Posted 20 April 2012 by Interview:

Tarah Andrews

What sparked your interest in training?

My interest in training was sparked a little over a year ago when I was going through some big trials in life. A change in career, a relationship that went south… not to mention I had hit age twenty-four and realized that everything I ate made me gain weight. I was always thin growing up, and I had a really hard time dealing with my metabolism changing as I approached my mid twenties. I needed an outlet….and what started as my quiet, “meditation time” at the gym, quickly turned into a wild fire of opportunities and personal strength that I found I had waiting in the palm of my lifting gloves. Without a trainer or nutritionist, I spent hours on end with my head in fitness books, reading up on how to prepare for a competition. My body went from “skinny fat” to solid muscle and with the help of my coach (who I met about 2 months prior to my show) brought home my first big win as Fitness America Great North Bikini Tall Champion. I officially caught the fitness bug, and have been madly in love with my new lifestyle ever since. It wasn’t long before I began booking shoots with well known photographers in the fitness industry…scoring many appearances in performance catalogs, commercials, and a recent cover and spread in a popular fitness magazine. My next competition will take place in Miami at Fitness Universe!

How do you stay motivated?

Feeling and looking strong keeps my head in the game. I also have to give a lot of credit to the people who have been supporting me this entire time (whether they know me personally or just via internet.) Their words and praises mean so much, and it makes me work harder to keep breaking through obstacles that I would’ve turned my back on (out of fear) in the past.

What types of cardio have worked best for you?

I’m a huge fan of sprints. I find that if I do them first thing in the morning, I get the best results. I refuse to spend large amounts of time on the treadmill, so doing sprint intervals around a track or on a football field saves time and keeps me sane. If I really need to cut body fat, running stairs is also a favorite. It burns!

What does your diet consist of?

I rely on proper portions of protein, carbs, and healthy fats. I love chicken, spinach, grapefruit, almonds, and sweet potatoes. I watch my salt and sugar intake, as it has a major affect on how I feel and what my body looks like.

How do you deal with cravings for junk foods,
sweets and salty food?

Drinking tea or coffee generally keeps me from putting my hand in cookie jars. However I don’t believe in depriving myself of everything at all times, so if I have a bad craving I’ll eat a couple dark chocolate covered almonds and the craving will pass. It’s all about balance.

What are your top 3 favorite exercises?

Rear foot elevated split squats, pull ups, overhead press. I really see changes when I incorporate dropsets!

How much rest do you take between sets?

About a minute.

Do you listen to music whilst you train?

I generally don’t when I’m lifting, but during cardio, yes! I love my tunes! I have a variety of Kaskade, David Guetta, Rihanna, Jessie J and Spill Canvas to name a few. I enjoy anything with a serious beat and a strong message.

What is your training routine like?

I like to get my cardio done first thing in the morning. I love running around the lake during sunrise hours. Sometimes a friend will join me, which gives us a chance to start our day off right! I keep it at a light 30-40 minute jog. I also like to incorporate core exercises daily after my run. My lifting schedule consists of:

Monday: Chest/bis/sprints
Tuesday: Heavy legs
Wednesday: Shoulders/sprints
Thursday: Back/tris/sprints
Friday: High rep legs
Saturday: Light cross training
Sunday: Light cross training

It’s important for me to lift heavy because I’m naturally pretty small. I love ending my heavy sets with light weight/high reps to really get that extra “pump” feeling. Drop sets work really well for me as far as gaining strength and separating muscles.

Do you set short and long term goals?

Of course! Setting short and long term goals are crucial for being successful. My short term goals consist mostly of gaining more muscle mass before my next show, as well as coming out a bit leaner this time around. I also strive to learn something new and better myself at every photo shoot I do. Being in front of a camera is not as easy as people may think it is, and I realized recently how much I love that aspect of the fitness industry. I study magazines daily for inspiration and take direction and guidance from photographers that I’ve formed relationships with. A few long term goals of mine include moving to a warmer climate, working/training with other athletes and possibly opening a gym, designing a swimwear/fitness line, and maybe even step on the other side of the camera! I have a lot of interests and wherever life takes me, I will always follow what feels right and continue to explore every option I may have!

What are you most proud of?

I have a large number of women (primarily) that write to me often, thanking me for providing inspiration. I never thought of myself as an inspirational person….but hearing it makes me extremely proud. Making a difference in someone’s day is an incredible feeling. We all have a purpose in life, and I believe this is mine.

Have you had any obstacles or setbacks
towards achieving your goal physique?

I sure have! Where do I start….I’ve had issues with bad diets, over-eating, under-eating, dealing with knee injuries, trainers that don’t follow through, people telling me that I’m wasting my time, etc. There will always be setbacks in life and/or people that want to hold you back, but each obstacle forced me to grow. In fact I’m thankful for setbacks, because I wouldn’t have found fitness if I hadn’t hit rock bottom. The older I get the more I see strength in jumping over life’s hurdles!

How do you measure your progress?

I hardly ever weigh myself. I’m able to measure progress by the way my clothes fit, what the mirror shows, and how tight I feel. However I’m going to watch my calories in/out closer for my upcoming competition and track my body fat to make sure I’m getting to my goal. I recently had my metabolic tests done, which has taught me a lot about specifically how my body works, and what it needs nutritionally and during workouts. I strongly recommend having it done!

What 3 tips would you give to any woman wanting to get a feminine, CutandJacked physique like yours?

1.) Make a decision to live a healthy lifestyle. There is no magic pill or fad diet (trust me, I’ve tried many of them.) To look and feel your best you must change your lifestyle! A diet of lean protein, complex carbs, good fats and plenty of vegetables will change your body. Eat 5-6 small meals per day to keep your metabolism going strong!

2.) Pick up the weights. You won’t get bulky, you will gain muscle…and people with more muscle burn fat at a higher rate! Ladies, the weight room is NOT for men only! I encourage women to shake off the feeling of intimidation and feeling out of place. Tell the dudes to move aside and stop hogging your bench. ;)

3.) Stay consistent. It’s so easy to fall off track with diet and workouts, so you have to really choose to make it a priority. For me, surrounding myself with like-minded people was the key. You are much more likely to stay focused on your goals if you have someone influencing you in a positive way. I check in with at least one of my trainers and my coach every day. The small group of people who push me make such a difference in my urge to keep getting better at my craft. After all, you can’t fly with the eagles if you are spending all your time pecking around with pigeons….

Tarah Andrews

Stats - Height: 5’8, Weight: 135 lbs