrounding it. “Just because you have anxiety, or any disorder really, does not mean you have to let it define you and take over your life. My aim is to show that if you really want something, you can have it all: be it an education, a family, a more active lifestyle, an anxiety free life, and a job of your dreams- you never have to just choose ONE thing,” Celena says. Ultimately, Celena’s efforts goes into trying to showcase the real side of living a more active lifestyle while juggling responsibilities that a majority of people face every day. This includes a pretty life changing disorder (anxiety) that impacts about 18% of the population of adults.
Starting off, Celana had always been incredibly active in highschool, whether I was cheerleading or doing taekwondo, she was always on the go. When she began college, all of that fell to the sideline to make room for studying and getting used to all of the new found freedoms. Naturally, she began to gain some weight. As a neurophysiology major Celena felt as if she did not have many outlets for the stress she was feeling.
Near the end of her junior year in college, Celena had her first anxiety attack. “After that first attack, I began to really suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and panic disorder. I would struggle daily with not wanting to leave the couch and I felt like I was trapped in my mind with no way out. I felt completely powerless and out of control. College provided a brief distraction from the brunt of my anxiety, but once I graduated there was no holding back. I began having daily panic attacks which would completely wipe me out, and I started to feel like I was going to be stuck like this forever. After finally admitting that I needed help, I went to therapy in which I was given two options: Take medication for my anxiety, or find a natural remedy on my own. If I wasn’t better in three months then I would be forced to take medication because of all the stress the panic attacks were causing on my body,” Celena says. This experience provoked Celena to do some deep soul searching on what she wanted. She began reading about all of the side effects of the pills prescribed to her. Not pleased with some of the things she read, Celena decided to try the Bikini Body Guide (BBG) workout program. She was interested to see if that could help diminish her anxiety. “Something about seeing all of the confident, smiling girls really resonated within me and I just wanted to get back to that, it also helped that I could do all of the workouts from home and they were only 30 minutes a day,” Celena explained. Almost two years later from starting her journey to fitness, Celena no longer suffers from panic attacks and her anxiety is virtually nonexistent. “To me, fitness completely changed my life and made me into a confident anxiety free person and I’ll never go back to the days where I’m NOT active,” Celena states.
The BBG program had a significant impact on Celena’s life. A major reason she found success in the program is because it is not the typical workout program. “BBG is so different from any workout I did at the time because it was only 28 minutes a day, and you could do every workout from home. You didn’t have to worry about going to the gym or trying to figure out complex weight exercises. You only really need a yoga mat, a jump rope, and some dumbbells and you’re set. The fact that we’ve all seen incredible results from 30 minutes of day I think speaks for itself,” Celena says.
Beyond the BBG program has a huge following and they often offer support for each other. “The BBG community is also honestly unlike any other group of girls I’ve ever seen. I think the community is so tight knit because it was essentially founded through social media and that’s how so many girls saw progress photos from Kayla Itsines and her program, and it was all genuine accounts who just wanted to make a change. There was never any sense of competition, no right or wrong way to do something- you were just immediately part of the community. So many girls just want everyone to have the same success and results that they did and they believe so strongly in this program so by being welcoming you make it that more enjoyable for girls!” Celena expresses. The BBG program helps many people o realize that working out is a lot easier when you have a community motivating you. The community is what helps keep everyone motivate and the girls all try to continue foster that environment.
Your mindset is highly important to fitness. Without the right mindset, you won’t achieve the best results. Celena understands the importance of having a good mindset. “Essentially there’s two mindsets a person can have: fixed or growth. Those with fixed mindsets really believe that they know everything they’re going to know or they’ve capped on their potential and there’s no room to improve. These people usually use the excuse “I wasn’t born flexible or with the ability to run 5 miles so I’m never going to be able to do it”. As you can see, this is a pretty hindering mindset to have. Growth mindset on the other hand believe that your talent and abilities can be strengthened through persistence and dedication. They’re the people in the gym or even in the office working day in and day out to get stronger or to obtain more information. When you open yourself to a growth mindset you’re essentially becoming a life long learner and you’re opening yourself up to new challenges and experience which in turn can only enrich and strengthen you as a person. That’s why having the right mindset is so critical in order to be successful and to further who you are as a person. Anything can be taught with the right amount of effort, you just have to want to put in the time and be humble enough to make a few mistakes,” Celena says.
What motivational/inspirational books have you found to be most helpful?
I recently read The Year of Yes by my favorite tv creator Shonda Rhimes and it just really resonated with me. One of my favorite quotes from it was:
“Everyone’s got some greatness in them. You do. The girl over there does. That guy on the left has some. But in order to really mine it, you have to own it. You have to grab hold of it. You have to believe it.”
And that’s how I’ve tried to live my life, owning my version of MY greatness. Not what I think should be expected of me, not what I think others will like. By truly believing in yourself and your ability to make an impact, you end up doing some pretty incredible things you never thought possible.
What three pieces of fitness equipment should everyone have?
All you truly need is a yoga mat, some dumbbells, and a really good speed jump rope to get any kind of workout done. The yoga mat can be for comfort when doing floor work, or for actually practicing yoga. The dumbbells help you add weight so you can go beyond body weight training and start to build muscle, and the jump rope can lend you so many options for HIIT workouts and is a total body exercise. You can use your couch or chairs as a bench, and most exercises have so many modifications so if you don’t have a piece of equipment don’t give up!
What are your go-to snacks when you’re on the run?
My go to snacks are trader joes roasted plantain chips, larabars, any and all fruit and turkey jerky. Now if we’re talking indulgent snacks- my hands down favorite treat is the Sweet and Salty Boom Chickapop– I could eat that all day, it’s a problem.
Do you ever workout outside, like in a park? Any suggestions for an outdoor workout?
I try to go outside as much as possible on the weekends when the weather permits and my favorite outdoor workout is honestly a 5-10 mile hike. Hiking is a complete workout, helps to clear your mind while challenging your body. Hiking trails with a ton of hills also gives you more of a challenge and it let’s you feel a huge sense of accomplishment when you reach an overlook or finish a trail.
“at the end of the day, no matter what your weight is or what your body looks like- you’re beautiful. Truly beautiful and unique because no one can ever look like YOU. Never be defined by a progress picture, or by a number but instead celebrate your accomplishments. Celebrate how strong you’ve become, mentally and physically. You can’t see someone’s journey on a scale or a quick snapshot. You can’t see all of the times someone woke up early to work out, stayed up late after working a full day to go to the gym, or all of the times they made the healthy choice, even when it wasn’t always their favorite choice. This is a lifestyle you’re living and it’s going to be so much more enjoyable if you take the time now to love and accept yourself and every stage you’re at. BE PROUD OF YOURSELF, you owe yourself that. “