Melissa Smith - Physique Competitor

I've always been a part of sports and my main sport was track & field right up until University. Through track I was introduced to weight training in which I loved! I loved hitting the gym and lifting heavy. After I finished my track career and settled into personal training, I continued to lift. I was approach by many bodybuilding competitors about competing but I wasn't interested at the time (about 7 yrs ago). It wasn't until I had my twin sons (2013) and the introduction of the Women's Physique class that I started to have a bit of interest in competing but didn't take it any further.

Again in late 2015 I was asked again if I'll compete and I decided to conquer my fear of the stage and do it. I decided that I should give it a go and if I don't like it, then at least I tried it out. In 2016 I competed in my first show which was nerve wrecking but by my second show a month later I was hooked. I will be competing in my third show in 2 wks.

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During my first prep year, I didn't know what I was doing. I have a background in nutrition but not in Body building prep. Now in my second year, I've learned a bit more from my mistakes. My offseason and preseason is pretty much the same as I prefer to eat healthier food options period. I am a vegetarian so during off season I enjoy beans, fish and eggs. Also I do indulge in more carbs like French fries, bread and homemade pizza with the occasionally homemade chocolate cookies and sour candies. During pre-contest, I take out the sugary snacks, pizza, bread and beans but I do keep in my French fries (which is portioned and my treat).

I never followed a particular diet plan. I just worked with what I normally ate and made adjustments accordingly in terms of reducing my portion sizes and carbs during prep. One thing that I learned from last year (2016) was that I didn't eat enough protein so that was a major change for this year and has allowed for improvement in my physique.

During off season, I lift 6 days per week with one day of cardio. I like to split my training into muscles groups as I get the most out of my workouts. I set up my weight training programs with minimum rest periods In between sets so it feels like hit training since I am not doing much cardio. During preseason I lift the same amount of days and I incorporate more cardio sessions during the week as needed. As my overall calorie intake decreases as I get ready for a show, I back off the amount of weight that I use to avoid injury as my energy levels are not the same as offseason.

During my first show, I completely bombed at prejudging. I was nervous and it showed through my posing as I was stiff. I have to mentally motivate myself and I was a little better during the finals. My confidence grew during my second show as I had a little more experience with posing and my overall body conditioning was better. The main thing is feeling confident about your package and presentation. Your self confidence is built though continue practice with posing and you become more comfortable with how to present your body and as your overall conditioning of your body improves. Overall practice, practice, practice your presentation and your confidence will grow.

During my first year of competing, everything was a bit overwhelming as I was experiencing everything for the first time. With the amount of time and effort that goes into training, the actually event goes by so quickly which is the same as track and field. The major thing is to enjoy the moments when on stage and remember that it is your time to shine and present all the work that you have put in.

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Life as an athlete: I've been an athlete my entire life so I don't know anything else. I'm used to missing social events when it gets closer to competition time so it does not bother me. My life is the gym as I'm a trainer so my social circle is mainly people at the gym. When I was running track, my social circle was my track teammates or other athletes from different sports. I surround myself with things that I like so I don't feel like I'm missing anything as I'm happy with everything and my life is fitness. At the end of the day, I think it depends on your reasons for being an athlete and how it affects your life. If being an athlete is not your passion than you have a difficult time with adjustments but if it is your passion, no adjustments need to be made.

I am giving myself a few years to grow into the sport and see what it brings. As a competitor, I want to do well and we will see what happens with time. In the mean time, I will continue with my career as a personal trainer as I enter into my 9th year and continue to do what I love which is weight training.


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