Rebell of the Month: Melissa Bruns

We are excited to announce that our Rebell of the Month is Melissa Bruns! Melissa is a hard-working member who is dedicated to her goals. She has a great attitude towards taking on new tasks and learning new skills. Melissa is not shy when it comes to hard work and is always a fun member to work with. Here is her story!

Your background

I cannot remember a time of ever actually enjoyed fitness or training in my life, largely because of a history of migraines beginning as a child and ongoing today. My migraines are triggered by a long list of things, one of which was exercise, especially anything with my shoulders and neck. Doctors always told me exercise would help alleviate migraines but never once was that true in over 25 years. Rather, any physical activity would cause intense, weeklong debilitating headaches. I would join a gym and try for a week or two, only to have to quit and be stuck in a long contract I couldn’t use. I even tried working with some trainers that would give up on me within a few weeks, afraid they would be liable for my physical condition. I felt defeated, weak and truly hopeless when it came to any exercise or activity-even yard work or gardening or sports or chasing my kid in the yard. I either had to make up excuses to sit out or leverage if the impending pain would be worth it. So, in short, exercise, activity, and training was terrifying. I would start getting stomach aches and emotional just thinking about doing anything physical, afraid of getting sick.

My sassy Lou Lou keeps me smiling and on my toes.

Thoughts about strength training before & after

I never gave strength training a thought before Restored Strength, because of all the stuff I already said about getting sick. I couldn’t even do basic activity, cardio or exercise so ‘strength’ was at the bottom of my list. My sister had worked with Coach William for a while and always had great things to say about her sessions, so last January I finally got brave and emailed him to talk. Coach William was optimistic, encouraging and realistic from day one, excited to see what we could do and wise to work at a safe pace. I have learned that strength training should have been at the top of my list, with the right coaching, and that now my body actually can-do things I never imagined that it could. That it’s actually fun and I look forward to it instead of being afraid- both of getting sick, and just of the ‘gym’ atmosphere in general. Because even if I could have gotten over fear of headaches, fear of not knowing what to do or how to do it or the whole typical gym scary stuff was the next barrier keeping me from exercise. So, having a fun, safe, welcoming place to get healthy and strong is an added bonus at Restored Strength!

Challenging barrier you overcame

Being afraid of getting sick for sure is the biggest. In conjunction, I’ve really had to teach myself to trust Coach William and Coach Tyler- to trust that they have my best interests in mind in every single movement they teach me, to trust that they know what they are doing and have put intention and thought into my training program, to trust that they won’t give up on me for fear that I might get sick and they be held responsible, to trust that they actually care about my health and my individual needs as a client not just as another number or session.

Melissa working on her breathing.

Greatest achievement

I have been able to do so much gardening, yard work, painting and other activity that I

love to do but have in the past had to eliminate, limit or suffer being sick afterward. I just jump in and to the normal physical stuff I want to do now without a second thought, where for years I had to hesitate, avoid or quit. The migraines I have has since a child have greatly reduced in frequently and intensity, and I have learned things I can do to prevent and alleviate migraines when they occur. I’ve also learned to just stop and take care of my body when I do get sick because it too will pass, instead of being annoyed and frustrated and pushing through when it’s time to just rest. And I’ve been amazed that on a couple occasions, I have started a session with a bit of a headache and the training has acutely helped instead of exacerbated it, which was unheard of before working with Coach William. Also, that I can (and will) do some pushups even though I hate them. 

Changes your family/friends noticed

My father in law is a chiropractor in town so I have always gotten adjusted regularly, and I’m amazed that I don’t need to be adjusted as frequently as I used to, that my body holds an adjustment better and longer now, and when I am adjusted I can feel that my shoulders and neck are not at tight as they used to be. I notice a difference when I’m working on my computer too, that I hold myself differently and am more aware when I’m working in a way that will contribute to discomfort or pain later, and I know how to use my body differently to avoid positions and movement that will make me sick.

My husband Seth, my daughter Olivia Lou and myself at the Sioux Falls Zoo Summer

What do you tell people about our training

I have! And I tell them it’s fun and not intimidating at all and the best place to get the ‘me time’ that we all need to have. It’s the one place I can put aside home life, and work life, and personal life and just stop thinking and have someone else tell me what to do for an hour to better myself. Morning sessions are great because it’s the best way to start your day and feel good and energized and strong all day. Midday sessions are a great break from the workday and get refocused on yourself, and I go back to work more productive. End of the day sessions are great because it’s a chance to let go of the weight and stress of the day and clear your head. I love the flexibility of the schedule for these reasons!

What do you enjoy about training here

The welcoming, comfortable atmosphere makes it fun to be here and makes me look forward to coming. It’s great not having to think for an hour, like seriously at all, Coach William can tell when you aren’t listening and just tells you again what to do, so for that time I don’t’ have to be in charge of anything or make decisions. Also I like when the music is good (not country or Metallica).

Melissa working on battle ropes. 

Three benefits you’ve noticed

1. Learning about proper breathing makes a huge difference when I’m training and also in my day to day life, to reduce and manage oncoming headaches and just de-stress.

2. Being intentional about making time for myself, working full time, being a mom, being active in the community, and spending time with family and friends doesn’t leave much time for ‘you,’ so having sessions each week holds me accountable for taking the time for myself.

3. The overall strength and ability in general of my body has increased my confidence of what I can do and reduced my fear of being active; the migraines have greatly reduced in frequency and intensity and even when they do occur, they don’t last as long and there are more things I can do to alleviate the pain and recover

What makes the difference

Coach William and Coach Tyler have such a wealth of knowledge and a genuine excitement to implement new things for everyone and for each member specifically. It is not just a cookie cutter program, every person they work with is simultaneously doing their own program specific to them. I can’t watch someone else’s program and wonder why I am not doing what they are, because I know the things I’m doing are for my specific needs and goals and that person’s program is for theirs. William and Tyler do a great job staying current on new techniques and bringing in what they learn to help each member. And they are truly attentive and care about what is going on with you, both in your training and your personal life. They ask questions, they listen, they read between the lines and make adjustments where you need them for your best interest, and are never frustrated or disappointed about doing so. They are always celebrating with everyone which is super encouraging. And I’ve had to learn to quit being skeptical of that, because they really are genuine!! 

My love of goats gets taken too far, one day I have one of my own.

Additional words

I am just really thankful to have found Restored Strength, for the coaches and the community. It is an investment in yourself. There are definitely times when I start to have doubts about my abilities, and then I push through a new exercise I never thought I would be able to do or someone comments that I look different, and I remember I can do this. Or there are times I feel guilty about spending money on myself for my sessions, but then I realize I am able to do more things with my child and my family and around my home and I realize the benefits go beyond just me. Women in general and moms specifically have to fight those doubts and guilt and remember it’s not selfish to take care of yourself. Being a member at Restored Strength plays a huge role in that for me.

We are very grateful to have such an amazing member be part of our RS Family. We love hearing about the famous “Lou” also known as Olivia, Melissa’s daughter. There is never a dull moment when we are training, because we get to hear all about the antics of Lou’s life. Melissa has overcome a lot in her fitness journey and has made amazing strides in her strength and mobility.

Watch her story!