The Rock & Roll Trainer
Photography by Christian Lee
When life throws you a curve ball it’s time to put on your catcher’s mitt and wake up to new possibilities. That’s exactly what Melanie Ludwig did a few months ago when she made the decision to shed her comfortable and secure New Hampshire life and venture to Hilton Head Island. Leaving behind a lucrative career and a network of friends, she trusted that life had something even more to offer her. Nudged by a recent divorce and long, cold winters, Melanie was drawn to the South for its milder year- round temperatures and to be closer to her daughter, Elizabeth, a student at Savannah College of Art and Design. She was lured to make Hilton Head Island her new home because it is shaped like a foot, and her dad was a podiatrist. Melanie learned from him at an early age the importance of the foot for every aspect of alignment and movement, which served her well in her younger years as a gymnast.
Melanie is a graduate of Springfield College with a B.S. in therapeutic recreation, and she will complete a Master of Science program in exercise science and health promotion, with an academic concentration in wellness and fitness in August of this year. She is certified as a personal trainer by The American College of Sports Medicine, The American Council on Exercise, The Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, The National Academy of Sports Medicine and the Functional Movement Screen—Level 1.
In 1984 Melanie moved to New Hampshire and became a manager for a large national health club chain. After years of training clients in fitness centers, she decided to bring the “personal” into personal training by working in private homes and personal training studios. She also served there for several years as an adjunct professor at Manchester Community College in the Exercise Science Department before relocating.
Melanie is passionate about supporting clients in achieving their fitness goals. Functional training, which helps people move better and more efficiently, is Melanie’s specialty. She develops individualized fitness programs to enhance strength, function and correct alignment, based on each person’s abilities and preferred activities. Her years of experience have taught her that when people engage in things they enjoy, they are much more likely to continue and succeed with their fitness goals. Aging is a natural process. She speaks of her own experience as an example: Earlier in her life she confessed to being a cardio junkie, but now as she approaches 58, she is dealing with some hip issues. “I used to run, but now I jog. Now it’s very slow. I am doing everything I did in my ‘20s, just a little slower and with more thoughtfulness.” She emphasizes to her clients: ”Do things you enjoy with correct alignment.” Fondly referred to as the Rock & Roll trainer, Melanie incorporates each individual’s music taste into her training sessions. She describes her style of personal training as very nurturing and engaging, with as much or little hands-on for alignment as each client prefers. She offers private, as well as group, instruction. Special attention is given to existing medical conditions. Emphasis is on balance, flexibility, strength, aerobic conditioning, along with activities of daily living.
Melanie says, “The only known fountain of youth is exercise! It makes us feel better, stronger and healthier. It is empowering!”
Rock & Roll—Melanie loves playing guitar. Her daughter Elizabeth designed and built a twenty-foot high guitar sculpture made of car parts as a tribute to Melanie. This sculpture symbolizes finding your passion in life.
Furry friends and constant companions: Two precious Maltipoos, Lucy and Sadie Diamond.
Plans: Learn how to golf, sail and spend lots of time kayaking and paddle boarding.
Future Goal: Help start a program with The American Council on Exercise and a local college for budding fitness professionals.
Next Adventure: Trip to discover New Orleans for the first time with her 90-year-old mother.