Fitness expert and content creator Kayla Nicole is relaunching her fitness brand. In a new interview with People about the venture, she spoke about how she returned to talk therapy, which proved to be “an a-ha moment” for her.
Nicole told People that she was used to using physical fitness to maintain mental wellness. And while that helped her get into “the best shape of” her life, she still felt “miserable inside.”
“I genuinely say this and mean this — I don’t like who I am when I don’t work out,” Nicole said, revealing that she prefers to knock out a workout first thing in the morning. “I’m naturally an anxious person. I’ve had some bouts with depression, and honestly, my fitness world has saved my life on numerous occasions.”
It wasn’t until she found herself dealing with “a major breakup and major life change” last summer that she learned, “it’s one thing to be physically fit, but it’s another thing to be mentally fit.”
The 31-year-old, who was in an on-again, off-again relationship with NFL star Travis Kelce for five years, shared that it became difficult to hold onto her authenticity as a fitness influencer, a title she never refers to herself as, though she knows “I am one.”
“It was like I was working out, I was in really great shape, but I felt like s**t and I was sad, and I was having a hard time getting out of bed. It got to the point where I was like, ‘Okay, what else can I possibly do?’ So, I started to go to therapy,” she explained.
Nicole said that, at the time, she was struggling with sleep and digestive issues before going to therapy.
“Just full transparency, I went through this major breakup, major life change, and I had lost a substantial amount of weight within a very short amount of time. I wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t eating. I was really abusing melatonin to sleep at night,” she said.
Even though her health was in decline, she kept working out and posting her workouts on social media.
“I’m posting content and people are like, ‘You look so good. Tell us your tricks. You look amazing.’ And I’m like, ‘I’m miserable. I’m miserable. I’m depressed,'” Nicole confessed. “My abs were amazing, I had a six-pack. And it was like, ‘I had never felt so bad in my life.'”
Therapy opened her eyes to how her behavior was a dangerous distraction from her emotional reality and taught her how to process her pain in healthier ways.
“So, I started going to therapy and quickly realized, okay, it’s one thing to be physically fit, but it’s another thing to be mentally fit,” she continued. “You could be in the best shape of your life, but mentally, if you are not a healthy person, it’s not going to feel good.”
Nicole’s positive talk therapy experience inspired her to include the tools she learned in her fitness content. She told People that she’s “really excited” for her brand Tribe Therepe to “enter a new chapter” committed to “feel-good fitness.”
“It’s focusing on the mental health component of working out, which is really, really important for me and really resonates with me, and really just encouraging people to mentally take care of themselves,” she said, adding, “I think that when your mind is in a healthy place, your body will follow.”
Nicole also looks forward to providing therapy services to people who may not be able to afford traditional therapy.
“Therapy is 1000% a luxury, and I get that,” she said. “So, I really want to provide just almost, like, a therapy resource for people that doesn’t require any money.”
Tribe Therepe “will hopefully give you some nuggets that I’ve learned from therapy that will help you to be a better person all the way around,” Nicole shared.