Fitness in the front yard at Langford home

Melanie Leeder, a personal trainer living in Colwood, hopes to make fitness more affordable for her clients by offering bootcamp classes at her home gym. - Brittany Lee/News staff
Melanie Leeder, a personal trainer living in Colwood, hopes to make fitness more affordable for her clients by offering bootcamp classes at her home gym.
— image credit: Brittany Lee/News staff

Melanie Leeder’s driveway is covered in chalk-drawn arrows and plastic cones. On her front lawn stands a maze of wooden stakes and yellow police tape.

Walk down the driveway and you’ll discover what used to be a two-car garage – now converted into a mini-gym, equipped with a treadmill, weights and workout bench.

Leeder, a personal trainer originally from Youbou, B.C., moved to Victoria from Vancouver last July.

She quickly renovated her Colwood home to include a 400 square-foot gym with a shower and kids play area.

“One of my main goals is to make fitness affordable for everyone,” Leeder says. “It shouldn’t just be for the elite.”

Leeder began her business, Follow the Leeder, as a personal training service last September. But she soon realized the concept didn’t fit the needs of the community.

In January, Leeder developed the idea of incorporating a CrossFit-style bootcamp course for her clients.

The workouts use a mixture of weights, gymnastics, running, rowing and more.

“It just takes away the typical mundane (feeling) of a gym class,” says Leeder. “It gets people out of their comfort zone.”

Her goal is to get her clients to try different workouts they thought they wouldn’t have enjoyed, she says.

“It builds their confidence and seeps into different aspects of their life. It’s not about the workout. It’s about the experience.”

One workout, a seven part obstacle course, looks like a game kids might dream up, only this one is done under the demanding eye of a bootcamp instructor.

On a recent Tuesday evening, a group of seven clients weaved through the course, crawling under a web of police tape, lunging while holding a tube above their heads and trying to keep a Ziploc bag filled with water on their back as they crawl across the driveway.

“(The trend in exercise is about) thinking outside of the box on how you view working out,” Leeder says.

People of all shapes and sizes, and fitness levels can do these workouts, Leeder said.

“Anyone can do it because it can be modified to any level.”

For more information about Mel’s Mudder Madness Bootcamps, see

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