Welcome to I Tried It Month, where we’ll be publishing a new fashion, beauty, or wellness article every day that features a first-person account of shaking up an old habit, pushing beyond a comfort zone, or simply trying something new. Follow along for 31 days of storytelling, including everything from trying new beauty treatments to copying the most risqué runway looks of the season.
Before the times of COVID, I almost never did at-home workouts. I didn’t think I had the patience to work out at home, and why would I, given that I lived in NYC and had an abundance of workout studios and gyms at my fingertips? In March of 2020, I suddenly found myself completely lost without the structure of workout classes to keep me accountable, and my fitness took a nosedive as a result.
Since I was living in a 300-square-foot apartment with a roommate, many workouts were out of the question—a standing bike or treadmill would have taken up our entire living room (and probably most of our kitchen), storage space for weights was nonexistent, and any sort of jumping is out of the question when you can practically hear your downstairs neighbors’ conversations. Enter Melissa Wood Health.
Photo:Courtesy of Melissa Wood-Tepperberg
My then-roommate was the first to discover Melissa Wood-Tepperberg’s online workout platform, and we both quickly latched on. Wood-Tepperberg’s classes are bite-size Pilates workouts that are effective and quick and don’t constantly remind you that you’re working out on the floor of an old tenement building, which was important to me, personally. We got through the dark days of the pandemic by doing Melissa Wood Health workouts, and we’ve both continued using the platform ever since.
I might be a Melissa Wood Health devotee, but I’ve always been curious about what Wood-Tepperberg’s morning routine is. I reached out to talk to her about her wellness practices, and I was surprised by how refreshingly laid-back she is about her routine (which is, I think, a big reason Melissa Wood Health has garnered so much success).
“From the moment I started MWH, I’ve committed to a way of life with lots of flexibility, especially since having children,” Wood-Tepperberg says. Every morning, she wakes up and tries to get a workout and meditation in before her children are awake, but she says that if they wake up during, she rolls with it, or waits until later. “I’m very intuitive and follow what feels good in the moment. The most important thing in my mind is carving out space to take care of myself. The more I show up for me, the more I’m able to show up for everyone else in my life.”
I asked Wood-Tepperberg my most dreaded question—what does she eat in a day? I know that many fitness and nutrition gurus follow restrictive diets. After years of battling dislike for my own body, I didn’t want to try to commit to something limiting that might catapult me back into bad habits. Wood-Tepperberg, however, offered me a sigh of relief. “For a long time, I thrived on a mostly plant-based diet, but the best thing for me has truly been releasing all labels when it comes to food,” she says. “While sticking to mostly plants is what makes me feel my absolute best, I eat what feels good at the moment and have been experimenting with trying different things as a result.”
Wood described her morning routine to me as follows: She wakes up and thinks of something she’s grateful for, drinks warm water with lemon on an empty stomach and an oat-milk latte, takes a probiotic, does 15 minutes of meditation and 15 minutes of movement, which she notes is not always exact, and makes her recipe for a green juice or smoothie. Here’s my week journey living like Wood-Tepperberg.
What I’m grateful for: my apartment, since I now no longer reside in the shoebox where I began my MWH journey.
I make myself a lemon water first thing, which is something I never do but have heard many people sing praises for. It is actually a really refreshing way to start the day, and I immediately brew myself coffee (unfortunately no oat-milk lattes in my apartment). After that, I do an 18-minute classic full-body workout on the MWH platform.
I personally avoid meditation like the plague, so clicking on the six-minute meditation video feels daunting. I’m someone who A) doesn’t like to be alone with her own thoughts and B) finds my mind wandering to every task on my to-do list every time I try to meditate. In short, I’m exactly the type of person who would truly benefit from meditation. I try to focus for the entire six minutes (feels like 60), and my mind does feel calmer afterward.
I ordered spirulina powder on Amazon for this experiment (since Wood-Tepperberg’s smoothie recipe calls for it), which I’ve never had before. I try a little bit mixed in water to see what it tastes like, and it quite literally tastes like concentrated seawater, so I can see why it gets mixed into a smoothie.
I make Wood-Tepperberg’s smoothie recipe and am surprised that my smoothie turns out black. I’m no stranger to a green smoothie, but I am a stranger to a black smoothie. After sniffing it to make sure I didn’t accidentally poison myself somehow, I try it and am pleasantly surprised by how good it tastes. In Melissa Wood-Tepperberg we trust! I chalk up the color to too many blackberries in my berry mix and perhaps too much spirulina powder. (I did not measure it out as advised, because of course I didn’t.)
What I’m grateful for: the fact that I don’t have COVID, since many people I know are getting COVID. (I hear there’s a new Kraken variant.) This feels like a cop-out, but it’s true!
This morning, I get up early to make lemon water, my coffee, and the spirulina smoothie. I like that Wood-Tepperberg is also a proponent of having multiple beverages at once because I’m not happy unless I have at least three in front of me at any given time. Instead of doing a MWH workout, I go to a yoga class, which I decide counts for both meditation and movement. The theme today is clearly cop-outs.
What I’m grateful for: I wrote down “idk lol,” which I am mad at myself for, but it was also a Friday, so I think I was probably grateful that it was a Friday. If I had to guess.
Again, I make lemon water, coffee, and a spirulina smoothie. I typically only make coffee and drink it in the shower, so adding the lemon water first thing and the smoothie immediately after have been truly positive additions to my morning routine. I try to do a workout, but my friend is doing a MWH workout, but I end up skip it and save it for later.
What I’m grateful for: that I’m not hungover, since I had a few glasses of wine the night before. (I did not ask Wood-Tepperberg for her stance on alcohol, perhaps intentionally.)
After making my lemon water and coffee, I do a 23-minute power planking and plié squat workout and a 10-minute power ab workout, followed by a seven-minute meditation. I try to force my boyfriend to do the meditation with me, but he abandons me after two minutes to get our bagels from the delivery man at our door—our kitchen sink’s pipe is leaking, so I forgo the green smoothie in favor of not trying to clean out my blender in our bathroom sink. Knowing Wood-Tepperberg’s emphasis on flexibility, I’m confident she’d be okay with this—plus, what’s life without a bagel now and then?
What I’m grateful for: that it’s not raining.
My friend and I planned a six-mile run today. (We are training for a half-marathon in the spring and the New York City marathon in November.) Since my sink is still broken, I have my lemon water and coffee and eat a few dates for energy. I consider running a meditative form of working out, particularly bigger distances. Remember how I said I have trouble clearing my mind? Running is perhaps one of the only times I feel laser-focused.
What I’m grateful for: sleep.
Today is the day that I absolutely fail at copying Wood-Tepperberg’s routine. I start the day by convincing myself that the healthiest thing I can do is to keep sleeping since I watched a video of Wood-Tepperberg the night before where she says she is focusing on sleep. I can no longer find this video, so I’m not sure if it was a dream or delusion, but I use the video as an excuse to sleep in and do none of Wood-Tepperberg’s wellness pillars. The only thing I put in my body until 2 p.m. is coffee, and I proceed to have the worst day I’ve had in a week. If nothing else, this proves to me that a routine like Wood-Tepperberg’s is essential to positive mental health, at least for me.
What I’m grateful for: that I have a massage appointment today because my back feels like it’s made of wrenches.
My sink is finally working again, so I make all of the beverages—smoothie included. I know I’m going to keep these in my routine since they’re fast and healthy and give me tons of energy. I do a 24-minute elevated Pilates workout on MWH and then a six-minute meditation. I keep thinking about everything I have to do, but I tell myself that if I can’t handle six minutes of doing nothing then I need a reality check. I have tons of energy throughout the day, and I’m in a good mood, which is in major contrast to the day before.
Wood-Tepperberg is clearly on to something. This makes sense since she’s built a platform with so many devoted followers (myself included). I’m going to continue copying her routine—specifically gratitude, morning beverages, meditation, and movement—as often as I can for my own sanity. Yes, spirulina powder included.
If you want to mix in some skincare, here's Wood-Tepperberg's routine, per MWH: