Melissa is our latest addition to the instructor team, teaching Bikes & Beats, Ripped & Stripped and TRX. "When you have a room of 20-30 people looking at you expectantly, you have to pull it out the bag!"
Hi Melissa! You’ve just started at Gymbox, how’s it going so far?
It's going great! I love it. The vibe at Gymbox is incredible, and everyone seems genuinely really pleased to be there, both members and trainers. My first few weeks have been brilliant. I've only had one mishap so far – I was teaching Bikes & Beats at Old Street, directly after another teacher's class. He rushed out and I rushed in – he shouted that he'd put the AC on so I got going. The class got hotter and hotter and hotter, the mirrors steamed up, the floor was like a lake. But, as he'd said he'd put the AC on I assumed that everyone was just working incredibly hard! It was only during our stretches that I realised that the setting was actually on max heat instead of cool! Bikram Bikes & Beats – maybe a new one for the timetable?
You’re teaching 4-5 classes a day: TRX, Bikes & Beats, Ripped & Stripped. Are you a Duracell Bunny?
To be honest, mainly adrenaline! It sounds really corny to say, but when you love what you do and you're excited to do it the buzz gets you through. Also when you have a room of 20-30 people looking at you expectantly, you have to pull it out the bag! Also I normally only have two classes back-to-back, so I get an hour or so to recover between classes. I've always had a lot of energy, so doing this is actually a good way to get rid of some of it!
How important is nutrition to get your through such intense training?
Nutrition is everything. I find that I'm always hungry and always thirsty! Eating regularly and also drinking lots of water is paramount. I eat lots of oats, eggs, tuna and chicken. I'm always looking for new things to do to a chicken! Preparation is really important, and I try to prepare as much food as possible the night before. I cycle between classes, so not having enough to eat can be really dangerous. I'll always try and have a cooked lunch – scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and pumpkin rye bread is my favourite thing to have this week, and then make sure I have snacks between my afternoon and evening classes.
What makes you a good instructor?
I hope that it's my love for what I do. I'm very loud (some people have said shouty but in a good way) and I've been told I play really good music! I also push people very hard. I try and get the most out of my clients for the 45 minutes they're in the room, and most of the time they crawl out the door dripping in sweat. I know when people are capable of doing more and make sure they achieve everything they can. I'm also really happy to be there, and I think that rubs off on people.
What is your favourite exercise, and why?
My favourite exercise are pull-ups! Pull-ups are amazing for toning pretty much the whole upper body, they take a lot of energy to do so they are a fab way to burn fat, they make you very strong and you can pretty much do them anywhere!
What's your personal fitness regime?
My daily fitness routine is mainly governed by my teaching timetable as I teach around 4-5 classes a day and cycle between classes. When I'm not teaching I do a lot of boxing, weightlifting and bodyweight exercises. I'm really passionate about women lifting weights and am trying to do everything to dispel the fear that a lot of women have, which is that if they lift heavy weights they'll bulk up. Ladies you won't! You don't have any testosterone! If anything you'll get smaller as lifting weights burns more fat.
You had a terrible accident in 2007, tell us about that
I had a really bad road traffic accident about seven years ago, and was knocked off my bike by a car travelling at 50mph. I broke my arm, my leg and badly injured my back. I took up spinning as a way to recuperate and loved it so much I decided to become an instructor!
That's amazing. How has becoming an instructor changed you?
Apart from the physical benefits, it's made me really happy nearly all the time. I used to work in TV which was fairly stressful to say the least! Being an instructor and a trainer means you're pretty much your own boss. If you choose to teach eight classes in a day, then that's only because you've made that decision yourself. Being constantly flooded with endorphins is great and even getting up at 5.30am every morning isn't that bad!
In what ways does training impact on people’s lives?
One of my classes starts at 7am, people walk in looking tired, apprehensive, worried about the day ahead, but 45 minutes later people are beaming from ear to ear, clapping and (sometimes) whooping! Being able to change people's mood and emotion so immediately is really special. As soon as the music goes on you see people physically transform.
You love cooking, what is your signature dish?
It changes all the time! But at the moment my favourite thing to cook is an Italian crayfish, tomato, mushroom and garlic sauce with courgettes – absolutely incredible and really easy as well.
How do you like to have fun when you’re off the clock?
I love making cocktails, I have an old marble bathroom cabinet I've transformed into a drinks cupboard and I love experimenting with different flavours and combinations – some more successful than others. I've just come back from a couple of days in Venice with a bottle of Aperol which is perfect timing for summer! I also love playing table tennis. My parents have a table in their back garden and recently it's started getting VERY competitive. Perhaps I'll give everyone some of my cocktails before we start playing next time.
What has been the most inspirational thing anyone has said to you?
An instructor once told me: "You can never be too passionate about what you do, whatever you think is 100%, people will only see half of".
And what do you say to inspire others now?
I tell people that I trust and believe in them, and that they can always do one more turn on the bike, or one more press up, or one more burpee than they think they can. And it's always true.