Melissa and I met when we were both participating on a dance team in Pittsburgh almost 10 years ago. We haven't seen each other in a while, but thanks to social media, we've kept in touch. Melissa now runs her own blog and YouTube channel which features full length workout videos. Her workouts are amazing and great for all levels! If you haven't checked out her videos, you're missing out! Give them a try - most of them don't even require any equipment! Thanks Melissa for sharing your story with us!
It started with a blog...
My fitness blog started in grad school. Graduate school was hard, and stressful. Jesse (my husband and blog videographer) and I went to grad school together, and we lived off campus. Our commute typically took us 1.5 hours each way. Our class schedule was equivalent to a full time job, before factoring in homework and reading assignments. Jesse and I also worked part time at a restaurant so time was short, and we were very busy.
Prior to starting graduate school, I was enrolled in a yoga certification program, teaching yoga 5X per week, and running with Jesse. I found that I really missed teaching. Sometimes in between classes I would teach yoga to our classmates in the park across the street, or even in the hallway outside of our classroom.
At the same time I was getting more and more questions about what I did to stay in shape. When people found out that I didn't workout in a gym they were perplexed. How was I staying in that kind of shape at home and without lifting weights?
My background in yoga had helped me form a very holistic view of creating strength and balance in the body. In graduate school we had a wonderful anatomy teacher that expected us to do more than memorize muscles and planes of movement. We were required to understand the functional movements of each muscle, and which activities and motions would be limited if these muscles were weakened or paralyzed. We also learned which muscles were activated when moving your body through different planes and the biomechanics impact of inefficient movement patterns. We physically saw these muscles in our cadaver lab courses, which was very mentally and emotionally challenging for me, but expanded my understanding and appreciation of the human body.
Throughout this process, my workouts and my body were changing, and people continued to ask about my workouts. My passion for wellness was also being further cultivated in my courses as I learned how many diseases and illness processes could be prevented through healthy lifestyle changes. It occurred to me that many people didn't know what they could do to improve their health and fitness at home. So many people think that exercise only occurs in a gym, and it takes hours each day to get in shape.
I started my blog in 2011, and since that time I have shared every workout that I do to get in shape and stay in shape. As of the time that I am writing this, that is over 450 different free home workout videos. I started my blog out of a passion for fitness, and I continued to share that love. I have been amazed at the response I have gotten throughout this process. Some people don't understand why I spend so much time blogging, but for me it is very rewarding. To see people make positive changes in their lives, their health, and their self perception is an amazing thing. I believe that fitness helps improve the quality of your life, your health, and your future. When people send me pictures of their results, or of themselves doing my workouts with their families I feel that I am making a positive impact on people's lives.
If you want to spice up your workouts and try something new you can join me at www.BenderFitness.com
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and a special thank you to Jillian for asking me to share my story.
Have a great day!
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