Last year one of my best friends started her own Personal Improvement Plan (PIP).  She called it her “J PIP.”  Her name starts with a J, hence the J PIP.  Her Personal Improvement Plan was a vow to be the best version of herself that she could be.  Her PIP inspires her to continuously make changes in her life that give her personal growth and happiness.  A PIP can be started any time of the year, doesn’t have to be big, or cost any money.  It can be as simple as taking a little more time for yourself.  All you need is a commitment to yourself to make little improvements along the way that will bring you happiness, health, and growth. 


Part of my continuing “L PIP” is a commitment to improving my health and fitness.  I struggle to make going to the gym a non-optional daily activity.  Some days I get there, and some I don’t, but I know it is key to my happiness and health.  What’s your Personal Improvement Plan?

Until I met Mel, with Virtual Fitness Coach, I would not have believed that I a)needed a personal trainer or b) could afford one. I started working with Mel about a year ago and discovered why I never got the results I wanted even though I was regularly going to the gym. He creates workouts that keep me coming to the gym and ensures that I will see results if I’m willing to put in the effort. I interviewed Mel so you too could get some insight into the best way to live a healthy and active lifestyle.

Lee: “Mel, tell us a little bit about yourself and why you started Virtual Fitness Coach.”

Mel: “I’ve experienced what most people who want to lead a fit and healthy lifestyle have experienced. I’ve allowed work and life to get in the way of exercise and healthy nutrition. I have been severely overweight and unfit. Not anymore. I learned what I need to do and have practiced and preached that for the last ten years. Now as I approach my 50th birthday, I’m fitter than most people half my age.

While working as a personal trainer, I realized that for every person who can afford to hire me one on one, there are thousands of others who need my knowledge and skills that can’t afford to hire me. That’s when I set out to ‘virtualize’ myself and create an affordable option for the masses through Virtual Fitness Coach.”

Lee: “What is the best way to lose weight and get fit?”

Mel: “There really isn’t one ‘best way’ to lose weight or get fit. I think the biggest challenge to losing weight or getting fit is acknowledging the fact that it’s a permanent thing in your life. A little like children! If my 16 month old son decides to get up an hour earlier than planned, I can’t just ignore him because I’ve got something else I need to do. The same goes for eating healthy and exercising. When you acknowledge the fact that what you do or don’t do today for your health and fitness affects your future quality of life, you’re on your way.”

Lee: “You are a busy entrepreneur, a father, a husband, AND a personal trainer. What kind of advice can you give to help people make fitness a lifestyle choice they keep forever?

Mel: “You can’t let your life keep you from exercising. Over the last 25 years, there have been a few years where you would barely recognize me because I was so fat! And now as I hit 50, I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m able to look back at the mistakes I made and see that I allowed my life to get in the way of exercise. Today I’m ten times busier and in great shape compared to my fat days. So there’s something missing from that observation. Simply stated, it’s goals. And by goals I mean something with an end point that you work towards. I just signed up for the ING half marathon in Atlanta at the end of March. So did my wife. Which means we’d better get running!”

Lee: “How can you get fit if you can’t afford a gym membership?”

Mel: “Sometimes joining a gym isn’t the best option. Especially if you can only go at peak hours when parking is impossible and you’re fighting for equipment. It makes the decision not to go and work out a lot easier. But if you buy just a few simple items such as: resistance bands, a jump rope and a pedometer you can have some of the best workouts you could ever imagine. Just ask some of my clients who I take outside to jog/walk and exercise with resistance bands.

Lee: “I’ve heard a lot of people say they don’t lift weights because they are afraid they will bulk up. Is this true?”

Mel: The old saying among trainers is “abs are made in the kitchen”. Which means if you want to lose weight and have a flat belly then the majority of your effort should be focused on what you eat. It’s even more of an issue if you want to ‘bulk up.’ In my 30 years of training I’ve helped less than 5 women gain muscle size. And all of them came to me with that as their primary goal. And they all realized that for them to get bigger it was a simple matter of eating more food than they could ever have imagined. So, if you’re leery about lifting weights and bulking up just take a look around a gym and seek out the girls with the best physique and I can bet you they are the ones lifting the heaviest weights.

Lee: “Why hire a personal trainer?”

Mel: “The best way to describe what it’s like to hire a personal trainer is to use a GPS device as an analogy.  A GPS takes the guesswork out of the equation.  You plug in your destination and then sit back and relax as this voice guides you until you’ve reached where you want to go!  That’s a trainer.  Whether that’s one on one, or as a virtual coach.

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It is hard to explain why Lee is so brilliant at what she does because it is almost like magic. She pierces through your personality and reflects who you are in what you wear. She does not just pick out great clothes – she picks an outwardly appearance that creates a comfort zone while also allowing the world to see the real you.

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Working with Lee has dramatically increased my revenue, not because of what I’m wearing but because of how I show up when I am dressed like my future self.

Angela Lauria, The Difference Press

When I reflect on who I was before working with Lee, I see that everything about me was a muted version of who I am today. And thanks to Lee’s incredible gift, I’m me. I now show up every single day: as the thought-leader Lee helped me dress to become (and be).

Hillary Walsh, Esq., New Frontier Immigration Law

Thank YOU! It was such a fantastic mini-class you took us through. You got everyone really into it! I can hardly believe that I actually had to cut them all off. You are a force! We are very lucky to have had the benefit of your help and we’re all better for it.

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You are amazing!!!!!! I’ve been thinking about our conversation all day and this is just brilliant – you are a strategist and creative genius. Your vision completely resonates with me. I am so grateful for you, Lee.

Kelly McGrath, Esq., Kelly McGrath Law

Lee had a surprising way about her that uncovered my deeper self, my reason for being, and encoded it onto my wardrobe like a symbol—a moment-by-moment reminder of who I am, and what I’m here to do. Her brilliance crept up on me; I didn’t realize it was her behind the changes in my life until months afterwards. Now, I am able to approach everything I do from a place of power.

Jonathan Sparks, Esq. Sparks Law

Lee brings to life a vision bigger than I imagined. I’ve had the pleasure of working with her on my personal brand, photo shoot strategy, and the brand experience of events for my non-profit. Through each piece she’s helped me grow as a leader and an organization. I love having her on my team.

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