At the end of 2020 I stumbled upon Melissa Wood Health workouts through a podcast interview. And after a 7-day trial, I decided to jump on a one-year offer. I had been going to the gym for a few years, doing everything from Micheal Jillian’s workouts and weight-lifting. But I was struggling with constant weight gain and feeling uncomfortable in my body. I was constantly stressing about trying to lose weight or at least stop the weight gain. It wasn’t necessarily the pandemic that made me seek out an at-home workout, as our gym was small enough for it to be open. It was more of a pull to try something different, something more low-impact, and that I could squeeze in during daytime instead of evenings.
A year went by and I kept being subscribed. Melissa Wood’s workouts have completely transformed me as a person and my relationship with my body. I used to hate pilates, never felt like I had the core strength for it. But something about how Melissa Wood teaches feels refreshing and fun. Suddenly I can hold the boat pose without ever doing the boat pose! The workouts alone didn’t make me lose weight but they contributed to getting the body shape I always wanted and felt most comfortable in. I haven’t weight myself since spring 2021 and has not been stressing over my body or weight since then. I feel like myself in the body shape I’m supposed to have.
As I was composing this post, coincidently, the Melissa Wood Health app just got an update with completely new content. The app is now even more awesome with more instructors and content for the same price point! Either way, this is an appreciation post of how much I love Melissa’s workouts and why!
From the first few flows I did, I had always felt like Melissa Wood’s style was much Tara Stiles-influenced. They both have this unfiltered, no-pressure, no-perfection, do-what-feels-good-approach, that I deeply connect with. Little did I know, Melissa had actually gotten her yoga teacher experience through Tara! Which made all the sense!
I love how I never feel overworked or bored with any of the exercises. It’s much about how to honor your body’s signals and to be aware of any discomfort. The flows feel very seamless and intuitive. Melissa recently revealed that she doesn’t plan what exercises to do beforehand anymore, instead it’s all at the moment. Which sort of confirmed the feeling I was getting with her workouts. The body gets pushed but never stressed. There’s a pause when you feel you need a pause. It’s not a 20-minute push-through like with many other instructors who plan ahead.
The Melissa Wood Health app does offer longer 40-minute flows, but the big attraction is the shorter ones. ‘Cause, the reality is that life doesn’t always make room for long workouts. While studying, Melissa Wood’s short 10-20 minute flows have been a life savior to get my body moving. When the teacher gave us a 10-minute break, I did a short arm flow. Then I did a standing or plank workout. By the end of the day, I had managed to squeeze in at least a 30-minute workout in total. Which left me with a brisk walk and done for the day.
If you’re the type of person who’s like “I don’t have time”, then these workouts are for you. There are no excuses!
Inflexibility is Okay
I’ve been doing yoga for ten years and I still have a hard time touching my toes. And it’s (what I’ve recently concluded) physically impossible for me to get my feet flat on the ground in a squat or in a downward dog. Apparently, I’m one of those “1 in 6” people, and it has something to do with bone structure. However, most yoga/pilates instructors usually don’t take this into consideration as they’re usually very flexible and believe everyone can achieve their type of flexibility. Melissa, however, isn’t the most flexible instructor. Which I appreciate A LOT!
I love that her feet don’t always completely touch the mat in downward dog. I love that she needs to slightly bend her knees to touch her toes. Or how she talks about one side is stiffer than the other. It’s refreshing to have a teacher that’s not perfectly limber, but more like “one of us”. Her workouts feel like a safe space to just move one’s body in the capacity it can. It also makes her more conscious to show alternative positions and projects no pressure for the watcher to aspire to be ridiculously flexible. She shows it’s okay to be where you at and doesn’t put any pressure on flexibility. It’s all about conscious movement.
While there are things she’s physically better than me at. For example, her hips are more open than mine, making hip-opening leg exercises more of a struggle for me. Her inflexibility in other areas and her forgiving attitude to herself (that if it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it) help me overcome my own inflexibility insecurity and find ways to make certain exercises work for me. As the most important thing is that I show up on the mat and give myself this time to move my body.
A Weekly Schedule + New Flows
The library of flows is extensive! Every week you are also offered two new flows on Mondays and Fridays. Occasionally one of them is even live. Sometimes my weeks are such that I don’t have time to follow the weekly schedule, but the new flows motivate me to at least make room to do them.
From November 9th 2022 the Melissa Wood Health app has had an upgrade. There are now consistent weekly schedules for beginner, intermediate and challenging. And more new flows from both Melissa and her new team of instructors.
I honestly love the schedules for different intensities! This way you can combine them to make a longer flow for the day or go with how your body is feeling. For example, I will usually do both the daily flow from the intermediate and challenging schedules, giving me a 40-minute workout in total. And if I’m feeling run down, I’ll either just do the daily workout for beginner or intermediate that day.
The different schedules and the additional new flows every week set you up for no excuses to be moving your body and using the app.
Props Are Just Props
After recently trying out another workout app that relies heavily on props, I’ve grown a whole new appreciation for Melissa Wood Health’s workouts.
I did the flows without props for the first 6 months, then got myself a pair of BALA ankle weights – although inspired by Melissa, any ankle weights will do. Eventually, I also got some resistance bands and a small pilates ball, but honestly, a towel will do just fine. I appreciate that there’s no stress or dependency to have specific props at hand. It’s much up to you and how intense you want the workout to be.
With that said, having done the workouts for almost 2 years, if there are any props worth investing in for the app, it would be a pair of 1 lb/0.5 kg ankle weights. But nothing you need to get right away, only when you feel ready to intensify the workouts.
Melissa Wood’s workouts are more of a pause that you give yourself. It’s not a push-through on your to-do list.
Whether it’s 5 minutes, 20 minutes, or 40 minutes. They all include some stretching, settling in, and taking a moment to set intentional gratitude towards giving oneself this moment to move one’s body. Together with the flows being very intuitive, this sets you up to be very present in the now and makes the flows very enjoyable. Whether intentional or not, this strategy makes the brain connect the flows with positive blissful feelings. No matter if the workout was hard, you’ll feel a pull to show up on the mat the next day because of how great it made you feel. It’s what I love the most about Melissa Wood Health workouts❣