1) Please introduce yourself? What makes you special? Who is Melissa Marx?
I come from a background of Dance and Performing arts so I began competing at a young age. My hobbies were singing at weddings and other functions while studying dance. I have been in several different dance competitions with my dance squad and cheerleading squad. My main interest was lyrical, freestyle and tap. I also loved theater and performing arts. I have been on the life of the stage since age 6. My life is very theatrical…. I love being creative with things and always making the most out of what my day brings me…
2) Please tell us a bit about your family, friends and surroundings?
My family resides in Ohio where I was born and raised. I moved to the city of Phoenix at age 19 to get out of the snow, however, we always made the most of it. Growing up my family and neighborhood friends would race quads through the snow, as well as, making fun sledge games tied to the back of a motorcycle. We also would sled along the slopes. In the summer time, we would go tubing and skiing a lot. My mother and sister were really big on cycling while I was big on running.
3) How did you start competing in figure?
4) What is your personal policy (not what the judges want) about conditioning and muscularity when coming into a show? Soft or hard?
To me, I prefer the hard look. You see a lot of that look when you are introduced to the figure girls in other countries. In the United States however, it seems like the judges are always fluctuating between a softer look and a harder look. You notice a difference when comparing an East Coast Show to a West Coast Show. It seems like shape and symmetry is what scores on the West coast whereas, conditioning and muscularity scores on the East coast.
4) What is your idea of what judges want in a Figure competitor? Do you think judges are clear enough with competitors about how they want you on stage? It seems in Europe they are very clear unlike in the USA and now in Canada things are confusing. 6) For the next shows what do you think you need to work on physique-wise/conditioning-wise? If anything!
Again, I feel like it differs from coast to coast. As stated above, on the West coast, I feel like shape and symmetry is key. On the East coast I feel as though the judges like the girls more conditioned and muscular.
7) What is your typical training routine in the gym (per day, include sets and reps!) How much cardio do you do before a show?
My training routine right now consists of 6 days a week lifting and 5 days a week cardio. I incorporate 2 leg days. One day we focus more on hamstrings and glutes, and the other day we focus more on quads. I also like to incorporate super-sets to help bring up my lagging body parts. My training partner Troy likes to have me do some power lifting with heavy squats and dead lifts. He also found that giant sets early in the routine or toward the end help too. Milos Sarcev inspired this method. It has been working really well. Usually we’ll also incorporate some FST-7 training as our last set, inspired by Hany. This really helps with my shoulders on shoulder day.
8) What is your pre-contest diet? (per day, 1 week before the show)
My pre contest diet depends on how I look. Off-season I am a moderate carb eater. This keeps me at 13-15% body fat so I’ll probably be a moderate carb eater throughout the show. I generally eat high protein, low fat and moderate carbs.
9) How do you go about dropping your water before the day of the show? How much water do you drink the day of the show. Please be specific.
I generally use Taraxatone a week out and 1-2 days from the show incorporate a stronger diuretic. I drink 1.5-2 gallons of water a day so I’ll gradually cut that down ½ a gallon daily the last week out while using the Taraxatone.
10) What motivates you to train/diet and compete? Are there any competitors you looked up to?
I really look up to Ava Cowan. She’s got muscle and curves and symmetry. I have pictures up in frames of her around my computer to look at and motivate me throughout my figure transformation. It’s amazing how training and diet can change one’s physique. I have really come along way. I had a different look when I competed in bikini and at the time looked up to Jennifer Nicole Lee and Marzia Prince. However, the more I became fascinated with a more muscular physique, girls like Jamie Eason and Ava Cowan really stood out. I love the athletic look with curves. I feel like women’s physiques have come a long way through the years. It’s more acceptable and appealing to be a female with muscle.
11) Please tell us an interesting experience you had at a show recently, be it a fun thing or something rather not so fun?
I always used to joke around with my ex fiancé about how cool it would be to get to stand next to someone I aspire to on the NPC stage. Since bikini was new, it was cool when Marzia Prince competed with me at the 2009 Jr. Nationals. We were in different classes but we got to chat a little bit backstage. She’s really a sweetheart. I got a picture with her on Muscular Development and my wish came true. I got to step on stage with someone that I once looked up to.
12) What is your personal opinion about the figure, fitness, bodybuilding industry we are in? Anything you would like to see changed?
I would really like to see the fitness and bodybuilding divisions come up again. I think that more and more women should enter those two divisions. I grew up in dance and if I didn’t have knee issues, I would love to enter the fitness division and kill it!!! I always loved watching those girls.
13) What has been your hardest challenge to overcome either in your personal life or competing career?
The hardest thing that I had to overcome was getting on stage with an ex fiancé that never really supported me. So many people say that it’s hard to compete with your loved one…I speak differently. I was always under the assumption that two people dieting and competing under the same roof can really motivate and feed off of each other. Apparently, those that feel that it wouldn’t work are with the wrong partner. My first partner wasn’t perfect for me in this industry. However, my current partner Troy is awesome. We love dieting together, and training together. He is very laid back and I love working with him both in the gym and out of the gym. We support one another and encourage each other to push harder. He has really helped me to learn how to spot in the gym and how to become a better competitor. So I guess the hardest thing I overcame turned into a good thing that I found.
14) Did you make any changes to your contest prep for your last show? Water intake, carbing up, etc..
15) What do you think of bikini division?
I think that it’s a great division for girls that don’t want to put on the muscle that is required for figure. It’s also a good stepping-stone for others that want to get their feet wet and get used to the stage presence and contest prep. I have seen so many figure girls transform into bodybuilders and bikini girls transform into figure competitors. For those that don’t ever have aspirations to compete in figure, I believe there is a division out there for all of us.
16) What are your favorite foods to eat right after you compete on a Saturday night?
17) Please tell us about how you were raised and did you have any interesting experiences while growing up?
My sister and I were raised with 2 stepbrothers and an older step- sister. So with all the children in the house, our parents loved to have us utilize our energy by completing yard work and housework. We were raised on the premises of proper utilization of time. Every summer we were required to go on a 2-mile bike ride or walk. We also belonged to an Olympic swim club out of Warren Ohio. Swimming and diving were required to belong to this swim club. Our parents wanted us healthy, active and busy. Our diets were very nutritious with little to no sugar.
18) Do you have an athletic background? Gymnastics, soccer, volleyball or what?
The extent to my athleticism would be my cheerleading and my dance-line days. I did a lot of competitive cheerleading competitions and half time dance line competing. I never played sports like basketball or soccer, but in grade school, I was my hockey team’s goalie. That was until I was no longer the tallest girl in my grade.
19) What is a typical day in the life of Melissa Marx? From waking up to until going to bed?
My life consists of running errands, cooking my meals for the day, training, spending time with my boyfriend Troy and working. I generally take 2 days off a week to spend time with him and do things like going to see a movie, grabbing coffee, spending time with friends, walking around the mall or grabbing some healthy food and having reflection time. We recently started attending some power-lifting events. Those are pretty fun to do in our off time.
20) What is your current occupation? Please tell us more about it, what do you specifically do in your job?
I am a dancer right now, but am in the process of learning how to train so that Troy and I get a training team together once we move. We are also looking into opening our own supplement store together once we re-locate.