An avid adventurer and a staunch advocate for the importance of health and fitness, Belinda is a true believer that what you invest into your body transmits to your overall wellbeing. A born and bred farm girl from Culverden, New Zealand, she runs her very own personal training studio, Bee Fit, to inspire men and women to take charge of achieving their health and fitness goals. A mother to three young sons, Belinda not only juggles raising her boys with her business, but also works on the dairy farm. Belinda discovered her passion for personal training following the tragic loss of her father and has faith that it was his parting gift to her.
When asked what concerned Belinda about the health and safety of those in rural industries, Belinda emphasised the importance of understanding the negative impacts that processed food and a lack of sleep and exercise can have on our bodies. She believes that by ensuring that businesses owners and workers are educated on how to care for themselves through fitness and nutrition, they will reduce stress and put everyone in a stronger position to see hazards and risks more clearly.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Adventurous and motivated.
Tell me something interesting about yourself...
I grew up on a sheep and beef farm in Culverden, North Canterbury. I loved this, as I was a bit of a tomboy so loved helping on the farm, riding my ponies, building huts and trapping possums. There was always so much to do! I went away to school when I was 13 years old then ended up travelling overseas for a few years before coming back to Christchurch. Strangely enough I am now back in Culverden with my husband James and three boys! We moved back 14 years ago, and for the first 10 years I enjoyed filling in the gaps on the farm between having kids.
Four years ago my father passed away suddenly after a freak accident while he was out biking with Mum. Naturally this was a shock to us all. Mum got through the funeral and then decided her first outing would be going to her personal training session on a Thursday with three close friends. I happened to be talking to the personal trainer the day before this session, and she told me she was going to have to cancel as she had a funeral. I said she couldn’t as Mum had been focusing on this, so she suggested I take the session, and then said ‘Actually, you should take all of my personal training sessions for the day’. I was so nervous! I loved exercising, but personal training was not what I was trained in! To cut the story short, I now have my own personal training studio. I take eight classes per week (several have waiting lists) plus several personal training sessions. I’m able to fit this in around my kids and my outdoor adventures. Mum said to me not long ago that my business that I love was dad’s gift to me.
What's one achievement you are most proud of?
Apart from my three gorgeous, crazy sons of course, it is competing in Godzone with my husband, my sister and my brother. Godzone is an adventure race where we biked, hiked and rafted for eight days, carrying all our own sleeping gear, clothes, food etc and living on an average of 2.5 hours sleep per night!
What makes you truly happy?
Outdoor adventures with my family, closely followed by outdoor adventures with my sister and friends. It’s usually when I’m at the top of a mountain that I have little moments of thinking “Man I am one lucky girl, this is stunning”!
What do you love the most about being a rural woman?
Tell me about a time when you felt worried about your own or someone else’s health, safety or wellbeing on the farm, boat or in some other aspect of rural life.
I can actually say I haven’t seen anything worrying in the last 20 years. The last scary thing I would have seen was the steep places that Dad took the tractor when the front wheels were slightly coming off the ground!
What practical things did or could you, your partner and / or others do to prevent someone from getting hurt?
Thankfully my husband is very health and safety conscious on our dairy farms. We have a Board in place which keeps us extremely honest with hazards, near misses and accidents etc. We use an App so anyone coming onto the farm signs in and we get an alert that they have arrived. They read the hazards on the App and tick the box so we know they have seen them.
Is there a time, place or scenario when your partner / workers are more willing to make changes to the way work is done?
I think the quarterly Board meetings are a great discipline to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep people safe on our properties. The managers attend these, as well as an independent chair so we are kept accountable.
If you could give any advice to another rural woman about work health and safety in rural industries, about influencing change in business - or just in general - what would it be?
I’m probably a little bit of a holistic girl! I strongly believe that if you look after yourself you are in a much stronger position to see hazards and risks on the farm more clearly. I would certainly work on the wellbeing of the people in the workplace and educate business owners and staff about keeping fit and healthy.
- get seven hours plus of sleep a night
- go to bed at a set time each night
- have an hour away from technology before bed
- sleep in a dark cool room, and
- try breathing techniques before bed (if required).
If you are sleeping seven plus hours a night, you are already in a better position to see ways to reduce stress. Also, from a nutrition perspective – eat foods that are going to add value to your body. Cut out the processed crap and sugary drinks!
Too often we hear how bad a lack of sleep / processed food is, but I think actually educating people as to WHAT it’s actually doing to our bodies is also important. It wasn’t until recently that I actually learnt what sugar does to our bodies and how a lack of sleep affects how we function day to day, and so on.