You may not have heard of Melissa Power before. But if you’re a regular at Old Street or Farringdon, you will have almost certainly heard her. Booming voice? Terrible singing? The occasional strange commands to get on all fours and do a “dog doing a wee”*? Yeah, that’ll be her. With the proud accolade of having taught nearly 10,000 classes in her career so far, your workout couldn’t be in safer hands – and as one of our instructors on Out The Box, that counts for training at home too. That was basically the whole story of her lockdown…
*Oh, that’s a Fire Hydrant, in case you were still wondering.
How did you become a fitness obsessive and what was it that inspired you to become an instructor?
I didn’t get into fitness until I was 21, so quite late on. I had a really bad road traffic accident – I was cycling, got knocked off my bike and broke my leg, my arm and smashed up my face. (I’ve still got a metal arm!) I started going to the gym after that to try and get stronger.
I got really into spinning and became certified to teach. I was a TV producer at the time, teaching spin in the mornings/evenings and not really enjoying my day job at all! Six years down the line, I did my level 3 qualification, quit TV for good and went full time teaching in London.
Three years ago, I started the MPowered Training Academy, which certifies people as spin instructors. Most of the Gymbox spin instructors have come through there!
When did you join the Gymbox fam and how did that come about?
As soon as I began teaching full time, about 6 years ago. I emailed every single gym in London that I wanted to work at, and Gymbox emailed me back asking me to audition. That was it really!
How did you find lockdown and what did you do with your time?
Because I’m a director of a Limited company, this means that we were excluded from the government furlough scheme, so I didn’t get any money. I had to re-launch myself – I just had to think “how can I make a living?” At the beginning it was really stressful, but then I got into it.
I did an Instagram Live every day at 12.15pm and got donations through that. I did (and still do) spin classes from my kitchen, as well as Gymbox Lives, two online classes a week, and seeing PT clients over Zoom. Towards the end of lockdown, I also started doing a class a day from home over Zoom and it’s a lot of fun!
With things slooooowly getting going again, how are you finding the new 'normal'?
To be honest with you, I never really went out much before! Because I worked pretty much every day, there was never a night where I could just go out. The one thing that has been annoying is not being able to have a birthday party – but that’s been about it, I would never have gone out with 8-10 people before anyway!
Me and my girlfriend live in North London and we’re very lucky to have a lovely flat with a gorgeous balcony. We usually just spend a lot of time with family and we would always have friends over for dinner. In all honesty, I probably don’t feel the same way that I’m sure a lot of people do who would go out every Friday and go clubbing.
It's fair to say that 2020 has been a big pile of sh*t for lots of reasons, but what’s the most biggest positive to have come out of it for you?
One amazing thing that has been my friendship with other Gymbox instructors.
Before, me and Hattie [Grover] would cross over on a Tuesday evening between Gymbox classes and say ‘hi’. I’d heard of Kylie [Bond], but never really knew her. Over lockdown, we were all doing Instagram Lives and got to know each other really, really well. We actually did a live Pride celebration together which was so much fun!
Since lockdown, we’ve chatted to each other all the time, met up for dinners and that friendship...well, that’s a really lovely thing to have come out of lockdown.