DCF: So, Who Are You?
Melissa Kullen, Zengo Cycle, Master Instructor
DCF: Why do you love what you do? What makes you funemployment?
MK: I love that I make exercise fun – for everyone involved, myself included! I have taught a wide variety of group exercise formats over 23 years in the fitness arena, and Zengo is by far the most FUN! So many people search their entire lives for something they truly love, and then hope they may be fortunate enough to make a living out of it – that’s what I’ve found. Lucky me. (DCF: It’s always such a blessing to do what you love AND make a living off of it! #Goals)
DCF: Who was your first mentor and how did you find them?
MK: Zengo founder, Marc Caputo truly helped me make the transition from “personal trainer” to “motivational coach.” The voice, the passion and purpose with which he first built Zengo Cycle has gifted me the ability to take the workout from a physical to a mental workout. That was a game changer. (DCF: Such a major difference that sounds subtle but powerful!)
DCF: What’s your happy place?
MK: It probably goes without saying that Zengo is my happy place. Or on the rare occasion that we are all home together, there’s no where I’d rather be than lounging at home on the couch with my kids, husband and dog. (DCF: Family gives it all meaning!)
DCF: Where do you get your energy?
MK: Taking care of my body is a priority, and consistency is key. I have a healthy routine, I eat well, but never deny myself something little to satisfy my sweet tooth. These choices create a lifestyle and fuel the energy that support my craft. From there, simply walking through the door at Zengo gives me energy. Teaching gives me the space and time to recharge. There may or may not be additional hidden batteries tucked inside of me somewhere!
DCF: What does balance mean to you and how do find it?
MK: Balance, for me, means staying present. I live for the day; I can’t worry about the what ifs – because that can bring you down quickly. Of course, balancing the day to day stuff with 3 kids, a husband (my 4th kid) and a job is always challenging in giving enough attention to where it is needed. But again, it’s all about balance. One day, one task, one accomplishment at a time. Allow yourself room to slip, learn and grow.
DCF: What sacrifices did you have to make to get here?
MK: I have had to sacrifice giving time and energy to other interests of mine like refinishing furniture, crafting and sign language interpreting. (DCF: I want to learn sign!! Such a great skill)
DCF: What struggles have you faced as a women in your industry?
MK: I consider myself fortunate to work in an industry filled with powerful women, so while I haven’t necessarily faced any personal struggles, I’d like to think that I’ve inspired others to believe in themselves and discover strength that has allowed her (or him!) to overcome some of their personal struggles.
DCF: What is the early advice you didn’t listen to that you wish you had?
MK: I wish I had listened to the “be nice to your body” advice early on. I am sure all those years of high impact aerobics, step, and plyometrics will catch up to me at some point. Zengo just feels good – it provides me with a low-impact, yet super challenging exercise format. Oh yes and it’s fun. Did I mention that yet?
DCF: What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from it?
MK: I don’t think of things as “failures” (DCF: Which is exactly why I ask this question!), and don’t typically use that word. Instead, life is all about experiences. You learn. You grow. You evolve. Everyone has a story. My story has moments and events that were big turning points; but I don’t define them as failures. It’s in those moments that you discover true strength. You never know how strong you are until you have to be.
DCF: What was your proudest moment to date?
MK: I am extremely proud of the woman I am today. Forty-three years old, mother of 3 awesome kids (ages 16, 14 and 5 – yes you read that right!), married for almost 20 years and have a kick ass job. Lucky me. (DCF: Sounds more like awesome design than luck!!)
DCF: Currently Conquering?
MK: The past few years at Zengo Cycle have consisted of massive expansion projects. We now have five beautiful studios in the DMV area. So now is the time to focus on nurturing our communities and the amazing group of instructors. Our instructor training program is unparalleled, allowing us to provide our clients with an experience unlike any other. Zengo is an experience first, and a workout second. It’s about the connection, the community, the empowerment, and the love that Zengo breeds.
Let’s Get Social (Media)!!
Website: Zengocycle.com (first class is FREE);
Facebook: Zengo Cycle
Locations in Bethesda, Cathedral Commons, Logan Circle, Kentlands and the Mosaic District in NOVA.