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Saturday, November 17, 2012

An Inspiring Interview with Melissa Bender (Therapist, Yoga Instructor and Fitness Lover)

Holy Grail Body Transformation Program!

1. Tell us something about yourself! 

My name is Melissa Bender and I live in Pittsburgh, PA. I am an Occupational Therapist, certified yoga instructor, fitness blogger, and cross country coach. As you may have noticed from my list of occupations I don’t believe in setting limits. I believe in living life to the fullest. 

2. For how long you’ve been working out and what progress have you made?

I have been tracking my workouts on my blog for a little over a year now, but I have been working out longer than that. I started running consistently in 2008, and I started my yoga certification in 2009. Prior to that, I was a dancer and captain of a dance team. In 2007 I became a flight attendant and stopped dancing, so there was a time period where I wasn’t doing much of anything. The first time I went on a run in 2008 I realized how out of shape I had become, and slowly discovered my passion for anything fitness related. 

I went from barely able to jog three blocks without taking a walking break, to being able to run 13 miles and still feel great and ready for more at the end. Pure stubbornness and refusal to fail is all that got me through those first few runs. If someone told me then that I would be coaching cross country a few years down the road I wouldn’t have believed it. Physically I am stronger now, and more capable than I have ever been, even when I was dancing. My athleticism has become much more well-rounded, and my body is more defined now than it has ever been.

3. Why do you love Fitness?

I love fitness because it enables you to do so much. It teaches you how to be physically and mentally strong. It teaches you to set goals, to celebrate victories, and to never give up. I also love fitness because in my field I see the impact of health and wellness as you age. There are many things that happen in life that you can’t control (accidents, illness etc.) but when you stay fit and make healthy choices you are giving yourself the best chance and opportunity to live a happy and healthy life, and to recover from anything life may throw your way. Also, exercise makes me feel good, physically, mentally and emotionally. There is nothing more energizing than a workout.

4. Which is your actual training routine?

I do all of my workouts at home, and I share them on my blog and youtube channel. I also run an average of 5 days per week. My workouts are constantly changing. I get bored doing the same thing all the time. I generally do 5 workouts during the week, and I tend to favor full body workouts. My background in yoga has taught me the importance of creating balance within the body, and in your workouts. 

5. And your favorite exercise?

This is a hard one! I have so many! I love Burpees. I know, most people hate them, but they are fun, challenging, and work your entire body. I love Sun Salutations, or stream of consciousness yoga flows where I turn on some music and just immerse myself in yoga. Running has become a passion for me, and at times I find that it is almost meditative. I love change, so it’s hard to pick just one thing!

6. How about your favorite meal?

Another hard question! I love food! My answer is probably totally dependent on my mood. I really like making grilled eggplant sandwiches. I love seafood; salmon and spinach is a very common combination for me. For a snack I enjoy peanut butter Greek yogurt. I could eat spinach at every meal. I eat it with eggs, in smoothies, on sandwiches; I put it in pasta sauces. 

7. What are your future Fitness plans?

My future fitness plans are to run a faster 5K, and run a half marathon. I also want to do an NPC competition. I am planning to continue my blog, and eventually create a workout DVD. That’s just a portion of my list. What’s the point of dreaming if you don’t dream big?
8. What keeps you motivated to workout and to follow a healthy lifestyle?

I find workouts intrinsically motivating. They make me feel so good, and I just don’t feel the same when I am not working out. My husband is also a huge motivation to me. He’s a ridiculously talented runner, and he supports me in everything I do. All of the people that follow my blog also motivate me to workout and follow a healthy lifestyle. Anytime someone tells me that my website has helped them or motivated them it is an amazing feeling. That makes me want to keep going, because I know that if I can influence even one person to change their life in a healthy way, I am doing something important. I truly believe that being fit improves your quality of life, and it is a change that anyone can make. 

9. How can people get in touch with you?

You have plenty of options! You can visit my blog, my Youtube Channel,   my Facebook Page, my Twitter or my Pinterest. I love hearing from people!

10. And finally say a few words to the readers of!

You are capable of amazing things! Don’t limit yourself, and don’t let setbacks get you off track. Remember that if you focus on improving your overall fitness the physical results will follow. 

Holy Grail Body Transformation Program!

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