When you have your own hashtag created for you, you know you’ve made it. Earlier this year, Mel Trend set about the first 8-week challenge with fierce determination. She smashed through her goals after many previous attempts at them where she just fell short and earned herself the #meltrendabs from trainers and members alike. We chatted to Mel over a long mac (long blacks around the corner!) at Someday Coffee to find out what was different about this challenge, how her mindset changed and all the juicy details on our amazing challenge winner. One hot cup of inspiration served up right here – enjoy!
When did you first join Bodies by Ryan and what was the state of your health and fitness prior? Share with us a little about your sporting/fitness history before BBR …
I joined BBR in March 2019, I came straight from CrossFit which I’d been doing for years. I was competing in local competitions with CrossFit and I loved it, but there were three reasons I decided to leave. One, I’d heard really good things about Bodies by Ryan and Liz (another BBR weapon!) was keen to join with me, secondly it was much closer to home than the CrossFit gym. We both trialled and joined up. Also, the injuries I had from CrossFit I couldn’t keep going anymore. It’s very taxing on your body with the speed of reps (many sessions are based on as many repetitions within a certain time). I had injuries in my back, shoulder, Achilles and calf – there were a lot of body parts that were just starting to fail!
I knew I needed to try something else and BBR was the place. I still manage my lower back as it’s an ongoing injury, but everything else has healed since my time at BBR which is really good.
What was your first impression of the gym?
From an exercise/activity perspective, I was surprised at how slow all the movements were and I was worried I wouldn’t get any benefit or gains from it! I was so used to as many push ups or burpees as I could fit in a time period so the slow, controlled movements was an adjustment. The coaches had to tell me to slow down in the early days! When I did get used to it, I realised I wasn’t getting injured and I was still building muscles. That’s when I knew the BBR program really works.
I started in the HIIT gym, avoiding strength because I thought it was full of big, burly blokes! Also, I’d always had a big ‘engine’ so cardio was my forte and I wasn’t as strong as others when I did CrossFit. But when I made the switch to strength, I really enjoyed building muscle and the gains I’ve had at BBR. I really love the athletic look and I’m not built that way naturally, so to achieve that physique through strength training at BBR is very cool. I’ve also lost the big traps I had at CrossFit as most movements there worked them, whereas at BBR it’s shoulders down and focusing on the other muscles, and I much prefer that look for me.
How did you go in your first challenge?
My first challenge wasn’t my best, because I didn’t have a great understanding what it was all about. I thought I ate pretty well and I wasn’t as committed to the plan as I could have been, so I had results but I didn’t hit my target or goal weight.
I knew what was healthy but I didn’t understand what calories were in each food, so I was a bit shocked to learn how many calories were in a big, heaped spoon of peanut butter! They used to always go in my smoothie without a second thought. I also have a really sweet tooth and used to think I did enough exercise that I could eat what I liked – but you can’t, because at the end of the day it’s calories in and out!
What was different about the challenge you won? You were SO determined? Tell us about your mindset and what you did to take it next level?
The challenge I won earlier this year was my favourite and most successful. It came after summer holidays where I had been eating and drinking ridiculous amounts! Wineries and breweries every day! I love food and alcohol, so it was a good time but by the time I got back to Perth I felt disgusting.
I got my old food plan out before the challenge even started and got straight into it. By the time I went to the consult with Ryan and had pics, I had already started because I was so ready. He could see I was on a mission!
From there, I just stuck to the meal plan and upped my exercise so I was training at BBR every morning and I walked every day for an hour, two laps around Lake Claremont and mostly in the afternoon. That was the difference, daily commitment and I exceeded my goals. I knew it was time to lift my game and the results showed.
I’d tried before my 40th but I was still a bit off from my goal weight, maybe the timing wasn’t quite right as I have a winter birthday. This time, weight almost fell off me because I was so determined to get there. I do need to say I wasn’t perfect – I did have a couple of naughty moments but my body was in such a good routine of training and lots of good food, it kept coming off. It’s what you do 90 percent of the time, I think, and I made sure one moment wouldn’t undo all my hard work.
How did you feel when you reached your weight target after a few attempts?
It was pretty awesome! I was quite surprised how relatively easy it was because I never thought I would get there previously. I was satisfied with my meals, I was never hungry and I definitely eat a lot! The volume of healthy food was really satisfying.
While the number on the scales was an achievement, what I found more exciting was other people noticing – I hope I don’t sound like a w*nker! But, it was cool and gave me the reassurance all the hard work I’d put in was noticeable and worth it! I had a lady at the beach approach me and ask what my training regime was because she wanted to know how I got into the shape I was! Stuff like that was really cool.
We’re not spring chickens anymore, so to be getting older and still have people comment on your fit body is a good feeling.
How did you feel when you saw your after pics?!
Ha! I still picked on myself a little bit – the expression I pulled could have had some photoshopping! But honestly, it’s the leanest I’ve ever been in my adult life and to have the definition I achieved through the middle, it was something I was really proud of.
What is your favourite part about training at BBR?
The friends that I’ve met. There’s a group of us that are super close and we have pretty much daily chats. We’re all like-minded, they make me laugh every day and so to have that has been so cool.
Of course, the consistent training with good effort without risk of injury has been excellent as well. The thorough warmups get your body really ready to train and the cool downs are important too. My back is so much better with the proper warm up.
What’s the biggest health or fitness challenge you have ever overcome or achieved?
Winning the BBR Challenge was pretty good! But challenges, I’ve had two knee reconstructions. I played a lot of touch rugby and I did both my ACLs and medial while playing. One I did the week of my wedding! And both required 12-months recovery each.
Tell us about any of your daily health routines that help you achieve your goals outside of the gym?
I get between eight and nine hours sleep every night. I’m quite fortunate that once my head hits the pillow I’m out until morning! So, I get a lot of sleep.
What are some of the goals you are currently working towards?
I want to get back to my challenge winning physique for summer. I’ve been trying to build strength over winter so I feel really strong and healthy but I’m carrying a few kilograms over my ideal weight so I’m keen to shred down.
Tell us something special/surprising about yourself that we wouldn’t know?!
When I was a kid my dream was to be a body builder when I grew up! I’ve always loved health and fitness, and in high school I was competitive in athletics (400m, 800m and 1500m) and then I went on to study sports science at university. Sports, health and fitness have always been a passion!
We also travelled around Australia for a year, four years ago. My kids were 3, 6 and 8 and we travelled in tandem with Ross’s parents for eight months of it. Soon after we got back, Ross’s dad passed away unexpectedly and the quality time we had over that eight months is something we’ll appreciate forever. Life’s too short – don’t hold back on doing things that are important to you.
Fast five favourites
1. Fave HIIT/Strength station? Burpees and sissy squats
2. Least fave? Assault bikes and glute thrusts
3. Fave café and your order there? Someday Coffee Co for a long mac and paleo pumpkin bread with avo
4. Fave cheat meal? A really good quality burger from RoyAls if I had to choose a particular spot. With a side of fries, it’s a cheat meal after all!
5. Fave holiday destination? Exmouth and Rottnest. We are so lucky in WA!