Author: Melissa Bumstead

A national figure champion in Canada, Melissa earned her Pro Card by winning the 2015 Canadian Nationals Overall Figure category. Since earning her Pro Card, Melissa has forged a reputation as one of the IFBB’s most recognisable faces in figure, known for her uplifting, motivational content and stunning physique. In addition to her competitive credentials, Melissa is also a neuroscience student. Her goal is to get back on the Olympia stage and progress her career in the fitness industry.

How to avoid burnout – Taking care of your mental as well as physical health

Posted By Melissa Bumstead on September 24, 2019

We always hear about physical recovery. We are sure to get enough nutrients, take the right supplements, take rest days off the gym, we even go see massage therapists, chiropractors, physiotherapists (and the list goes one) to make sure our bodies are staying healthy. But what about our minds? How can we make sure we are looking after our mental health just as much as our physical and how can we avoid burnout?

2018 was an amazing year for me. I competed in 6 shows all over North America. Ending with the prestigious Olympia. A week post Olympia I had a bachelorette weekend, and a month later my wedding. Sounds like a dream right? I should have been the happiest girl on the planet closing off a year like that. But I wasn’t. I was sad and unmotivated. And I could not understand why.

First it is important to acknowledge that life is always going to have stressors and we are always going to go through change. Good as well as bad. Something we forget sometimes is positive life events/changes are still stressors. They still cause a reaction in our body that alters our regular routine.

The second thing we need to acknowledge is the idea of post show blues. These are a real thing that a lot of us deal with. We have been working so hard for so long for a super specific goal and now that goal is over. So now what? There is a bit of an adrenaline dump after competing that can leave us feeling lost and thinking “What now?”.

Lastly, let’s talk about our nutrition and habits after a show. Our self discipline and restriction has been so intense leading up to our goal and we are tired. Our prefrontal cortex has been working on overdrive and just like any other muscle in our body it gets tired. We can now skip cardio and it’s ok! We don’t have to step on stage in X number of weeks. We don’t have to hit our macros or take our supplements… WE ARE FINALLY FREE!

Combine all these 3 factors and you have a recipe for a mental health burnout. Did you know that our gut health has a direct correlation with our mood? Start eating all those treats, sugar, processed food post show and you are going to go into digestive distress! This is going to effect your neurotransmitter function in the brain. Specifically those feel good neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine are going to be at an all time low.

So how do we battle this? Remember when I said your prefrontal cortex is like a muscle and can it get tired? Well, just like a muscle, as we use it, it gets stronger. So keep practicing that self discipline. Make sure you continue to eat healthy post show and look after your GI tract and gut health. Keep taking your supplements and doing your cardio. Taking a prebiotic can really help replenish the good bacteria in your gut, decreasing leaky gut and increasing neurotransmitter function in your brain.

Looking back on 2018 I wish I would have realized that it’s ok to be burnt out, sad, and a little depressed after a big year. Even if it was the best year. Watch our for that adrenaline dump after big life events. And keep looking after yourself. Don’t feel bad if you need to take a break for your mind, body, and soul. And always keep your gut health a priority. Not only for your gains but also for you mind! Lastly remember, post show is hard – but you have the power and it is under you control to beat the blues!!!!

10 Powerful Ingredients Unique to the Project AD Line that can Alter Your Performance

Posted By Melissa Bumstead on January 16, 2019

Being healthy is always my number one priority. When I’m healthy my energy levels are high, my sleep quality is good, my training intensity is where it needs to be, my digestion is regular. When all of this is in check, it definitely shows in my physique as well as in my performance in the gym.

When learning about our wellness line I discovered so many ingredients that are in our products that I had never even heard of. These ingredients are key to my overall health and ensure that all the work that I do day in and day out, inside and out of the gym, is actually worth it.

I think it is so important to take care of my internal health, especially when I’m working towards goals in the gym and growing my physique so everyday I use Fibre+, Grazed, Heart+, and Liver+

Below are 10 ingredients that set our wellness line apart and contribute to overall health and ALL OF THE GAINS!

RUMINANT™ Fiber Blend (found in Fiber+)

– What is it? Natural sources of soluble and insoluble fibre
– What does it do? Leads to normalised bowel movements, lower blood pressure, improved balance of “good to bad” cholesterol, and stabilised blood sugar levels.

ProBio-Gest Blend (found in Fibre+)

– What is it? 12 strains of probiotics
– What does it do? Improves gut flora, strengthens the immune system, and compliments the welcome addition of fibre to your diet.

BCAA’s in the elusive 8:1:1 ratio (found in Grazed)

– What is it? 4g per serving of instantized L-Leucine
– What does it do? Enhances recovery, restores depleted amino acid levels and supports muscular development.

Kale, Spirulina & Icelandic Kelp Powder (found in Grazed)

– What do they do? Help control acidity & unbalanced pH levels in the body thus positively influencing health, mental well-being and muscle recovery.

Training Defence Blend (found in Grazed)

– What is it? Natural pomegranate and vitamin c
– What does it do? Helps your body’s natural immune responses

Key vitamins & minerals that can be difficult to obtain through the diet. (found in Heart+)

– What are they? Vitamin D3, Zinc & Magnesium, C3 Curcumin Extract®, Benolea EFLA943®, Bioperine® , Hawthorn Berry Extract, Guggul Lipid & Kaneka biqionol® COQ10
– What do they do? play a fundamental role in the repair of the body’s nerves and cells as well as cleansing the system of harmful toxins that can be difficult to obtain through the diet.

Antioxidants (found in Liver+)

– What are they? Milk Thistle, N-Acetyl Cysteine, White Peony
– What do they do? Improve the livers functioning, help with the synthesis of proteins, detoxify chemicals into less harmful compounds, boost the body’s immune functioning, relieve aches and pains in the liver (ideal for those who use advanced supplementation, have high protein diets or expose the liver to harsh toxins that cause additional stress)

Tumeric (found in Heart+ and Liver+)

– What is it? The active ingredient within Tumeric is curcumin
– What does it do? Aids in immune functioning and aids in the reduction of toxins within the liver, heart and lungs. It also has very powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour and antioxidant properties.

Dandelion Root (found in Liver+)

– What does it do?– Aids in the functioning of the liver, gall bladder, pancreas and spleen

Artichoke Extract (found in Liver+)

– What does it do? Improves the functioning of major organs within the body, strengthens the liver and brings about healing by regenerating the liver cells. It also has a positive effect on the digestive system by encouraging the production of bile to help digest fats and help the liver remove toxins.

All the ingredients in the AD Wellness line are carefully thought out and dosed and each product combines key ingredients into one pill for ease. Remember to take care of your body so all of that work you put into the gym and into your diet can show! These products can help assimilate nutrients in the body, balance hormones, and combat infections; all things necessary when building your dream physique. I truly believe that your internal health shows from the inside out!

A Note On Gut Microbiome Health

It’s actually incredible how much the health and balance of your gut microbiota (the thousands of tiny microorganisms, bacteria, virus and so on) that inhibit your gastrointestinal tract (GI) impacts both the body and the brain (through the complex interaction of the gut-brain axis). This network of living bacteria communicate and signal the brain which in turn results in energy, mood and emotional outputs.

Maintaining optimal gut health and increases the balance of positive ‘good’ gut bacteria over negative and harmful ‘bad’ good bacteria is genuinely so important – and such a massive emerging field of research; we’re just scraping the tip of the iceberg.

Through advances in science, testing your gut microbiome is now accessible and affordable, with gut microbiome testing now being offered to you at home. Samples are sent to high tech laboratories and results can be accesses, assessed and compared to cross population statistics. Testing your gut microbiome and making quick changes to your nutrition and lifestyle habits is an extremely powerful tool to allow you to achieve optimal health.

We’d strongly urge you to take a look at how the health of your gut might be impacting your performance and your mental health. If you do get a chance, and give it a go, let us know how you get on.

Muscle Growth Tips with IFBB Pro Melissa Bumstead

Posted By Melissa Bumstead on September 7, 2018

One of Canada’s best exports to hit the IFBB stage reveals her favourite muscle building techniques that allow her to dominate the condition come contest day.

1)   Is it best to vary rep ranges when training solely for hypertrophy/muscle gain, or is there a sweet spot bodybuilders should generally stick to?

There is no real right answer to that. I personally find that different muscles respond to different rep ranges.

For example, when training my delts and legs, I find higher volume works better for growth.  

Delts I like to train at about 15 reps with a lot of supersets and legs around 12 reps.

Where as for my back, I like to train lower reps and heavier weight, working up to a heavy set where I fail somewhere around 8 reps.

Remember this is specific to me personally.  

I think it’s important to experiment and find what works best for YOU and stick to it.  Don’t overcomplicate things.

I think it is more important to find movements that work for you in terms of activating the right muscles.  Find those movements, master them, and get stronger.

2)   What is the optimal training frequency for muscle growth?

This comes down to the amount of volume you’re putting into each body part.  I think if you’re training a body part at a super high volume, hitting it more than once a week puts you at the risk of over training.  

If you’re training at a lower volume, you might be able to get away with training that body part twice a week but it is important to listen to your body.  

If I am supposed to hit legs on my split and I can feel my legs have not recovered from my last session I will either take a rest day or train something else.  

Remember too, if you are eating fewer calories, doing a lot of cardio, or your sleep is compromised, recovery won’t be as fast as you may be used to.

3)   Training twice per day: are there any circumstances where you would advise this for muscle growth if somebody has the time?

It could be beneficial if you are trying to burn extra calories into prep, but only for a short period of time.  Any longer than 4-6 weeks of this puts you at risk for burnout.

For muscle growth though, your diet would have to consist of a pretty high amount of calories for this to actually be beneficial.

Conclusion

Melissa has made a stunning transformation in the muscle she’s added to her frame over the years, so take heed to her advice and you’re likely to do the same!

Peak Week Advice with Melissa Bumstead

Posted By Melissa Bumstead on September 7, 2018

One of Canada’s best homegrown talents, Melissa Bumstead reveals all she’s learnt from consistently coming into shows in unbelievable shape and peaking at the right time come contest day.

1) Best advice for peak week?

Ideally, you should be ready before peak week begins so no crazy changes should be going on here.  You don’t want to start throwing in changes when you’re 1 week out and all of a sudden you look worse or your cortisol levels spike.

Let’s be serious: no one is going to lose a serious amount of fat in one week so peak week focus is more about water and carb manipulation to make sure on show day you are at your best.

Keep your stress low! Whatever that means for you. If that means spending time alone, do it. If that means surrounding yourself with the people in your life that make you feel good, do it.  

A lot of my peak weeks start with a visit to my parents place on the water to just reset and recharge and get some good love from mama.

I like to spend peak week pampering myself: hair, nails, facial, massage, things that make me feel good and are relaxing.

After that, just trust that you’ve already done the work and that you and your coach have ensured you are ready to rock that stage.

2) What stage out should you start your prep?

For me personally, I have never started a prep later than 20 weeks out. I have started 10 pounds away from stage weight and 30 pounds away from stage weight.  

In any case I would rather more time than less. This also allows room for more refeeds and a slower reduction in calories, which I find, works way better for me mentally as well as physically.

3) What key strategies do you use to give you/clients an edge on the competition?

Don’t rush anything! Don’t rush fat loss, don’t rush growth, and don’t rush success. This is only going to prevent you from living in the moment and actually enjoying the present.

Good things also take time.  

Think long term, especially if competing is something you want to do for a while.  

It is also healthier to lose or gain weight at slower rates and more maintainable when we do so.

Remember we are choosing to compete and are lucky to get to do so, so don’t take anything for granted!  Don’t even take the struggle for granted! When you’re hungry and tired prep is probably working.

Lastly, and most importantly, keep your health as your top priority.  I truly believe if you’re healthy you will feel good and from there you will look good.

Everyday I take my Project AD Grazed and Fiber+, along with Project AD Heart+ and Liver+ along with my other vitamins.  

Eat whole, healthy foods that fuel your body and make you feel good!

Conclusion

The saying “health is your greatest wealth” is especially true for those of us who take the gruelling journey to the stage. Take Melissa’s advice seriously and ensure the full AD Wellness range is part of your arsenal as you rock the stage.

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