Doug Melroe has been an inspiration to me since I took my first aerobics class with him at The Firm in Minneapolis almost 20 years ago (he’s been teaching there since 1986—and doesn’t look a day over 25, seriously). One of the most physically fit people I know, he’s also one of the most kind, generous and balanced.

His tremendous energy and positive attitude are infectious. He has described his classes as “sort of like being on MTV for an hour.” Who hasn’t dreamed of being on MTV–when they still played music videos, that is? And, for those of us who don’t feel our bodies are ready for music videos, no worries. The lights are dimmed and the spotlight is on Doug!

Doug credits his parents for his healthy lifestyle and attitude. He says they modeled healthy living and his mom was a “fitness nut before anyone else was.”

While Doug was clearly blessed with good parents and good genes, he works hard to stay fit. He works with a personal trainer several times a week and eats healthy–very little refined sugar, no soda pop, etc.

Doug’s antics, energy and talent have made him a local celebrity. He has been featured in local magazines, on KARE 11, and either headlines or supports various fundraising events in the Twin Cities, including DIVA MN and the Red Ribbon Ride.  His kitchen was even used in the movie Fargo—which coincidentally is where Doug is from. He’s also well known in the national aerobics and fitness industries, having competed during the 1980s and 90s.

Doug is a wellness inspiration for me not only because he is physically fit and healthy, but because he is clearly living a life of integrity, being who he is. “My parents gave me good genes, a good attitude, and they taught me to be comfortable with myself,” he explains. “To love and respect myself.”

There is no doubt among those in Doug’s classes that he is doing what he loves. “I love seeing people get results,” he says.

Balance is key to Doug’s definition of wellness. “I need to have variety in my life,” he says. “I work in the fitness industry, so I need to get away from that in my free time. I’m interested in photography, I read, watch old movies, spend time with my partner and my dogs.”

“I don’t do well with restrictions,” he adds. “I have a hard time with the concept of dieting. I guess I have a rebellious streak. If I want ice cream, I eat ice cream. But I don’t eat it every day. I don’t crave a lot of that stuff because I focus on variety and balance.”

Gratitude is also key to Doug’s definition of wellness.

“I do this because I can. I love that my muscles can be sore from exercise; not everyone can do that. I may not always be able to do this,” he says. “I’m not in a wheelchair, I have two legs. I’m so lucky to be able to do this. I might not be able to do it tomorrow.”

He adds, “I may not change the world every day, but I’m going to change my world every day and I’m going to have fun doing it.”

Be well!