I crave structure and I enjoy being free-spirited
I embrace challenge and I welcome ease
I live for glam and l can't live without sweats and a t-shirt
I am tough and I am vulnerable
I am traditional and I am unconventional
I am basic and I am complex
In my case, I have always been all of these things. But I didn't always accept them.
For 10+ years I held marketing, social media, sales, and production positions at some of the top entertainment companies and worked for and with some of the most reputable brands. To any observer my professional life was impressive at most and noteworthy at the very least.
What he/she wouldn't have known is I have struggled with anxiety most of my life -- unable to live in the present and pleasing others before myself. I had an ideal image of myself and that image was all that mattered.
If my life looked perfect, it was perfect.
However, I was feeling a bit stuck. And trying to be tough, not vulnerable; or free-spirited, not structured, was exhausting.
Something definitely had to change.
That change was sparked when my husband and I got engaged. Like most brides-to-be, I immersed myself in fitness, nutrition, and beauty regimens, even more than usual. I looked forward to my workout classes, excited for the familiar soreness that told me I was improving. For the first time in over a decade, I felt energized, empowered, and in control.
As I learned though, too much of one good thing is not necessarily a good thing. I became a little too controlling and hung up on trying to look perfect. The wedding was beyond magical, but looking back, I realized I felt like I had to be extra hard on myself to be "successful".
When I returned to work after the honeymoon, I no longer had the distraction of my own bridal bootcamp. Feeling that old and very unwanted feeling, I knew I had to start making changes again. I reflected in a thoughtful coaching session with my mother-in-law. We outlined my passions and I realized that I wasn't pursuing any of them.
I made a bold move and went for it, leaving my job and enrolling in NYU for a coaching degree.
Through the diploma program, I learned the importance of mind-body balance, how to practice gentleness and self-love, and ways to identify values and create strategies and actions to propel people forward. My goal was for the program to impact my professional life. I never thought it would transform my life as a whole. Now, I integrate mind-body balance daily, which has done wonders for my anxiety. What's more, freeing (not ridding) myself from anxiety has allowed me to accept and appreciate all of the things about me.
I can be tough and vulnerable, not one or the other. I can get fit and get enough sleep. I can challenge myself and know my limits.
But the coaching degree wasn't enough. Fitness has always been a sort of therapy for me - helping me feel strong, focused, and accomplished. Because fitness has had, and continues to have, such a personal impact on my life, I knew I wanted to pursue it professionally as well. After all, it's about mind-body balance.
So, I enrolled in Equinox's Pilates Teacher Training Institute and shortly after received a Pilates Mat Certificate.
Since the inception of my business, I have been providing wellness coaching and traditional mat Pilates training. Over time, I started integrating HIIT (high-intensity interval training) into my own personal Pilates routine. I noticed that I was toning and burning fat quicker than what I was used to, and was able to - and continue to - maintain a desired weight with the combination of these two forms of exercise. So, I naturally began implementing the principles into my sessions, generating faster, more desirable results for my clients - tightening, strengthening, increasing flexibility and burning fat, boosting metabolism, and increasing energy.
I can be physically and mentally fit.
It's all about optimal self-care and what works best for you so that you can learn to love and accept all the parts of you.
We can, in fact, have it all.
My name is Melanie Friedson Kotcher. What's yours?
Certifications & Qualifications
Athletics and Fitness Association of America Group Fitness Instruction Certificate
Equinox's Pilates Teacher Training Institute Pilates Mat Certificate
New York University School of Professional Studies Advanced Diploma in Coaching
New York University School of Professional Studies Career Advancement Badge in Building Your Personal Brand