Monthly Archives: January 2014

What are macronutrients?

Macronutrients (macros) are nutrients that provide calories or energy. There are three macros that provide different functions (purpose) for the body:

  • Protein
  • Carbohydrate
  • Fat


  • One gram = 4 calories
  • Primarily builds and repairs body tissues/muscle
  • Can be used for energy when diet is lacking calories or carbohydrates
  • 15 – 30% of total caloric intake
  • 1 – 2.0 g/kg depending on goal, activity level and total caloric intake
  • Can be found in meats, fish, eggs & dairy, legumes,  etc


  • One gram = 4 calories
  • Body’s main source of fuel and preferred form of energy
  • Spares PROTEIN for building muscle
  • Needed for central nervous system to function properly (kidneys, brain, heart)
  • 50 – 75% of total caloric intake
  • 25g should include fiber
  • Provides bulk to diet aiding in fullness by keeping glycogen stores full
  • Maintaining proper blood sugar levels
  • Can be found in fruits, whole grains, starchy foods like sweet potatoes or rice, and vegetables


  • One gram = 9 calories
  • Important for normal growth and developments and provides cushion for organs
  • Fat is the most concentrated form of energy
  • Provides TASTE
  • Act as carriers for vitamins ADEK
  • 10 – 30% of total caloric intake
  • Can be found in nuts, nut butters, oils, avocado, etc

Deload Week – Training Update 1/20/14

An important part of my training routine is the DELOAD WEEK.  To be honest I never heard of deload training until I met my coach, Eric Helms.  At first I was hesitant and resisted the idea, but have come to learn and understand the importance of this week.

What does Deload mean?  It is taking some of the load off from training.  You continue to train but somehow back off and make your workouts easier to give your entire body (muscles,  joints, nervous systems, etc.) and MIND a chance to rest, recovery and allow for supercompensation to occur (when your body’s improvements occur). That means no training to failure and no attempts at progression. There are numerous ways to deload properly such as cutting down on volume and intensity (by cutting back on reps, sets and poundage).  Most people deload by reducing their poundage performing sets at around 40-60% of their 1RM.  Some people keep the same poundage but hit fewer reps. I’ve read so many different types of deloading – I believe you need to find what works best for you and stick to it as this is the most overlooked part of training programs.  I experimented a bit and found a different type of programming that works well for me!

My program consists of 3 weeks of heavy lifting and then every 4th week I deload.  At first I cut the sets and poundage.  But mentally I was not feeling the break from the routine.  So now to make things more interesting I do CrossFit.  My trainer, Anthony Vorachak, is a CrossFit athlete and competitor.  I love the variety as each day is completely different plus it is great conditioning.  Anthony modifies the WOD’s (workout of the day) for me so that they are not too intense (so I am still deloading) yet still challenging enough.  We work on different things like Olympic lifts (cleans and snatches) and some standard crossfit things like handstand pushups, toes to bar abs, wall balls, etc.  Kipping pull-ups are still a challenge for me and are on my list of things to accomplish.   A kipping pull-up is a swinging motion that combines a hip drive, kick, and arm pull to build momentum that helps raise your chin over the bar. I get the swing part then go into a strict pull-up – I guess as a bodybuilder I cannot let go of that strict movement.  Plus my slight lack of coordination makes this motion difficult for me to grasp.  However I do provide some laughter as my attempts at some of these exercises are entertaining for both myself and Anthony.

I have really come to appreciate my deload week for so many different reasons.  I know it is good recovery time for my body, I enjoy the variety of my CrossFit week and it gives me a break mentally.  It also helps during my 3 weeks of heavy lifting.  Especially during that 3rd week when I tell myself to push a bit harder knowing that I get a break the following week.   Afterwards I come back stronger and ready to hit the heavy poundage again with new PR’s.  To get better, bigger and stronger make sure you are taking advantage of this important part of training!

Bison Stuffed Peppers

stuffed peppers


Calories               255

Protein                 32 grams

Carbs                    23 grams

Fat                          3 grams

 Ingredients per pepper:

4 oz  Raw (uncooked) ground bison

1/2 cup COOKED brown long grain rice

1 whole green pepper – cut off the top and take out seeds

1/2 cup Walnut Acres Tomato Basil no salt added sauce

Mix all of the above with spices you like (garlic, basil, oregano). NOTE – I use 1/2 of the sauce in the meat & rice mixture and then put the rest on top of the stuffed pepper.

Top with 1 TBSP Go Veggie Dairy Free Parmesan Style Topping

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes OR works great in the crockpot.  Put the stuffed peppers in the crockpot on low all day and enjoy when you get home.

Tara’s Egg White Pancakes

Tara’s Egg White Pancake

Calories               145

Protein                 22 grams

Carbs                     10 grams

Fat                          2 grams

*Beat 5 egg whites with cinnamon, allspice & nutmeg (any spices you like) until fluffy

*Beat in 2 tbsp of Bob’s Red Mill organic high fiber coconut flour

Pour onto hot small hot pan to make one large pancake. The batter is not thick so make sure you use a small pan.

PUMPKIN Egg White Pancakes

Calories:               190 calories

Protein                 23 grams

Carbs                     19 grams

Fat                          2 grams

*Beat 5 egg whites with cinnamon, allspice & nutmeg (any spices you like) until fluffy

*Beat in 2 tbsp of Bob’s Red Mill organic high fiber coconut flour

*Stir in ½ cup puréed pumpkin

Pour onto hot large pan & make several pancakes (pumpkin makes batter thicker)

Topping ideas:

Walden Farms Pancake Syrup

Walden Farms Caramel Dip

PB2 mixed with water

PB2 mixed with coffee instead of water (flavored coffee really good!!)

PB2 mixed with Walden Farms Caramel Dip instead of water

Warm berries in pan with truvia


Tara’s Top 2013 Fitness Tips

1. Drink 80 – 96 oz. of water per day. When the body is at its peak, fat burning is optimal. The human body consists of roughly 60 percent water. When dehydrated, every system in the body suffers, from temperature regulation to mental clarity. It is imperative that the body has the appropriate amount of water.

 2. Plan your meals for the entire day and BE PREPARED!  Know TODAY what you are eating TOMORROW.  Have food prepared in your fridge that is ready to eat – veggies, salads, chicken, etc!

 3. Don’t be afraid to lift heavy weights – you will Not BULK UP! To build significant amounts of muscle mass especially for women requires a very high calorie, high protein diet, combined with very heavy high volume weightlifting and high levels of the hormone testosterone which most women only produce in very small amounts. To “bulk up” most women would be required to eat large amounts of food, lift heavy weight most days of the week and use steroids. Women should not be afraid of or shy away from weight training; it will improve body composition, speed up metabolism, and improve bone mineral density and decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis

 4. Foam roll daily – I believe that everyone can benefit from Self-Myofascial Release. This is a type of flexibility that is beneficial to soften tender spots or “knots” in the muscles using a foam roller. No matter what your fitness goals are, you will benefit from this technique. In a nutshell, you use your own body weight to roll on the round foam roll, massaging away restrictions to normal soft-tissue extensibility. This can be done as a warm-up, cool down, both or just be done while watching T.V. with the family maximizing your recovery time.

 5. Never eat until you feel full.  It takes your brain 20 minutes to realize that your stomach has been fed – so if you are eating and feel full you have already overeaten.  Eat your portions and then WAIT at least 20 minutes.  If you still feel hungry then eat a little bit more until you feel satisfied but not full.  Enjoy your meals and take your time eating! Relax and make sure you are sitting at a table NOT working.

6. Water is necessary for proper digestion. By drinking plenty of water,     the stomach and intestines digest food at a quicker rate than if the body      doesn’t have enough water. Kidneys depend on water to help flush out waste      into the urine. When the body is free from waste, the liver is able to      flush out fat at an optimum level.

 7. Avoid high fructose corn syrup – most carbohydrates containing sucrose, glucose and unaltered fructose cause our pancreas to create insulin. This in turn allows these sugars to be broken down into energy and then triggers our brain that we are full. High fructose corn syrup does not cause the pancreas to produce insulin. It goes straight to the liver where it is then treated like a chemical and turned to fat. YES…instantly to FAT.

8. Make  gaining muscle mass one of your fitness goals – one of the greatest benefits      of weight lifting is that as you build more muscle, you’ll burn more fat –      even at rest! Muscles burn more calories per unit volume than any other      tissue in your body. The lean muscle mass you build during weight lifting      will help you attain your weight loss goals even as you sleep!

 9. Eat egg whites/eggs daily – studies have shown that dieters who eat eggs for breakfast achieve a 60% greater weight loss then those who begin their day with a calorie-equivalent breakfast. Researchers theorize the quality of protein in the eggs help control appetite. There are 70 calories in a whole egg (with yolk), 17 calories in just each egg white and 7 grams of protein.  Numerous studies have debunked the link between eggs and heart disease. A unique protein found in egg yolks blocks platelets, which are the cells responsible for blood clots, from clumping together inside blood vessels thereby minimizing heart-attack risk. So add 2 -3 yolks per week into your egg white omelets! NOT at once, add one in a few days a week!  Eggs contain choline which playing a key role in brain health and helps keep the body’s circulatory system clear of compounds that could cause inflammation (reduces muscle swelling after hard workouts).

 10.  Train hard enough to feel EPOC – along with me EPOC is your fat burning friend.  It stands for Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption. What this basically represents is how many additional calories your body will burn after the exercise session has been completed in order to return your body to the state it was in before the exercise took place. While on the quest for fat loss, we focus on how many calories we are burning during our exercise sessions, while forgetting to account for the calories that will be burned be cause of that exercise session — after all is said and done. If you train in the proper way, you can actually greatly enhance the total amount of fat burned with your exercise program by taking advantage of these additional calories lost after the training program is completed. If your goal is to achieve a maximum fat loss, you will want to optimize EPOC as best as you can, thereby increasing the total number of calories you burn that day.

 11.  Eat 6 small meals a day.  Every time you eat – make sure you are eating protein with carbs (veggies and fruits are considered carbs) PROTEIN PROTEIN PROTEIN!!         Don’t eat the same thing every day – rotate the food so the body doesn’t know what to expect

12. Get your ZZZZ’s – Sleep deprivation and fatigue often lead to carb cravings because carbs are your body’s number one source of energy. Getting enough sleep or making up for lost sleep with a good nap can prevent serious dips in your energy levels that often lead to cravings.


Off-Season – 1/04/2014

My last competition was November 2nd, 2013 so I am officially in my off-season.  Off-season means that I do not compete and try to gain some muscle mass before I have to trim the fat again. If I maintained a low body fat year round, I wouldn’t be able to gain any lean muscle mass. The competition is definitely harder now that I am at a professional level.  Therefore, I really need to take advantage of this period of time to build more muscle mass in order to be more competitive.

During my off-season my macronutrients increase, which means more food.  My grams of protein remain the same year round (150 grams) but my carbs and fat adjust according to where I am in my training. Currently my carbs and fat grams are slowly increasing which makes me a happy girl.  I have more energy and strength which is needed to get the work done in the gym.

Below (left photos taken November 2012 and right summer 2013) are pictures taken before and after my last off-season – can you see the gains I made? Cannot wait to see what this current off-season creates.

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