Oxford fitness instructor teaches clients how to Align their lives

Fitness Instructor

Melanie Glisson, a certified fitness instructor, teaching a spin class at the Turner Center. Photo by Leah Bushey.

Leah Bushey
Oxford Stories

An Oxford fitness instructor is teaching her clients how to Align their lives. Melanie Glisson, a Springfield, Illinois native, has been inspiring Oxford students and residents to get in shape and to love their bodies.

Glisson, a 21-year-old junior, is majoring in exercise science with a minor in psychology. She became a certified fitness instructor in Oxford two years ago. Passionate about her work, she is excited about her fitness future.

Glisson’s schedule varies weekly. She teaches four to six fitness classes on a rotating schedule and subs for fellow co-workers when needed while keeping up with challenging academic courses.

She spends her busiest days waking up early for class, getting a well-balanced breakfast to keep her energized throughout the day, and preparing for fitness classes.

“Sometimes it’s hard to balance being a student and teaching fitness classes full time,” she said, “but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I enjoy being able to spread health and fitness throughout Oxford.”

Glisson is employed at two different gyms in Oxford. She is a fitness instructor at the Turner Center on the Ole Miss campus, and she also teaches classes at Align, a gym that provides a variety of motivational group fitness classes for ladies of all ages.

“I enjoy working at different gyms here in Oxford,” Glisson said. “I am able to see new faces every day and help inspire all different kinds of people here in Oxford that are looking to get in shape.”

Glisson was inspired to become a certified fitness instructor by her mom. “I grew up in the gym watching my mom teach group fitness classes and loved the community she was able to build and get to know through teaching,” she said. “I have wanted to get into teaching for as long as I can remember.”

Glisson has a packed schedule and is working towards an important goal. She is focused on getting her degree and moving on to the corporate wellness world.

One of her weekly clients, Emily Mott, is an Ole Miss senior. “Melanie is the best motivator,” she said, while finishing one of Glisson’s workouts. “I am confident coming to her classes because I know that she will give me a good workout, and give me the courage to finish along the way.”

Glisson said motivating her patrons is one of her biggest challenges. “No one is going to stick with working out if they just do it to lose weight,” she said. “It needs to come from within the person, for them to have a desire to be healthy or fit for themselves”

Glisson said it is important to positively motivate your clients to keep them coming back and build personal relationships. She said it’s sometimes challenging to come up with new material for classes, forcing her to search for inspiration.

“My biggest accomplishment is the accomplishments of my patrons,” she said.

Glisson said she feels accomplished when someone tells her she helped motivate them to come work out every day. “Knowing that I helped them get into working out again after an injury, or just that I cheered them up when they were having a bad day is so rewarding.”


Glisson stretching out one of her classes after a tough work out. Photo by Leah Bushey

She said she feels humbled to have the opportunity to help bring connections and exercise into people’s lives. Mott backed these accomplishments by saying: “Melanie helped me get back into a workout routine after taking time off. She inspired me to get back into shape, and I thank her for that.”

To become certified, you have to study a group fitness instructor through an accredited program. Glisson’s program was through the American Council on Exercise. She spent two months studying for the exam, a 150-multiple choice test.

Her fitness instructor certification lasts two years before it expires. Yet she can extend her two-year expiration date by going to a fitness conference or taking a kinesiology class.

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