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melissa hayward

After spending 9 years in the British Army, it’s safe to say that Melissa Haywood isn’t shy of some serious hard work;  which is probably why after leaving the army, Mel went on to win her very first bikini competition!

melissa hayward

With fire in her belly and passion in her heart Melissa then went on to on to win a string of bodybuilding competitions as well as picking up her pro card!

After finding a passion for all things health and fitness during her time in the army, Melissa turned her passion into a career when she set up the successful online personal training and body transformation business Bikini Queens with fellow Grenade athlete Jamie Alderton.

We spoke to Mel to find out exactly what it takes to become a successful bikini competitor and why she believes that what you do when you come OFF stage is just as important as competition prep…

  • 2012 Miami Pro Championships – 1st place Bikini
  • 2012 UKBFF Muscle talk qualifier – 2nd place Bikini Fitness
  • 2012 UKBFF British Championships – 1st place Bikini Fitness
  • 2013 Arnold amateur Ohio – 4th place Bikini Fitness
  • 2013 IFBB European Championships – 2nd place Bikini Fitness
  • 2013 IFBB World Championships – 7th place Bikini Fitness
  • 2013 Arnold Europe Madrid – 2nd place Bikini Fitness
  • 2013 UKBFF British Championships – 2nd place Bikini Fitness
melissa hayward

Meal Plan

I usually carb cycle and I find this really helps with my energy levels on days when I need to really push hard. I have higher carbs on days I train glutes/hamstrings as this is the main area I want to improve. As a Bikini pro I’m ALWAYS trying to improve my glutes!

During the off season when I’m not in strict competition prep I’ll have one or two cheat meals a week which is usually something like pizza or a burger. Once I’m in competition prep I don't have cheat meals as they can be a slippery slope for me!

Training Plan

10 minute whole body AMRAP to finish. AMRAP stands for as many reps as possible. You set your timer to 10 minutes and you don't stop the circuit until the 10 minutes is up. I usually manage 4-5 circuits of each AMRAP.

Every week my AMRAP is different using ropes, sleds, hammers, balls etc and will look something like this:

  • 20 rope slams
  • 15 press ups
  • 15 wall balls
  • 20 dumbbell walking lunges
  • 20 box jumps

I follow a 5 day training split:

  • Monday: Glutes/hamstrings
  • Tuesday: Back/biceps
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Glutes/hamstrings
  • Friday: Shoulders/triceps
  • Saturday: Glutes/conditioning circuit
  • Sunday: Rest
  • Mon.

    Monday: Glutes/hams

    • 4 x 10 Sumo squat superset
    • 4 x 10 Walking lunge
    • 4 x 10 Hamstring curl superset
    • 4 x 10 Good mornings
    • 4 x 10 Reverse lunges
    • 4 x 10 Thrusters superset with
    • 4 x 10 Stiff legged dead lift
  • Tue.

    Tuesday: Back/biceps

    • 4 x 10 Deadlift
    • 4 x Assisted pull ups to failure
    • 4 x 10 Lat pull down superset with
    • 4 x 10 Cable row
    • 4 x 10 One arm row superset with
    • 4 x 10 Hammer curls
    • 4 x 10 EZ bar curls
  • Wed.


    • Rest
  • Thu.

    Thursday: Glutes/hams

    • 4 x 10 Sumo squat superset
    • 4 x 10 Walking lunge
    • 4 x 10 Hamstring curl superset
    • 4 x 10 Good mornings
    • 4 x 10 Reverse lunges
    • 4 x 10 Thrusters superset with
    • 4 x 10 Stiff legged dead lift
    • 100 walking lunges with kickbacks
  • Fri.

    Friday: Shoulders/triceps

    • 4 x 10 Military press superset with
    • 4 x 10 Scull crushers
    • 4 x 10 Side raise superset with
    • 4 x 10 Tricep dips
    • 4 x 10 Cable front raise superset with
    • 4 x 10 Tricep rope push down
    • 4 x 10 Arnold press superset with
    • 4 x 10 Upright row
  • Sat.

    Saturday: Glutes/conditioning circuit

    • Shoulders/Triceps (hypertrophy)
    • Military press 3 x 12 (65kg)
    • Lat raises 3 x 12 (15kkg)
    • Lat rear 3 x 12 (22.5, 20kg DB)
    • Up right rows 2 x 12 (Stack No. 9)
    • Shrugs 3 x 12 (Stack No. V25)
    • Close grip press 3 x 8 (1st Stack No.16, 2nd 16 and 3rd 16)
    • Dip machine 2 x 15 (90kg)
    • French press 3 x 12 (42.5kg+EZ Bar)
  • Sun.

    Sunday: Rest

    • Rest

Melissa Hayward Interview

Have you always been active or did you start off as a complete newbie in the gym?

Melissa Bikini Selfie

I was in the Army for 9 years and joined when I was 18 so I have always been active but the Army was a different kind of training to the training I do now.

I didn't weight train until I was 25 so before that I would do my training with my detachment which was normally running or circuit training with the odd assault course thrown in for fun.

What’s your favourite body part to train?

I love training shoulders. I think having shapely shoulders looks attractive and creates a nice curve which make my waist look smaller.

Do you do cardio?

I am one of those rare people that actually enjoy cardio! I know, shoot me now! I think it may stem from my Army days where we were literally ran until we threw up. So I'm now used to the feeling of my lungs exploding. I enjoy HIIT cardio the most and have just moved to the coast so I’m really enjoying my runs along the promenade at the minute.

Melissa Haywood - Bikini body glutes

You have made your post comp struggles quite public on social media, why is this?

I think it’s important for people to know how competition prep can affect you mentally AFTER a show. Months of dieting, missing social events, feeling tired and being completely consumed by competition prep can be incredibly hard on you mentally.

I have rebounded from shows pretty badly in the past, and I want people to know they are not alone in their struggles with body image, binging and mind-set. Sometimes the fitness industry only highlights the good things and can leave out the dark side that affects people too.

What are your biggest achievements?

I have had so many highlights in my competitive career so far. But two that really stick out are the IFBB European Championships in 2013 where I placed 2nd out of 34 gorgeous Bikini competitors and the Panthers gym English Grand Prix in 2014 where I won the overall and was awarded my IFBB Pro card.

Melissa Haywood Grenade

I am lucky enough to be sponsored by Grenade. I remember going to Body Power in 2012 and seeing the Grenade stand with their big tank and thinking 'wow'. In 2013 I was contacted by them and jumped at the chance to join Team Grenade!

I use their Hydra 6 protein powder, BCAA's, pre workout and I’m ADDICTED to their Killer carb protein bars.

Melissa Haywood's favourite supplements

You mentioned you were in the Army for 9 years, what do you do now?

I left the Army in June 2014 and now run Bikini Queens with fellow Grenade athlete Jamie Alderton. Bikini Queens is both a subscription site with videos, diet plans and training plans on it.

I also do personalised plans for girls in my competition prep team and also those wanting to improve their body composition. I enjoyed my time in the Army but my passion lies with helping others live a healthy lifestyle and reach their goals, whatever they may be.

I love my job and all my clients who kill it every damn day!

What’s your favourite muscle food product?

MF Products

I LOVE steak, I eat it every day and the Muscle Food sirloin steaks are amazing. I love nut butters too but as I’m in competition prep at the minute I can’t have it in my house. I'd eat the whole jar with a spoon in one go!

What’s your next goal?

I have a photo shoot in Vegas in 7 weeks with Grenade so I’m working towards that and then I’m hoping to compete in California in November.

What would be your advice to someone starting out in the gym?

I would say to not get phased by social media and to just concentrate on your progress. Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them. Enjoy finding out what works for your body and what doesn't. Just because something works for someone else doesn't mean it will work for you. It’s a journey so just enjoy every second of it and be consistent.

Melissa Muscle Food Box