NASM Certified Personal Trainer,
Raised in Northern Nevada on Hamburger Helper, fast food, and the antiquated “eat what’s put in front of you” mentality, Melissa grew up like many of her counterparts with virtually no emphasis on healthy food choices or encouragement towards exercise.
“My first experience in sports was a half-marathon,” she explains. “Because I didn’t know better, I entered and completed this initial run without preparation or training and, not surprisingly came out with a knee injury.”
Rather than feeling discouraged, Melissa wanted to understand what went wrong and how she could be better prepared for the next competition. She dove into research with regards to nutrition, physical fitness, supplements, and anything else relating to a healthy lifestyle. She was fascinated with the wealth of information available, each new discovery making her thirst for the next. And so began her journey into the world of personal training.
Sensitive to her surroundings and the basic principle of cause-and-effect, Melissa gradually realized that the multitude of illnesses and health problems plaguing so many members of her family could be traced directly to their poor eating habits and lack of physical activity. Her research confirmed much of what she had already surmised on her own. Particularly difficult however, was witnessing her mother’s struggles.
Melissa loved and admired her mother, a strong woman who raised four children on her own, and feels she learned the values of hard work, determination and persistency from her. However, watching her mother’s health decline and ultimately losing her following complications in surgery, only served to strengthen Melissa’s resolve. She vowed not only to not repeat her mother’s pattern of inactivity and poor diet, but also to help educate others.
Now, a single-mother herself, Melissa takes care to impart her health-minded philosophy upon her own two children.
“My children have grown understanding and appreciating their ability to be active,” she says. “They are both involved in sports and would prefer to be outside to watching TV or playing a video game. We hike, swim, bike, or play in the park as a family. I’m not a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ kind of mom. My children view exercise as fun and enjoyable and, believe it or not, when give a choice between a donut and a piece of fruit, nine times out of ten, they’ll choose the fruit!”
A natural leader, Melissa joined the Air Force both as a way of testing her own limits as well as the boundaries of feminism.
“My original goal was to be treated equally to men,” she admits with a wry grin, “but to my surprise I learned about me! I feel I came out stronger and more determined. My military experience, particularly my tour in Iraq, made me realize there is no task or problem I can’t solve. In addition, the Air Force taught me about core values, integrity, service before self, and striving for excellence in all that I do. These are values that I utilize every day of my life.”
By the time she was honorably discharged in 2005 Melissa had been named Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year, Non-Com Officer Support Professional of the Quarter, Airman Support Professional of the Quarter, Information Manager of the Quarter and Airman of the Quarter.
Passionate and involved, Melissa’s dream is to educate everyone on the tremendous benefits of being active and eating healthy.
“Recently, I had the opportunity to instruct 60 Girl Scouts on nutrition and take them through some exercise routines,” Melissa explains. “It’s unfortunate how many of our youth are considered overweight and obese. If given the opportunity, I would spend all my time enlightening people as to what they are truly capable of being. I believe physical fitness starts with the mind and take an inside-out approach to training. I am a huge proponent of personal development and lead by example. Ultimately, I know that it’s not only about proper exercise and nutrition, it’s about having the right mindset.”