Throughout the pandemic, we’ve gotten creative with our workspaces, our schedules, and maybe did a little home-rearranging. Now, we’re excited to share a conversation with lifestyle blogger, mom, and fitness coach at Obsessed Fitness, Melanie Woods of @melraewoods.
Mel shares how she started her journey from working a 9-5 to finding her passion as a fitness trainer. Read on to learn more about Mel’s tips to help you stay motivated and get started with at-home exercises for busy moms that require minimal equipment.
How did you get started in the lifestyle blogging space?
I had no idea people shared their homes on social media. I was sitting at a marketing job for a technology company about two years ago. While I loved it and was happy, it was a bit boring and not as fulfilling as it could have been.
My husband and I bought a foreclosure in Long Island around that time and we were fixing it up and DIYing with the help of family and friends. I was always interested in home interiors and interior design, even since I was a kid. I started posting about it on my personal account.
Our Vidar Trellis Indoor/Outdoor Rug displayed in Mel's living room
My real life friends started becoming engaged and then other community members started reaching out and connecting so I changed my handle and account status. Then, I had my daughter and home decor and DIYs were sidelined for a little while so I started to add in pregnancy content, and, later, fitness tips and lessons.
The beginning of Mel's motherhood journey, February 2019
We love a good home project! Please tell us more about your decorating style and how you've incorporated that philosophy into your home.
From kitchen to dining space with ease, Mel's open floor plan makes it easy for gathering.
I started with an open floor plan. I wanted a place that was inviting and good for entertaining. It needed to be light and airy - not traditional style - but incorporate pieces that would remain timeless. I started with more farmhouse-y decor but now am drawn towards clean lines.
For my deck design, I did a lot of pinning on Pinterest beforehand but worked with the space I had - there was really only one way to do it. We added built-in flower pots which was my husband’s idea.
Mel's picturesque backyard space turned home gym featuring the Bloome Medallion Indoor/Outdoor Blue Rug and Vidar Trellis Indoor/Outdoor Rug, which she moved outside once construction on her deck was done.
Where are your favorite places to shop or find home decor pieces?
I go to Marshalls and TJMaxx for smaller pieces. For larger pieces, I go to the thrift store and World Market.
(Left) Mel's playroom features a DIY pink and gold-dipped chair upcycled from a children's chair found curbside, (Right) Mel's dresser found on Craigslist
How did you pivot your page to more fitness content?
When I worked my stressful 9-5, I still had that negative energy at the end of the day. I started going to the gym after work to release that built up stress and I'd then go home feeling amazing. My husband is the head coach at our gym, which I became more closely involved with as things went virtual.
I never wanted to share fitness advice because I didn't know how to introduce it to my audience, but people started asking more questions. I now share fitness content at least once a week - things like quick one-minute lessons and stories to help keep people moving, motivated and healthy, especially during these weird times, which has the added benefit of helping relieve anxiety during this pandemic. The worst thing to be is sedentary.
Getting into fitness more, what have you found holds people back from starting a fitness routine?
It’s really easy to be intimidated. People - especially women - are into the aesthetic goals and target areas. I’m more about setting achievable personal goals, for example, to do one push up. If you focus on doing the actual physical movement like starting out by doing pushups on your knees first, you'll build up to it. Soon, you’re doing five of them with a full range of motion! You don’t even realize that your whole body has actually changed in the process -- the aesthetics will come.
Mel, Leo and daughter Charlotte Rae on the Bloome Medallion Indoor/Outdoor Blue Rug
What is the top tip you have for beginners?
Start with your own bodyweight and whatever you find around the house. You can use household items like broomsticks or pasta jars just to learn form and techniques. You’ll learn the basics. My whole virtual program is based off of using one’s own bodyweight and one dumbbell (+ a yoga mat to keep comfy).
Mel sharing backyard exercises on the Bloome Medallion Indoor/Outdoor Blue Rug
What are the best spaces for home gyms?
Dumbbell and bodyweight exercises don’t require much space. I sometimes work out next to my daughter while she’s playing in the playroom. These days, I’ve been working out outside. I use our outdoor rug in my own workouts and I would 100% rather do it on the rug than on the deck itself!
What does your personal schedule look like with juggling work and being a mom?
Personal fitness is one hour of my day: 40 minutes routines, then stretching. Fitness coaching is another two hours a day where I plan for others and create short workout videos for the community.
If it’s important, you’ll make time for it. People can have more than one priority. I make my daughter a priority, which makes myself a priority to be a better mom. At the same time, I also have fitness as a priority.
A sweet moment of Mel, Leo, Charlotte Rae at home as photographed by Kaitlyn Ferris
What are the benefits of working out?
It’s empowering looking at something and not thinking that you can do it, but to be able to do it in the end. It gives you an,“I can’t wait to get back at it tomorrow” mindset, similar to a runner’s high. The little wins add up.
How can someone stay motivated?
Accountability is everything. If I didn’t have my friends at the gym during pregnancy, I wouldn’t have been there. They would have been like, “Where are you?”.
My virtual program is very 1:1, and being able to share my and my members' journeys on a private Instagram page has also been great. They have the ability to DM for support on a bad day, for example, if they are lacking progress or didn’t get sleep.
Remember, you can’t compare yourself to others. Focus on training “for life”, not just for one workout.
Finally, we asked Mel to complete these sentences:
A durable rug and busy mom go together like: peanut butter and jelly
The #1 tip for loving your space is make it however it makes you feel comfortable!
When I begin with a home decor or personal project, I always start with a mood board & Pinterest.
Feeling motivated? For your next workout, try a fitness routine with Mel below and be sure to check out her programs at Obsessed Fitness!
10 min core
(50 seconds each station, 10 seconds rest. Repeat 2 times)
Crab toe touches
Russian twists with broomstick
Legs & glutes
50 air squats
40 lunges (total)
30 sprint starts (total)
20 broomstick good mornings
Complete as many rounds as possible in 13 minutes of:
10 chair dips
15 plank up downs
20 mountain climbers (left + right = 1 rep)