When Melanie attended her first fitness competition in April 2015, she knew that figure training was right for her. "I absolutely loved it," she recalled. "I have a dance background, so being on stage is what I love to do." Before she started competing, Melanie was uncomfortable with her small, ballerina-like frame. She began to train as a fitness athlete with a company called Sculpt Health and Wellness and joined the PumpUp community soon after. "I had a horrible diet plan (ate whatever I wanted, drank too much coffee) and I trained here and there, but I wasn’t motivated at the gym," she recalled. "I joined PumpUp in June 2015. It was the perfect app for [finding a] fitness community and getting support while inspiring others. I wanted a place where I could share pictures of my journey and keep track of my progress." As a former ballerina, Melanie used to obsess over her weight and body image. Training for a figure competition changed that for her. "I used to weigh around 90-95 pounds (BMI around 17-17.5), which is unhealthy," she admitted. "I'm a perfectionist, so I wanted to control everything. I had a hard time dealing with weight gain. When I met my current boyfriend, he helped me get through that fear and accept weight gain." Now, Melanie weighs a healthy 115 lbs and feels more comfortable in her own skin than ever before.

It isn't easy being a competitor: Melanie has a very structured eating plan, consumes 6 meals a day, trains up to 6 times each week, and skips many social events. For her, the entire journey has been worth it. "I have a lot of respect for the sport and it definitely boosts my confidence," she insisted. "It's not only how I feel, but how I present myself to others. As a doctor, it's important that I take care of my health. I want to set a good example to others and to my patients. I want to show them that it's possible to take control of the food that goes inside of your body, even with a busy schedule."

Melanie's best advice is to stop making excuses. She dedicates one or two days each week to prepare all of her meals, which saves her time and money. "Stop saying that you don't have time, or that healthy food is expensive," she urged. "Make the time! Meal prep saved my life. I have never felt so great in my life. I have so much energy, and it feels good. If you can find a partner to help you, that's even better. Challenge each other - it'll keep you motivated."

Moving forward, Melanie hopes to use PumpUp to help other members in the community. "I want to inspire people to have a better lifestyle and I want to be a role model to others," she shared. "I want to share my journey on PumpUp and I hope people will tag along."

Melanie's Biggest Motivation

Having goals, like a competition, helps a lot. Right now, I’m training/prepping for the nationals. I am my biggest competitor. I always try to be better than myself.

As for bigger names, I met Sadik Hadzovic and Ashley Kaltwasser in October… they inspired me to work harder. I really look up to my Coaches (Ryan Reynolds and Jason Capson) They work so hard to Sculpt us into better athletes.

Secretly, I want to beat a fellow co-athlete in my team!

Melanie's Meals

My meals depend where I am in the season. During bulking season, for example, I ate close to 4000 calories a day.

Typical day right now:

Meal 1: 1/4 cup oats, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup egg white, 1/2 banana + vitamins

Meal 2 : 2 slices whole wheat bread, 1 tbp spoon peanut butter, 1 tbp spoon honey

Meal 3 : 4 oz chicken, 1 cup rice, 1 large spinach salad 1tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1 tbsp olive oil

Meal 4 : 4oz lean meat, 3 leaves romaine lettuce, 2 tbsp fat free mayo, 1 apple

Meal 5 : 6 oz lean beef, 6oz sweet potatoes, 1 cup veggies, 1/2 cup blueberries, multi-vitamins

Meal 6 : 1 cup greek yogurt, 1/2 scoop protein powder

Melanie's Workouts

I love back day, especially because it’s my weak point right now. I train 6 times a week, with a different muscle group each day. I try to vary the number of set and reps. (I mostly do 3 sets of 10-15 reps… I love heavy lifting. I used to do hot yoga, and I hope to include that in my routine eventually.

More about Melanie

I’m currently in my last year of residency in family medicine. I will be working as a real doctor in July 2016. I have been dancing since the age of 3, mostly ballet. I even tried out for So You Think You Can Dance Canada back in 2009 or 2010. I love to travel.

Keep Melanie pumped! Find her on PumpUp @sculpted_doctor and leave positive words of encouragement for her in the comments below!