Meet Melissa Weldon, disruptor and protector of fierce females across the city. This superwoman juggles being a fitness instructor, consultant and mum of two while leading Fempower – a community of hard working, active women that inspires empowerment and self confidence through fitness. Her life mantra? “In a society that profits from your self doubt, loving yourself is a rebellious act”.
What is Fempower all about? Ultimately our mission is to allow women to see their worth, beyond their selfie. We do this through the physical challenge of obstacle course racing but we also hook up for monthly workouts, brunches and we have a private community page where members can connect.
What inspired you to start Fempower? As fitness was gaining popularity on social media, I was seeing a direct decline in people’s self esteem and dangerous relationships with food and exercise forming. As someone who has been very lean, fitness focused on my physique and who has come out the other side discovering a whole new side to what fitness can do for your mind, I wanted to pass that on. Obstacle course racing is the ultimate life metaphor. We have all these barriers in our way we have to get over; and we can get over them, we just need to know it.
Tell us about your journey to becoming a fitness instructor? I was 21, living in London and working in sales in the city. Fed up, bored, stressed and lonely; I got into the gym and decided that was where I needed to invest my time and energy. I loved it. I worked 9-5, studied 6-9 and then worked in membership sales until I could finally hit the gym floor when I was qualified. Best decision I ever made!
You have children too!? Rumour has it that you’re some kind of superwoman. How do you manage all these things? Ha! Don’t listen to rumours! I am doing what a gazillion other women do, probably better than me. The fact is, I just get on with it. My children are 9 and 10, they are demanding, work is demanding and so I spend my life chasing my tail. Some weeks are epic, some weeks are completely exhausting but I love my life and so I just keep pushing forward.
What do you love most about your job? Well there are a few different hats I wear but mostly what I love about my job, which is relevant over everything I do is being able to create an environment that allows someone to push themselves further, surprise themselves and do it in a way which is fun and inspiring.
You feel happiest when? I’m in the countryside with my kids without the distractions of everyday life.
Favourite type of workout? I love lifting heavy and at the moment I am obsessed by City Strongman, run by The Foundry in South London. It’s heavy, knarly, sweaty, raw and bullshit free.
When you go out, what’s your choice of tipple…I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the Caribbean, so I’m a big fan of dark rum with something sweet because I’m a lightweight. Ginger beer matches nicely with it.
Do you listen to music to workout? Favourite music track to work out to and why? Always. Music is life. Really difficult to pin point one particular track as it depends what I was training and my mood but Eminem – Fast Lane is bound to get me through a hard set of squats.
Favourite restaurant in London? Flat Iron in Covent Garden is crazy good and doesn’t break the bank.
Do you often cook at home or order in? I cook a lot, I have recently learned to cook Chicken Ramen and Gyoza so I am a smug chef.
Describe your perfect mix of Move, Fuel and Thrill…? Gotta be a workout with friends; probably Strongman and then a bottomless brunch!
Who is your inspiration and why? It’s any woman who was terrified to try a new workout, hadn’t trained in 12 months but got out of bed at 5am and smashed it. I love that!
How do you relax / wind down? I have to put my phone away or I’ll be on it constantly. I love to read, Netflix binge or watch Planet Earth with the kids. Anything to get my brain to switch off!
What would you like to see Fempower doing in the next two years? I would love to see it grow beyond London. Anyone can set up a Fempower Team, anywhere and run a race. I’d love to see that happen!
One thing you wish you’d known before becoming a fitness instructor? I wish someone had told me to be myself. When you are trying to establish yourself, it’s easy to get caught up trying to invent yourself to be popular when actually being authentic is the most valuable thing you can be!
Any particular strange situations that happen in the world of fitness teaching that we should know about? Ha! I did once have a dude in a class who I was convinced was punking me. Ignoring instruction, jogging on a 2.0 speed (impossible), wandering around the room, bizarre stretches and basically being very strange. I was convinced he was going to pull off a mask and be Ashton Kutcher…no such luck!
Life mantra…“In a society that profits from your self doubt, loving yourself is a rebellious act”