An Interview With BodySpace Member And Fitness Model Dawn Melanie.

Drum roll please... my new interview article is with Ms. BodySpace herself, Dawn Melanie! Learn more about her right here including what she does, health issues, and more!

Yeah, yeah I know: Rockymania, The Mountain Man, etc.; bailed out on us in the past, but I think I picked a "Good Apple" this time around!

Drum roll please... my new interview article is with Ms. BodySpace herself, Dawn Melanie!

Dawn Melanie
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Dawn Melanie.

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[ Bill Belfert ] Dawn tell us a little about yourself. You know, what you do for a living, where you live, if you're married or single, any kids, pets, that type of stuff?dot

    [ Dawn Melanie ] I'm a finance type. Actually, I'm an Audit Consultant. That means I have a bunch of accounting experience and "qualified" to direct others so that they don't get in "trouble" for an accounting scandal. I'm a licensed CPA, a licensed CIA, and I have a MBA with a specialization in MIS. Oh, and I'm a Certified Fitness Trainer (CFT) too. That proves I'm well-rounded.

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[ BB ] Holy... That's a mouth full. LOL! What's MIS? And when in the heck do you find time to personally train others?dot

    [ DM ] MIS is an acronym for Management Information Systems computer jargon. Basically, I have a Master's of Business Administration degree with an extra helping of computer literacy. As far as training others, if their schedule can align with mine, it's a deal.

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[ BB ] Alrighty then, back to your bio. dot

    [ DM ] I live in Dallas, TX. A resident of Texas for over a decade after relocating from the "Big Easy," I got out way before "The Storm" [Hurricane Katrina]. Amazing, that storm blew in a lot of "stuff" from New Orleans, including my then fiance, now husband & my parents who now reside just 5 miles down the street.

Dawn
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Lake Grapevine, TX

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[ BB ] Ahh-huh... just like my wife. You had to bring your parents with ya: couldn't keep that umbilical cord stretched too far out. LOL!dot

    [ DM ] Actually, they were resistant to make a move. But, it allows me to take on parenting roles to them now. Payback? Nahhhhh, returning their life-long favor.

    We (I) decided to not have any children, but my parents' strangely affectionately refer to "Shelly," my Djungharian Dwarf hamster, as their grandchild.

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[ BB ] What got you into working out and what age did you start?dot

    [ DM ] Freshman year of university, there existed a P.E. requirement to complete my undergraduate Accounting degree. Thereafter, I wanted to get my money's worth after noticing a $90/semester charge on my bill. So I started going to the gym. It was "fun" as I got to let off steam.

Denim
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Dawn Melanie.

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[ BB ] What type of workout do you do: you know like how many days do you train and what exercises do you perform, and what are your sets and reps like?dot

    [ DM ] In general, I like to work out 4-5 days per week. The exercises, duration and intensity depends on how I feel after I place my junk into the locker.

    It is easier to stick to a training plan if I have a definitive goal in site - e.g. upcoming competition or perhaps a photo shoot. But, shoots are 99% contingent on diet. Free weights rule. Has man really changed the wheel?

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[ BB ] Dawn, I 100% agree with you - Contests and photo shoots are 99% Diet all the way! A lot of people really don't grasp that at all!

Also I agree with your feelings on free weights as well. We can also add proper nutrition too. To get in shape we ate the same stuff in the 1920's as we do today (LOL!). You're right, man has not really changed the wheel!dot

    [ DM ] Nor does the wheel "Roll" differently {lol}.

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[ BB ] With your work schedule how do you fit your workouts in?dot

    [ DM ] Sleep is overrated. Yeah, I'd like 8 hours per night, but that would be one-third (33%) of the day "wasted." Besides, cooking and preparation to workout takes up so much time. On average, I sleep 5-6 hours per night. Always awaking early enough to "start" eating my meals for the day.

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[ BB ] How is your ACL injury coming along?dot

    [ DM ] Excellent. Have you not been checking out the posted progress pictures?! I actually got a lot of help from a fellow BodySpacer, " sweldup."

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    Nairo has been instrumental directing me to a healthy ACL in preparation for my near future return to the competition stage.

    Oh, and we claimed a very special 3rd place finish last weekend 7/21/07 - 6 wks earlier than the scheduled target show date.

3rd
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Third Place.

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[ BB ] Dawn... of course I keep track of you! I was asking for our other BodySpace Members.

That's awesome that you placed 3rd especially with with ALL of your injuries! You're a true warrior!

Care to tell us how you injured yourself?dot

    [ DM ] Not really. It was an accident that should have and could have been avoided. See my December 2006, Blog titled " Be Neither Victim Nor Culprit."

December
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December 2006.

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[ BB ] Ok Dawn, I just went back to your December 2006 Blog. Wow... how are things now between you and your husband and how does he deal with your Fitness "Fame"?dot

    [ DM ] HAH! "Fame?" I guess. This marriage thing is a daily challenge. But, I believe my hubby is beginning to understand the importance and difference between us and my BodySpace "Family."

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[ BB ] I know, it's sometimes hard for me as well to try to explain to my wife how important this BodySpace family really is to us.

How is ACL injury affecting your training for your upcoming shows?dot

    [ DM ] I have yet to train at or even near my full pre-injury capacity. I actually miss doing lunges. Ok, never mind. Some things are "blessings in disguise." {lol}

Day After Day After
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Day After '06 USA Figure Championships In Vegas.

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[ BB ] Recently you had a "Leg cut incident." How did that happen and how is that affecting you for your upcoming North American Championships? (See... you will never make fun of me being a klutz again!)dot

    [ DM ] Cosmetic blunder to say the least. I had an accident with a piece of glass and fortunate enough that the 32 stitches did not interfere with any major arteries or even with a tendon or muscle to prohibit exercising.

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[ BB ] Do you use any supplements, and if so what are your top three and why?dot

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[ BB ] How did you find out about BodySpace? dot

    [ DM ] I recall stumbling across the site a couple of weeks before my first... no, second show. I needed "help" after the first one. Posted some concerns/questions in the forum and got back some good feedback.

    I placed 3rd. Still amazed that I could get a trophy. I was and still am so thankful for the help I received. I think this is why I find it important for me to return the favor.

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[ BB ] I hear through the BodySpace grapevine that you were recently featured in a National Fitness Magazine?dot

    [ DM ] "Featured" is such a strong verb. I am proud to say that I was included as a designated "Tomorrow's Cover Girl" in the May 2007 issue of Oxygen magazine.

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[ BB ] How did you come up with your username DTrek and then why did you change it to DawnMelanie?dot

    [ DM ] When I joined in 2003, I had just become the proud owner of a Trek930 mountain bike. I guess it's not that creative, but D, from Dawn + Trek = DTrek930. Voila'! The change is actually just my birth given name "Dawn Melanie." I figured I'd always be "Dawn Melanie" regardless of a maiden or married surname.

Dawn
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Dawn Melanie.

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[ BB ] How did you come up with your signature: "Appreciate the Negative"?dot

    [ DM ] In the old days, when I began working out, I noticed that many people oftentimes focused only on the "Positive" movement and failed to give proper attention to the "Negative" movement on exercises. I began saying to myself to "Appreciate the Negative" referring only to exercise movements. As I went through life, I noticed more and more that the seeming negative things in life should be "appreciated" as good always comes from these things too.

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[ BB ] What was the difference maker for you? What made you finally decide to compete?dot

    [ DM ] My MS diagnosis in the Spring of 1999. I realized that I was not going to be very successful with physical activities in the TX heat.

    So, I had to put aside my Sunday morning 100K bike rides for something else. I spent more time in the climate controlled gyms. Before my 30th B-day, I did it. I entered my 1st competition Sept. 2002. I had a lot to learn!

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[ BB ] What do you like best about BodySpace and which Features do you use the most?dot

    [ DM ] BodyBlogs are the best to get to know others and share your own daily challenges, struggles and fitness successes. I haven't blogged in a while, but following profiles and progress pix, etc/ of old and new friends consume most of my time. Like yourself, many are shocked by how much of others' fitness lives I keep track. Again, "Magic?" {LOL}

Vegas Fun
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USA Championships, July 29, 2006 In Las Vegas.

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[ BB ] Have you made any Friends here? I'm laughing because I'm looking at your friends list (1478 and counting) and you have the most comments left (4315 and counting) and your second with most comments received (4421 and counting). How do you explain that? And don't say "Magic!"dot

    [ DM ] Ok, YOU said it so I don't have to say it again. Undoubtedly, yes. I am even good friends with my 1st BodySpace friendship started in April 2003.

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[ BB ] You mentioned that BodySpacer "sweldup" has helped you out a lot. Are you close to any other members here at BodySpace? Do you want to give anyone else some "Props"?dot

    [ DM ] I gotta give due mention to Bill Belfert aka " BMT424," that's you!

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[ BB ] Aw, shucks Dawn, thanks!

Dawn, you happen to be very inspirational to me. For someone who is so busy and active at home and here at BodySpace, how do you manage that with managing your Multiple Sclerosis? dot

    [ DM ] Well, Oddly enough, I use time to get myself MS warrior-ready while being online here at BodySpace. For example, I usually respond to messages, etc. when I am administering and finished my injections. Ice-cream and BodySpace takes my mind off of that "issue."

    Multiple Sclerosis
    Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the central nervous system. MS can cause a variety of symptoms, including changes in sensation, visual problems, muscle weakness, depression, difficulties with coordination and speech, severe fatigue, cognitive impairment, problems with balance, overheating, and pain.

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[ BB ] When and how did you find out you had Multiple Sclerosis?dot

    [ DM ] After 6 months of not knowing, being the subject of a seeming experimental science project, 2 neurologists later, several misdiagnoses, and performing the entire battery of tests twice... Voila!

    I was diagnosed with chronic illness Multiple Sclerosis. I was so excited to "know." The "episodes" of uncontrolled intentional tremors (I randomly threw things), compromised balance (I stumbled a bit) and in/out blurred vision continued, but an answer was given fall 1999. And guess what? I went to Disney World shortly thereafter!

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[ BB ] Disney World? You got a great sense of humor. I give you a lot of credit. You help so many others that have Multiple Sclerosis as well. With all the emails and private messages. How do you do it?dot

    [ DM ] "Magic." Oops, you asked that I forget that response. Someone has always had time for me. It's been a while, but I'll never forget the lonely, confused, "in-the-dark" feelings that only start at time of diagnosis. So, I make time. Simple as that.

Dawn
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Dawn Melanie.

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[ BB ] You're very unselfish giving of yourself like that and asking nothing in return. We need a whole lot more of Dawn Melanie's in our world.dot

    [ DM ] Bill, be careful what you ask for, please.

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[ BB ] Why? You prego or something?dot

    [ DM ] Huh? Prego. Spaghetti Sauce?

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[ BB ] Dawn, cut it out! You're cracking me up!

So where do you go from here? What are your short and long-term goals now?dot

    [ DM ] Short Term - Back on stage. I wanna' say - Sooner than later. I just wanna' see if I "still got it." {LOL} Hey, I already did that last weekend 7/21/07.

    Long-Term - Prominent figure in the fitness world. Even if I am not an IFBB pro figure athlete, I would be satisfied being recognized for giving to the fitness community.

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[ BB ] Do you have anything else that you would like to add or say to your fellow BodySpace Members?dot

    [ DM ] I am as adamant about food and cooking as I am about fitness.

    My culinary skills are impeccable as pictures and recipes demonstrate. My "motto:" "Just because it is competition food, it doesn't have to taste like competition food."

    [See my "Taste the Excitement" food picture gallery on my personal website www.DawnMelanie.com]

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[ BB ] Ok Dawn that's a wrap. As always thanks very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to me. ;)dot


Update


[ BB ] Well Dawn it's been awhile since we first started this interview back in July. Tell us how you made out at The North Americans back in September.

    [ DM ] Well, I was 100% pleased with the results of all of my efforts and sacrificing during continued rehab of my ACL reconstruction.

    I placed in the top 15 of my class (14th) which was my initial goal after injury. I actually made both second round call-outs.

    Best of all - I am back competitively on the national figure stage. Oh, let me emphasize how bitter sweet this show was. I missed 2006 North American contest due to torn ACL 2 days prior to the show.

    I did the 2007 competition just 10 months after surgery and at about 15-25% normal leg strength. That [strength] number is increasing daily. *smile*


[ BB ] So what's going on now in the wonderful life of Dawn Melanie?

    [ DM ] I am working on my plans and strategy for 2008 competition season. Basically, looking to continue overcoming that muscle atrophy I suffered after surgery.

    In fact, I've gotten both legs to a size greater than pre-injury status. WhoooHoooo!

    Oh, and thanks to BodySpacer "sweldup." I literally wake up in the morning to start my eating... seemingly ALL day. But, as Nairo reminds me, "We're building muscle!"

sweldup
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BodySpace Member sweldup.


[ BB ] Anything else we should know about our Favorite BodySpacer?

    [ DM ] I'm back to making posts to my BodyBlog. See my latest entry, "One Potato..."

    And I'm a contributing sysop for BodyBuilding.com's BodyPedia. I'm getting back to my BodySpace's active status of days past. (lol)

    Also, I am delving into more fitness modeling and gaining experience as a Wellness Orator - a scheduled recurring presenter of National MS Society self-help meetings.


[ BB ] Wow Dawn, Looks like you're working your "MAGIC" as Usual! Keep up the great work that you do... 'cause you're an inspiration to All of us! ;) Ok Dawn... Last call... any other words of advice?