I have known Melissa for a long time now. She is physically fit and mentally strong, and I have always admired her for that. Mel is a licensed clinical psychologist and a wellness enthusiast, empowering women in building healthy mind-body connections. I am excited to share her story with all of you - read along to explore how you can follow her example and stay happy and healthy every day!
Q. You have always been about fitness and wellness. What motivates you to live this lifestyle?
I’ve always been an athlete. I ran track and cross country and played basketball competitively throughout my childhood into high school. I did intramural sports at the collegiate level and still run now. It’s in my DNA. As a child, being involved in sports helped to organize me and forced me to be great with time management and balance. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that exercise and living a healthy lifestyle keeps me grounded. It’s the one thing that is predictable for me. Not to mention, exercise highs are AMAZING medicine for my mental health. It helps to decrease my anxiety, boost my mood, and just feel overall great about myself for focusing on myself.
Q. Describe your fitness routine.
I work out 5-6 days a week, mostly from home. I’ve also had periods where I’ve attended cycling classes once a week or run during warmer weather.
I’m usually doing workouts first thing in the morning because I know as my day progresses, it’s much less likely that I will work out. But this is about knowing what works for me and I STRONGLY encourage people to be honest with themselves about what actually works for them.
My routine can vary based on if I’m following a specific program or not. I LOVE intense cardio, especially HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts. However, it’s so important to engage in weight and resistance training, especially as I get older. So, my routine involves both throughout the week.
Q. I have often seen your photos on FB where you include your kids into your fitness program. What's your secret sauce to get them so excited to participate?
Yes, I love sharing my passion for fitness and health with the girls. I never force the girls to workout with me. However, they know that mommy works out regularly. They see it almost daily and I’m trying my best to model a healthy lifestyle for them. They will often ask me to join because they want to do things like me and they find the equipment or moves fascinating.
Allowing kids to explore at their own pace is a great way to give them space to grow their own love for exercise and health. I even bought a couple sets of lighter weights for them to use. I also try to make it fun and encourage them while we are working out together. I will show them proper form and then let things progress organically after that. I’m their BIGGEST cheerleader and I think that’s important when your kids are joining you. This helps to boost confidence.
Q. What would you recommend folks who are at home and want to start a fitness routine?
I’ve been working out at home for years! It’s definitely possible to get great workouts accomplished from the comfort of home. If you’ve never worked out before or haven’t worked out in a while, I recommend easing into a workout routine.
Set yourself up for success. Perhaps commit to being active a few times a week, with more intense sweat sessions at least twice.
There are tons of programs out there, both free and paid, that have varying levels for beginners through advanced. My two favorites are Beachbody on Demand (BOD) and MAWARRIOR programs with Massy Arias. I love BOD because it’s only $99 a year (much cheaper than most gym memberships) and you get access to a wealth of programs, including new programs that have been created for kids. I love me some Massy Arias because her energy and vibe is just so warm and positive. Her programs include both a meal plan and workouts. Nutrition is 85-90% of your results, so having meals laid out takes a lot of the guess work out of things for you.
I’ve also recently put together an awesome toolkit to help people start building their home gym. It includes things like a pull-up bar, dumbbells, resistance bands, an exercise ball, and even a sturdy folding chair. Workouts are also more fun with people. Encourage your partner to join you, ask a friend to be your accountability buddy, or join a challenge group. The program I just completed with Massy Arias had a large FB accountability group and it DEFINITELY helped me stay motivated throughout the challenge.
About Dr. Mel
Melissa Robinson-Brown, Ph.D (aka Dr. Mel), is a licensed clinical psychologist in NY and NJ as well as an educator, speaker, and health and wellness enthusiast. She is the founder of Renewed Focus Psychology Services, a NYC-based Private practice. Dr. Mel wants to help women to feel like the badasses they were truly meant to be…PERIOD! You will find her hanging out in the “in between” helping women navigate the world and level up when life’s structure just doesn’t fit! You could call her an empowerment enabler, a self-acceptance guide, and a mind-body connector. She takes a holistic approach to her work, encouraging her clients to focus not only on mental health and mindfulness, but also physical health and wellness. Dr. Mel resides in NJ with her three amazingly gifted, energetic, beautiful, and mini badass daughters and her supportive, ambitious, loving partner, AB.
Find her here