Fitness classes LondonHi, I’m Melissa, Founder of Powex Health and Fitness.  I’m trying to break a mould a little about the notion of the personal trainer and the ‘fitness world’. I have come into this world ‘later’ in life, so I’m not 20 with a ‘banging body’ and ‘ripped’, however when I was younger, I was an active sports enthusiast in school – Netball, Hockey, Rounders, Swimming, Athletics (shot put, hurdles and 100m). I was never that great at hand eye coordination sports (tennis and squash – but I’m getting better!)  However, I was one of those ‘all rounders’, which in some ways was great, but I never got really good at one thing! (Hence the late start in life as a personal trainer.)

I’ve always been interested in how people work and this has led to my studying Psychology, Psychodynamic Observation and mental health Nursing.  I have worked in mental health for around 15 years now, predominantly with young people and including working with incredibly damaged inner city London kids.  I have learned a lot about emotions, development of personality and how to manage really very difficult situations.

The next part of my story involved working towards a Doctorate in child and adolescent Psychotherapy, which I still feel very strongly about, however life events that really affected me led to a side step and training as a mental health nurse.

Being a mental health nurse is something I’m incredibly proud of, however unfortunately, working in the ‘current climate’ is really hard work. I’ve worked really hard and studied for over 10 years while my friends have all travelled the world, got married, bought houses, had really exciting rewarding jobs with perks all of London and the world and to be quite frank, I was questioning why I was giving my energy to something that I felt was a broken system (sorry NHS lovers).

I ended up becoming really quite unwell while working as a mental health nurse as I was experiencing extremely stressful environments, demands and expectations and while off sick (I’ve never been off sick other than for a few days with the flu), I thought about what I feel really passionately about… fitness and healthy lifestyle.

I’ve had to change my diet significantly as a result of the stress I was under (accumulative stress also with life events) but the main steady component that has energized me and allowed me to overcome feeling really uncomfortable, unwell, lethargic and exhausted was going to the gym or going for a walk or a run.

My boyfriend sometimes has taken a double take at me when I’ve put my running shoes in the bag to go on holiday….even in Copenhagen where it was FREEZING! But, I love running around new cities. I love what you can discover. I love knowing that I have seen a different side to a City just by planning a route and running. The reward for me after that, is knowing that I can eat and drink whatever I feel my body wants or needs (even if that is wine and cake!) and I don’t feel like I’m coming back from a getaway a stone heavier.

I decided to start my personal training qualification as I really wanted to not only offer my laid back approach to fitness, but try and help others incorporate fitness into normal life and prioritise fitness.

Now a qualified REPS Level 2 in Fitness Programming and Level 3 in Personal Training, I am fully trained to write you a programme and walk you through it. I want you to actually want to progress this and try and access exercise without me too! You won’t need me forever. I would just love it if you made fitness a priority three times a week! (Only 13% of people in the UK do this!)

I qualified also in Kettlebells, Circuit Training, Group Classes and have a specific interest in helping you challenge your barriers to exercise. (I’m also First Aid qualified and insured).

Fitness blogs/instagram/social media, for me is inspirational. I don’t expect this to be the case for you. However, I would like to help you make a start to a healthier life.

Don’t get me wrong, if I could go to all of the best boutique training centres, I would lap it up and enjoy every minute of it!  However, for the average normal person, I want to offer reasonably priced, good quality sessions which encourage a healthy balance.

My own personal moment of needing to make a change was when I tried on a pair of jeans and I was going to have to go up a size to something I was not comfortable with… I refused and I started swimming and running, however was quite self conscious about my body and whether I would look stupid in public… this stopped me from going to the gym.

I then started working with young people with behavioural problems and then onto working in Psychiatric schools and then hospitals with predominantly young people. During this time, I had a very physically and mentally demanding job which I needed some kind of release from and started going to the gym and was running a lot.

In my current work as a mental health nurse, I have found that physical exercise helps my zen a HUGE amount!  I work around very unwell people and the staff around me unfortunately are not that healthy either – if anyone didn’t get the MEMO, the NHS is struggling!  Staff are overworked, underpaid and healthy living habits go out of the window with this!

I want to try and encourage ‘mindful’ exercise. I want people to enjoy the exercise programmes that I can create for them. I don’t want people to start exercise and drop off immediately.

I love learning and often like to try and make sure my knowledge is based on scientific fact. We are all able to google information and make decisions about what we think may work for our bodies, however there is also science. Science changes and knowledge changes. Which I love! However, I will look at individual needs for your plan. I personally am discovering lots of foods that I can’t eat and am trying to find alternatives every day.

It would be great if you would allow me to help both with your physical exercise goals, but also achieve a healthy balance of life, which includes exercise – even if that is a walk instead of the gym. Lifestyle changes make happier people!