Infinit Nutrition Canada - Premium Sport-Specific Nutrition

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Canadian Olympian/Team Infinit Athlete - Melissa Bishop

We first met Melissa in October of 2013, I was a bit embarrassed that we didn't know of Melissa Bishop, a Lancer grad, who was not only Canada's top 800 m runner, she had competed at the 2012 Olympic Games.  I still marvel at the talent we have in our community and how little known it is.  I hope you find the interview as insightful as we have.

Infinit: How did your running career start and who supported you along the way?
Melissa: I started out playing soccer. My first coach, Mike O’Grady (now my Optometrist) always said I was going to be a good runner because I could run up and down that soccer field and not get tired. He was probably the one who put the dream in my head to be an Olympian.
In school, I remember the first time I ever thought about even attempting to run. I was sitting in my grade 4 classroom, with my teacher, Mr. Brash, and an announcement came on saying “if you want to try out for the cross country team, meet at lunch hour at the recess doors for practice”. So, out I went and I don’t think I’ve ever really looked back. I wasn’t one of the best runners to begin with; I’d say top 7 in every race though. In elementary school I did every single event I could.  No throws, but I long jumped, triple jumped, high jumped, 100m, 200m, 400m, and relays. I just couldn’t get enough of it.

It wasn’t until I got to grade 7 or 8 that I started to come into my own. At that point I had joined the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club. My parents/grand parents would drive me the 2 hours one way to Ottawa 3 times a week for practice. Until I was able to drive they were (and still continue to be) a huge part of my development as an athlete. Without them I wouldn’t have been able to gain the access to coaching and competitions in the bigger city. In my grade 9 year I won OFSAA in the 400m, and competed in the 200m; and was 2nd in OFSAA cross-country. I think at that point, I knew the thought had definitely crossed my parent’s minds, and mine as well, that I maybe had the potential to reach the Olympics or the level I’m at now; but it was just a thought. Not until probably a few years leading up to the Olympics did I think it would become a reality.
In grade 12 mid-way through the school year I made a big decision of moving to Ottawa to lessen the travel time and gain the recovery time. I left home at the age of 17, moved into a house with a wonderful friend, Anne, who took me under her wing. I moved schools, left all my high-school sports teams, stopped playing hockey & volleyball, made new friends, adapted to city living (I’m from the country, fields full of cows for neighbours, dirt road, you name it), I had to sit out my last year of OFSSA (which is everything in high school)… only to get a few months into my move to find out I had a stress fracture in my toe. I think I cried for a week straight because a) I was homesick and b) my world was ending because I couldn’t’ run. I was immediately put into an air cast. I didn’t compete that summer, and slowly got back into things the following fall. It was around this point in my running career where that small thought of making an Olympic team was crushed. I slowly started to lose focus, running felt like a chore, and I really wasn’t having fun. But I still continued to just go through the motions.

That fall I was entering University and decided to stay in Ottawa and train with the coaches I had been for the past 4 years.  That winter we were training for the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Championships and the day before we were to head out, the University pulled the plug on the track team. At that point, the University of Ottawa didn’t have a track and field team officially; we still were training however, because it was in the works.
From then on I decided I needed a change. I started looking for transfers to other schools, and the University of Windsor quickly rose to the top of my list. With the history of success and a highly decorated head coach, Dennis Fairall, I decided that I would make the 8hr trip to Windsor and move, yet again, starting fresh.
Turns out, my decision to attend the University of Windsor was my best choice. I was able to get the degrees I wanted, I found my love for track and field again, and had lots of success in the CIS.  I completely bought into the program with Dennis, and committed to everything he said. With the success in the CIS I have to say that my dreams of making the Olympics came to life again, and I really wanted it.

The year after I graduated from Windsor, I made the 2012 Olympic Team. I took the 2012-year to dedicate to training. I didn’t work or go to school, I trained every day, put all my time and energy into it. Currently, my job is athletics/running/track and field/ training for Rio 2016.  I still continue to train full time and hoping to be better than the last year or last race.

Infinit: Your focus is 800 m, how and why has that become your race?
Melissa: When I was in high school is when I made the switch from the 400m to the 800m. I made the World Youth team in the 400m, and had lots of success in it when I was younger, like OFSAA medals, Ontario Championship medals, etc. I became an official 800m runner likely when I started University. I still “dabbled” in the 400 and some off distances, but 800m was my primary event and has been ever since. It’s a real science to figure out an event like the 800m; I still haven’t got it down yet. I’m constantly learning something new about the race. During our outdoor season I don’t do too many off distances, I recently just did my very first 1500m race and it was indoors. I think I will probably try a few of those outdoors this year.
Melissa Bishop 2013 Nationals
Photo Source: Ryan Rowat

Infinit: What was the defining moment and who most influenced your success?
Melissa: My breakthrough year was in 2012. Not just because it was an Olympic year and I made the Olympic team; but because I had made some great strides in my training and everything was showing in competition. All the hard work I had been doing for the past 10 years leading up to 2012 was finally coming together for me (and still is). Dennis Fairall is and was my coach during this breakthrough and I give him full credit for all of it. Prior to 2012, Dennis had coached me for 4 years. In 2012, we both committed to training full time and we saw great results. I went from a 2:02 runner to a 1:59 runner in a matter of weeks. Running under 2:00 minutes in the 800m for a female is a huge deal. Only 4 women in Canada have ever done it (I’m number 3). Unfortunatley, while running under 2min is a big deal in Canada, it’s the norm on the world stage. So while I feel very accomplished, I know I still have lots of work to look forward to if I want to see myself on a podium one day.

Infinit: As you prepare for Rio in 2016, what are the key milestones along the way?
Melissa: Coming up this year are the Commonwealth Games. In 2015 Pan-Am Games, which are being held in Toronto, and World Championships, are all in the same year. Those 3 things are the big benchmarks leading up to Rio. In terms of performance- this year I’d like to consistently run under 2:00minutes; and I’d like to find myself in a final and on a podium in these next few years.

Infinit: As a full time athlete, can you share what a typical day would look like?
Melissa: My typical day in the months leading up to our competitive season would usually look like:
Off track workout days:

7 AM wakeup
9 AM- morning run, 15-20 min (3-4km)
11AM- core session
Nap and lunch
2PM- therapy (can include physiotherapy, massage therapy, chiropractic)
4 PM- afternoon run, 30-35 min (6-7km)
5 PM- weight session
8 PM- dinner and recovery

When we are on the track doing intervals, these workouts tend to be more intense than long runs, so usually its just one workout a day. Therapy and weight sessions get moved around all the time and could land on track workout days, which is OK. The day just gets a little tougher.
Melissa 2013 Nationals
Photo Source: Ryan Rowat

Infinit: Who introduced me to Infinit?
Melissa: Kurt Downes approached me about Infinit. He had done a lot of research for his athletes, and thought that maybe this would be something of interest to me. When he first explained Infinit to me I was surprised; I didn’t know we had a supplement company here in Windsor- Essex. You mean I don’t have to order things from the USA? That grabbed my attention right away. Point for Infinit. But then, Kurt went on to tell me that Infinit makes their products specifically for the athlete. There is no pre supplement that works for everyone. Each supplement is different depending on the needs of the athlete. This is what got me hooked. A supplement company that gives me everything I’m looking for and ONLY the things I need for proper recovery & nutrition in my pre and post workout drinks. There are no fillers here, no broad supplement to meet the needs of athletes from cross-fit to football to running. A supplement literally made for me! I was sold immediately. I got in touch with Darcy Haggith, and he talked me through what Infinit is about and their core values, then about their products. I’ve been using Infinit for about 5 months now and I couldn’t be more pleased with how I feel pre and post workout sessions.

Infint: How did you fuel prior to Infinit?
Melissa: Before I found out about Infinit, I was using a broad supplement for pre/post workout sessions. It was made for any sport, covered all the bases for all athletes regardless of energy needs, protein needs, or workout intensities. The supplement was good; but now that I have Infinit to fuel my body, I couldn’t go back to that old supplement. Often times with the old supplement, my stomach would get upset before workouts. I could never understand why until I tried Infinit and I didn’t have that problem anymore. The old supplement was quite heavy in my stomach and it was a little carbonated. Carbonation and a heavy stomach isn’t ideal prior to racing or working out. I made it work, but I think its because I wasn’t exposed to anything else. I didn’t know there was anything else out there. As an athlete, you get stuck in routine and change sometimes isn’t welcomed; especially when it comes to nutrition and supplements. If you find what works, why change it?  My old supplement “worked” but I had issues (like the upset stomach). Which is why I was open to try and eventually change to Infinit. My pre workout drink is as light as water in my stomach, has zero carbonation, and it tastes great. I don’t get “water belly” anymore and no longer have stomach issues; but most of all, I feel good using it.

Infinit: What products are you using?
Melissa: Currently I’m using my Custom blend (pre and during), REPAIR, and RAW protein. I usually start drinking Melissa Sprint Blend 60min prior to my warm-up and continue to sip on it during the workout. If I’m racing, I try and get most of it into me about 30min prior to start time. Post workout/race I’m using the REPAIR; immediately after my session I start drinking the repair. When I’m heading for a weight session or have a longer workout day ahead of me I’ll throw some raw protein into my oatmeal in the morning, or into a shake in the afternoon to sip on while lifting.

The biggest difference with Infinit that I didn’t get in my last supplement was a piece of mind. I know with confidence that this supplement is built around me and only my needs. I don’t need the same amount of protein as a football player, nor do I expend as much energy as a triathlete.  What’s in my supplement from Infinit is for me and that’s what I love about it. 

As you can image we are extremely proud to be partnered with Melissa, best of all we know we are fuelling her to her maximum potential.  Melissa has a crazy season ahead - we will be providing updates as the season progresses.

Darcy Haggith, President, Infinit Nutrition Canada