Level 1 Coach
Melissa, or “MJ” as her pals call her, is a natural athlete and leader. Growing up competing in both swim and water polo, MJ accumulated a list of accolades and achievement that went all the way through college. Only, you would never know it. As humble as she is competent when it comes to fitness and the gym, MJ is happy to take a backseat and let others have the limelight. Yet, when it’s her time to go, she always performs, pushes, and tends to win. MJ is approachable, yet confident and definitive with her coaching style and from her experience, has something to offer all levels.
How old are you and where are you from?
Melissa Kafkas, 30, and I’m from Riverside, CA.
How long have you lived in San Diego and what brought you here?
I’ve lived in San Diego since 2008. I moved here for college where I attended and graduated from SDSU (Go Aztecs!)
When did you start coaching at the gym?
Just had my one-year anniversary. June 1st, 2017.
What do you hope to accomplish when coaching?
To help others achieve their goals and find a purpose with fitness. I believe that a lot of people workout because they think they have to, not because they want to. If you set goals and slowly chip away at them with a little dedication and effort, the mindset of fitness becomes less of a chore and more of a hobby or passion. If you can get amazing results physically, all while enjoying the process mentally, then it’s a win-win situation.
That’s why I love this gym so much, because I believe our community and culture truly embraces that concept.
Describe your own personal philosophies with fitness and nutrition.
The two completely go hand-in-hand! I am a firm believer that you can only get results for so long without dialing in on your nutrition. I follow a macro-based diet and it has helped me tremendously in the gym. This also ties into my belief that everyone should have some type of direction with their fitness. Rather than aimlessly working out, if you set a few goals and obtain them over time, this creates room for more goals and then you’re continuously raising the bar for yourself to always #BecomeMore. This growth doesn’t just restrict itself to the gym, you’ll find that it carries over into many other aspects of your life as well.
Are there any personal results or transformations you’ve achieved through fitness that you’d like to share?
I was a swimmer and water polo player from childhood all the way through college so I had never touched a barbell until I became a P360 member four years ago. I was a Division 1 NCAA athlete and not only am I more lean than I ever was in college, I am also the strongest I have ever been with a 300# Deadlift, 210# Back Squat, and a 155# Split Jerk. These are all weights that I never dreamed possible for myself, but I decided to trust the process and experienced lots of success.
Where are you going locally to destroy food, and what are you ordering?
Ironside Fish & Oyster. It’s always for a celebration when my husband and I go there so I’m ordering the lobster roll, a seafood platter, fish ceviche, a whole loaf of their house-made brioche bread, octopus a la plancha, and whatever desert is on the menu.
Oh, and also a good craft beer.
- International Sports Science Association, GFC
- P360 Fully Certified Coach (FCC), Level 1
- NCAA Water Polo, SDSU
- Coca-Cola Player of the Year, 2009
- Mermaid Half Marathon San Diego, 1:40:06