BY TYLER BUI
You may recognize Melina Nasab from Clayton’s season of The Bachelor. She’s bubbly, outgoing, and entertaining, but there’s so much more to her than what you see on the show.
Nasab considers herself a full-time personal trainer and horse girl. She began riding at age 5, and never looked back. While she developed a career for herself fueled by her passion for fitness and health, Nasab has always held her love for horses close to her heart. Today, she competes in the jumpers with her beloved horse King, while helping her clients reach their goals through her #MelinaMethod and Kanga Boots.
“I got my first pony when I was 10, and we did eventing together. During my whole childhood and adolescence, there was no social life. It was horse and horse show life,” says Nasab. “We moved to California right before high school and I brought my pony with me. It’s funny, my very first boyfriend ever, he broke up with me two weeks after asking me out, and the reason was because I spent more time with my horse than I did with him. And I am proud of that.”
Nasab decided to switch disciplines after years of eventing and began showing in the jumpers. She fell in love with everything about it. After outgrowing her pony, she bought a young 6-year-old horse after graduating high school.
“The way that I chose which college to go to was if I could bring my horse with me. My parents wanted to move to Orange County, so I decided to move down with them because there was a stable right across from the community college there,” she says. “So I did, and I had the best few years there. I started independently working around age 21, and that’s when I found my love for fitness.”
After finishing school, Nasab worked in retail along with a group of friends. She began joining them at the gym after work, which she recalls as a fun, social experience. But her time at the gym quickly developed into so much more.
“I had hit a rock bottom with how I felt, and at that age, you want to feel good. [At the gym,] I started to feel my creative juices flow—I started making up exercises for what I wanted, and I started to take videos of these exercises and post them on Instagram. I received a lot of positive feedback, and I was so happy that I could inspire someone to try something new that I had discovered,” says Nasab. “I did not know what self-confidence felt like until I started taking care of myself from the inside out.”
She never thought that her passion for fitness would turn into anything more than a passion, but her coworkers continued to encourage her to become a trainer.
“I just thought that I would be doing a disservice not to share these mental benefits with everyone else. It was calling me, and if something is calling you, it’s calling you for a reason, and if there’s a little bit of fear attached to it? Good. Because that’s when you know you have to jump for it.”
Nasab dropped everything, got certified, and became a full-time personal trainer. With most of her clients being in LA, Nasab would often leave her home in Orange County around 3:45 a.m. in order to fit all her clients in. At one point, she was seeing 12 to 14 clients per day—she loved her job so much that she sacrificed her own personal time to be there for her clients. In late 2019, a friend of hers had introduced Nasab to the concept that would eventually turn into her Kanga Boots.
“The concept of the boots had existed about 10+ years ago, and one of my girlfriends told me about these boots that she thought I’d like because jumping is part of my approach to fitness,” says Nasab. “I managed to find a pair with no intention of making this a thing at all. I got them, put them on, and I felt the same as I did when I first got into physical training—that I’d be doing a disservice if I didn’t blast these out and share them. I did all my research and due diligence into getting the tweaks I needed done so that I could trademark and license the product as Kanga Boots, and I went for it.”
To get the word out, Nasab took to the streets—literally—to introduce her Kanga Boots. To this day, you can find her hopping around the streets of West Hollywood in her Kanga Boots, accompanied by friends and her #KANGANG. She has worked to create a network of fitness enthusiasts who come together with a shared love for fitness and Kanga Boots.
“My whole approach to fitness is finding something that is fun for you. It doesn’t need to be what works for everyone else,” says Nasab. “There are so many benefits to hopping, bouncing, and jumping, such as reaping all the benefits of plyometrics, which really sends the most shock to your body for building lean muscle and overall athleticism. I started teaching classes, and then when the pandemic hit, everyone started to get Kanga Boots. It made my life very busy for a solid 6/7 months, but I could not be more grateful that I have a gift to share. Movement is medicine.”
Nasab had fully devoted her time into building her career over the past few years, but she never let herself drift too far from the horse world. She even took it upon herself to make flyers and distribute them to trainers at the LA Equestrian center, offering to exercise horses for free just to be able to get back in the saddle. She was able to ride once or twice a week, but that was never enough. As her career progressed, the calling to return to riding became louder and louder.
“I decided to cut my workload in half because I found the value of self care, and giving yourself time and energy. The more I valued my free time, the more something was missing,” she says. “I reached out to a trainer that had helped me with my last horse—Kristin Hardin. I went up to her farm and rode one of her horses, and she offered me the opportunity to compete. I went and showed, and it was my first time in about five years.”
After returning to the show world after a break, Nasab realized how much she truly missed it. She decided that it was finally the right time to purchase a horse, and now she is the happy owner of her 6-year-old gelding named King.
“Just a few weeks after that show, I got my horse and that’s when everything else took second place. I spoke with my clients about creating a more flexible schedule, because my priority is taking care of my horse,” she says. “Horses will teach you things you need to apply to life—and what’s crazy about the sport itself is that you have a teammate that doesn’t speak the same language as you. So you’re communicating with a language of love.”
This winter, Nasab and King are competing at the Desert International Horse Park, and the pair are looking forward to more shows in the upcoming season. Nasab hopes to continue to grow her relationship with King, and eventually purchase more horses. She says she has found the perfect life balance between her career and her passions, and now with years of fitness experience and knowledge under her belt, Nasab prioritizes maintaining a harmonious relationship between health, fitness and her riding.
“Growing up, I had always been active because of riding, but never mindfully healthy. And that’s different, because you’re so adapted to the muscles you build through horseback riding that if you don’t do anything else, you’re at the mercy of whatever muscles you have and the strength of the horse that you have, and that’s your limit,” she says. “You need to constantly be building strength, building muscle in other places that will help protect your riding muscles and help strengthen your riding muscles at the same time. On the other end of that, you have to be mindfully healthy about what you’re putting into your body. It’s so important to develop the knowledge for nutrition and what works for your body uniquely.”