Thursday, September 27, 2012

Gals We Admire: Charmaine Broughton-Dunn

Food writer and running coach Charmaine Broughton-Dunn has run countless marathons over the last nine years. We have a feeling her passion and dedication for long distance running is why she's a firm believer in a good night's sleep.
Name:  Charmaine Broughton-Dunn
Profession: Founder of, food writer and running coach

Describe your typical work day, from start to finish
My alarm goes off by 4:45am. I spend roughly an hour enjoying my coffee, updating my Facebook page, reading through emails and planning my day. By 6 am, I am getting my sweat on; running (my favourite form of exercise), weight training or teaching early morning fitness classes or clients. Upon my return home, I shower and start my “work” day. I write recipes for a number of national publications (Running Room Magazine, Mizuno Run Club, and Oxygen Magazine) and teach cooking classes and running clinics. I’m often jumping back and forth between the computer (writing and developing recipes), to the kitchen (testing and tasting recipes) and the grocery store (purchasing more ingredients, some days I’m there three or four times!). I "break" by 3pm and walk to get my boys, Tyler (10 years old) and Colgan (9 years old) from school. Both Tyler and Colgan swim competitively, so we spend many evenings at the pool. I swim at the same time they do, as I am currently training for an Olympic distance triathlon. We are all in bed by 9 pm (at the latest). I am a firm believer in a good night’s sleep.

When you were a kid, what did you want to grow up to be?
I have always loved to cook. When I was 10, I would tell my mom I was "sick", so I could stay home and watch Wok with Yan (one of the only cooking shows on TV in the 80s). Yan’s humor and love of simple, flavourful and home cooked meals always appealed to me. When I was twenty, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. All my friends were off at university. I did not have the desire (or grades) to sit in a classroom. I was working at a coffee shop, and knew deep down I wanted more. I read somewhere that the happiest people do what they loved to do when they were ten years old. The next day I applied to the Culinary Arts program at George Brown College in Toronto.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
Combining my love of food and fitness into a "job" is a dream come true. I remind myself daily how blessed I am. My job also comes with some pretty awesome "perks", I am honoured to be sponsored by Mizuno.

What do you find to be the biggest challenge in your profession?
Being self-employed and working from home takes a lot of discipline. I have become very good at turning a blind eye to the pile of unfolded laundry on the sofa. I try my best to have “balance” especially when it comes to my family, but when you are self-employed sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Monday to Friday 9 to 5 does not exist in my world.

Do you believe you had a "calling" for your profession?
Yes! I spent almost 20 years being overweight. It was not until the birth of my second son that I decided to make a very real change. I weighed over 210lbs. I was sick and tired of "dieting". Every time I started a "diet" I always ended up getting bigger and bigger. At 210 lbs., I set an athletic goal. I was going to run a marathon. Just over a year after I had Colgan, I completed the Ottawa Marathon, 26.2 glorious miles. It took hard work and a ton of determination, but I did it! That was over nine years ago and I have lost and kept off 70 lbs and run countless marathons since. Inspiring others with my "true" story and spreading the word that anything is possible, I truly believe is my calling.

What are the three most important pieces of career advice you would give to other Canadian Career Gals?
I think it is very important for woman (no matter what they do for a living) to make their health and well-being their number one priority. a) Daily exercise is empowering. Not to mention the countless health benefits. b) Taking time to plan your meals, starting with eating a healthy breakfast. Packing your own healthy lunch is a simple step toward optimal health and will save you money too!

Find what you love and want to do, and do it! Take that dance class you have always wanted to sign up for, learn to play a musical instrument, sign up for a 5K charity race. Setting goals and accomplishing them is very satisfying. 

Be a go-getter! I spend hours networking. When you are self-employed, networking is a key "ingredient" to future projects. There have been many times I have heard from clients well over a year after I have sent an email or snail mail. Never, ever give up!


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