Posted 27 September 2014 by Interview:

Tara LaValley


How/when did you get started in training
and living a fit lifestyle?

I grew up a dancer and cheerleader, but got into fitness and the gym in 2005.

How do you stay motivated?

I try to set small goals that are attainable, that way it isn't too overwhelming. I also really like to be inspired by fitness pics, quotes and people living the lifestyle. Another thing that keeps me motivated is trying new activities, rather than the same gym routine.

What types of cardio have worked best for you?

I always do HIIT in between sets to keep my heart rate up. So you will see me jumping around the gym constantly. But for dieting and fat loss I walk uphill on the treadmill with bursts of running, or Tae Bo on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.

Do you have a favourite healthy recipe?

I have many! I love to cook and my favorite thing is to try to tweak recipes that I'm craving to trick my brain even though they are healthy. Lately, I make spaghetti squash to replace pasta dishes and I bake thin sweet potatoes into "chips".

What does your diet consist of?

Am I being good or bad? ;) I usually stick to clean foods: Vegetables, nuts, fruit, lean meats and protein powder. If I bring my food with me, I completely stick to the diet. But, like everyone, I cheat and have cravings for pizza and burgers.

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

I first try to make it into a healthy version.  For example, the other night I was craving sweet and salty. But instead of going and getting something that would completely sabotage my diet, I ate salted cashews with some sugar free syrup on it. It was actually pretty good!

What are your top 3 favourite exercises?

In general: I enjoy activities that don't feel like working out (dancing, martial arts, gymnastics, yoga, volleyball, tennis, etc) But, if I had to choose for specific body parts:

  • For Abs: Plank hold and the pilates hundred with variations.
  • For Legs/Glutes: Stiff leg Romanian deadlift and jump squats.
  • Cardio: Activities (tennis, volleyball, BJJ) or running on the beach.

Do you listen to music whilst you train?

ABSOLUTELY. This is HUGE for me. I would have a very hard time working out without music. Actually, for me, music is a necessity whether I'm training, driving, cleaning or hanging at the beach. I usually do cardio to electronic music like crystal method, NIN or Prodigy. If I'm lifting then I like hard rock like Machine head, Slipknot, Stone sour, etc.

What is your training routine like?

My training varies depending on work schedule, how sore I am etc. Here's a sample week:


AM: Cardio 45 min empty stomach treadmill 3.5 uphill with 6.0 bursts of running.
PM: Chest, Arms & Abs

  • Warm up with Flys (35lbs, 40lbs, 45lbs) on machine.
  • Incline bench press 3 sets (55 lbs, 65lbs, 75lbs) Jump rope in between sets.
  • Flat bench press 3 sets (55 lbs, 65lbs, 75lbs) Jump squats in between sets.
  • Incline Flys with free weights (10lbs) weighted Ab crunch in between sets.
  • Add light weight (5lbs for bis/tris/shoulders) VERY light for a few sets as supersets.
  • Finish with cable flys downward while in a lunge (10lbs for a stretch) lower abs leg lifts. after followed by a series of crunches and pilates exercises for abs.


Am: Cardio (Tae bo) 45 min.
PM: Brazilian jiu-jitsu.


AM: Cardio (treadmill/bike).
PM: Legs: warm up on treadmill for 5-10 min.

  • Incline leg press (20lbs first set, 50lbs, 70lbs) Jump squats in between.
  • Squats: (40lbs, 50lbs, 60lbs) jump rope in between.
  • single leg lunges (using a bench to balance the other foot) first set no weight, then holding 10lbs dumbbells.
  • Plies (ballet term) or Sumo squat for the bodybuilders (completely upright, do not bend over at all, legs turned weight, then holding 10lb in the middle.
  • Stiff leg deadlift (my fave:) 40lbs, 45lbs, 50lbs.
  • cardio bursts (high knees, butt kicks, jumping jacks).
  • Series of leg lifts for inner and outer thigh on the mat and glute isolation. exercises...STRETCH for 5-10 min and foam roll.


AM: Cardio (legs will be sore so walking on treadmill).
PM: Pole practice (tricks, dance, cardio--all upper body) OR Back at the gym (pole works the same muscles as I would train at the gym on back day).


AM: Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
PM: Go out! :)


Fun activity for a few hours (Tennis, beach volleyball, rollerblading).


Hike, Yoga on the beach, or activity.

Do you set short and long term goals?

YES...I set goals whether it pertains to my career, finances or body. Physically, I am looking to achieve the desired look while having the most fun possible doing activities outside of the gym. I want to enjoy life, so it's not all about bodyfat or spending hours in a gym. I want to continue to work in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu indefinitely so I can be instinctual if needed. I personal train and teach my own method of combining pole, yoga, Pilates, weight training, outdoor beach training and HIIT. Eventually I would like my own studio one day.

What are you most proud of?

In fitness, I am proud of the Muscle & Fitness cover, it was one of the best days of my life. I am also proud that I made it through one of the hardest times in my life when my father passed away in 2011. It was a turning point in my life and actually prompted my move to California alone, with just my baby kitty Sasha.

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

I definitely gained 5-10 lbs during the grieving of my fathers death. I never stopped working out, but I ate and drank more than I would normally during that sad time. I always try to pick myself up and stay motivated because all we ever really have for certain is ourselves.

How do you measure your progress?

I hate the scale. There is no point for me to weigh myself. I have a lot of muscle and that is misleading to most girls. At 5'4 I would love to be 115lbs, but that just isn't possible with my muscle. Even in high school I was never less than 125lbs.  I would rather take measurements or like the way I look in clothing vs. use my weight to judge.

Who are your favourite, athletes or fitness models?

I respect for Ronda Rousey for fighting, Marlo Fisken in pole, Kristin Mcgee in yoga/pilates and aesthetically I admire Amber Elizabeth's physique.

What supplements would you use/recommend if any?

I recommend Beverly international UMP (Ultimate muscle protein) for baking, eating and is the best I have found. Supps (CLA, Green Tea, Garlic, Oregano, Ginkgo, L-Carnitine, Glutamine, Vitamins, minerals, Greens).

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

Make working out a hobby, not a chore. Find activities you love. Worry less about your weight and focus on living a healthy and active lifestyle. Diet is what gets your body looking the way you want, so if it is important to you, make sure it is on point. Remember though, this is your life, so make sure you are having fun and not putting yourself in a self-made prison between the gym and dieting.

Tara LaValley

 Height: 5ft ,4in Weight: 135lbs



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