Meet Coach: Melissa Avanesian
Melissa (Mel) Avanesian is a USPA powerlifting coach, National referee, and powerlifting competitor with 15 years of experience training individuals from all walks of life. After completing her bachelors' degree in biology, she went on to get her MS in Exercise Science and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Mel also is a Certified Pre/Post Natal Coach (CPPN) and specializes in getting new moms back into competitive training.
Mel has been teaching university-level fitness courses since 2019, and in this short time has developed and taught the following courses: Big 3 Barbell Lifts, Nutrition for Sports, Certified Personal Training (I & II), and continues to teach many more health and wellness courses.
She is currently working on obtaining her Ph.D. in Exercise Science from Concordia University, Chicago, and expects to complete her degree in 2026.
When I first developed a passion for health and fitness, it was written off as just another hobby.
I had lost a ton of weight and got into bodybuilding in the hopes of getting on stage one day, but I was addicted to lifting heavy weights. My "why" was to be a strong woman, and to help other women get strong motivates me more than anything.
I began competing in powerlifting in 2013 after spending 3 years as a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Nearly instantly, I was asked to coach aspiring powerlifters, and began coaching lifters from all over the world both online and in-person.
I became an independent trainer in 2015 and founded A-Team Athletics.
A-Team Athletics represented something really significant for me. As women, we are the first flight of lifters to approach the bar on the platform. We were always competing together in Flight A--
the A-Team. Now that powerlifting has gotten so popular among women, we represent a significantly larger portion of competitors, so we often see multiple flights with female powerlifting athletes. We have come such a long way!
In the summer of 2016, I was cleared to work on a military installation as an independent contractor, working with active duty military, retirees, and their dependents. I used my background working with marathon and multi-sport athletes during my time as a personal trainer to help get our soldiers fit for duty and their families fit for life.
Working with so many hardworking and dedicated soldiers inspired me to continue learning and growing as a personal trainer and as a coach. I decided to make it official and become a United States Powerlifting Association (USPA) coach and referee.
In early 2018, I retired from personal training after 8 memorable years, and dedicated myself completely to online coaching, which allowed me mobility and the pursuit of higher education. I began my MS in Exercise Science program in the Fall of 2018, and due to my extensive background experience in training and coaching, I was provided the humbling opportunity to teach university level fitness and physical activity courses through the duration of my time as an MS student, which led to developing many nutrition and personal training courses as a full time college instructor.
In late 2019, I became a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), received my Suspension Training Certification from TRX in 2020, and became a Certified Pre/Post Natal Coach in 2021 prior to having my own little one. In 2023, I began a Ph.D. Program in Exercise Science and brought a second little one into this world. The excitement never ends!
Since 2015, A-Team has serviced hundreds of clients, many of whom have competed and won their competitions. We have earned countless state records, dozens of National records, and multiple world records. I am beyond proud and humbled by the lifters who continue to choose to work with me.
Whether you have competitive aspirations or not, if you would like to learn more about how to get strong, eat to fuel your body, and progress in your fitness in ways you never thought possible, reach out. Let's have a chat. I'm here to help.