Fitness

Melina Nasab

Ain’t Nothing But A KANG THANG

Melina Nasab

Location: Zoom
Date: 4/11/2020
Title: Ain’t Nothing But A KANG THANG
Profession: Founder, KANGABOOTS

Q & A

Tell us about yourself. Who are you and what do you do for a living?

My name is Melina Nasab.  I am 25 years old, currently living in Los Angeles where I am a full time personal trainer and KANGABOOTS entrepreneur.

What are KANGABOOTS?

KANGABOOTS are what I like to call the ultimate smile-inducing workout shoe. It is a shock absorbing rebound boot that takes all the pressure off of your knees, hips and joints, while accelerating your heart rate and simply providing the most fun workout ever. Joint pain is commonly one of the more limiting factors and reasons why people can’t or don’t enjoy many exercises.

The KANGABOOTS eliminate those limitations with a method that is so universally loved.  Although it might seem ridiculous at first, when you see the joy that they bring people, you’re going to want to try them.  It definitely takes a certain level of confidence to rock the boots, but before you know it they are just an extension of your body.  Overall, it’s tons of fun, and life is way too short to do things that don’t make you happy and smile.  

Not only do they make you happy, but they also make others smile too! People roll up in their cars, roll down the windows and say, “WHAT ARE THOSE?!” I even have police officers stopping me from time to time asking what they are and saying how much they absolutely love them. 

The fitness industry is booming and people are taking their health more seriously, which is awesome. The boots are something that are different and unique, and I’m just grateful that so many people have been receptive to them.   It’s awesome that I’ve been able to bottle my approach as a fitness trainer into this product and brand, which can be spread a little bit more widely.

What’s your backstory and what led you to a career in fitness?

Growing up in Bellevue, Washington I spent my childhood horseback riding.  I was honestly obsessed with it, and I think that obsessiveness is a personality trait that has carried on with me.  Even some of my close friends from high school would always tell me that I have these “isms”. I’ll get ultra obsessed with something and then my whole life revolves around it.  Maybe it’s a good thing, maybe it’s a bad thing, but it’s a thing that has led me to my career and purpose in life.

It started with horseback riding with my dad.  That was our bonding mechanism because he would be the one to take me to all of the competitions and he would pick me up from school four times a week to do that.  

We moved to Los Angeles the summer before freshman year of high school.  I was the new girl in school and I knew nobody. I was still always riding horses, which didn’t help with my social life because I was out of town all of the time for horse shows on the weekends, but I loved it. That was my whole life. 

When I’m on a horse, I’m really able to tap into an objective state of mind vs. the subjective.  I forget about time, schedules, phone, friends, relationships and all of the things that take me away from the present moment.  Even going through all of the things that I went through as a teenager – the angst phase, the party phase, and all the other phases – when I was connected to my horse nothing else was on my mind.  The bond between human and horse is inexplicable. Something about riding and competing put me in a different zone. Actually, it is what I thought that I wanted to do with my future. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I wanted it to include horses. I wasn’t a huge school person, but always loved learning from all the different sources of education around me. 

I graduated from Beverly Hills High School and got into a couple of universities, but didn’t really know where I wanted to go.  My parents had decided to move to Irvine because it was slower paced and more quiet, and that ultimately influenced my decision to move with them and leave LA.  I think that was one of the best decisions for me. Removing myself from my comfort zone and again starting completely from scratch to meet new people was a blessing.  I chose a college that was close to the stables so I could still ride and compete.

I’ve always loved working. I started working little jobs as soon as I was old enough in high school because I felt best when I had structure, a schedule, independence and didn’t need to rely completely on my parents. I had always loved fashion, so when I moved to Orange County I started working in retail at South Coast Plaza.  When you enter the work world, it doesn’t really matter how old you are when it comes to making new friends. I became friends with people who were in their late 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. I made some of the best friends that I ever had through these years, and age played no role. We were all just going through the same path of life together in different chapters.  I think that really matured and influenced me quickly, instead of going to a four year university where it might have just been an extension of high school. All in all, I felt like I had grown quite a bit by jumping into the real world, getting a job and just kind of venturing out of my comfort zone. 

Although I was very active when it came to horseback riding, I wasn’t healthy my whole life.  I would eat and eat. My dad used to always call me “shekamoo”, which means a person who loves food in Farsi.

Health was never my first priority until about 7 years ago when I hit a rock bottom. I just did not feel great. I wanted to make a change, and in the past I had signed up for gym memberships, but never really ended up going.  I decided to try the gym membership thing again, and started going with a group of friends that I made through work. After the stores would close at 9:30 PM, me and 4 of my guy friends would go to the gym together to hold each other accountable and basically just hangout/workout. I felt cool being the girl doing all the workouts with the guys in the gym.  It was just easy to look forward because I had a support group and we were all in it together.

After a while of consistency in going to the gym, I had never felt better.  I did not know what confidence felt like until I would walk into work gleaming and just talk about how awesome I felt after the gym. It was having such a positive impact on me that I started to revolve my days around committing at least 30 minutes of time at the gym. 

Eventually, I started getting creative with my exercises. I would make up different workouts based on what I wanted for my body. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a Leo, but I started posting all of my exercises on the internet to show people what I’m doing in the gym.  I was not a professional at this point, but I got such a kick out of posting these workout videos on Instagram. My mood was enhanced, my confidence was on point and people would start telling me that I should be a trainer. At that point, it was just something I was doing for myself. A part of me also knew there was a lot of work involved in becoming a professional trainer. 

I continued this routine for several months until it came to a point where I thought to myself, “I would be doing a disservice to others by not sharing the mental benefits I’m experiencing through my style of exercise.” At that point, I knew that this was something that I wanted to pursue. So, at 21 I quit my job and went through my certification process, which took about 6 months. It was an incredible learning experience and so worth it. 

When you start something completely on your own, you can’t just sit back and expect the clients to roll in. You have to hustle and put yourself out there to make it known that this is what you’re doing.  It’s a new venture and you need to make it as easily appealing for others as you would want it to be for you. Luckily, I had a network of people already in L.A. because I had gone through high school there. I reached out to some friends, and I started training immediately.

I went to TJ Maxx and Marshalls to get all of the equipment before my very first client.  He was a close friend of my then boyfriend, and we were meeting up at a park for the workout.  I was so nervous because it wasn’t something that I was super comfortable with yet. I had programmed the whole routine and thought that I was going to mess up. Fortunately, it went really well.  From there, it just flowed. At the very beginning of my career, I had offered some free sessions for people just to get my feet wet and build my confidence as a trainer. People would tell their friends who would tell their friends and so on and so forth.  

I’ve realized that the more you truly enjoy and showcase the passion behind what you do, and if you’re good at it, the more it will spread. All of my business has come through Instagram and word of mouth, and my training career took off to a place that I couldn’t even imagine was possible. Within a couple of years, I was contemplating hiring a second trainer because I was seeing 13-14 clients a day working from 6 AM until 8 PM.   I would only really eat on the way to a session or if somebody was late or didn’t show up. That was my routine for over a year.  

People would say, “Mel, you’re going to burn out.” and I would tell them, “No I’m not! I’m an energizer bunny and this doesn’t even feel like a job.  I get to work out with friends all day!” I got this high off of making somebody feel a million times better after a workout, even if they walked in with a frown on their face or in a bad mood before they started.  I knew that by the end of it they were going to feel like a new person and forget about the negativity that they may have brought in. I really felt like I had the power to positively affect others, which was the most magical feeling. Energy is given and energy is received.  So, as you’re starting to feel better with the endorphins released through exercise, I receive that energy and I can put it right back out. 

I did that for a while and eventually got to a point where I wanted to be able to reach more people.  I only have so many hours in a day and I wanted to figure out how to do more. I thought about hiring someone, but decided not to do it because my clients were not too hot about the idea of training with an associate of mine instead of me. I had to think of another way to reach more people without needing to be physically present.  

That’s when I thought about going online.  I saw that people were crushing it on YouTube with online training and all of that.  I tried it for a little bit, but it just wasn’t the same. I wasn’t able to create that same one on one connection that I do with my clients and at that point I was actually starting to burn out a little bit.  I needed to have some more time to myself, and the last thing I wanted was to turn something that I truly love doing into something that really feels like work. 

I traveled for a bit, which opened my eyes to a new perspective.  When you travel, you wake up and you do whatever you want every single day.  You don’t have a schedule, you don’t have duties, and you are just completely free. I thought to myself, “Why can’t every day be a vacation?”

Then I came back, and thought, “Wait a second.  Every day CAN be a vacation.” I took a cut on my schedule for the sake of having more time to get back to being my best self, both for me and for my clients. I narrowed down my roster a bit to where I had a comfortable amount of time to restore my energy with whatever I felt was best.

Late last year, I discovered these rebounding jump shoes that one of my friend’s moms had over 10 years ago. The idea existed, but died out as there wasn’t really anyone pushing the product in the market. My friend knew that I loved jumping around and thought that I would really like them.  I got a pair of these rebounding jump shoes, and became absolutely obsessed with them – in true Melina fashion – and just ran with the idea of wanting to make this a thing. I got all of my clients to get them, I got all of my friends to get them and I want the whole world to get them. 

At that point I had no idea where I would be today.  If you would have asked me before November 2019, “What is your future with training? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” My answer would have been and still is, “I’m just living day by day.  Who’s to say? If 15 years from now I was living the same life that I am now, but with more knowledge, I would be happy because I love my life the way that it is.” 

I know that opportunity comes when you least expect it. It was never my plan to get into e-commerce. The mindset that I had when I first started training was triggered – I would be doing a disservice by not spreading this movement and sharing this awesome mentality and workout tool with people.  At the end of the day, this is really a passion project of mine and who knows what it will turn into. I’m just happy that I’ve been able to turn this into something that is universally loved, while not being taxing on the body.

It has just been magical and I cannot be more grateful.  Every day I get questions and emails about the boots, and it fills me with joy to talk about them and connect with anybody who expresses interest.  I think my favorite thing is going out on my daily Kanga runs, and running into so many people I know that get a kick out of seeing the KANGABOOTS. I’m now known as the girl with the boots, and I am HERE FOR IT.   

Describe the process of launching KANGABOOTS and getting it off the ground.

I wanted to share the fact that this form of exercise is not taxing on the body, and I wanted to share the physical and mental benefits it provides for people. As an experienced trainer, I see that common limitations that cause refrain from certain exercises are hip pain, lower back pain, and joint pain.  Everyone’s body is different and sometimes these differences can prevent us from doing certain exercises, but that’s okay. There is something for everyone in the fitness world. You can get fit without being a marathon runner, or swimmer, or yogi.

I did my due diligence, and I found a supplier that gave me exclusive rights to manufacture the product.  I got my trademarking, licensing, and legal stuff squared away all at the beginning so that I was protected and felt comfortable to let the rest soar on cruise controlI got all of the legal stuff situated right at the beginning so that I was protected and felt comfortable to just let this soar.  

How did you market the KANGABOOTS in the early stages and how are you marketing them now?

 I have never spent a dollar on paid marketing.  It has all been organically through word of mouth, social media, and other cool opportunities like KTLA and NBC.

We live in a “scroll through Instagram world.”  Everyone’s looking at what people are doing through social media and it’s become overwhelming with the amount of emotions that are triggered through content. Unless you’re constantly creating and pushing content, people will forget about you.  If you constantly put it out there, people will start to see it more and more and it will stick in their mindframe. It’s just like teaching a kid how to do something. You have to repeat it over and over again until they learn it.  

For me, it’s just been nonstop videos and making KANGABOOTS a constant part of my life.  I’m always putting it out there. Instagram is the number #1 FREE marketing tool that we have access to.  We’ve got to take advantage of it.  

It doesn’t matter what field you’re in.  If somebody doesn’t become a customer or a client after the first few times you post about it, that’s okay.  Maybe 6 months or a couple years down the line they will, and it will be because they’ve been seeing the content constantly. 

I’ve experienced that with my training as well.   I started posting videos a long time ago, and even some of the clients that signed up with me a few months ago had seen me on Instagram years ago, then finally started to try the #MelinaMethod. Everything happens in divine timing.

What is your approach to fitness coaching?

My whole approach to fitness is finding something that’s FUN for you.  My workouts are a party, and that’s exactly how they’re meant to be. It’s just my style of training.  There are so many different awesome trainers out there and everyone has their own style. There’s the bootcamp, “I’m going to spit on your face if you don’t do that,”  style, which works for some people, and that’s great. There’s also the extremely organized, “We’re going to do 5 sets of 10 different exercises,” which works for some people, and that’s great.  For me personally, I get bored very easily. The way I approach my sessions is to always keep your mind and body guessing – it’s completely unpredictable. We’ll only do everything two times, we’ll do different exercises to target the same muscle groups, with a whole lot of core work (my favorite), and it will just be fun.  

When it comes to my true purpose with KANGABOOTS, it’s about the workout itself and the movement. If you don’t like running, try running in these.  If you don’t like jumping jacks or hiit training, try it in the KANGABOOTS. The possibilities are endless. You can take these portable trampolines for your feet anywhere you’d like.  There’s something about jumping up and down that makes you feel like a kid again. No matter how old you are, it’s impossible not to smile. 

Most importantly, the #MelinaMethod and KANGABOOTS are about inspiring confidence in people. Confidence is the best accessory you can wear along with your smile. You can be anything you want to be and do anything you set your mind to, as long as you have confidence in yourself. 

To what would you attribute your success as an entrepreneur?

I attribute my success to the unconditional support from friends and family.  I’ve been blessed with truly supportive people around me that have been my biggest advocates and helping me spread the word about what I’m doing.  If you want to go far, you’ve got to go with your crew. Success is best when shared, happiness is best when shared, and I’m very happy that I’ve had such an awesome group of quality people around.

I receive positive energy from the people I encounter and work with, and which leaves me with an abundance of it which I want to give back tenfold.

What accomplishments would you say you are most proud of and why?

I’m proud of the fact that I’m able to provide my clients with a workout experience that they love as much as I do.  Knowing that what I’m doing with my training and the KANGABOOTS is loved and appreciated makes me feel very accomplished.

I am stoked that every one of my KANGABOOTCAMP classes have been sold out and with a waitlist .  I got this incredible opportunity to host my class at Bandier’s beautiful Studio B on Melrose Avenue.  It is the highlight of every week. Getting to host a class where people can come and try this new workout with me, and walk out feeling amazing is so fulfilling.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome and how did you go about it?

When I started achieving some success with KANGABOOTS I received an influx of support and love from friends and family. Through this process, I’ve had to learn that there are people that genuinely want me to succeed, and others that might have ulterior motives. It’s not fun, but unfortunately it’s a part of life.  People come and people go, as we’re always growing and changing at different rates. 

I think it’s important to recognize who really supports you and who doesn’t.  You also must have the courage to continue doing what you’re doing in the face of negativity and doubt from others.  The people who are truly happy within themselves are the ones that will be happy with you and for you. Those are the people you want to surround yourself with. 

How are you doing today and what does the future look like? What’s your ultimate goal?

There aren’t words in the dictionary to describe how blessed and grateful I feel.  I have a mind and body that works so hard to fulfill my purpose of helping others, and I get to do that every day.  The list can go on and on for the things I’m grateful for, but my face hurts from smiling so much. Having this conversation with TOOLSY and reflecting on my journey is already filling me with joy.  

I’m excited for what the future holds, but I’m also truly just enjoying the present.  The future is not promised. I’m focused on how I can make every day the most enjoyable day possible, no matter what the circumstances are.  One of my mottos in life is, “Every day is a great day, some are just better than others.” That’s how I go through life, and that’s what excites me for the future. Who knows what it’s going to bring?  

Software & Tools:

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

 I don’t have a laptop or desktop and I haven’t had one in 10 years. I also don’t have a television. Everything I do is on my iPhone. 

Instagram is my main marketing tool and I’m constantly posting content, which is then reshared.  People want to post their happy moments on social media. 

My website was built on Squarespace.

I take payments using Square and Venmo.

What tools, other than software, do you use for your business?

KANGABOOTS

Portable exercise equipment: Mat , Dumbbells, Resistance bands.

I use the Theragun for recovery and massages.  It’s worth the investment and I personally think it’s better than any of the other brands. Recovery is just as important as working out.

I also quickly want to mention CUTE OUTFITS.  You workout so much harder and more effectively when you like your outfit.  That’s part of the confidence, and when you have that swag you’re going to put in more effort. Don’t act like you don’t feel me on this.

Resources:

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources you’ve learned from along your journey? Why?

 You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero.  It’s all about how to stop doubting yourself and live an awesome life.  It’s very relatable and easy to read. It gets you in this mood where you feel like you’re talking to your best friend who’s giving you wonderful life advice. 

Happiness is… by Ralph Lazar and Lisa Swerling.  Each page is a different situation talking about the simple things in life that make us happy.

Podcast: Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations. It makes me feel present and attentive.

What courses have you taken that have been beneficial to you?

My NASM training certification course taught me the basics of anatomy and gave me the proper tools to start a training business.

Attending workout classes has been a huge education factor.  The best way to learn how to do something, is by doing it. Seeing how instructors are training and putting energy out there for receivers, and then seeing how the receivers reciprocate. Exercise classes always put me in the right place.

Where would you steer someone looking to learn more about fitness?

Go to as many different workout classes and find where your favorites are.  Then ask yourself why they are your favorites. Write down all the things you like and don’t like about them.  Pay attention to the details and notice how they make you feel. This will help you determine your own style.

What are you doing to continue learning and growing in your business as well as personally?

The limit does not exist.  Confidence has no limit and reach has no limit.  It is all about consistency, commitment, and openness to constructive criticism. It may take time, but if you love what you’re doing and continue putting it out there, people will catch on. I accept the fact that I am always changing and growing, and I am going to continue leading a life with kindness.  The lessons come with time and experience.

Final Question:

What advice would you like to share with people based on your experiences?

Only you can identify yourself the way that you want to be perceived.  You want to be a fitness instructor, you have to call yourself a fitness instructor as though you already ARE one. Nobody can give you the title but yourself. It’s all about having confidence in yourself and taking ownership of what you do with the faith that things will grow with divine timing. 

I want to end with my ultimate motto for the Law of Attraction – the triple A rule. The more you ACKNOWLEDGE, the more you APPRECIATE, the more you will ATTAIN.

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