Melissa Coates: My favorite interview and story was done in the Jan 97 issue of Muscular Development Magazine, I was on the cover and also the centerfold and Body of the Month. It was a great interview with a lot of wonderful photos done by a great photographer named Per Bernal. The spread was about 15 pages long and very complimentary. It brought me a great deal of fan mail, more than any other interview I have ever done, and I am very proud of it.
Friends who have read it have said it is just like talking to me. I appreciate having an interview done that quotes me directly instead of having things written in the author's own lingo. The last interview I did was a star profile in last August's issue of Flex magazine.
Melissa: I got my body into this shape it has today by many years of good honest work. But I must admit that I sometimes do not stick to the most rigorous diet. I like the occasional sweet here and there! A lot of people are shocked when they see that I do not always stick to a very clean diet, but I believe moderation in everything is healthy.
I believe it is hard for someone to be a bodybuilder, it takes every ounce of their being, if they can't do that, they probably shouldn't really be doing it. In the long run, I think it will drive them crazy!
Don: Per the field you are in, tell me the best, and the worst experience you have ever had so far. Maybe the experience was actually with another person or happened to a friend, hypothetically speaking.
Melissa: I have had many wonderful experiences within the bodybuilding world, but I would say the worst experience has been on a couple of contest days in which I was so dehydrated that my feet were cramping very very badly and this ruined my posing routine. My nerves can get the best of me, but having the fear that I am not going to be able to stand on my own two feet is not too pleasant either!
Don: Tell me about the different fad diets you have tried. Why did they fail? What REALLY worked? Who turned you on to them?
Melissa: I have never tried fad diets. Being a bodybuilder means that you must follow a healthy diet that promotes muscle growth and fat depletion. So in that way, I eat a diet high in protein, moderate in carbs and good fat. My metabolism works just fine with this way of eating. I realize other people may have problems dieting in this manner, but for me it has worked like a charm.
Don: Having a goal helps. Not to say you are a steroid user, but those who take drugs are smart to eat right as much as possible. One, why waste the drug? Two, because the drugs tear you apart and you need all the nourishment you can for rebuilding. What routine exercise was your favorite routine? Split routines, full body workouts, what really showed the best results? What was your last session like?
Melissa: My most productive routine has been to focus on one body part a session and to rotate. This is if I am in a growing cycle, i.e. trying to put on muscle. Right now I am training to stay in shape, and so do a different routine. It is very important to have rest days as well, especially after a day of doing your weakest body part. I have done this deal when preparing for a contest, training 2 days on, 1 day off, and again. For my present routine, I train one day, take a day off, and so on. For beginners, I suggest doing a full body workout for sure until they feel ready to go to a different style.
Don: What was the last movie you saw, video rented, cd bought, concert saw, fancy and bad meal ate?
Melissa: The last movie I went to see was Scary Movie - I love to laugh. I also love gothic/vampire type movies so I rented Stigmata the other day as well. I have not had the chance to go to any concerts lately, although last year I went to Ozzfest in Apple River which is close to Minneapolis MN. It was a great outdoor concert held on some camp grounds - 50,000 people were there, and the bands were great!
I also went tubing down Apple River with my friends and had a really wonderful time! I only wish I had more free time to do things like that! As for meals, I love lobster and crab especially! Followed by something chocolatey for dessert!
Don: What supplement lines do you use? What one thing about eating would you never neglect (or more than one)?
Melissa: I do not use any one particular supplement line, but I have liked Sportspharma, Twinlab, and recently my chiropractor turned me on to Uni-Pro. I figure he has researched supplements so knows what is a good quality supplement to use. The one thing in my diet I know I must not neglect is eating a good deal of quality protein - muscle cannot exist too well without it. Diet is about 75% of the battle really.
If you do not eat properly and train right you will still not get half the benefits you do by eating properly together. A lot of people don't realize just how important diet is. It took me a while before I realized this as well, and once I did I made incredible gains. Eating every few hours on a regular schedule is very important to me.
Don: You would be surprised how little physicians know about product formulation. I am even more surprised how fast people back down in arguments with a doctor over it too. What got you started in weight training? When did you first pay attention to diet? Many people still think drugs or exercise is all you need and ignore nutrition.
Melissa: I got started when I was training to be a pro tennis player. I ended up developing very easily though, was a champion bench presser and then decided to take it further and do bodybuilding. Happily, I was also very successful at bodybuilding and so have the career I do today. I am hoping to carry this into professional wrestling so wish me luck!
Don: What is your crowning achievement? That ONE thing. I know you have accomplished a lot but there had to of been once that... Plus: Who cheered you along all the while?
Melissa: I would have to say my crowning achievement was winning my pro debut, the 1996 Jan Tana which a lot of people thought I was only a pretty face and could not be a contender in the pro ranks. I also did 2 Ms. Olympia shows that I am very proud of, but did not have the type of success I had in my debut. My mother was always my main source of support, and for that I am forever grateful.
Don: What was your first and last job working for someone else?
Melissa: My first job was working as a veterinary assistant. I went to a University and achieved my science degree in biology and had plans to be either a doctor or a veterinarian, but I got caught up in the whole bodybuilding thing, and ended up doing that instead. My last job was as a shooter girl in a couple of bars back home in Thunder Bay, Canada. That was a great job - good money and a lot of fun.
Melissa: I would like to plug my web site, www.melissacoates.net, and also I will have a new and improved www.melissacoates.com going up in a month or two. It is unique, obviously, because it is about ME and from me to the fans. I take a lot of pains in order to include the fans in my life and my decisions. Without them, I would not have enjoyed the success I have had.
Don: Describe to me your current eating plan and what you know you should change about it?
Melissa: My current eating plan is pretty clean at the moment since I am getting ready for some photo shoots - so that means a lot of eggs and chicken, moderate amounts of oatmeal and potatoes, and just a bit of fat. And lots of water. That is very important to keep the body cleansed and operating properly.
Don: What is your favorite 'good for you' meal and favorite cheat food?
Melissa: My favorite meal that is good for me would be barbequed chicken breast or potatoes with fat free sour cream and onions sprinkled on top. Having done this so many years, I have learned how to cut the blandness out of eating healthy. My favorite cheat meal would be lobster or crab oozing in garlic butter. Followed of course by something with a lot of chocolate!!
Don: Is there anything you think we haven't touched upon here yet you'd like to?
Melissa: I would like the fans to know that the magazines really do listen to what the fans have to say. At the moment it seems that women's BB is not being represented so fairly in the magazines in favor of featuring many so called fitness models who don't even look like they train. So show your support and write to the magazines asking for the real athletes to be represented a bit more regularly.
Women's bodybuilding is far more popular than people think, so stand up and be counted! A muscular woman seems to be considered controversial at the moment, but this controversy would disappear should the fans write in about it. I am doing what I can to represent the sport and art form that I love, and would appreciate support in the future as well.
Don: What is your educational background? College. Certifications. Was there any particular research done that was important in getting you into the field you are today?
Melissa: I have a bachelor of science degree majoring in biology. My family is also full of doctors. I suppose that is where I learned admiration for the human form.
Don: I am curious what your most frequently asked question is? I am also curious if you have a favorite little get away you go to?
Melissa: My most frequently asked question would have to be "Can we go out?" But along that is "How much can you lift?" or something about arm wrestling! I like to get away to Vegas with my friends every once in awhile for a break, but the Bahamas is nice too.
Don: Your top five favorite web sites are:
Melissa: I tend to be so busy with my own web site and answering my email, that I do not often check out other web sites, so of course mine and yours Don are my favorites!
Don: What makes you cringe? What makes you smile so wide your jaw aches?
Melissa: What makes me cringe are negative people who think women bodybuilders want to be men, and what makes me really happy almost to the point of tears is seeing unconditional love like someone doing a good thing because it is the right thing to do.
Don: Paint the final picture of your goals in life. Of all the highs and lows, what is your desired final destination? What do you want to see or know is left behind?
Melissa: My future goals are to continue being a true fitness model, perhaps compete again, get into professional wrestling and from there try to springboard into TV or film. I see all this as promoting the muscular woman as an icon, someone to be admired and respected.
Don: This was really fun! In closing, what needs changed in your industry?
Melissa: What I feel needs to be changed in the industry is the shallowness of some people not to accept women who choose to go the path of being muscular. It is often met with negativity, and it doesn't need to be this way. A lot of people are unwilling to see past society's barriers on what is considered masculine and what is considered feminine.
It takes a strong woman to go against the grain, and all of us deserve credit I believe for standing on our own two feet and challenging the narrow minded. A woman can be powerful and still be feminine. Please, lets open our eyes, our minds and our hearts to this concept.
Melissa Coates' Website!