Ellie Goulding’s gym Instagrams are definitely fodder for envious lurking while chewing on carrot sticks on the couch. But while Goulding makes her workouts look easy, exercise is completely necessary for the “On My Mind” singer. In an interview Well + Good, she opened up about her terrible bouts of anxiety, and how her intense visits to the gym help subside them.
Goulding revealed that her panic attacks began just as her first hit, “Lights,” started gaining traction in 2010.
“My new life as a pop star certainly wasn’t as glamorous as all my friends from home thought,” she told the website. “Secretly, I was really struggling physically and emotionally.”
As she started performing more and more, the anxiety got worse, she explained, stemming from an insecurity about her ability to sing.
“I think part of what sparked my panic attacks was not feeling confident enough to believe in myself,” she said. “I was scared I wasn’t as good of a singer as everyone thought I was. And as the stakes grew, I was afraid of letting everyone, including myself, down.”
Goulding’s now three albums in, but the nerves still exist. She recalled her performance with Andra Day at the 2016 Grammys as the perfect example:
“Last year, I was asked to perform at the Grammys — a massive honor but, as you can imagine, pretty nerve-wracking. In the moments before I walked on that stage, I gave myself a good talking-to. I was annoyed for being paralyzed with nerves every time I was about to perform on television,” she said. “I told myself that this was exactly where I was supposed to be and if other people believed in me, I had to start believing in myself.”
Of course, as any casual celeb-aware person may know, Goulding serves up massive amounts of fitspo online, and during her shows, she’s often bouncing back and forth onstage — something that’s a combination of both nervousness and endorphins. Goulding told the site that she turns to exercise to quell her worries, and kickboxing is one of her favorite workouts.
“I love that extra kick of adrenaline,” she said. “Keeping fit doesn’t mean spending hours at a gym; the key is to find a workout you really love. The more I started doing classes and also working out with my trainer, Faisal Abdalla, the better I felt about myself… It wasn’t about any change in my outward appearance; it was about seeing and feeling myself get better and stronger. It carried over into other areas of my life, and now I truly feel that exercise — however you like to work out — is good for the soul.”