Does a Traveling Health Business Work? – Belinda Martinella
Guest: Belinda Martinella
Release Date: 11/22/2021
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Welcome to Trulyfit the online fitness marketplace connecting pros and clients through unique fitness business software.
Steve Washuta: Welcome to the Trulyfit podcast, where we speak with experts in fitness and health to expand our wisdom and wealth. I am your host, Steve Washuta, co-founder of Trulyfit and author of Fitness Business 101. In today’s episode, I speak with Belinda Martinella, you can find her at the traveling nutritionist us on Instagram or the travelingnutritionistaustralia.com Belinda and I talk about her business model, which as I’m sure you surmise from her name is a traveling nutritionist.
I am not supposed to pick favorites here. And I’m not telling you this was my favorite conversation I’ve had during my podcast ventures but it was certainly top five. Belinda and I go over the requirements in Australia to give nutrition advice if any.
How did she decide to make this business? A traveling business instead of a brick and mortar? What are the benefits? What are the downsides? Could this be replicated in fitness, whether group fitness or personal training and then she walks me through her client experience from start to finish?
We finished talking a little bit about actual nutrition, not just business models, and we go over microbiome testing and how that goes about in her business and why that is important. It was a fantastic conversation. I can’t wait to speak with Belinda again down the road again.
Belinda Martinella, you can find her at the traveling nutritionist us on Instagram and all the links associated with it will be there. With no further ado, here is Belinda. Belinda, thank you so much for joining the truly fit podcast. Why don’t you give the listeners in the audience a background on who you are and what you do in the health and fitness industry?
Belinda Martinella: Great. Thank you, Steve. It’s really great to be here. And thanks for having me on the show. So as you mentioned, my name is Belinda Martin Ella. I’m a clinical nutritionist. I have a Bachelor of Health Science in Nutritional and dietetic medicine.
I’ve been in the health and fitness industry for the past 10 years as both a personal and specialist trainer and then a clinical nutritionist. And people often asked me why I chose nutrition. But if I’m honest, it really did choose me actually worked in the performing arts industry initially. So my first university degree was a bachelor of arts in musical theater. But I feel that’s almost an entirely different episode, Steve.
During university and performing professionally in the industry, I was faced with so many challenging truths or not even truths, but more like challenging criticisms when it came to aesthetics. You know, my body shaved my body weight. And it was this that really ignited my nutrition. Curiosity is the I thought I was doing everything right when it came to being healthy, you know, dieting, calorie restriction, excessive exercising, but I always wondered why I wasn’t seeing the results.
Now I’ve always loved exercise. So I decided to work as a personal trainer in between performance contracts. And this is where my curiosity turned into a full-blown desire to just know, day after day when I was working in a PT studio in Melbourne, Australia. I’d see my clients put in the work, but they really struggled to see the results. And my question was always why. So naturally, I turned to medical literature, peer review studies, books, you name it, anything that I could get my hands on. And this is what gave me this push to hit the books and go to university and sort of here we are.
It’s the biological underpinnings really of the human body and food. That’s my passion. I love to see how these two can come together as both a tool for prevention and as a treatment. So in my clinic, I specialize in weight management from a non-diet perspective, as well as Women’s Health, Sports, nutrition, children’s health, and pretty much everything in between. I’m really passionate about a non-diet approach to weight management.
I also host education seminars to really empower people to take their health into their own hands and start to implement nutrition plans that actually work. You know, to me, nutritional health care is a human right, it’s not a privilege. So I like to offer a range of tools that are easily accessible for everyone, no matter their background or budget. So I think that’s about it for me, Steve nutritionist, specialist, exercise trainer, I do a bit of radio presenting. I’ve written an ebook. I also do a podcast but I’m also a very proud advocate for healthy of Every Size. So in a nutshell, I think that’s me.
Steve Washuta: Fantastic. There’s obviously a lot to unpack there. I want to bookmark a few things. You talked about sort of a non-diet approach to dieting, I want to get back to that so let’s bookmark that.
But I actually want to touch on your theater background. I think that’s really interesting because being in this space, being in the podcast space, being in this new realm of online, you need a presence online, whether you’re in fitness or health and nutrition, any of these things and you almost need a new personality or you need to essentially wait for certain things about your personality to really grow in this industry. And I think having a theatre background must be you know, a hugely got for you.
Belinda Martinella: Oh, it definitely is certainly helped, I think all of those elocution lessons and all of the dictation and things like that, that we learned along the way was really beneficial. But I think too, I totally agree with you, and especially probably now in the past couple of years, where it’s been really important to have an online presence.
You obviously gain experience through doing that as well. But I can definitely, I can definitely attribute at least the three years of study that I did in performing to, I guess, the confidence, some that I have, as well, sort of, you know, having that presence online,
Steve Washuta: it’s always great to have somebody who works both in the fitness realm as a personal trainer, but then also handles the dieting side for more of a science-based approach, right, somebody who actually has a degree and the proper credentials to give that because you know, and I could only speak for America, and I want you to sort of expanding on what’s going on where you are. But we as personal trainers really, are not supposed to be legally allowed to give specific dieting advice for money.
So it’s not like I couldn’t, for instance, I’ll give you a scenario. It’s not like I couldn’t tell my client, hey, I really think post-workout, you know, you shouldn’t be eating that pizza, let’s make sure you have chicken and rice like that you can do, but I shouldn’t be writing out full diets and charging for them as a personal trainer.
Now, with that being said, there really are no repercussions there, there is no nutrition police knocking on your door, giving you a fine. So although it’s sort of, you know, looked down upon or frowned upon people still do it. And so I want to get your take on how that is how you see that and what you believe it should be and what that should look like, and then also how that plays out in Australia.
Belinda Martinella: Great question, Steve. And yes, and I think too, you know, when I was purely personal training, I again, I had a real passion for nutrition as I’m sure a lot of personal trainers do you know, I, you know, can’t really have a kick start without a kick-ass lifestyle. So I feel like they come together, don’t they hand in hand.
I do have the same thing remember giving out? Not so much record recommendations, but loose advice, almost, you know, like, oh, this would this is probably a better option for you rather than this, you know, those sorts of things. But it’s so interesting, because and it’s the same here in Australia, Steve, it’s exactly the same is there’s no nutrition police knocking on our door to come and tell us off like you said it’s frowned upon.
Even as a nutritionist, Steve, out, you know, it’s not legislated here. So literally anyone can be handing out nutrition advice with no qualifications. And you know, there’s even six, you know, six, eight-week courses that you can do, and technically call yourself a nutritionist after that. And it may be the same over there for you guys, but dietitian, that one is legislated. So that means that you do have to do all the study and do your honors to actually become a registered qualified dietitian.
But look in regards to being a nutritionist, you know, it’s slowly changing, thank goodness. And, you know, I’m constantly reminding even my clients that if you’re serious about investing in your health, then you just need to do the research, you need to find, you know, a health professional who is qualified to work with you. Because you know, we’re all unique, a one size fits all, when it comes to health, it’s just not realistic. So my title, which is clinical nutritionist, it can only technically, though not legally, be obtained by a tertiary or university study and completion.
And, you know, I was I think it’s really important to, you know, for our listeners to kind of be aware that, you know, university-qualified is really a minimum requirement when it comes to professional nutrition advice. And, you know, I spent the first 18 months of my degree, doing all the science subjects, you know, it’s like human biology, chemistry, microbiology, biochemistry, we didn’t even talk about food until I was nearly two years into my study.
That’s because it’s really vital to have this understanding of the human body before we start to talk about food and its interactions with the body. So it’s so much more, isn’t it than just passing out dietary recommendations and advice, there’s so much more that goes into it before that even happens.
Steve Washuta: Great point, I think people miss the mechanistic factors, what is actually going on in the body when you’re taking in these foods and all of the synergistic components and these things, it’s a lot more in-depth than then some people realize and the biggest issue and I don’t want to go down this rabbit hole, but it’s you know, you’ll have a, you know, a 19-year-old who’s got great genetics who just hasn’t gone past the point of where hormones are working against you. And they’re giving out nutrition advice based on no like no other thing except their anecdotal experience.
That is just not how it works, right. A 63-year-old woman going through post-menopause is not going to respond to the foods that you’re going to respond to as a 19-year-old.
Belinda Martinella: Yes, exactly. Steve, and so well said but I think, you know, in this day and age now, where things like social media play such a big role in all of our lives.
It is really hard not to get sucked down a rabbit hole like that isn’t when aesthetically you cease is so pleasing and you think, Oh if I just follow what they’re doing is they’re selling me a 12-week program, why can I look like that? You know, but like I said, Before, I feel like every single body is different, we’re all unique. And that is why, you know, you know, if I tried to diet and you try the same diet, every, all of our results would be completely different.
Steve Washuta: If there is one thesis that pops up over and over and over and all my podcast, it is that as our industries grow health, fitness, nutrition, all of them sort of together, there needs to be less of a big-box approach, one size fits all, and we need to have more individuals.
That also starts with us as professionals, not make not trying to grow our businesses, and scale at all times, it’s okay to charge more and give more energy and effort to fewer people and really change their lives than just try to scale because you’re sometimes you’re doing yourself and your clients a disservice.
Belinda Martinella: Yes, I totally agree. And I think too, it’s also important to note, isn’t it like all the things that are underlying as well, you know, like, I often have clients that will come to see me with very, let’s say, similar issues, or perhaps even similar goals.
But the approach to those goals is how we combat those depend entirely on things like their medical background, medical history, lifestyle, because like you said, it’s just, you can’t give the same tools to every single person, because we’re all different.
Steve Washuta: So there are so many different things that we can touch here, obviously, we’re already passionate about these three or four things we hit on. But the title of this podcast is going to be something revolving around what you do. And that is traveling health professionals. So we’re going to get right into that here. Explain your business model and how you came about it.
Belinda Martinella: Yes, now I really like telling the story, because it really did start off as this little idea. And now it’s a fully functioning dream come true. So it really does kind of go to show that you can do a lot if you put your mind to it, though. I think my best idea that is all good ideas should, you know fantasizing about how amazing it would be to travel around Australia for work, but also be able to do this family.
I was close to my degree, we have two young children. So I really wanted the flexibility of working for myself. But I just didn’t love the idea of being tied to just one place. And our family isn’t actually where we’re located either. So we travel a lot regardless. But then this traveling idea got some heavy traction with my, my business partner on my husband, he Oh, we sort of created this concept of a portable nutrition clinic.
I think once that idea was in my head, it basically never left and I just loved it. I loved the idea of being able to offer nutritional health care to regional and rural towns that don’t actually have access to this type of health care. Like farmers in the middle of nowhere, or moms who have young children and find it difficult to leave the house or maybe teens who want to leave the house. I wanted to offer nutritional health care for anyone and everyone who wanted it.
I really do believe that it’s a human right to health care, it’s not a privilege. So during the development stages, I also wanted to offer a range of services that would maybe appeal to just a variety of people, you know, not only those ones on one consultation but family sessions, I also do 20-minute taste testers. And in the early days, I had a lot of inquiries that were just what does a nutritionist actually do? Do you just tell me what to eat? And this kind of prompted me, you know, to I was thinking, how can I incorporate this into, you know, how can people get a taste for what I do without perhaps booking a session and paying the full fee, they weren’t comfortable on doing that.
This actually prompted me to go to local markets and offer 20-minute Express consultations at a really affordable price. So people got a taste test of what I offered, but they also walked away with some customized valuable nutrition advice. So, you know, as I mentioned earlier, I also do educational sessions for sporting and community groups, even schools and gyms. You know, I do love the idea of reaching a whole heap of people in a short amount of time. So yeah, that kind of information is more from a general is a general, a general sense.
But it’s almost like the foundation, it’s what everybody needs to know. It’s like you can build lots of lovely, unique things from the same foundation. So the other thing that hooked me when I was sort of developing a traveling business was being able to have a touring schedule on my website. It sounds really corny when I said out loud, but you know, just like the rock stars do.
I think everybody wants to be a rock star, don’t they stay. So I was stoked to have a touring schedule. on my, on my website. It’s like fulfilling a fantasy of mine. So yeah, so is the director of the traveling nutrition Australia really does allow me to deliver an important service, but to live the dream or at least it sort of did before this, this pandemic hit.
Steve Washuta: Does your husband do something alongside the business that like is incorporated with what you do?
Belinda Martinella: No, he’s just a very handyman to have around. He’s actually an engineer but he is also one of my biggest supporters, which is great, that’s what teamwork is all about, isn’t it? But he’s basically my number one fan. But he’s always the one that I bounce these ideas off, and I help them grow, I guess.
Steve Washuta: So, kind of walk me through the process, if you were to go to a rural town, and let’s say you, people saw that Belinda was on tour in my town. So obviously, everyone wants to book Belinda being that she’s on tour in their town. And you have an appointment with, let’s call her Jane. And then Jane wants to meet with you again. Is she doing this virtually? Or is she waiting until you come back to the city?
Belinda Martinella: Yeah, great question. It depends. So because my touring schedule changes a lot, as you know, sometimes I can visit some towns, you know, once or twice a month, and then other times, it could be a few months in between, it’s really dependent on the touring schedule, and also the demand of certain areas or certain towns. But the good thing is, I sort of I do run that schedule.
I can see that there is a big demand in certain areas, I can come back a little more often than perhaps I would have if there wasn’t. But the good thing is to save, especially during times like this is, you know, challenging times always leads to innovation. So I offer a lot of telehealth appointments in between as well. So if I find, you know that I’m not seeing clients as regularly as they would like to be seen, then that online platform is also there, which is helpful.
But I do make sure to that, you know, if I’m seeing someone face to face, that, you know, I leave them with a lot of tools, because I think, you know, tools that really set them up for success, because as we all know, as health professionals, but then also just like human beings, that barriers come up all the time.
It’s really important to have tools or strategies to be able to overcome those just so you can continue on with your health goals, you know, because if it’s not your number one priority, unfortunately, it’s no one else’s. So you really do need to make that effort.
Steve Washuta: As somebody who’s worked in fitness, do you believe that there could be a version of this that was more fitness-oriented? Would that work? And how could you potentially for CEU? That?
Belinda Martinella: Yes, yes, I actually really like this question. And my answer is definitely a big yes to this. Because I think, you know, as a personal trainer, it’s, you know, it’s really important, you’re building that rapport, you’re seeing clients often. So perhaps you wouldn’t be able to see them as often as you would if you were working out of a studio, or a gym.
But I remember one of my lecturers said to me, when I was developing this idea of traveling, it was a great question. And she said to me building that, how are you going to create some buzz in the towns that you’re going to go and see? And I was like, and so this question, actually, I always ask it just before I go back to go to a new town or build sort of new relationships, make some cold calls, you know, put yourself out there because it really is about giving everybody a unique experience that they, you know that they really value.
Those buzzers created, you know, so it’s like, oh, yes, bling is coming back in a month, beauty, I’m going to pop it into my diary, you know, those sorts of things. So I think from a personal training perspective, getting that one on attention. So it’s all about creating that buzz offering something unique to clients that perhaps they don’t have access to, or they haven’t seen before.
I think too, we were talking about this lovely online space, you know, it’d be, you could get really creative couldn’t, you could have online communities, and you know, especially bringing all your clients together as one with three questions in or workouts or challenges or whatever it is in between the time that you’re going to see them.
The other thing too, I think, even from a group fitness perspective, I think that is just another space that is really important. Because alone, you know, from a grouping perspective, you’re already bringing a community together, and especially when I think about rural and regional areas, there are towns that are very few and far between, they’re, like kilometers apart.
But if you were coming to the same town, once a month, and everybody made that effort to come along together, you’re actually building a little community of your own. And perhaps you’re letting those people reach out to like-minded people that are close by and they didn’t even realize they were there.
I just love the idea of, you know, bringing things to a town that perhaps they don’t have access to. So like group fitness, and that’s, I mean, that’s so much fun anyway, isn’t it? It’s creating, it’s a beautiful buzz on its own. So I mean, if you were sort of able to offer that I feel like you could be really successful, but I think the buzz keeps coming up. Steve, that’s probably the most important thing isn’t it’s like creating that buzz. How can you do it? The unique experience?
Steve Washuta: Yeah, you took the words out of my mouth. I think in personal training, it can be done, you’d have to create the buzz and you’d have to have something very unique. Maybe you would even have multiple personal trainers, and it would be sort of like a small group thing where you’d have like, you know, Tom, the personal trainer, who does all bodyweight stuff, and then Suzy, the personal trainer who does all kettlebell stuff, and there’s almost like, you know, you don’t know who’s going to be in town.
Is it going to be Susie or Tom this week, I do think group fitness works better in that realm. because obviously with more people, the buzz spreads faster, right? You play that game of telephone, oh, I went to this class, there’s a big traveling bus that comes through and they come, they hop off and we do this fitness class and they go to the next city.
There is somebody who does this. In Canada, her name is Mia St. Albans. She’s actually been on the podcast, and it’s called Move camp Canada. It’s all bodyweight stuff. And it started at the capitol in Canada. Then she started just making it bigger and moving around. It’s group fitness, right, this outdoors, stuff, but it’s also like very tied to fundraising, and like local businesses, and that sort of thing.
That’s how she creates her Buzz is it’s not just like, let’s get in shape. It’s let’s also like, raise money for like a local cause. And then in addition to that, they get group fitness instructors from the area to come when they gave them, so like, Oh, yeah. So like, Mia would be the only one who’s traveling from city to city to city. And then inside of those cities, they recruit locals from the area to help run these boot camps and things.
Belinda Martinella: Yeah, I love that too, isn’t it because you’ve got faces that you recognize in a community that, you know, attracting everybody out to this one? It’s so inclusive, I love the idea. I love that there’s the idea of raising funds as well, like, it’s, it’s for a great cause. I mean, your health is like it, that’s the bonus, you know, like that. That’s the bonus that comes out of an event like that, but a great idea.
Steve Washuta: So what are some of the benefits? And then also, let’s be honest, what are some of the downsides to being in a traveling business?
Belinda Martinella: Yes, I love there’s always two sides to the story, Steve. So we’ll kick it off, I reckon let’s go for the benefits. First. I think probably one of the most obvious ones maybe is that you get to see new places and meet new people.
I love this because every town is really this gorgeous, functioning community. And in my experience, they really do welcome you in. I’ve met so many people from all walks of life and seen lovely towns and landscapes that I may have never seen if I wasn’t traveling. So that’s probably one of the best ones purely from a personal point of view. Then the other thing too, and I mentioned earlier that it really is my schedule, as selfish as that sounds. That’s nice, isn’t it as a business owner, you can be a little bit selfish.
Ultimately, this business and this training plan really do work for me and my family. So I can write it as I see fit. And some journeys are short and sweet. And then you’ve got others that are a little bit more intense, depending on the demand. But again, I’m in control of that. So I like that. And it has taken me a little while to say no, I’m very much a yes person. So people like oh, you’re coming back.
I will say yes before I’ve even worked it out. And so in the beginning, I was, you know, spreading myself a little thin. Whereas now I’m perhaps a little bit more competent to be like, oh, I’m not coming back quite. Now let’s do telehealth or I’ll see you in three weeks. You know, so it is important to sort of bear your own health in mind when this is happening. But the other thing too is gaining real-life experience.
You know, I think, in this day and age. We’re really lucky to have so much access to the world via the internet. But you know, real-life experience is the best. I think every time I’m on the road, you know, traveling to different places. I’m learning new things. And some aren’t as glamorous as others, you know. Like changing a flat tire in the middle of nowhere.
I also find that time on the road, it really sparks creativity, you know. Like you podcast episodes or presentation topics for groups. And the people I meet in the places I see really take me out of my comfort zone sometimes. But these are the experiences that I really do learn from the most. But I think the other thing that I really enjoy about, you know. Getting out on the road and seeing so many different people is it really keeps me on my toes.
As a health professional, you know, I might specialize in a particular area or a few particular areas. But that doesn’t mean that’s all I can focus on. Because I see such a wide variety of people. The health concerns and issues are vast. So I’m almost like, as a GP, you know. I’m a general nutritionist because I have to be I’m seeing so many different clients.
I think there, but I look at that as a benefit. I think it really does keep me on my toes in that regard. But in terms of challenges, and I think it’s because you always learn challenges. We always have to look at these, you know. From a learning perspective. Even all the time they seem perhaps not so much. But I think it definitely requires a lot of organization and preparation. And you know, it’s not as easy as jumping into the van and saying, Well, where are we off to? You know, there’s a lot that needs to happen for him on the road. Doing all of the organization and preparation really makes for a smoother, more enjoyable, and all-around more successful trip.
I think tying that sort of organization in is really about being proactive. Just like any small business owner will tell you being proactive is really a key ingredient to success. I find this to be true especially when traveling. Because it is a lot about building relationships and trialing new things you know. Like cold calling like-minded businesses to see if they’re interested in working together. You know, making a real effort in a new community.
When I was discussing this idea with one of my lecturers. I was saying to you before, you know, she’s talking about buzz. How can you create this buzz. And again, that is the thing that I always ask myself. It’s all about being proactive because you can’t have the buzz. If you don’t put in the hard work, you can’t just show up organized and not knowing what you’re doing. Because there’s no buzz there.
The buzz really comes from being organized and being proactive and really building those relationships. I think the other real challenge that I found, especially in the early days was budgeting. And this was a safe space day. So I know that I can be honest here is that you know. You really have to be on top of this. Don’t you to make sure that you have especially I feel like when traveling, you need an emergency stash.
But anything that pops up unexpectedly. It often does, I think having a risk budget is something that I do highly recommend. Because when you’re on the road, you never know what might happen. And it’s just best to be prepared for anything.
Steve Washuta: That’s great information. Yeah, you wouldn’t think of that in your general brick-and-mortar business. Of course, people have, you know, backup reserves. But the unanticipated things you’re looking for are much different than when you’re traveling out on the road. I do feel like, you know, there’s a few things you said I want to touch on. But I do feel like busy people are successful people.
And if you’re traveling, and you always have to look. One city ahead two cities ahead. One, day two, three or four days ahead. Every second matters, and every hour matters. And you’re putting all of that energy into the right places. Whereas in if you’re maybe in a brick and mortar. And you can just put your feet up on your desk and take an hour. That’s that sort of spirals out of control. Then before you know it, nothing gets done for the day. And you were waiting for people to come to you instead of you going to that.
Belinda Martinella: Yeah, that’s so true. And I think too because you’ve only got sort of short amount of time. Depending on the traveling or touring schedule. You’re so right, that time that you do have is really, you know. You have to make the most of that time. So you really do you know, you and I think you’re so right. I have the rest when we come back from touring, you know. That’s when I can put my feet up at the desk, for sure.
And I do, but definitely, you know, during the time, every minute counts, every relationship counts, every interaction is important. Every client is important. Even the lady at the local cafe. Who’s getting me, you know, my chart, she’s important, because I’ll probably see her again soon. And, you know, I think every interaction is important. Especially when we’re talking about, you know, small town, small communities. Rural areas, all that I mean, it is it’s just really important. And it does it, it takes a lot of energy. But it’s really great energy. I never feel too exhausted after it. Because I think it’s that lovely calm energy that comes along with human interaction.
Steve Washuta: We talked about this on maybe the last podcast. You never know who is going to be your golden ticket. And I don’t mean that in a way where like, you should be fake nice to people. Because they can help you out down the road. You should be nice to people because you should be nice to people. But you never know when that one relationship that you build can be honestly you know, the igniter the catalyst to the rest of your career.
Don’t take anything for granted. Don’t assume that you know who this person is. That they can’t help you or that you shouldn’t help them for any reason. And then you know, I just wanted to add something else. Earlier on, you talked about how you did these. More sort of what you call like foundational kind of blanket things. Where you charge less.
You talk about this, and I think sometimes personal trainers, you know. They’ll do this online, and it doesn’t it’s not effective. Because if everyone is doing it online, it doesn’t seem like there is no buzz, right? No ones gonna be like, Oh, can you believe this personal trainer told me the best way to do a push-up online. There’s, you’re not going to create any buzz. If you have 600 Instagram followers. How you do that is you do it in person, and you do it for free.
Sometimes you do free assessments, right? So if you’re a personal trainer. You can go out maybe to a town that you traveled to and that you’re not from. And you let everyone know you’re doing these free. Whatever assessments, right, you’ll do a strength assessment. Or like a gulf rotational assessment, or whatever it is. That’s, that’s in your niche. And you meet and greet and people come over, maybe they sign their emails in order to get the assessment.
So you have some email capture thing going on, and you can build your business that way. But, you know, use those experiences for you know. When you’re not booked and your time isn’t really worth anything yet. Because you’re just starting your career. Give some things away for free.
Belinda Martinella: Yes, you just the words that are out that’s exactly what I was gonna say is to be able to give some of yourself away because I feel like them, you know, and it’s not immediate doesn’t come back to you straight away.
But I am a firm believer in, you know, you get in what you put out. So if you’re putting out, you know if you’re really like you said using your nation. But you know, helping people even if it’s in very small ways. You know, when I first started this business, the markets was one of the first things that I did do. And I felt like that so even though I was only seeing people for 20 minutes. I was still kind of giving as customized as I could in that amount of time.
I found that I was able to gain clients out of those experiences. Because they got a taste test. They put you have the foundations into action and, found that they were able to benefit from those. And then they came back because I’m like, This is great this work. I didn’t know, this is what you did, I could help you this much. You know, even little things, make sure you’re having two liters of water a day. That is like a game-changer for so many people.
And something you can do right now. It’s easily accessible for, you know, most of us, which is great. Just those little things. Again, I’m a firm believer in the small things, making a big difference, Steve, so I think I totally agree with you by putting out you know, and like you said, even sometimes if it is just for free, people are greatly appreciative, as well of your knowledge. Like you said before, you never know who your golden ticket is going to be. As long as you stay true to yourself, and you’re authentic in the relationships and the rapport that you sort of build, I feel like it can only work in your favor. But from a business perspective, definitely.
Steve Washuta: Now, I would be remiss to let you go without actually asking you some nutritional-related questions here, right, your business is obviously very cool and interesting. And that’s that was the lion’s share of the podcast. But we got to get into some nutrition here. And what I really want to focus on is when I went to your website, which is fantastic, by the way, thank you. And you had a section that talks about microbiome testing.
I know that has been sort of maybe the last four or five years, at least sort of in my circle has been something that’s been talked about more I think the first time I ever heard it was Dr. Rhonda, Patrick, on the Joe Rogan podcast talked about how important it is to have healthy gut biome. And before you know it, everyone’s you know, buying broccoli sprouts at the store and, and eating all this fermented food. But tell me exactly why it’s important how it’s done. Just give me the full-on one on your testing?
Belinda Martinella: Yeah, definitely, I think. So microbiome testing. For those of you who don’t know, it’s part of a group called functional testing. So functional tests are really used to help nutritionists and other healthcare practitioners to identify underlying causes of illnesses. So, you know, our bodies are communicating with us all the time through symptoms, you know, these little messages that our bodies like to give us to let us know that something isn’t quite right.
You know, it could be dry skin, it could be acne, stomach pains, indigestion, all these beautiful little messages that our body is giving us. So functional testing gives us this great measure of what’s actually going on inside so we can take the guesswork out because there are lots of reasons why these certain things can pop up. But functional testing pretty much it’s almost like cheating, it gives us the answer, which is really nice. But so it can include things like blood, stool, urine, saliva, or hair samples to provide information about a variety of body systems, you know, things like metabolic system, hormones, gastrointestinal, immune, and endocrine.
Now, microbiome testing, so if you see a nutritionist regularly, or you know, one, you’ll know that we absolutely love working with the gut. It’s generally referred to as our second brain. But I’m sure that most nutritionists will argue that it’s the first brain. But to answer this question, Steve, let’s make our way to the stomach and the small intestine. So I’m sure that like you mentioned before, a lot of us have heard of the microbiome or even the microbiota, or even gut flora.
But if you haven’t, just quickly, so the gut microbiome is this complex and dynamic community of trillions of microorganisms that reside in our digestive tract. So these microorganisms, actually begin to colonize or establish straight after birth, and they continue to develop, grow and change throughout our lives.
Now, there are many factors that can influence the gut microbiome, including things like age, diet, medications, illness, stress, lifestyle, most things that we do. And here’s an interesting fact. So microbes in our gut actually outnumber our body cells by more than 10 times. So if we put that into perspective, it’s estimated that the human body contains around 30 trillion cells, and my brain really struggles to even fathom that number.
The bottom line is that maintenance of a balanced microbial ecosystem is really crucial for our gut and our overall general health. Now, let’s enter microbiome testing. So microbiome testing or mapping is really designed to assess a patient’s microbiome, so the microbes that reside in our gut, so it’s a non-invasive test, generally a single stool sample, and this actually measures gut function and the microbes that are influencing our health. So it can give us indicators of digestion, absorption, inflammation, and immune function.
There are some really common conditions that microbiome mappings used to identify. And I would often recommend this for people who are coming in and don’t actually know what’s going on. And if we can’t figure it out together, then I would often recommend microbiome testing, because it can actually identify things like autoimmune diseases, leaky gut, or even weight management issues.
If people are having issues either putting on weight or losing great and we can’t work out why then we’ll turn to microbiome testing. You can identify allergies, both food, and environment, which is pretty cool. Irritable Bowel Syndrome, bloating, fatigue, even mood anxiety, diarrhea, constipation, it’s, um, you know, it’s basically just a great insight into what’s going on. In our insides.
Steve Washuta: Do you have to do some sort of blood draw on-site?
Belinda Martinella: No, I don’t, it’s actually it’s all. It’s all from the comfort of your own home. So it’s all of the testings is done outside of my clinic, the only thing I generally do is I can do urine samples and some other sort of physical examination. But most like anything that’s done from a clinical perspective, so like blood, yeah, even and stolen things. So blood can be done just at a regular clinic.
But then stolen stuff is done from the comfort of your own home, but all sent off. So you actually get the kit and send it all off. But then the results kind of come back through me. So I’m able to do the assessment before we have chapters. I think that’s the other good thing about you know, results.
Even things like blood tests, I generally asked my clients have some blood tests before they see me or during our time together, because I’m not sure what it’s like over there in a state Steve, but generally here, you’re going off to see GP or your, you will only have a 15-minute appointment generally, and they don’t have a lot of time to go through things, you know, so they’re looking for anything that’s flagged, anything that’s bold, anything that’s outside the reference ranges, either. And, whereas for me, I had the luxury of a little bit more time. So I can actually look at the test in a little bit more detail.
So I don’t only look for the things outside the reference ranges, I’ll be looking for things in the lower or the higher end as well. Because sometimes, I mean, if I had $1, for every time a client came in and said, Oh, I’m feeling like this, but my blood tests are fine, you know, I’d have a lot of dollars, I think, because I would generally look at those blood tests and see, you know, like, they might be in the low end of the reference range.
Like, let’s say iron, for example, is generally a big one, especially with females, you know, they’re in the lower end of the iron, but it hasn’t been flagged, but low-end iron will still give you a whole lot of symptoms like fatigue, exhaustion, there are so many things that are linked to iron, that, you know, if we could just fix that, from a dietary perspective, a lot of those symptoms disappear.
Again, it’s just about it gives us this lovely insight, because we can do things like that without knowing if it’s iron. But it’s always really lovely to know, it just takes the guesswork out. And again, we look to the science don’t miss that you’ve always
Steve Washuta: been to the individual, like we’ve been talking about this whole time. Because it’s not only important, I’m sort of a lab nut, it’s not only important that we look at labs based on the criteria in which they give us you need to be between this and this, it’s important to compare your labs to your past labs.
If I have a hematocrit, that’s typically at some level for 20 years, and then it drops or rises substantially, but I’m still in between, you know, the quote, unquote, you know, acceptable limit, well, there could still be something wrong, because out of nowhere, I had a shift in a number. So I think that is important to compare ourselves to ourselves, and not just to some, you know, to be to fall in between two numbers they give us
Belinda Martinella: Yes, absolutely. Very well said to you. And it’s nice. Because generally when we’re getting these tests,. It does show you that it doesn’t pass the test as well. So it’s really lovely, you are able to, to make that comparison. And again, if you’re not qualified to do that, it’s really nice. Because you can seek, obviously, health advice. Health professionals who are qualified to do that.
I do think it’s really important when we’re looking at an overall health umbrella. To know what’s going on on the inside. Even if it’s just a simple full blood count that can tell us a lot about what’s going on. Even from an inflammatory standpoint. So I do think, you know, things like microbiome testing. Or these functional tests, they definitely have a place, you know. Within the nutritional consultation and the wider healthcare community.
But again, Steve, like you said before, it’s not for everyone. You know, like some people don’t like sometimes I can treat. Well without, you know, without any of these functional tests. It’s really, and it would go on an individual basis.
Steve Washuta: Belinda, this has been fantastic information. Where can the audience find more about your business, or maybe even reach out to you directly. If they have questions about maybe becoming a traveling personal trainer?
Belinda Martinella: Great, and I hope they do. Steve, that’d be great. I’d love to answer any questions. You can follow me and my nutrition road trips on both Instagram and Facebook. It’s just at the travelingnutritionistaustralia. You can download my free ebook and also my nutrition emotional eating journal from our website, you can read about my services.
You can download my podcast from there. It’s just www dot the traveling nutritionist australia.com. Hopefully, I’ll see you out there on the road at some point. So Steve is asking if I can fly across the world.
Steve Washuta: Well, if I ever end up in Australia, I’d like to join your course. You can put me underneath and I will, I will assist in any way I can.
Belinda Martinella: I love special guests. I’m sure that’ll create some buzz.
Steve Washuta: Thanks so much Belinda and hope to have you on a podcast down the road.
Belinda Martinella: So great to be here. Thanks again, Steve.
Steve Washuta: Thanks for joining us on the Trulyfit podcast. Please subscribe, rate, and review on your listening platform. Feel free to email us as we’d love to hear from you.