Melanie Horton - IFBB Physique Pro

I took up weight training as a hobby over 20 years ago and when a few friends at the gym suggested I should try competing, I decided to give it a try! There were a few other local bodybuilders in the area who helped me prepare. I entered my first competition in 1994 winning the overall title and I was hooked from there! Back then there was only bodybuilding and I competed as a lightweight for the first few years before moving up to middleweight. I was the Overall Canadian Women's Champion in 1998 and awarded my IFBB Pro Card. I did one pro show in 1999 but was significantly out sized by the other girls. I returned to the stage in 2015 in the Women's Physique division which I love!

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I try to eat relatively "clean" all year, mostly because I feel a lot better with good healthy nutrition. But I have more variety and more food in the off season when I am focused on trying to gain muscle. I keep the protein, carbohydrate, fat ratios pretty consistent year round, just more calories in the off season. I find a diet that is high protein, moderate carb and low to moderate fat to work best for me. The carbs fluctuate but they provide the energy that I need for training.

I have prepped on low carb and very low carb diets. While they definitely work to get lean, I personally found that it is very difficult to sustain and the "rebound" from this type of diet, at least for me, is high.

My training changes depending on what phase I am working on but I always try to focus on proper form and execution. I want to get the most out of every workout. While I like to train heavy at times, I don't do one rep maximums. I tend to use a lot of supersetting and extended sets to try to force a response form the muscle group I am training. Upper body for me responds more easily so I really have to work on every possible means for developing legs. You have to be patient! My nutrition is all arranged around training times to support the work in the gym. It's probably 80% of how you look. For cardio, I will utilize HIIT (mainly sled push/pull and spin bike) and stairs. I enjoy the spin bike classes so I do those periodically - more for cardiovascular conditioning and fun!

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Building self-confidence to walk on stage: Great question! I am certainly a little out of my element here as I'm not really a stage performer. I find that it takes a lot to summon my courage to get out on stage and I'm definitely much more comfortable in the gym than on stage. This is actually something I'm really trying to work on - improving stage presence and presentation. If you have put in the work and are happy with the way you look the day of the show, then the confidence comes more easily. Knowing you have done your best always brings a feeling of accomplishment and that hopefully shows on stage.

This past March I competed at the Arnold Classic for the second time. This show was historically by invite only so when they opened it to a wider group of competitors in 2016 I jumped at the chance to compete. The atmosphere and reputation at such a prestigious event is really amazing. The athlete check ins are a time to see some of the athletes who you know or may have met at other shows. There is usually a lot to do after the meeting (tanning, eating, hair and make up, etc.). It's always fun to see what number you will be assigned and where you will be in the line up for prejudging. There is always a bit of nervous energy but the backstage staff and the other competitors do a great job of keeping everything chill. It goes by pretty fast, but in the moment, it feels like you're up there for a long time.

Life as an Athlete: Althletics, and I think bodybulding in particular, really promotes a strong sense of discipline and achievement which has a very positive influence on your whole life. Being able to set goals, focus on continually improving and being able to compete at a high level is very rewarding. I am always honoured when someone says I have inspired them in some way - especially because there are so many people who have inspired me. And I think athletics help keep you healthy and youthful!

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I plan to continue competing for a few more shows anyway! My plans for 2017 are Omaha (June) and Fort Myers (Oct) and not sure after that. I have come full circle in the sport - started as a competitor, then became involved as a judge. I judged national level shows for about 10 years, and was involved in the local association. I also have been a promoter, hosting the Nationals here in Canada as well as a very popular local show up until 2009. And now I'm back as a competitor again. I am coaching a few athletes and will be working on expanding in the area of coaching as I find helping others achieve their goals and dreams to be very rewarding! Hopefully I can share my passion for the sport with others.

Contact info:
Instagram @ifbbpro_minimel

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