Best friends turned influential female health and wellness duo, Steph Miller (nee Claire Smith) and Laura Henshaw are the powerhouse behind the Keep It Cleaner (KIC) program. Available online or through their app, KIC is not your average training program. The KIC community is one of inclusivity and supportiveness, with the program subverting pre-established fitness and beauty industry standards to instead encourage positive messages around mental and physical wellbeing. It’s about taking care of yourself for YOU, rather than to fit a certain beauty mould formed by others.
Over the last few months, it’s been more important than ever to listen to our bodies and take care of our minds. We’ve all been doing our best to readjust to the new normal, and with that comes the challenge of sticking to a new routine – be it with work, exercise, taking care of family or keeping up with the household. See my chat with Steph and Laura below where we talk mindfulness, motivation in isolation, the KIC journey, self-reflection and more!
First of all, thanks for chatting with us! We’ve all had to make some readjustments in life over the last few months, how would you describe this readjusting process based on your own experiences?
STEPH: The last few months have certainly been filled with uncertainty, heightened levels of stress and a period of readjusting. For me it has been amazing to reset and slow down. I’ve been enjoying slower mornings and the opportunity to just be more present and enjoy quality time with my partner Josh. We’re usually so go, go, go so we’ve been feeling really grateful for this time together. I’ve been prioritising some sort of KIC workout or at least a walk with our dog most days to keep my body and mind in check, and with all this extra time I’ve really enjoyed taking my time making each meal and sitting down and enjoying it rather than eating on the go. I’m also being patient with myself – some days I’m motivated to eat well and exercise really well, and other days I’m a little less motivated. I try to embrace the fact that every day is different, and that’s ok.
What have you been relying on the most to stay sane with all this time indoors?
LAURA: Isolation has been the perfect opportunity for me to be more mindful. Earlier this year we launched the Wellness Hub, as part of the KIC program, which is a section that has equipment free workouts, Pilates and yoga workouts, as well as guided meditations. I’ve always loved the idea of exercising my mind a little more regularly, but I guess the chaos of life has stopped me from really dedicating time to focus on this. In isolation, I’ve forced myself to meditate most days and I’m really noticing the difference in my focus and mental health!
How have you been staying motivated (be it work or exercise, etc.)?
STEPH: Some days I’m really motivated, and some days I’m a lot more lethargic when it comes to getting up and getting exercise and work done. I know once I move my body – be that a dog walk or a KIC workout – I often feel a bit better and have more energy, so that’s something I try to get done most days in the morning! If I don’t get it done in the morning, I’ll generally just be in activewear all day anyway in case that motivation comes up later on, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t!
You guys have built such a positive community around KIC. What inspired you to form the KIC program and brand?
STEPH: The concept of KIC was born from Laura and my own personal experiences when it came to the fitness industry and looking a certain way. We found that there was a lot of pressure on young women to look a certain way, train in a certain way and restrict their eating through different strict diets. KIC is a wellness program that flips the concept of intense workouts and restrictive diets on its head. We encourage our community to work out and eat well for how it makes them feel – the energy it brings, the endorphins, the strength; to have set goals around fitness, strength and routine instead of physical goals. When you sign up to KIC you become part of a supportive, respectful, kind and virtual community full of individuals from around the world sharing their wellness journeys together, from the comfort of your own home. KIC is about transforming your mind with the support of a strong community, with physical transformation simply a biproduct of the KIC journey.
For our readers who may not know about KIC, could you explain how it works and what our readers can expect if they were to join?
LAURA: KIC combines at-home fitness workouts, access to healthy recipes and guided meditations for every fitness level and stage. The KIC program is designed to challenge your individual self, with no comparisons to others around you. It’s basically a PT in your pocket as well as your ultimate work out buddy. Steph and I do each daily work out with you and we provide creative, fresh content daily for you to follow along with. KIC also enables you to access a like-minded community of people who are all on the same wellness journey, working together to support each other. This KIC community is quite profound and something that Steph and I are proud to be a part of.
What has been one of the best parts of your journeys with KIC?
STEPH: For us, it’s been hearing the stories from our community and seeing everyone come together to support each other. KIC has amassed a strong online following with over 300,000 Instagram followers, over 30,000 members on the Facebook community and thousands of subscribers around the globe. During COVID-19 we launched a virtual gym, available to everyone, not just members of the KIC community, which was our small way of giving back in these extraordinary times. Laura and I did live workouts on Instagram and Facebook multiple times a week and seeing thousands of people log on each morning was really quite touching. The feedback we had was that the live workouts were really helping people feel motivated and connected.
On your podcasts, you’ve spoken about our mental health being just as important as our physical wellbeing. How have you been practising self-care for the mind? Any tips for our readers?
STEPH: Selfcare is critical for me. If you can’t care for yourself, it’s really hard to care for those around you. For me, I like to make sure I make time for myself at least once a day. That could be time aside for a workout, a walk, a bath while listening to a KIC guided meditation or a KIC yoga flow. I used to have little patience with practices like yoga and meditation, but I’ve found it incredibly helpful for my headspace and an awesome way to check in with myself and my body.
Is there something you’ve learnt about yourselves over the last few months that you wouldn’t mind sharing?
STEPH: I’ve learnt that I don’t necessarily love the fast-paced lifestyle I lived prior to iso! I’m so incredibly grateful for my life and everything we get to do, but something I will be taking away from this whole experience is slowing down and smelling the roses.
LAURA: I think the biggest thing I’ve learnt is the importance of practising gratitude. There’s so much in my life that I’m so grateful for, but I don’t always take the time to appreciate it. I’ve been doing a lot more of this, and it’s really changed my perspective on life and how I feel in each moment. It’s often as simple as being grateful for sunshine, or fresh air, or how someone makes me feel – it’s rarely ‘things.’
Coffee or tea?
Banana bread or muffins?
L: Can I say both!?
Favourite smoothie flavour?
S: Peanut butter
S: Other than the KIC Pod ;) I like listening to the radio or Shameless!
L: Ditto to Steph. I also love How I Built This.
Favourite feel-good song?
S: Bring it all back, by S Club 7
L: Shake it off, by Taylor Swift
To learn more about the Keep It Cleaner program, head to this link to visit the website!