Melissa Wood-Tepperberg, the founder and creator of fitness program Melissa Wood Health, is here to change the game and the meaning behind a good workout, something society has deemed to be an hour long, sweaty, and draining activity.
She’s married to Noah Tepperberg, owner of some of the most popular nightclubs in New York City, such as Tao and Lavo, and mother to two beautiful children, Benjamin and Elanor.
Wood is a certified yoga and pilates instructor who thrives on a plant-based diet, creating weekly workout videos and programs designed to help people get strong, stretched, and centered.
The Melissa Wood Health method was created as a result of Wood’s deteriorating mental and physical health, where she suffered from severe anxiety, painful cystic acne, a harsh eating disorder and overall dissatisfaction with her life’s direction. In order to implement a shift in her life, she realized she needed to modify her daily habits and mindset. But through excessively working out at the gym and taking part in high-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes, she felt that she was exhausting her body and torturing herself to get specific results. After becoming unmotivated by the rut of her cardio routines, she started creating sequences and movements for her friends, and eventually a small following of fans that had similar experiences with overly intense workouts.
At this point, her life transformed and her passion for movement shone through.
Her workouts incorporate specific and precise low-impact exercises that target certain areas of the body to achieve long, lean lines and overall strength.
The videos range anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, enabling the audience to find a workout that fits into their daily schedule. Wood emphasizes that one must tune into what makes them feel good and do the things that light you up instead of giving into what the workout community designates as the “best workout.”
Understanding that workouts are not just a transformation within your body, but also within yourself, allows one to let go of their limits and develop a stronger relationship with themself.
Throughout my life, I’ve always involved movement into my daily routine, whether it would be playing tag at recess, running laps in P.E. class, or signing up for workout classes with my friends.
I enjoyed getting my body moving regardless if I was getting a good sweat in or not.
As I grew up and entered high school, my peers, teachers and doctors highlighted engagement in cardio and exercises that would get your heartrate up for a certain amount of time.
I really never found any issue not completing this daily task, as I always had sports practice for minimally two hours everyday, where I would run and complete drills.
It wasn’t until I stopped having continuous sports commitments that I had to put in the conscious effort to exercise daily.
Typically, I would have the option of going to the gym, signing up for a workout class, going on a run or walk outside, or doing an online class.
Many people on the Internet and social media have created fitness accounts or share their daily workouts on their Instagram stories. These posts can be very inspirational, but also challenging to avoid – and they leave you comparing your movements to other influencers or peers.
Whether it’s questioning, “Should I be doing their specific workouts to look like them?” or “Am I not working hard enough?” this culture of comparison can be an unhealthy environment that breeds burnout and a harmful headspace.
I used to think that if I did not sweat and make myself feel exhausted or sore the next day, perhaps my workout was unproductive, or maybe I didn’t burn enough calories.
The pandemic greatly altered my workout routine, along with the rest of the world, as gyms closed down and social distancing became an obstacle.
There are limited options to exercise here at Wake Forest, as the gym is only partially open, and purchasing workout classes off campus can get very pricey for a college student.
During my first semester, I typically engaged in runs and walks outside, focusing heavily on HIIT workouts and various circuits.
I always felt unmotivated to begin these workouts, and they left me feeling tired and lifeless, but I felt the pressure to continue doing them in order to say I’d achieved a workout for the day.
After winter break and returning to campus, I knew something had to change, as my routine before had not improved my physical or mental health.
I had heard of friends who’d used Melissa Wood Health videos, and I had actually participated in several with my friends over the summertime, but had never really thought too much about it again.
I decided to sign up for the free seven day trial and fell in love with her content.
Her voice and words were soothing, and brought such a unique energy that left me calmed and inspired throughout the entire workout. I felt like I could customize what I wanted to do each day as she separates her videos by length and area of focus.
I challenged myself for the month of February by participating in her monthly challenge, where she offers a calendar of daily videos and meditations to complete.
Feeling so at peace with myself, and feeling my body get stronger, I continue to do her workouts and guided meditations every day.
I will say that after each video, I am not dripping in sweat, but my muscles feel the burn and intensity of what she had just instructed me to do.
My goal with this article is not to sway one away from completing higher intensity workouts, but to encourage readers to listen to their bodies and stay in tune with what works best for them.
I still enjoy incorporating a run, or perhaps a cycling or cardio class into my routine, while still remaining aware that this does not constitute a full workout.
Allowing yourself to switch your mindset on what it means to truly exercise and get your body moving can be a large obstacle to overcome. It can be very difficult with the looming voice of society telling us what to do when it comes to exercise, but luckily, the resources we need are accessible in order to shift our focus to staying grounded and connected with ourselves.