Member Spotlight: Melissa Helman

In this week's Member Spotlight we get to know Melissa Helman. She has to be one of the nicest, most hard-working and kind souls we know. If you've ever taken a class with Melissa, she's always the one smiling and greeting people with hugs and positive words of encouragement. She is honest and genuine beyond words and we feel so lucky to have Melissa (and her partner Xander!) as a part of The Spot Family--here's a bit more about her.

Backpacking at one of Melissa's favorite places in Wyoming: Hart Lake.

Backpacking at one of Melissa's favorite places in Wyoming: Hart Lake.

What brought you to The Spot and what keeps you coming back?

This is a funny story actually. My partner and I ran into Charmaine's mom one day at a local store many years ago when the old studio AYS (Ashland Yoga Studio) was having an open house where you could try out new classes like TRX. We decided to go directly after talking to her and try it out. We were out shopping in the middle of winter and we didn't think about what to wear so we showed up as is wearing wool plants and wool sweaters! Talk about not dressing in the right layers for exercise class! We were so sore and could barely do anything that day and many days after but I loved TRX right away. I feel comfortable and keep going back to The Spot even though I can tend to be shy because everyone is so welcoming, inspiring, and truly great motivators!

With some the Community Roots Children Space kids ready for puddles!

With some the Community Roots Children Space kids ready for puddles!

Who’s your biggest fan?

Hands down the super cool children I work with. Once I overheard a kid say, "Mimi (my nickname) can pull all of us in a sled because she goes to T-REX class at Axel's House." The other kid said, "Wow, they have dinosaurs at Axel's house?"

Vanilla or chocolate?

That's tough. I think I'd have to pick vanilla bean creme brulee with chocolate gelato.

Melissa, her partner Xander (also a Spot member), and her brother Mark backpacking in the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan.

Melissa, her partner Xander (also a Spot member), and her brother Mark backpacking in the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan.

Favorite rainy day activity?

I seriously LOVE to play in puddles. I wear my mud boots spring through fall in case I have the opportunity to play outdoors in the rain.

Tea or Coffee?

Tea is really lovely.

What song do you love to sing in the car?

I have written most of the songs that I play on Banjo in the car during long trips. But last summer, oh my god I couldn't stop singing the "Frozen" song at all. All the kids I worked with were obsessed with it and I found myself creating spontaneous dance moves and having no shame in singing it at the top of my lungs in a car or at home or maybe even while shopping in stores that were playing that song too.

What was the scariest thing you’ve ever done and are you glad you did it?

I lived in the jungle in Costa Rica where I studied tropical ecology for a few months on the Caribbean coast back in 2004. In the place I lived, it was estimated that there were poisonous snakes, spiders, etc. about every 500 feet. I was never too scared, but looking back now I would say that was pretty wild and I am so glad I got to experience that! Who gets to wake up in an exotic canopy filled with wild howler monkeys, gorge themselves on the freshest tropical fruit and have their only bathing option be in a river full of caimans?

With friends swimming in Lake Superior.

With friends swimming in Lake Superior.

How has The Spot helped you develop other fitness or wellness goals?

A little over four years ago I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and just a few months ago with Hashimoto's disease, an autoimmune thyroid disease. The Spot has given me a place to re-define and re-shape who I am and to get to know myself and my abilities better. The Spot has truly been a saving grace for me because I have created a healthy routine of wellness where I really look forward to my classes and the chance to get healthier, stronger, and create self growth in positive ways. But I am not doing it alone which is so powerful. Whether in TRX, spin, yoga, boot camp, or HIIT class there are others around me working really hard to develop their wellness goals and they are such inspiring people! The Instructors are talented, caring, and down to earth and they genuinely care about you and your well-being. That is a phenomenal gift within itself.

Melissa with Charmaine's oldest son, Axel.

Melissa with Charmaine's oldest son, Axel.

What is your favorite thing on the menu downstairs?

The Prana Salad.

What do you most appreciate about The Spot that maybe you weren’t expecting?

I really appreciate the instructors and who each of them are as an individual. They are truly caring people and really passionate about the class they teach and it really is amazing to be in the class with their energy! Sometimes they joke and say "I probably don't even need to be here, you all know what you are doing"  and I think "No way, we need you".

I never have been an indoors exerciser, so sometimes their motivation keeps me going on the last spin song or when I feel like I just can't run the last stair exercise again. I finish every time with their honest reminders of how strong we all are. Growing up I have always exercised doing anything outdoors so I was at first reluctant to "work out" in doors. But I will have to say that The Spot feels more like home than a fitness center and that is really special.

Charmaine Swan1 Comment