Name: Melissa Hauser
Division you will compete in: Figure
Height: 5’ 2 ¼”
Weight/Competition Weight: 125/115
Any Other Measurements:
City: Denver, CO
Years as a vegan: One year as a full vegan. Vegetarian since 2009; dairy-free since 2012.
Why you became a Vegan: Animals, health and the environment! My transition to a vegan lifestyle was gradual. In early 2009, I first eliminated beef, poultry and pork from my diet. I was never a huge fan of meat, and had sincere concerns around the treatment of animals. I did some research, and learned that animal protein was not an essential component of our diet. Almost as an ‘experiment’ I chose to cut these from my diet, and never looked back!
It wasn’t until 2012 that I cut dairy. My son was born with a severe dairy allergy, and even the slightest intake by me would pass to him while feeding. I immediately eliminated all dairy products, did some more research and was mortified to learn about the negative health effects that dairy has on the human body. Shortly after eliminating dairy, I removed all fish and seafood. It was apparent to me that my body operated better on a plant-fueled diet, so I made the decision to eliminate all animal proteins.
NPC-sanctioned Warrior Classic in Loveland, CO (August 2013). Placed 2nd in Novice; 5th in Open Height Class.
NPC-sanctioned GNC Natural in Denver, CO (October 2013). Placed 1st in Novice, won Overall Novice, 1st in Open Height Class. This qualified me for NPC Nationals in 2014!
What drives you to compete: I love how accountable this sport makes you. There is no way to “cheat” and get away with it. Competing keeps me focused on my goals, and I love seeing changes and gains in my own physique. I also love competing because it allows me to inspire others to lead healthier lives, and shows people that you can achieve incredible results while being a wife/mother/employee/etc.
What do you see as the biggest advantages of being a vegan athlete: I feel amazing all the time from eating a vegan diet. I have a ridiculous amount of energy and incredible recovery times. Plus, I get to eat tons of delicious food all the time! In this sport, you see competitors with huge weight fluctuations between seasons, and they restrict their diets tremendously leading up to a show and diet way down. Because I eat healthy choices all the time, the adjustments that I make in competition prep are very minimal, and I maintain a pretty lean form year round.
What types of supplements if any do you use?: Vega Sport Protein and Plant Fusion are staples of mine, and provides BCAA’s and glutamine. Other than that, I take multi-vitamins, extra calcium & magnesium, CLA, and flaxseed oil.
How would you describe your diet while preparing for a competition: I eat pretty consistently year round, so my diet doesn’t look a whole lot different in the weeks leading up to a show. I tend to eat 6 meals a day, every 2-3 hours, with a full gallon of water each day. Each meal has complex carbs, leafy greens and lots of protein. About two weeks before a show, I’ll alter my carb, water and sodium intake, but it’s all monitored by my coach.
Favorite food in your prep diet: I could live on broccoli. Or cauliflower. Maybe spinach. Asparagus too. Basically, I love all vegetables. I also love making homemade seitan as it’s incredibly high in protein and very versatile.
How would you describe your training for a competition: I love to lift heavy weights, and love to sweat! I am one of the rare people who love a good, long cardio session. Monday through Friday, you can find me on the stair stepper at the gym from 5-6 am where I do fasted cardio interval training. (I use this as my “me” time, and bring my Kindle to catch up on TV shows and movies that I’ve missed!) I try to get in an additional hour of cardio on the weekend too.
I also fit in 45 – 60 minutes of weight training 6 days a week. I rotate workouts to focus on my primary target areas (shoulders, back and legs) and work in a secondary muscle group (biceps, triceps, chest and abs) each day too.
Favorite exercises: This changes all the time….right now, my favorite exercise is cable lat pulldowns. I also love training shoulders: side delt raises are my favorite because I love seeing all the striations!
How many hours a week do you spend training?: 10-15
Today I am most proud of: I am most proud of my amazing family: my husband David, and our year-and-a-half old son, Nolan. They encourage and inspire me to pursue this passion, and keep me grounded.
Personal website or blog: