Melanie is the creative founder of Motion Fitness Studio in Petitenget and Avocado Café in Canggu. As the top choice for total fitness in Bali, Melanie is known internationally for her unique approach to health and food solutions. Her slogan is ‘Keep Energy in Motion!’
You were born and raised in Germany, and received a Bachelor of Arts at the Health and Fitness Academy in Cologne as a Fitness and Nutrition Specialist, graduating in 2006. That same year you came here to Bali. Was that always your plan?
Yes! I had already come here four times and decided this was where I wanted to live and raise our son, Louis, who at five was approaching school age. As a surfer, my husband shared my love for this island, so we had always planned to come here upon my graduation.
What is your philosophy for a healthy life?
My philosophy for overall wellbeing is happiness! To be healthy and happy, keep moving, mentally and physically. Keep your brain working by reading, writing and learn, learn, learn! Learn a language. Be creative and learn a new or traditional craft, paint or draw. Our slogan is ‘Keep Energy in Motion’ because it sums it all up. Use and find your potential by being in motion on all levels.
What is the biggest challenge to staying fit in our society?
One of the greatest challenges on a global scale is alcohol. It is commonly accepted to drink alcohol every day and that is simply not a healthy choice. It is inundated into our global society through the media that it is a civilized part of modern life. It is made and sold on a huge scale and over-consumed, causing many physical and social ailments. Another detriment to health is fast/packaged foods. You see the results in Indonesia of the introduction of these foods. Obesity and diabetes are common in a society that did not have these problems 20 years ago.
People are consuming too many carbohydrates and fats. The modernization of foods and mass marketing has created a whole new unhealthy food culture. If Indonesians went back to their roots and ate traditionally they would become healthier. The diet a generation ago consisted of rice and vegetables with small portions of protein such as fish or meat. Fresh juices and krupuks were the snack foods. Now Indonesians have developed addictions to foods primarily because of the prevalent use of MSG and other chemicals used in instant packaged foods.
Do you think food and fitness should be taught in schools?
I think it is important that diet and fitness be taught in all schools. Not like math or English, but it should be a part of the curriculum. At least once a week teach children about cooking and eating the right foods. It is important to teach the positive effects of proper foods on growth and health versus the ill effects of chemicals and MSG. It should be studied and talked about, just as most schools teach and talk about protecting our environment, which actually is related to a healthy diet.
How does diet affect the environment?
Using packaged foods creates a whole new type of garbage and we see it everywhere. The direct effects of this modern diet can be seen on any beach walk. The more food is processed, the less nutrition it has. Healthy food choices lead to a healthier environment. We know that the impact of meat and fishing industries on the environment (greenhouse effect) may be higher than the impact of fossil fuels, so if you choose to eat meat or fish, be aware of the quality and where it comes from.
How was Avocado created?
Avocado came about a couple years ago exactly because of the topics we are discussing. I was working with people who wanted to create a balanced lifestyle. Nutrition plays a key role in our lives. I wanted to create a space where clients and the public may come and know what they are eating is good, healthy and clean food. I always had a passion for food and a gift for making fun foods super healthy! It is great to see people enjoy eating because it tastes good; knowing it will also contribute to their good health. I love creating new recipes. I just made cookies that are better than junk food! Avocado has been a success since its inception and people learn that you can have your tastes satisfied with no guilt; that food is meant to be a pleasure while it makes us healthier!
What are some basic rules to a healthy lifestyle?
Drink lots of water or coconut water. Eat regularly; try to set a food schedule so you do not go without eating and then compensate by eating whatever is convenient and fast. Do not take life (or diet) so seriously; it leads to stress. Wake up and laugh. Laughing is the best medicine!
What is the minimum exercise we should be doing?
In general the minimum exercise we should be doing is 3-4 hours a week of cardio such as biking, running, swimming, dancing, and two to three hours a week of weight training and stretching. This is a good basis. After three weeks your body wakes up and responds by balancing the metabolism. If you make the time to workout, you will gain time. Your energy levels go up. The more you do, the more you get done! Successful people from business people to rock stars usually follow an exercise regimen. Proper exercise gets the blood flowing to your brain and raises the oxygen levels in your blood. Natural hunger will come back, or, if you tend to overeat, your appetite will decrease. Your feeling of wellbeing will increase as your activity levels increase. It is a simple fact.
The body wants to be in motion, which in turn balances chemicals in the brain and positive brain activity increases.
Tell me your areas of speciality for maximum health.
I cover whatever a client’s needs may be. When it is a personal training situation we can make individualized programmes, but we also have 14-day programmes at extremely reasonable costs that target areas such as cellulite or simple weight loss. Outdoor training, body shaping, weight loss, rehabilitation training, lifestyle changes and nutrition planning are always available.
What actions do you suggest are key to our health in today’s environment?
We live in a toxic world. To combat the effects of our environment I recommend that one does a detox twice a year. We offer four detox programmes according to one’s needs. We need to cleanse our systems regularly to combat the results of toxins in our air and water.
Get off the grid one day a week; turn your phone off. See the humour in your problems. We think we have time but it is a precious commodity; use it wisely. Take that moment in the morning before going out to focus on what is important. Take time to do the things you love. For me it is my family, my son, rock climbing, surfing and music.
What are your plans for your ventures here in Bali?
I love Bali – the light, the magic, the colour green. I want to continue what we are doing at Motion and at Avocado; helping people eat healthily and improving their body issues. Through the combination of these two ventures I want to help people reach their potential and live their life to the fullest!
Thank you, Melanie! To get in touch, email: [email protected]