Meet the Owners | Ryan & Melissa's Story



Have you ever wondered what inspired The Rebel Workout? How Melissa and Ryan met? What drives them to get up and get movin’ every morning? Wonder no more! We caught up with Melissa and Ryan for a quick interview so you can get to know these two inspirational Rebels, up close and personal.


Where are you from, what brought you to Denver, and how did you guys meet?

{Melissa} I came to Denver from Detroit eleven years ago. Denver was never the plan but after visiting friends, seeing how close the mountains were, and the amazing weather, I had to try it out. Needless to say, I’ve never left! Ryan and I met while working at the same personal training studio. The truth is, he totally intimidated me when I first started working with him. He would stare intensely from across the room and never said more than three words to me. I thought he was super sexy, but also a bit odd. I was intrigued. We became close friends, but I was secretly in love with him the whole time.

{Ryan} I was working at my old studio and I remember the day Melissa walked in the door. She had a blue puffy jacket and her big sunglasses - that was the first time I met her. She seemed a little stuck up and too good for the world, but I was intrigued. She oozed sex appeal, so I needed to launch an investigation to get to the bottom of this mystery.


Before opening The Rebel Workout, what was your fitness background?

{M} When I was a sophomore at the University of Michigan, I decided to do the STOTT pilates training program as a side project. I had no idea I would be so interested with human movement. I started teaching in my free time and after moving to Denver, I finally made the commitment to go back to school and learn all that I could. Combining my pilates, kinesiology, and nutrition education has really been the foundation of the trainer and health coach that I am today. I am still constantly learning.

{R} I went to the National Personal Training Institute [NPTI], and then I started my first training job in Melbourne, Australia. I worked at a place called New Level Personal Training, and I taught 30 minute workout classes and bootcamps at a nearby park. I was always an athlete - I participated in team sports like baseball and soccer. I wanted to share my passion with others, and my main focus, at first, was to become an athletic trainer. This lead to fine-tuning my athletic skills in agility and plyometrics, which has become my strong point.


What inspired you to create The Rebel Workout?

{M} I saw a void in our industry. The fitness industry can create an environment that’s supposed to be healthy but, in actuality, it’s teaching people to have obsessive behaviors and negative relationships with food and their bodies. I wanted to create a fitness philosophy based on a true wellness and healthy, well-balanced living.

Our workout motto is fast and dirty! Workouts are under an hour and take you safely to your edge. Our movements are functional, fun, and will get REAL results. Our REBEL trainers are individuals - they each have a story unlike the rest, and they bring passion, compassion, and knowledge to all of their classes.

{R} Melissa was my main inspiration, but it was also the chance to show consumers that there was a different method of training. It’s easy to give clients a great workout, but it’s more of a challenge to get them to ENJOY training, and teach them a different way of thinking about fitness. Our purpose is in getting people to connect to working out for overall health and wellness reasons, not just for vanity, but truly for performance and mind-body awareness.


What's your personal fitness philosophy?

{M} I used to be really intense about working out and eating very rigidly. I battled anorexia for over twelve years - the illness made me terribly sick mentally, and physically, and has left its mark on me forever. Now I only do things that make me feel good. I train and lift weights to feel strong in my body, and strong in my mind. It is the best thing I can do for my self-esteem. A physical challenge for me is a reflection of obstacles in day to day life. Working out is truly a form of moving meditation for me.

{R} To move mindfully, and have intention behind movement and nutrition. Eat to feel good and increase the performance of your body and your brain. Workout because it feels good to move, and respect your body’s ability to perform.


What sets The Rebel Workout apart from other fitness studios?

{M} We work as a team to put together creative and challenging workouts, that are both fun and functional. Every workout is different from the next. Our classes cap at 16 people to make sure no one gets lost in the crowd.

{R} We care about our clients’ success and their relationship with fitness and health. Our community is unique, and everyone has different goals. Clients put their trust in what we do, and who we are, to get the results that they are looking for. We deliver those results, but also show them why movement is so important, and that you can actually have fun doing it.

Ryan & Melissa; Owners of The Rebel Workout in Denver


What is the best thing about Denver's fitness community?

{M} I think it’s the connection that we have with the outdoors. We all have something that we love to do outside - whether it’s skiing, snowboarding, hiking, climbing or rafting. It makes it easy to see how strength in the studio impacts strength outdoors. 

{R} The Denver fitness community is unique in the support we provide for each other. Its not built on competition its instead a cohesive unit with the greater good of helping people find health and wellness.


What attributes do you look for in a trainer when they apply to become a Rebel?

{M} A million dollar smile! Obviously they need the credentials, but to me the best instructors are the ones that are happy and love their life. They have passion for what they do and a sense of humor.

{R} Education and knowledge of the human body, work ethic, and personality. If you’re full of life, energy, and playfulness, we want you!


Where do you see The Rebel Workout in 5 years?

{M} I love our community! I want to keep growing and want to be the best in the industry ... maybe add a second location, if it seems right.

{R} I hope to become the standard for the world of fitness - educating people on long term sustainable health, while providing classes that are not only workouts, but also social environments.


What's the best and worst part about owning a business with your husband/wife?

{M} The best part is being able to bounce ideas off each other all of the time. The worst part is we talk about work way too much.

{R} They're always around! Ha! It's a real challenge to separate your personal life and your business. I don't like being told what to do... And well, Melissa is in charge at the studio, and ... I'm a rebel.


What's your favorite way to stay fit outside of The Rebel Workout's classes?

{M} I love being outdoors and on a mountain trail. For me, it's about connecting to nature and being in the woods with my thoughts. My most creative moments are when I’m playing outside.

{R} Trail run. I run Sanitas and try to beat my best time.


What are your non-work habits that help you with your work-life balance?

{M} Connecting to my breath. I take moments throughout the day to stop and breathe. It’s a practice in mindfulness that helps me tremendously. I’m a non-stop mover and shaker, so these moments are key for me to enjoy the process.

{R} I'm currently going to CU Denver for a Business Degree. Learning constantly, and being challenged mentally, is the best thing that I can do for myself. I value my down time. I love coffee shop culture, and can spend hours in a coffee shop studying or chatting with new people.


What do you guys do on date night?

{M} Ryan is a foodie and with all of his time living in France, he’s become a bit of a wine connoisseur. A date night is typically a night out for an amazing meal. Sometimes we try out new Denver restaurants, but if we’re not feeling adventurous, we go to Potager in Capitol Hill. It’s always amazing. We are conscious consumers, so we often frequent the places that have local produce and quality pasture-raised meats.

{R} We try to find new restaurants that have amazing experiences. We like the theater and random activities like bowling, or a road trip adventure. It’s easy to get caught up in routine, but variety is the spice of life, so we try new things as often as we can.


Who inspires you?

{M} This is a hard one for me because there are so many people that inspire me! Ryan inspires me - at 35 he went back to school and is running a business with me, which is no easy task. My sister Jody inspires me - she created a beverage company called WTRMLN WTR, all because she noticed how many “ugly” watermelons were going to waste. My parents are incredibly inspiring too! My mom sees the good in everyone, and is so positive no matter what. My dad’s work ethic and commitment to his family is inspiring - he works in NYC Monday through Thursday, and spends his weekends with my mom in Detroit. He is truly my mentor when it comes to business, and he stays so calm even in the most stressful moments.

{R} Aside from Melissa, Bobby Klein is an inspiration to me. Bobby is a shaman that Melissa and I have worked with the last few years, and every Sunday he sends an interpretation of the I Ching. He speaks on connecting all people together with love, integrity and kindness.


What did you think you would be when you grew up?

{M} A veterinarian! I would read really intense vet medical books when I was a little kid.

{R} A CIA Agent.


What's one mistake you've learned from creating and building your business?

{M} I feel like my mistakes are always the biggest learning experiences for me. Right now I am working on practicing patience, which is still a tough one for me.

{R} Not being educated enough to make informed decisions.

If you weren't a fitness studio owner, what would you be doing?

{M} Something that allowed me to travel the world and be immersed in different cultures.

{R} I don't know what I'd be doing. I love to travel, if I could have a job that takes me around the world, that's what I would do.


What's your favorite pre-workout snack?

{M + R} Bulletproof coffee.


Where is your favorite place to be?

{M} At home, with Luxe snuggled up next to me.

{R} Our home, it’s my little nest.


Favorite quote?

{M} Live with as much DICK in your life as possible - DIGNITY, INTEGRITY, COMPASSION and KINDNESS!

{R} Don't take life too seriously, you'll never make it out alive.


What is one thing that might surprise us about you?

{M} I work with shamans and healers from all over the world.

{R} I speak French fluently, and I lived in France, splitting my time between there and the US for six years.


If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

{M} Hmmm… I would love to live by water and mountains. I would be happy never being indoors.

{R} France.


One thing you'd bring to a deserted island?

{M} Ryan and Luxe. I know that’s two, but I need them both.

{R} Melissa, we would procreate, and have a giant family.


Favorite song to shake yo' booty to, or what would be your theme song if you had one?

{M} This is impossible to answer! At the moment I’m obsessed with Satori Musica on Soundcloud. Listen to his Satori LIVE set from Oaxaca - you will dance your way through the day.

{R} ATliens by Outkast.


What do you never leave home without?

{M} Sunglasses and palo santo. I carry it in my purse. You never know when you’re going to need a little energy clearing.

{R} I usually forget things.


What is the best advice you've ever received?

{M} If you’re not having fun, it’s not worth doing.

{R} Be very much in love with yourself


And finally, if you could have dinner with any person - dead or alive - who would it be?

{M} Maya Angelou or John Lennon.

{R} The Dalai Lama.