About the Benders


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Melissa & Jesse Bender are a married couple committed to living a fit and healthy lifestyle. They passionately believe that everyone has the right to be healthy. Fitness improves your quality of life and overall well-being. This blog is an expansion of that belief, with the goal of creating an accessible database of exercises to inspire others to pursue a healthy lifestyle at home, without spending a lot of money.

This blog follows our fitness journey. These are the workouts that we do to stay healthy, strong, and in shape. Melissa and Jesse both hold Master’s Degrees in Occupational Therapy, and work full time as Occupational Therapists. Melissa is a certified Yoga Instructor, and both Jesse and Melissa have coached Cross Country. The Benders teach Boot Camp and Yoga classes at a college wellness center.

Jesse is a collegiate level, hall of fame cross country runner. Jesse has been running since high school. Jesse also uses his therapeutic skills to assist runners in maximizing their individual potential.
Health and Fitness means much more than looking good in a bathing suit. Your body is the vehicle that carries you through life. By caring for your body and maintaining a healthy lifestyle you help shape the quality of your future. As therapists, we often see that strength and flexibility can mean the difference between a person returning home to live alone, or requiring long term care. It’s time to stop remediating problems, and start preventing them.

In Healthcare Primary Prevention aims to prevent disease of injury before it ever occurs. Exercise, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is one of the most effective ways to prevent disease, injury, illness and preventable death.
Studying Occupational Therapy has given us a more significant appreciation for all the things the body is capable of. Exercise can help you to maintain a maximum level of health and wellness throughout your life.
We believe that healthy living is about balance, and creating sustainable healthy choices. It’s about variety of experience, and life long learning. It’s about finding the beauty in the things you are capable of, expanding so you can do more, and sometimes accepting the things that you can’t do.
Thank you for taking the time to follow our journey. We hope that in some way it is able to positively influence you to start your own journey. We love hearing about people’s successes, so please feel free to share and comment.
Thank you,

Melissa & Jesse



Disclosure Statement

This blog is a personal blog written, owned and edited by me, Melissa Bender. For questions about this blog, please contact FitnessBender@gmail.com

I take pride in giving my honest opinion and assessment of all the products that are submitted to me and experiences I may be given. I reserve the right to opt out of publishing a review if I do not feel that I can be fair about my opinion.

I will never post or promote a product that I do not believe in and/or use. 

As the owner of this blog, I may accept forms of cash advertising, or sponsorship. There might also be paid topic insertions. I will and do accept and keep free products, services, travel, event tickets, and other forms of compensation from companies and organizations. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog..

I believe in honesty and integrity, therefore, I will always give my personal opinion-whether or not it shows a product or company in a favorable light.  Compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post will be clearly identified as paid or sponsored content.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are purely and entirely my own. I do not claim to be nor make an effort to be an expert on a certain topic, product or service.  I will only endorse companies, products and services that I believe, based on my own experiences, are worthy of endorsement.  All product or service claims should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.

This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.

BenderFitness is a personal blog. Everything I’ve written on my blog is from my own personal experience and should not be used as medical advice. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet or exercise routine. I firmly believe that fitness should be free and accessible, and I am sharing my journey of home fitness in the hopes that it helps others. Again, please consult your doctor with any medical issues, questions, or before beginning a training program.

42 thoughts on “About the Benders

  1. Hi Melissa, I’m writing from Mexico, and a couple of months training with your videos do, I am very happy with the results and I wonder if you can complement the entremamineto with some tips for food, diets or something, thank you very much to move the so many lives!

  2. Strykmike

    Thank you Benders for your hard work. I enjoy these routines a lot.The fact that the both of you are OTs inspires me even more since I am studying to become an OTA.

  3. Anonymous

    I am so inspired by your workouts! I am on day five of your original thirty day challenge and I am already feeling the benefit. Thank you so much. Jane, UK

  4. David

    Hey both,

    Really love your fitness blogs and exercises- you two are so real and just normal, what a breath of fresh air to watch your videos and read your advice. Keep it up!!

    • benderfitness

      They are both effective. It’s really more about what works for your schedule, so that you can get the workout in consistently. I work full time, so I only workout in the evenings.

  5. Chantal van de Ven-Veltmann

    Hi Benders, your video’s have reached Holland!
    As I am a -starting- bootcamp instructor I get a lot of inspiration from your video’s;thanks!!
    Keep up the good work, and I will continue following you. 😉
    All best, Chantal

  6. Pam

    Hi! Today i discover your workouts and they seem great and very challenge! I would like to know what type of excersise should i do between hiit days. I probably do some resistance training but if i use weights in the hiit workout i dont think i should do weights the next day.
    Thanks both of you!

    • benderfitness

      You have the right idea. If you use weights during the HIIT you can skip weights the next day (unless you are targeting a body part that we didn’t train in the HIIT workout). You can absolutely resistance train on days alternate to your HIIT days. You should include one easy/flexibility training day (yoga, pilates, etc) to keep your body limber. Also, be sure to take at least 1 full rest day per week.

      I am a runner, so I tend to do my training runs on days that I take off from HIIT (although sometimes I pair them depending on time.) Ultimately, be sure you are listening to the signals of your body. 🙂

  7. Stacy B

    Just wanted to let you know that even though I love all your workouts I find on YouTube and love your guys’ enthusiasm, the highlight of these workouts is when your fluffy cat joins you!! Coming from a cat lover myself, it makes my day and really lightens up my mood when a routine is getting tough. Thanks for always bringing a smile to my day (:

  8. Kell

    I really am happy to have “found” your workouts. My fitness over the course of many years has been wide and varied and looooooong. I am now a firm believer of 20 mins or less. And your creed that fitness should be free, I like it!. I don’t aspire to be “bikini ready” I never really have, but a Fit Forty is all I can ask for and those HIITs certainly kick you in the fitness pants. Keep up the great work..Thanks!

  9. Rhonda

    I love doing Melissa’s workouts, I’ve done the 30 day challenges twice, and now starting on the new 30 day challenge. But after reading your blog, “about the benders” I love you guys even more. You guys are truly, and honestly the best inspiration I found. I love your workouts, your ethics, your recipes, all of it. Please don’t ever change the dynamics that you two share, and share with us. I absolutely love it, and I tell everyone about you. I think at age 50, I will FINALLY have a six pack, at least that is my goal, I have about 6 months to go. I think I’m in my best shape ever, thanks to the two of you!

  10. Anonymous

    I just came upon this blog and want to thank you both for making this free. I looked like Melissa from 37-41 but then missed a couple of workouts here and there and eventually stopped exercising completely. Here I am 15 years later 35 lbs overweight, bad kness, bad shoulders and out of breath all the time. Is it possible to start again? I wouldn’t know where to begin – can’t do anything that involves knees or shoulders. I hope my story is motivation to keep exercising. I never thought this could happen to me.

  11. Muriel DeVore

    Hi Melissa. I love your workouts. I am wondering if Jesse might be willing to do some for the guys that are hesitant to exercise- trying to get my husband to workout!

  12. Brittany Smith

    I LOVE your workouts!! I have been working out since May 2015 and I have been running since October 2015. I started working out because I wanted to change my flabby belly and love handles. And now I can’t stop because if I miss a day working out my mood completely changes. I feel like I need to work out to have a good day so now I know I’m not only working out for the physical changes. But I do need to ask, I still can’t run for 30mins straight is that normal? And I also haven’t lost any of my flabby belly or my love handles. I don’t feel like I’m getting any stronger since I started working out. The only thing on my body getting stronger and toner is my legs. I had two sections and I hear it’s hard to bounce back from them but I’m only 25 I should have way more ability to “bounce back” faster. I do also only work out at home because I’m a stay at home mom. Does anyone have any advice as to why I still can’t run long periods or why I’m not getting any stronger?

  13. Kara Boyer

    So glad a friend directed me to your website. I am 43 years old and have been working out since high school athletics came to an end. Needless to say after so many years it is easy to lose focus, motivation, and become bored. I can honestly say that I am into week 2 of your body rock boot camp and love the variety and pace. I’m sore in places that have never been before! Thank you for your dedication to this website and education of healthy lifestyle. I look forward to continuing on this journey!

  14. Hi Melissa – how can I make contact with you – I would like to send you some product for a new hydration product! I am an avid follower from Australia, and we are launching our brand in the US this week!

  15. Anonymous

    Hi Melisa – I was wondering if you could put together some new cool-down videos in the future? The only one I can find is the sun salutation video and it would be nice to have some variety Thanks!

  16. Aline Asch

    Hi Melisa this is Aline Asch from Mexico City, and i wanted to tell sense i started to train with you that i love your work outs but also the way that you enjoy them and how you express yourself all the time. I think that you are amazing and the best couch that i ever had, you really changed my life. I hopefully meet you someday! 🙂 come to visit us in mexico!!! This is my phone number if you want to contact me someday!!
    I would love to stay in contact with you!! so im leaving you my email agrees and my Facebook so we can keep in touch.
    Lots of kisses!!! 🙂
    pd: Excuse my grammar im doing my effort haha 🙂

  17. Liz

    Lover your page and the fact that you care enough to share with all of us. Thank you so much for sharing. I really appreciate it. May God bless u both as well as ur baby. 😉

  18. Melissa

    I love your workouts and do them 5 times a week. I would love for you to have an “advanced” workout section!

  19. benderfitness

    That is such a great idea! I know some places provide “donation” based yoga classes, where people pay if they are able to. Good luck in your quest, I think you will really love turning it into a reality. 🙂 It’s so rewarding.

  20. Iva

    Hey Melissa, just wanted to thank you for everything you do, your energy and positivity is amazing and I enjoy your workouts more than anything else I’ve tried. Like many people here I’m a college student and you making this blog free means a world of difference ^^ I’ve been following your work for a few years now and just wanted to let you know that you are influencing and helping people even in some small country in eastearn Europe, and to say THANK YOU for that, you are amazing! 🙂

  21. HI Melissa,
    I love your blog and I admire your physique.
    I have a question for you, what type of exercises do you recommend for females who wanna be in shape but also don’t want to lose their feminine parts … Boobs specifically :), I see yours have remained while your abs also show, so what’s your secret 😉 ?


  22. Christina V.

    Hi, Melissa! I stumbled upon your blog and YouTube channel just after you had your baby, and I must say you are inspirational to all of us mamas out here! Thank you! Also, thank you for reminding me again that there is a fitness world (and maybe an even more effective one?) outside of the “boxed fitness” industry, which most people aren’t going to be able to afford, anyway. I’m looking to be a “fitness advocate” if you will, among my peers (read: homeschool mamas with kids in lots of activities!), and I was wondering if certification would be beneficial in that pursuit? I’d really be interested in hearing your take on that, and if you are certified as a personal trainer, what provider you recommend? I may shoot you an email, as well, since I know this is an older post and may not reach you quickly. Thanks so much!

  23. Hi Melissa, I am so thankful to have come across your site that holds an amazing amount of free effective workouts. As a mom of two little ones I don’t have the time like I did before to workout. I have tried so many kinds of workout apps, ebooks, and plans that were long and boring but you have exactly what I’ve been seaching for. Thanks for all you do.

  24. Brit Creamer

    I saw your update from 3 days ago and you were talking about ITBS. I think that is what I have going on. I have pain on the lateral side of my knee. I bike, run, yoga and do bender fitness.com so I was having trouble narrowing down the cause of my pain. However, after seeing your video update, I believe ITBS is to blame. In the update, you said you would share stretching and exercises that you did to recovery. Can I get those please?

  25. Sandra Jett

    I have always been in shape up until I turned 40. At first it was small changes. Then life seemed to get out of control. Two kids in college, a divorce, a partial hysterectomy, a huge move across country and a career change. and 5 years later, I’m 145 pounds and even though I can still see parts of my once amazing muscle structure, I have areas of fat that I need to get rid of. I used to be able to eat whatever as long as it was a balanced diet. But now, it seems like my metabolism has slowed a lot. So I have decided to make more changes. I have begun my reviewing my life and daily schedule. And with 2 hours an evening, I am going to start the 30 day challenge. what type of foods do you recommend with this type of workout?

  26. Jessica

    I know I saw a link to donate somewhere on your website!!! I have been using your free workouts for years and absolutely love them! I owe you so much more, but wanted to make a contribution if I can! Thanks for taking the time and care to post these great workouts, articles, and lifestyle tips! Keep up the great work!

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