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Find Your Fire

The first thing that hits you is the heat. Step in and let it slide around your body and envelope you. Relax into it. You can feel it in your chest when you breathe. Your eyes will adjust to the dark. The bright fluorescent lights of other gyms put the focus on the mirrors and [...]
Jeni Ruisch



The first thing that hits you is the heat.

Step in and let it slide around your body and envelope you. Relax into it. You can feel it in your chest when you breathe. Your eyes will adjust to the dark. The bright fluorescent lights of other gyms put the focus on the mirrors and meters and your fancy workout clothes, for better or for worse.

Here at Melt Fitness, the lights are off, the heat and music are up, and the focus is on you. In the dark, you look inward, and that’s exactly how the bosses like it.

Kelly Sodergren wants to melt your face off. Figuratively speaking.

The founder of Melt Hot Fitness is evangelical about her intense exercise methods, and the lifestyle she wants to support. Earning her first certification at age 19, Sodergren has had a lifelong relationship with intense physical fitness.

“Fitness has always been my first love. I knew I wanted to make it a full time job. It only took me fifteen years to get there. Fifteen years in banking. I ran the studio by myself for a year and a half while I held a full time job. Looking back… I don’t know how I did it.”

Steeling herself through tough emotional situations, and living with severe ADHD, she discovered that running helped center her like nothing else could. Heat, she found, accelerated that process. This inspired her to turn up the temperature on her classes— to 90 percent humidity, and 105 steamy degrees.

“We keep it hot—we keep it humid. The layers start to come off. The physical layers that we see literally in their clothing, and the emotional layers that we can’t see, but they can feel… It is so important to what we deliver here and our experience that we are able to just purge all of that stress away. We do that physically with (the help of) our building.”

The mechanics of this sizzling system are much more complex than just cranking up a thermostat. To maintain the proper heat and humidity to teach the hot classes, Sodergren has taken each step of the energy process into consideration.

At her Westerville location, the building’s walls are double insulated and wrapped. A special HVAC system was installed that controls and equalizes heat, along with a state of the art system that pulls humidity into rooms. The new 8,000-square-foot space in Dublin Village Center has all this, plus infrared radiant heat panels to dial up the thermogenic effect.

A studio and method designed with intention from the ground up, that’s what Sodergren wants for her customers. Leading a team of 30 “bosses,” she oversees a split schedule of various scorching sessions. From barre to lifting, hot yoga to method, stride and beyond, Sodergren and her team want to whip not just your body, but your mind and soul into shape.

“We aren’t with them just in the fitness part of it. We’re really trying to be their lifeline to be the best version of themselves. We’re really like their partner on this journey. This community is amazing, and the work here is legit. It changes bodies, and it has changed a bunch of lives.”

Sodergren sweats with her team in the heat and the dark to get to an intimate physical and mental space that takes people out of their day to day. Changing of old habits sometimes requires a shove. One needs to heave oneself out of a rut. The push and pull of steamy 105-degree yoga, or the thumping music and 90 degrees of the hot stride class, or lifting weights in the dark and the heat might be what you need to shed a few extra pounds, or the psychic strain of the pattern and grind of your day to day.

“We really want people to dig in and go ‘I remember when I was excited about something,’ or, ‘I remember when I was fired up about life.’ People lose that. For whatever reason, they get beat down. Job, family, relationships… Life beats people down. They come back in here and they start to find their fire again and it’s pretty awesome.”

Melt Hot Fitness

106 E College Ave., Westerville

6659 Dublin Center Dr., Dublin

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Health & Fitness

Former OSU Linebacker partners with local CBD Company

Julian Foglietti



Former Ohio State University All-American linebacker, and NFL Fox analyst, Chris Spielman has announced a partnership with CBD Health Collection. Speilman was first introduced to the company while looking for solutions to his “nagging pain”, the result of injuries sustained throughout his football career. CBD Health Collection was founded in 2017 by Rick Bauer in conjunction with his son and daughter who run production and marketing respectively.

In conjunction with the new partnership, CBD Health Collection will be launching a Spielman branded line of CBD products targeted at former athletes and weekend warriors experiencing residual pain from sports. The new products will initially be available online as the company finalizes their retail distribution plans. 

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Health & Fitness

It’s no longer necessary to do squats outside of your gym, for now




Gym rats rejoice! Those who’ve been missing the arduousness of wiping down salty equipment after each use or hoping that they come across some top-secret CIA information on the lockerroom floor are in luck.

Since the closing of all non-essential business on March 24, gyms have been void of protein shakes and Affliction t-shirts. Following a court order on Tuesday, workout facilities are now allowed to open their doors earlier than the previous May 26 ruling. Those who were adamant about getting leg day in while also exercising their first amendment rights will no longer have to do so outside of gym complexes.

Lake County Common Pleas Judge Eugene Lucci ruled on Tuesday that state and county health officials, including Ohio Director of Public Health Dr. Amy Acton and the Lake County General Health District, won’t be able to take any action against fitness facilities violating the original reopening date. This comes following a complaint filed by The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law on behalf of 35 Ohio gyms, including Columbus’ Ohio Strength.

The general public would be harmed if an injunction was not granted. There would be a diminishment of public morale and a feeling that one unelected individual could exercise such unfettered power to force everyone to obey," Lucci wrote in the injunction

"The public would be left with feelings that their government is not accountable to them. Prolonged lockdowns have deleterious effects upon the public psyche."

When Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced several opening days this past Thursday, guidelines that gyms would have to follow to remain open were also outlined. Gyms, fitness centers, and dance studios must keep employees and clients six feet apart, which also includes equipment. Upon entering these facilities, everyone will be asked to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer. 

Fitness facilities will not be asked to close if they follow these guidelines.

This doesn’t mark the end of the lawsuit, though. Restrictions placed on fitness centers are being temporality lifted while the case makes its way through the court system. A successful lawsuit, however, could mean that gyms could sue the state for lost income.

“The ruling by Judge Eugene Lucci of the Lake County Court of Common Pleas explains that private property rights are fundamental rights in Ohio, and that the Ohio Department of Health has both violated those rights and exceeded its own authority,” according to a statement from Cincinnati-based Finney Law Firm.

Photo by: WKYC Channel 3
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Health & Fitness

Pelotonia launches virtual program for 2020 event




For the past 12 years, Pelotonia has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for cancer research with an annual three-day bicycle race. Due to current social distancing measures, riders will not be able to gather this year to trek across central and southern Ohio.

The non-profit cancer research organization, though,  has found a way to allow riders to participate virtually. Launching on June 2, My Pelotonia will allow participants to set their own fundraising and biking goals for the year in place of the three-day event. A fundraising requirement will not be required. 

“While so much has recently changed, the need for critical research funding and the goal of Pelotonia has not,” said Doug Ulman, Pelotonia President and CEO.

“My Pelotonia will be an experience that is more inclusive and personal with more ways to engage and participate than ever before.”

My Pelotonia is also encouraging families to participate. To make this more possible, Pelotonia has waived registration fees and an age requirement. The fundraising deadline has also been extended until October 31.

The program is also encouraging people to not just exercise on their bikes. Running, walking, and volunteering are just some of the activities that count toward a rider’s personal goal.

In lieu of the traditional Pelotonia Opening Ceremony, a live broadcast celebration will be held on August 7.

100 percent of every dollar raised will go toward providing critical funds for cancer research at the OSUCCC-James.

Photos by Pelotonia

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