Name: Melanie D. Ludwig
Location: Hilton Head Island, SC
Occupation: Personal Trainer
How did you hear about MFN?
I heard about the MFN throughout the years in industry publications.
How do you or your business help those with chronic disease/medical conditions or who need pre & postnatal care?
As a personal trainer who has been in the industry over 35 years, many of my clients have aged right alongside of me. Chronic diseases and conditions that are prevalent with aging became more common among my clients and before I knew it, I was the being referred to because of my ability to work with many of these. My goal is to make activity fit into the lifestyles of clients who have medical issues.
What makes you different from all the other fitness professionals out there?
What differentiates me from all the other fitness professionals in the area is that I have continually studied different diseases/conditions and never stop researching. I am also finishing my MS in Exercise Science: Wellness and Fitness this August. My insatiable quest for information and treating each client as an individual with attention to every detail of their case is why I am unique in my area. I have also watched personal trainers working locally and find that they are not as engaged with their clients as I am. I am very intense about watching every single movement a client makes so that he or she is using correct form and the correct muscle(s). I pay close attention to every detail.
What is your favorite activity or class to participate in?
I love Bikram yoga! I go once a week and it is my personal “reset button.” After 90 minutes of this moving meditation, I am relaxed and ready to tackle anything that comes my way! I also love niking here on the island and jogging on the beach.
What is one piece of advice that you would give other fitness professionals about working with special populations or those who need pre & postnatal care?
I have mentored hundreds of fitness professionals over the decades, and also had the honor of being an adjunct professor in Exercise Science at Manchester Community College in NH for 3 years. My number one piece of advice was that you need to enjoy the population that you work with. If you don’t enjoy working within a certain group, you are not doing anyone any favors by doing so. Follow your heart and your head!
What type of community activities are you involved in?
I just moved to HHI a few months ago and haven’t had a chance to get involved. I am looking forward to figuring that out once I get established. Probably the Boys and Girls Club to help prevent prediabetes with these children. The statistics on childhood obesity are beyond scary in the USA. I want to be part of preventing the onset of Type 2 Diabetes in our youth locally.
What is one of your favorite memories involving working with someone who has a health challenge or disability?
My favorite memory is of a client who suffered from a bout with encephalitis that left her with many health issues. She was also Type 2 Diabetic and had Hyperlipidemia. We were able to regain a great deal of her original balance and change her lifestyle to keep her medications to a minimum. She has since participated in many outdoor endurance fundraisers. She cried after each one as for months after her bout, she could hardly walk.
What would you like to see change/develop/emerge in the future of healthcare and the fitness industry?
I would like to see physicians and other allied health care professionals working with qualified personal trainers in a more preventative role. Many of my referrals come after they have developed conditions and diseases. I would also like to see a national board exam for personal trainers and a requirement of re-sitting for the boards every 3-5 years. I see our industry growing, but we need to “up our game” with more professional criteria.
And what are you doing to make this happen?
In the past I have talked with any medical professional that I could about exercise as preventative care, and that most people need more specific guidelines than just get out and walk and lose 10 pounds.
What is your favorite fitness/inspirational/motivational quote?
Right now my favorite quote is “When you move beyond your fear, you feel free!” You need to get out of your comfort zone in order to grow…
Anything else we should know about you?
I am 58 years young, and still love being a personal trainer after 36 years! Leaving NH and starting over in Hilton Head has been a great experience for both my personal and professional growth. I am hoping to get another adjunct instructor position at a local college so that I can inspire young and aspiring fitness professionals to make a difference. I haven’t started a new business in decades and my love of working with aging baby boomers with health issues in a professional and effective way should set me apart from the other trainers in the area.