'Exercise is a big part of people's lives now': Personal training with a personal touch with Preston's Mel Bartley Fitness

Pretty much from the start Mel Bartley knew that personal training was the profession for her.

By Jack Marshall, Reporter
Thursday, 6th January 2022, 4:55 am

"I've always been involved in sport and fitness," she says. "I played football from a very young age and reached quite a high level, I was always one of those kids who did every afterschool activity, and I've always been a runner.

"Without a shadow of a doubt, it was my ambition to become a personal trainer from very early on," she adds, having undertaken a degree in sports therapy from the University of Central Lancashire. "So, after I left uni, I went straight into it."

The end result was Mel Bartley Fitness, an expert and friendly personal training service based in Bamber Bridge. With the establishment having been founded in 2013, Mel has gone on to train thousands of people from the Preston and South Ribble area, offering her clients a bespoke and tailored fitness programme designed to get results.

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"I took the plunge and started the business when I was 21 or 22, so I was probably slightly naïve as to how hard it would be," says Mel, 31. "But being that young meant I didn't have anxieties about doing it, I just did it: it's only looking back now that I see how it was a big step at such a young age. It could very easily have not worked, but thankfully it has done.

"More than anything, it's been putting time and effort into it, especially when I was starting out," she adds. "And I got into the fitness industry at the right time because, over the past 10 years or so, things have come to the fore and people's lifestyles have changed. Exercise is a big part of people's lives now."

As well as the one-to-one sessions which can be tweaked to cater to those making their first steps with exercise, those looking to lose weight, new mothers, people looking to gain muscle, and those in need of short and sharp intense training, Mel and her fellow coach Karen Harris also offer a free initial consultation, state-of-the-art equipment, and nutritional advice.

What's more, the gym also runs a regular rolling eight-week bootcamp after an initial trial in October 2018 designed to get people active in the run-up to Christmas proved to be so popular. Since then, MBF hasn't stopped offering the bi-weekly bootcamp classes since, with the sessions now led by George Davies and an improved and revamped high-intensity Blast classes for 2022 starting on the 10th.

Involving high-tech equipment, nutritional guidance, and Myzone tracking tech, the twice-weekly 30-minute sessions are designed to burn maximum calories and get people off to the healthiest start to the new year. Already fielding a raft of interest in the eight-week programme, Mel is hugely optimistic for the new year.

"I've enjoyed the work from the start," says Preston-born Mel, who sees around 40 people each week at MBF. "There were nerves in the beginning, but the job has really improved my communication skills because it's all about helping a client get to where they want to be. And we've built a really good community of people, especially with the bootcamp classes.

"It's great to walk into a class and see everyone having a laugh," she adds, with Mel also working closely with neighbours Briganti Physiotherapy to ensure that physio clients access appropriate training and that anyone training at the gym can see a physio if need be. "No one feels out of place because classes can be done regardless of size, age, or fitness level.

"During Covid, it was tough to see people struggling with not being able to exercise," she continues. "Going online was crucial for people mentally more than anything because it also offered that personal connection. It's great to be back, to see people again, and to be able to get back into a routine with things."