May marks Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to fight the stigma, raise awareness, and support the millions of people in the U.S. living with mental health conditions. Week 3 of the Fitness Month Challenge focuses on the mind-body connection, why cultivating a strong mind is just as important as building a strong body, and how you can take care of yourself—inside and out.
We recently spoke with iFIT Trainer Casey Gilbert, who shared what well-being means to him, challenges he’s faced, and how it inspires his fitness journey.
Casey, how has prioritizing your physical fitness and mental health affected your overall well-being?
“I started prioritizing my physical fitness because it was something that made me feel good, made me feel calm, and made me feel productive. But I didn’t realize until a few years ago that I was also prioritizing my mental health. There’s been plenty of times when, if I’m stressed or anxious, I don’t find myself able to perform physically. Taking moments to breathe, be mindful, and check in with yourself can benefit your physical health. Taking a step back sometimes can help me move forward in my fitness journey.”
What inspired you to start prioritizing your mental health?
“Since diving into that passion and purpose of prioritizing my mental health, I found that my overall well-being has drastically improved. I’m able to show up more for myself and those around me, and it’s been quite the journey that I am looking forward to continuing.”
Have you experienced times when your mental health affected your physical fitness?
“Those who know me know that I’ve struggled for a long time with anxiety, depression, overthinking, and overwhelmed. I think that’s part of the human condition, and it makes me feel more human. When I share that on social media and with the iFIT Community, I’ve gotten an overwhelming response of positivity.”
How do you manage those feelings when they arise?
“As soon as I realize I’m not the only one going through it, I try to think about how feeling in that moment and being okay with that. It’s a fitness journey, right? We’re trying to build our bodies and get healthier. But it’s also a journey of the mind to figure out who you are and build on that.”
One last question. Do you have advice for people who want to create a healthy balance between fitness and well-being?
“Just like building your body, think of your mental health as a journey. You’re not going to flip a switch and have everything figured out, just like you’re not going to do one bicep curl and have Arnold arms. It’s a process, and practice makes progress. Also, be kind to yourself. It’s going to take time. You will have setbacks, but that’s the part of the journey. We’re here together. We’re experiencing life together, so have grace with yourself. You’ll get exactly where you need to be as long as you keep showing up and doing your best.”
Conquer your goals with Casey!
Throughout this progressive running series, Casey Gilbert takes you through 12 workouts designed to improve your speed, strength, endurance, and stamina! These intermediate runs are perfect for gaining confidence both physically and mentally.
You and Casey will perform speed, resistance, and incline intervals designed to build strength and endurance, plus total-body cross-training off your bike. Commit to this 8-part Series and show up for yourself!
In this 6-part Series, Casey combines high-intensity intervals on your rower with abdominal cross-training on your mat. These workouts are a quick, fun, and effective challenge!
Casey works your entire body from head to toe with 8 workouts focusing on different strength exercises with some HIIT work for a well-rounded Series you can keep coming back to. So, grab your water, lace up your shoes, and get training!
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. iFIT assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article. Always follow the safety precautions included in the owner’s manual of your fitness equipment.