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Melanie Elaine Hogewoning

I AM ALFA because even though I wasn’t handed the best cards in life I’ve made the best of it. I believe in the power of kindness and building each other up.

Photography by: Ali Sohrab

My name is Melanie Elaine Hogewoning. I am a small-town country girl from Alberta. I drive a truck, love country music, the outdoors and simple things like sitting under the stars. I am employed as a travel nurse working in emergency departments throughout mainland British Columbia. I am specialized in intensive care and emergency nursing and in my 10th year of practice. Working in high acuity nursing takes its toll on you so self-care and self-love is important. A personal trauma and a death of a colleague from suicide is what really launched my big fitness shift/change. Self-love via self-care for me was something that helped me recover from anxiety/PTSD and depression. I grew up with an absent and an abusive father. We were poor and my mother was strong and she did everything she could in her power to help us grow up strong and well. I’ve worked for everything I own since I was 12. For the longest time I thought this work, this self-earning, this self-built was what made me strong. That’s not the case. I was only strong because I had no other choice. If I didn’t do it for myself no one else would have. This left me bitter and passive aggressive for years until I discovered self-love and true self care through body building.

What are the most rewarding things that Fitness has brought you? Body building and fitness allowed me to manage my anger productively. It allowed me to conquer my demons. It gave me the strength and value I was always longing for. For me bodybuilding saved my life. Bodybuilding is an element of your life you have complete control over and it’s entirely up to you how it turns out. As in if you train and eat half assed you get half assed results; but if you give it your all you end up with incredible results. No one can take away the effort you put into it, so it’s all yours. Your results are a direct reflection of your actions and effort. My love for bodybuilding grew the more I learnt the more I fell in love with it and the process and soon I entered my first bikini competition. I did well with my first competition and am currently in the beginning of my prep for my big debut in the masters’ division. I am fortunate to have found an incredible coach who is not only my physical coach but one that guides me and challenges me to be better mentally, emotionally, and physically. Since competing and taking up training seriously I also started personal training.

Coaching other is a reward in itself; but helping someone learn and foster a healthier lifestyle has been an incredible experience. Career wise I’m working towards advanced education and a gigantic career opportunity. This big opportunity will take time but it’s going to be incredible!! It will fuse my two passions nursing and bodybuilding and be revolutionary for health care. As for now I live a pretty simple life with my dog, the gym, studying and I spend my free time with family and friends as often as I can. I also do fitness modelling as a hobby. I am Looking forward to getting outdoors this summer and exploring my beautiful backyard that is BC. I’m an Alberta girl so I am in awe of this beautiful province.

I AM ALFA because even though I wasn’t handed the best cards in life I’ve made the best of it. I’ve worked hard and earned my place. I have also learned to take the time to care for myself through the self-love that is body building. I believe with this it helps me to be a better me. I believe in the power of kindness and building each other up. I take the time to be kind to others, foster a supportive and respectful relationship and generally just focus on being a good person. I know how hard life can be sometimes so I make my best effort to not make it any harder for anyone. I also have seen my practice as a nurse completely transform since learning to care for myself before others, it actually allows me to be more present and aware and to do more as you are less held back!

What are the most rewarding things that Fitness has brought you? Fitness brought me my best self; mind, body and soul. I have met so many incredible friends and people. It truly is a lifestyle I have adapted and will forever pursue and advocate for in my lifetime

When was the most ALFA moment in your life? Please explain why? The most Alfa moment of my life was the very first code I ran. Meaning, I was the trauma nurse that day and I worked to help guide a team of my colleagues to properly execute the resuscitation of a cardiac patient. After 60 minutes of what seemed a failed effort we successfully revived the patient to later learn to a full and functional life. As this patient came in and personally thanked us all and gave me a gigantic hug. I will never forget this moment.

How Has Covid-19 impacted your daily life and what did you learn from it? Covid has impacted my daily career life and my daily personal life.

I have learnt to be more present in my life and with my circle of friends and family. I have learnt to focus less on material things but experiences. I have learnt how much I miss hugging people and seeing smiles.

Career wise I experienced true terror as the medical world collapsed and was forever changed. It has completely changed how we do our jobs and definitely has put into light how truly dangerous our jobs can be. Despite the struggles with the pandemic I absolutely love nursing and could not see me doing anything else. I believe as nurses we all reevaluated our jobs and realized the real jeopardy we put ourselves in daily. I feel Covid brought more awareness to the issues within health care and I hope going forward will lead to better care for patients and a more productive and conducive environment for staff.

What is next for you? I have aspirations to open up a specialized medical practice. It’s in progress as we speak.

Please share up to 5 things people don’t know about you.

I am fraternal Twin

I am %100 Dutch

I have always wanted to bungee jump naked

I went skydiving when I was 18 (coolest thing I’ve ever done)

I love to two step

Please name up to 5 ALFA people you know.

Julia Marie Shroeder

My twin Pamela Lee Hogewoning

Rima Karma

Billie Jean

Tara Ann Baziuk

What would be the ultimate tips you could share with everyone about LIFE in general? Be kind always, you never know what battle anyone has overcome or is dealing with.

Eat your vegetables

Move if you are able as those who are not able wish to move.

Drink your water

Take the time to let the people who matter know each and everyday life is short

Also, be unapologetically your weird ass self, world has too many Ken and Barbies

What are the most attractive attributes in a partner? Intelligence, humour, integrity and loyalty.

What would be the ultimate tips you could share with everyone about working shift work?

You need to bulk meal prep on days off, cook your protein and carbs and place in Tupperware, cut veggies same day you do groceries and store (stay fresher longer.)

Avoid shift treat culture, advocate for healthy treats and practices.

Communicate your efforts to be healthy or to be healthier so colleagues respect your goals.

Always keep easy grab meals if busy shift such as protein shake and nuts and fruit, cold cuts, pickle, cheese, homemade chicken strips n veggies and dip.

Switch up every other coffee for a herbal tea.

Prioritize sleep and try to not take too much OT, time away from work is important.

Journal bad shifts and traumas and reach out to colleagues or counselling or attend a debriefing if needed.

Practice daily Gratitude.

Lastly, avoid unit bullying culture or gossip, be supportive and kind to every employee as no one should ever feel out of place at work. Learn to communicate with different personalities and be kind and supportive to everyone

Your top favourite quote:

Too many people are ashamed of their bodies and not of their minds

Where people can find you?

Instagram: @msnursemelly

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