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DJ Melody Kane on Fitness and Plant-Based Diet

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DJ Melody Kane is filling dancefloors all over the country (before the lockdown) and has a residency on BBC Radio 1 Xtra. She’s also massively into her fitness, and she’s now an advocate of eating a plant-based diet…

You’re extremely busy as a DJ, producer, influencer and more… so how do you juggle your life and maintain your fitness goals?
I find I’m more effective in a routine but my lifestyle [DJ’ing and working weekends] sometimes makes that difficult. I’d like to train regularly but no two days are ever the same. The other day was the perfect example; I ran a No Kane No Gain session at night and then went to the gym at 3am. I got home at 5am. It’s not ideal and there’s no consistency to my training, but I just don’t feel right if I don’t get the sessions in, whatever time of day that might be. If I don’t train I don’t feel right physically or mentally, I feel really tired and I go through dips, so I have to be strict on myself. That way, I don’t feel guilty. I actually love the feeling of DOMs. I love the pain! There’s a history of mental health in my family, so training helps me to regulate. It doesn’t always have to be a gym session; it could be a walk on the stairs or any kind of physical activity.

You changed your lifestyle to coincide with your DJ career, so tell us what life was like before you started training, and your diet before you went plant-based?
I’m a foodie, always have been, and I used to overindulge to the extent that my weight fluctuated when I was younger. Training now regulates me and looks after my mind, body and spirit, but it also helps me manage what I put into my body. One thing I realised when I started training regularly is that you’ll never know how bad you’re feeling until you start training properly. It makes such a difference to you. I was in the dark just cracking on, but when I started training, it felt like I’d tapped into some secret about how good you can feel. My organs and senses were awakened. I love growth and I like to challenge myself, so I went to group sessions and classes to push myself. These were sessions that made me feel uncomfortable, but I enjoyed the process of growing and developing. Training changed my life. By feeling better, I became more focused in all aspects of my life. Successful people look after themselves.

What was the main motivation for going plant-based?
For me, it was to see how I’d feel. My best friend is a boxer and he’s plant-based, and he recommended it to me. I had a Nandos addiction at the time I was training with him, and together we would eat Nandos every day. I started to feel sluggish despite eating reasonably healthily. After he went plant-based he told me of the benefits. I then watched What The Health (a food documentary] and I was put off when I saw how meat was prepared and what went into it. I wanted to feel healthier and reverse the ageing process. Our bodies are less responsive as we get older, and I want my body to be in its optimum state. My mother has advanced dementia despite the fact she exercised every day, didn’t drink or smoke, and my dad died of cancer, so I looked into the effects of foods into our bodies. I wanted to see how I felt by trying plant-based food. I instantly felt better, so I never went back. That was six years ago. I’m plant based, not vegan, as I find veganism involves lots of meat replacements. Plant-based is quite starchy, so I have to be mindful of carbs and stuff, but I finetune it to get it right.

How do you manage to squeeze your fitness habits into your lifestyle, which no doubt involves late nights and lots of travel?
My biggest challenge is eating well. I try not to eat too late, but it’s hard coming out of clubs and feeling hungry. I try to reach for things that won’t impact me, so bananas, cashew nuts, falafel wraps. Eating late has a detrimental effect on my body, even if it’s healthy. I feel bloated, but you learn about what works for you.

No Kane No Gain is a health platform in London, Brighton and beyond. What was the motivation for creating it, and what’s the future for it??
It’s going really well. Last year was a good year for us. We went out to Jamaica, we partnered with Hackney Fitness festival and this year we’re involved with the Love Trails festival in Wales, which basically involves music, running and fitness. We’re building a brand to create a platform where people of all abilities can be in a space with likeminded in a friendly environment, and where music is just as important. The music is on point and the energy of the class is welcoming and inclusive. We have a weekly session in Brixton, a monthly in east London, and I want to hit each corner of London and the UK, and abroad. We’ve done a session with Reebok and other brands, maybe independent brands. It continues to grow from strength to strength.

You’re a grafter, working with loads of big brands. What have you got going on at the moment?
I try, but I’m always tired!! Nowadays, being creative and self employed… it’s hard. Once you stop for a minute you notice it. Last year, my dad passed away in May and I had to retreat for a few months to get my head together. After having spent a few months away from work I found I’d lost my focus, I really noticed it. My grieving process was to travel a lot. Jamaica, Antigua and America, travelling is my escapism, my happy place. I need to be warm! I love training outside and abroad.

How is 2020 shaping up for you?
I’m focusing on No Kane No Gain. DJ’ing is always there, it’s my bread and butter. Every year in Jan/Feb I have this panic of having no bookings, and then by the time it gets to summer I’m always busy. I’ve been doing a residency in Ibiza for the last three or four years, and I’m talking to festivals about this summer. I’m also looking to get my PT level 3 qualification; I want to know and understand everything to do with fitness.

Where’s your favourite place to play?
Jamaica is my favourite place to visit. Everything you smell in the air is food and all you can hear is music! I love the energy. There are even DJs playing by the supermarkets. It fills my heart and soul. It’s warm, clean and beautiful.

I love Kenya too and work with an orphanage over there. I love Thailand too, it’s my favourite place to go to chill and train, and eat.

My favourite place to play? It depends on the event. Croatia has a big event called Fresh Island, it’s Europe’s biggest hip hop festival. All the Americans come over, it’s warm and beautiful. I love a chilled beach afternoon and a soul-filled house set, so Miami, Vegas… Rotterdam is a great place to play. They love their hip hop.

What’s Passionate Plants?
It’s a vegan fine-dining event launched last year, and we’re bringing it back this year too. It’s all about creating a fun environment where people interested in plant-based food can experience it. I DJ, there’s a cool atmosphere. Keep an eye on it!

DJ Melody Kane top 10 workout playlist

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