After suffering from ill-health and working overseas in a busy corporate job, Melanie Dunn decided to take a leap into the world of nutritional therapy. Now with her own business in the EMS space, Melanie talks to The Industry Leaders about why it's important to have more than one string to your bow.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
The longest corporate job I had was as a retail buyer, but a combination of having 4 children, living overseas in Kuala Lumpur and Auckland and having breast cancer meant I had to work for myself as my life was too busy and too stop-start to hold down another corporate job. Then, when my own health was in question, I decided to become a nutritional therapist. I then added the Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS) personal training to the mix, and I now feel I've got the winning formula for health and wellbeing.
What kind of work does your role involve?
When not in lockdown, my role has two hats, but they are linked perfectly. For my clients embarking on a weight loss programme combined with two 20 minute EMS personal training sessions a week, it is ideal for losing fat and gaining muscle. Not only that, it's fun and uplifting and so good for mental health too. I also help treat people with any kind of health problems, always looking for the root cause, not just treating the symptoms.
What gets you excited about your industry?
I love being in the health and fitness industry. Even health and wellbeing in the workplace is beginning to be sought after. We used to measure success based on predominantly salary and job title. Now I think these two criteria are a little less important, and time spent doing what you want, plus your physical and mental health are seen to be more of a priority. Literally, your health is your wealth!
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Be kind. You don't know what led people to behave the way they are. I also trust that everything happens for a reason, so when things appear not to be working, I don't berate myself or anyone else; I just let it go and know something better will come along.
I like to have several strings to my bow, so I've got another three sidelines on the go. That way, if one thing doesn't work out, it's not such a big deal.... one of them will.
What, or who inspires you?
I am spiritual, and I am continually looking to be the best version of myself I possibly can be. I want to be able to put my hand on my heart, and I know I did everything I could. My Mum drummed into me, "if something's worth doing, it's worth doing well".
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?
Webinars, podcasts, and articles. I am always reading, listening and learning. The world of nutrition is continually changing as more and more research gets published. There are lots of online publications, and many of the large supplement companies run regular webinars. I'm a member of the Naturopathic Nutrition Association, and they always have guest speakers. You can't know everything, so with every new client, I learn something new.
What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?
Recently, this has been Covid-19. I moved from New Zealand to the UK when my Mum died in 2019 to be near to my Dad, so starting up in business again was hard enough without a year of almost continual lockdowns. I moved to Lincoln two days before the first lockdown, so making friends involved posting on the local dog owner's Facebook page to see who would come for a walk with me and my over-friendly labrador.
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
I would visit my family in New Zealand regularly, flying first class with numerous stopovers. Other than that, not much would change as I'd still want to do what I'm doing now.
I would look at starting a charitable trust to establish health hubs in communities that collaborate with health practitioners to support our health and mental wellbeing holistically. I have a fantastic vision for the future if anyone would like to work with me on it!
How do you switch off after a day at work?
I have a couple of bikes, so depending on the weather, I might do an indoor or outdoor ride followed by a little yoga. I love people, coffee and red wine, so going for a dog walk and a coffee with a friend is totally therapeutic for me. I enjoy playing my keyboards and still want to launch the album I've written one day. I'm also happy watching or reading a good drama or thriller, always with a glass of wine or herbal tea!
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
I wish there were more emphasis on health and wellbeing without medication. Everyone but everyone should have access to a consultation with a nutritional therapist. Rather like a car has to have an MOT every year, people should have an annual health and wellbeing check to see if the guts are running smoothly. We are nearly all deficient in some vitamin or mineral, and these days we have a lot of environmental toxins and chemicals in our food to deal with.
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
I'm not sure a particular book or podcast is a standout, but definitely, the website mindbodygreen has some great articles on fitness, nutrition, beauty, home, mindfulness, relationships, and lifestyle. I pick out something interesting to learn about most days.
How should people connect with you?
My website tells you about the services I offer https://melaniedunn.co.uk. I see clients at my studio for EMS personal training sessions and nutrition consultations in Lincoln, but I can do online nutrition consultations too.
My Facebook page is @melaniedunnfitnessandnutrition, and I tend to post health tips several times a week if you want to follow me.
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