I AM ALFA because I have devoted my life to raising people's aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there.
Photographer: Ali Sohrab
Make up: Shannon Payne
Tan: coast luxe
Team Mel has evolved into this incredibly supportive group of women who come from all different backgrounds and experiences, but all share one common goal: improving their overall health and getting stronger.
MELISSA CECH, owner Team Mel, IFBB Pro, CPT
I am a certified and insured NSCA personal trainer with 9 years of experience specializing in female body transformations. Although I started my career with a focus on athletic performance, I quickly fell in love with helping others completely transform their life like I once did my own. This is when I decided to shift my attention to lifestyle coaching and this is where Team Mel was initiated. The team has continued to grow and grow ever since.
It is my absolute honor and privilege to help show my clients just how strong they really are, not just physically, but emotionally, too. I am proud of each and every one of you.
JAMIE IANNUCCI, ᴄᴇʀᴛ. ᴘᴇʀꜱᴏɴᴀʟ ᴛʀᴀɪɴᴇʀ | ᴄᴇʀᴛ. ᴀᴅᴠ ɴᴜᴛʀɪᴛɪᴏɴ | ᴄᴇʀᴛ. ᴡᴏᴍᴇɴꜱ ꜱᴇxᴜᴀʟ ʜᴇᴀʟᴛʜ |
Many of us contacted Mel at our lowest. Including myself. After having 4 kids in 4 years, I was stuck and lacked the direction to become healthy again. I reached out to lose weight and become strong, what I got was life changing.
Words can never really describe the life changes I’ve experienced since joining her team. From smashing my goals and creating new ones, to becoming a small part of what she continues to grow with her blood, sweat and tears and a coach with Team Mel.
This is more than just a team though. It’s a group of women brought together by a mentor, friend, therapist, coach who had a vision. A vision to bring love, acceptance, teamwork, confidence, hard WORK and a sense of belonging to everyone on her team. We all flourish with the unwavering support of our coach and the team she created. Unshakable, unbreakable foundations were built. I’m beyond grateful to have Mel as a friend and mentor.
I have always done my own fitness/sports activities and don’t know a life without them in it. I am a busy mom of all Boys. The crack of dawn is the time I like to get my workouts and me time in as the house is still asleep and it is pure bliss.
I had discovered Mel on Instagram approx. 5yrs ago and always admired her hard work. Having her as my trainer was a “maybe one day” thing for me as I’m always prioritizing my kids activities before my own wants. Well Nov 1st 2021 I made that “maybe” into a “YES” when I joined the BodSquad!
Mel is amazing in what she does and I am so impressed with her knowledge on all things. She has answered any questions and concerns I have had throughout this process and I am just so grateful for her. It has been so great to be a part of this community Mel has created because before Mel I had very few people in my life that would understand my lifestyle. Now I am surrounded by such a wonderfully diverse group of women.
Thank you to all who continue to inspire and always focusing on building people up.
I have known Mel her whole life, I’ve seen her fitness and health journey and had her train me here and there over the years.
After I had my second baby, was not losing the weight I had gained in my first pregnancy, and had lost sight of who I once was, I decided to get serious about my health and fitness and join Mel’s team. What started as a weight loss journey turned into so much more, I am strong for the first time in my life, I’m starting to feel like myself again, I have confidence and I’ve lost 50lbs and counting. I always tell Mel she’s a miracle worker and it’s really the best way to describe her. She came into my life when my baby was waking every 1-2 hours and designed a plan for me that allowed me to start losing weight and gaining muscle immediately despite being sleep deprived and not having a lot of time for working out. It has evolved to me now stepping out of my comfort zone to up my workouts at a gym and feeling so pumped about the future of my health and fitness.
Mel is the best, she has changed and shaped my life in all positive ways. She does it with such care, attention, and some tough love, and I cannot say enough good things about her.
TARA FOX, hairstylist
I started my fitness journey just over 7 years ago. I was 33 and had never lifted a weight in my life. I was at St. Paul's hospital in Vancouver BC visiting my brother who was waiting for his 2nd double lung transplant. We had many talks during this time about his life and regrets, but I will never forget the one thing he said that changed my life forever. He said "I just wanted to have a normal life" Since that moment I remember thinking I had been taking my health for granted my entire life. You see he was born with cystic fibrosis and lost his battle to it Feb 19th 2015 at only 39 years old. I realized I owed it to myself and everyone else who was born with health struggles, to actively take care of myself. This started my weight lifting journey.
I have had a few coaches since, but Mel is the one that really helped me fully understand the nuances and importance of balanced nutrition. She has also created such an inclusive environment of team members to share their struggles and strengths. Mel truly believes in the power of team, and now more than ever I believe the fitness industry and maybe the entire world needs that right now.
BRITTANY TALLON, Bodybuilder | Nails/Mua | Coach
Bodybuilding changed my life.
I used to struggle with back injuries and was always in pain. I was also very thin and had a lot of insecurities. Training in the gym changed me inside and out. My back grew stronger and the injuries faded away. My body started growing and changing and the insecurities faded away. My mental state also grew stronger. It taught me a whole new level of dedication and commitment to my health. I’ve found a new sense of community in this sport and developed some amazing connections and friendships. I found my coach who has changed my entire approach to training for the better and become a dear friend.
Having a coach who genuinely cares about your success and is equally committed to your goals is not something I'm willing to go without. I'm hooked on this sport for life!
I’ve known Mel since we were kids. About 5/6 years ago I was a client of hers for a year or so and in the best shape of my life because of her. Our workouts were tough and I enjoyed our time together. She was a friend but pushed me so hard too. After a few life changes, I ended up slowly moving out of fitness, then had some major issues with my health, as well as having a baby, had gained a fair amount of weight and lost myself a little over the next few years. I’d tried different exercise but nothing was working the same way as when Mel had trained me.
I reached out to Mel again after seeing how successful my sister had been with her. Not only have I lost over 30 pounds since becoming her client again, my cardio has improved so much and I’m so much stronger. I’ve gotten myself back again.
Mel makes daily fitness easy for me as I can do the workouts from home while my baby naps. It feels so good to have this as part of my every day and be back to me again.
A year ago I was in one of the worst places of my life. I was depressed, had anxiety, was overweight, and was in a relationship that made me feel more alone than I’d ever felt in my whole life. I hated my life and cried myself to sleep most nights while hiding how I felt from everyone else around me. This had been going on for over 2 straight years.
Eventually, I realized it was time for a major change. I hired Mel and started putting myself first again, little by little. It started with small workouts in my living room and grew over time to a home gym, and then a public gym membership. When I started to physically feel better, it was easier to find mental clarity as well. Eventually, I started making plans with friends again, getting out of the house, and I stopped stressing about someone that didn’t care to acknowledge my existence.
Today, my physical health is clearly a million times better, and my mental health is thriving as well. I no longer get anxiety, I enjoy getting out and seeing my friends, and I’m just generally happy again.I am in such a better place today than I was at the beginning of all this and it all started with hiring Mel. Now, not only is she my coach, but she has also become my friend.
There were a lot of curve balls through this last year. My son’s father was murdered, I went through a difficult break up, plus all the other regular day to day ups and downs, but she has been there for me through this entire journey every step of the way, and I am eternally grateful for her giving me the strength to get my life back, and for not letting me quit when I wanted to so many times!
Since I was young, sports and fitness have always been a big part of who I am. They have always been a constant in my life in some form or another, but recently they have become even more meaningful. In 2021, my father had multiple, life-saving, brain surgeries that changed me forever. I witnessed his body and mind work so hard to bring him back and it inspired me beyond words. I am amazed by my father today and what he has accomplished. He has shown me first-hand how perseverance can pay off and that "it's now or never" because you never know what each day may bring. His recovery has inspired me to go outside of my comfort zone and to go after something I've always thought about - competing on stage. I want to challenge my body and push it to be the best it can and Mel and the Bod Squad is helping me do just that.
I have grown so much physically, mentally and emotionally working with Mel and being a part of this squad. She has created something really special and I cannot imagine, not being connected to this group of inspiring and supportive women. Being from the US, I consider them my extended Canadian family - each one of them inspire me on a daily basis and I truly believe I was meant to contact Mel when I did. Meeting her and the squad has been life-changing. At 45, I have never felt better and am so driven and committed to achieving my goal. It's now or never.
CHARLENE CHRISTIANSEN, Fitness and Nutrition Coach
Exercise brings me wonderful moments of happiness. It gives me a place to actively be still and meditate, time that is just for me. I am a single Mom of 2 busy boys and life can get wild sometimes and the consistency and focus that my fitness journey brings me, really helps me balance all of that. Both of my boys actively watch my journey and that is so important to me, I want them to grow up understanding how to take care of their body and live their best lives. I have never felt so focused on my own goals for the future and I am thankful that Mel gave me the tools to carve out this path for myself, a path I had thought wasn’t for me anymore (hitting the stage). She has been an incredible point of inspiration and encouragement over the past year.
Being coached by Mel has given me a better understanding of what an amazing coach is made of and how rewarding it is to impact the lives of others. Thank you Mel, for your endless support and being unapologetically yourself no matter what is thrown your way.
1. KARLA KENNEDY
Since beginning my fitness journey January 2021, I never imagine I would be in the place I am today. Not only was this a physical transformation, there was a mental and emotional shift as well.
Through Coach Mel's support, I found myself again and gained confidence, a sense of pride and accomplishment, and embody a role model that my two kids can see is living their best life! Going through a weight loss journey challenges you on many different levels but the best thing about it is, we get through it.
We come out on the other end gaining so much more than we thought. And, all that determination and discipline teaches us that we can do hard things. We survive. I owe a lot of thanks and gratitude towards Mel and her entire bodsquad crew for motivating and supporting me through this past year and a half. It inspires me to keep going, to share my learnings with the world (through my IG account), and continue to be my best self for me and my kids. For anyone going through their own journey and transformation, keep going, stay focused, experience the hard moments. You will get through it.
Diet. That is a word that resonates deeply with me. For as long as I can remember I have had some form of disordered eating. Even as a little girl I remember eating for emotional support. Gaining and losing weight countless times and feeling horrible about myself year after year. After losing 100lbs in a year through diet (very restrictive) and exercise i thought that was the last time but it slowly started to creep up. Not much but enough for me to say this is enough. The last time I would be on a "diet."
Fitness has always been a huge part of my life. Sports throughout high school and the gym as an adult. It wasn’t enough to help the mental aspect of nutrition and weight training though.
I wanted accountability. I wanted a plan. I needed a coach. This is where Mel comes in. Mel has helped me immensely this past year. I went from being afraid of eating an apple to eating carbs throughout the day without guilt. I started to understand that food was not the enemy. It was the fuel I needed to create a healthier, more balanced life. I've watched my body slowly transform into who I imagined myself to be all those years ago. Each week I see little changes and Mel has motivated me to keep going. It's a lifestyle now.
Of course there have been hiccups along the way but having a coach as supportive and encouraging as Mel is helping me realize that's ok, you keep going no matter the setback. You don't let yourself down. You get up and do better each and every day. It's you against yourself.
Working out is the best part of my day (even if it means getting up at 4am) and I look forward to it. Fitness has given me a purpose and reason to start to love myself. It's never too late to create positive habits, set new goals and change your life. I can't wait to see what the next year brings.
1. VANESSA FATA
My journey with fitness has been one hell of a Rollercoaster. Losing, gaining, losing, gaining, and feeling so defeated and overwhelmed.
I came across Mel and Jamie and was paired with Jamie to embark on yet another fitness journey. Well, I am so glad I did. I went in with no real expectations, but I promised myself to trust her expertise and trust the process. Doing so, I've learnt healthy mindsets toward food, balance, and have lost 25lbs and counting and gained a tribe of supportive individuals!
What would be the first tips TEAM MEL could share to those who want to loose weight?
Remember: Consistency is more important than Intensity.
Lifting weights will increase your muscle mass; more muscle means higher metabolic rate.
Decrease caffeine and alcohol intake, increase your water intake.
Prioritize eating protein (supports muscle growth and burns more calories to digest than fat or carbs.)
Watch your portions! Leave a few bites left on your plate when you finish. It all adds up!
Go to sleep 30 minutes earlier.
Favourite quote: "The most powerful thing you can be is yourself"
Where can people find you?
Facebook: Team Mel - The Bod Squad