1st 2014 Competition Completed

dfac 2014

I am in the midst of my competition season and thought I would give a quick update on the completion of my 1st show.

I competed in Miami, FL at the DFAC World Finals on November 1st. There were 11 female pro bodybuilders in the line-up and it was an honor to be on stage with such a competitive group of athletes. It was a long and tough pre-judging but I loved it!  I believe we were on stage for over 20 minutes. I really like how DFAC conducts their pre-judging! They first judge on symmetry (relaxed poses front, side and rear) and then do another round for muscularity (front & rear bicep & lat spread, side chest & tricep, most muscular and thigh and ab). The head judge explains what is happening, calls the poses very clearly and makes it easy and non-stressful. The finals are always so much fun in the DFAC organization. They do the show up right with lights, music and fog. Finals consist of another round of posing, our 1 minute posing routines which counts for 1/3 of our score and a pose down. The pose down is fun and gives the judges time to tally the scores.

I ended up placing 2nd overall which was a huge honor and accomplishment. Of course I am very pleased with my results but more importantly I am pleased with the improvements that I made on my physique and know that I brought a better version of me to stage. As Eric has taught me it is not about placing or winning but really about learning and improving.  I am also happy that I met some amazing fellow athletes that I respect and admire. I really couldn’t have asked for a better experience!!

Now onto the next competition on 11/8/2014……

Protein Pita Pizzas

pita pizza

Calories             421 (for both pitas!!!)

Protein                 50

Carbs                    26

Fat                         13

Ingredients & Directions:

*warm oven to 385 degrees and place 2 Joseph’s Flax, Oat Bran & Whole Wheat Pitas on tray to CRISP them up (about 10 minutes). I usually turn them over once or twice.

*while pitas are getting crispy – DICE ½ cup of mushrooms, ½ cup of red pepper and one slice of red onion. Sautee together with garlic and then add ½ cup of fresh salsa and 4 oz. of diced cooked chicken breast and mix.

*remove crispy pitas from oven – spoon ½ of above mixture onto each pita. Then top with bananas peppers (about 4 – 6 on each pita) and ¼ cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese onto each pita. Put back into oven until cheese melts (just a few minutes).


Pumpkin Pancakes, Chicken & Cake…….

It’s that time of the year so I thought I would share my favorite pumpkin recipes……..

Pumpkin Egg White Pancakes


Calories             185

Protein                 23

Carbs                    20

Fat                          3

Ingredients & Directions:

*beat 5 eggs with cinnamon, vanilla & ground clove

*add 2 TBSP coconut flour& ¼ TSP baking powder and beat until mixed

*spoon in ½ cup of canned pumpkin puree & mix well

Warm up pam, spray with PAM and make your pancakes. I find it easier to make smaller ones with this batter.

Top with Walden Farms Pancake syrup.


Chicken & Pumpkin Casserole


Calories               257

Protein                 32

Carbs                     27

Fat                          2


*1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree

*1/2 diced tomatoes (canned no salt added)

*cinnamon, allspice & truvia to taste

MIX together in baking dish then add:

*1 cup RAW chopped zucchini

*1/2 cup RAW chopped red pepper

*7 RAW asparagus spears chopped

*4 oz. COOKED chopped boneless chicken breast

Combine all of the ingredients in baking dish and bake at 375 for 30 minutes


Chocolate Pumpkin Protein Cake


Calories               280

Protein                 35

Carbs                     27

Fat                          3


*1 cup organic pumpkin puree

*1 scoop P4P chocolate protein powder

*3 egg whites

*1 TBSP coconut flour

*½ TSP baking soda

*Cinnamon, vanilla powder & truvia to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in baking dish (spray with PAM – it sticks) and bake at 375 for 45 minutes

I enjoy for breakfast !



Post Season ACTION Plan

team mantra 2013

When I was running marathons, I learned the importance of having a post-marathon action plan in place. Anyone could feel a bit lost after following a training program for 6 months, completing the race and then having NO plan to follow. The SAME applies to bodybuilding, fitness or figure competitions. We need to have a post-season action plan in place. My competitions are quickly approaching so I want to put my post-season action plan in writing. I hope my plan offers some help or ideas to fellow athletes.

Tara’s December 2014 – December 2015 Post-Season Action Plan

1st congratulate myself on completing another competition season (my 3rd). NO matter what the results will be I am proud of my accomplishments. I think I handled the prep much better both mentally and physically. You have to enjoy the journey and learn from it – not hate it, be miserable and make others uncomfortable or pay for the price for what we have chosen.   I know that I am bringing a better version of me to the stage this season. I’ve worked hard on my legs and can see the improvements. You should NOT be competing to win against fellow competitors; you should be competing against yourself to see the improvements in YOU. This is a hard lesson to learn.

2nd start my REVERSE DIET – of course this will really start a day or two after my last show. A girl needs a few cheat meals. I do not want to be an unstoppable eating machine but want to do a proper reverse diet so that I can heal my metabolism and not put on too much fat too quickly. This goal is going to be the hardest for me but I can do it. My goal weight is 130-135 for the off-season. During this prep season I liked how my body looked and felt at this weight. Funny thing…..back when I ran marathons if I weighed 130-135, it would have looked like fat on me. I weighed around 122 during my marathon days. Now at 135 I look lean (still 6-pack abs). So LADIES –what does this tell us? The numbers on the scale really don’t mean a lot and that to really transform your body you need to lift heavy weights! Below is an article from my coach, Eric Helms, on the topic of the dreaded REVERSE DIET. THANKS ERIC!!


3rd no competing for 2015 – I need to take the entire year off to make the changes I want in my body and I need a mental break from the prep diet. I am planning on competing fall 2016. However, this doesn’t mean a break from training; I can train even harder because I can fuel my body. I’ve been competing for the last 3 years and wasn’t ready for an extended break. Eric kept trying to talk me into it – I am now ready! I believe this is another hard action plan for many competitors. They do not take the time off to make the gains; they just keep competing year after year with the same package.

4th strength goals:

Deadlift                 345#

Back squat          285# (Anthony thinks 300 – we will see)

Front squat         230#

Bench press       175#

Overhead press  100#

Learn muscle-ups

Work on my form for cleans, snatches and overhead squats

CrossFit competition

Thinking of a power lifting competition

The off-season is a time to make improvements to your physique. Use this time as productively as you can!

Chocolate & Strawberry Protein Pizza

You can call this a high protein pizza or COOKIE!!! It tastes that good……I ate it too fast to get a picture so will make again soon…..

Calories              335

Protein                 29

Carbs                     39

Fat                             7

Ingredients & Directions:

*Sprinkle cinnamon & ground clove on P28 FLATBREAD and bake in oven until crispy. I bake on my stone at 375 for about 15 minutes

*remove crispy P28 flatbread from oven and top with a layer of Walden Farm Chocolate Dip

*then top with 1 cup of thinly sliced strawberries

*drizzle Walden Farm Chocolate sauce over strawberries

*cut into squares and ENJOY!!

I usually make 2 of these at a time, one for Paul & Kennede to share and one for ME – remember I don’t share my food:)

Fit & Fab Event at the River Valley Club

fit & fab by Tara
In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month I will be hosting another Fit & Fabulous Event at the River Valley Club (RVC)!
Two years ago RVC members donated items in exchange for a group training session led by ME.  I was able to make up over 50 gift bags for women to receive while receiving chemotherapy.  The bags were greatly appreciated and I received many notes of appreciation from the recipients.
Tina Kebalka, RN & Director for 31 Gifts has 20 bags to donate. Our goal will be to STUFF the bags.
So mark your calendars for Saturday October 18th.  I will offer two group training sessions and the cost will be a donated item (s).  Training will be at 7:30am and 9:00am for one hour in the Group Training Studio at RVC.  You get FIT while we help women feel fabulous & special!
Items Requested:
Small fleece blankets
Lotion and shower gels (no shampoos or hair products)
Make-up (no mascara)
Note pads & pens
Candy, mint, gum
Nail polish
Please RSVP – let me know that you are attending and which class the 7:30am or 9:00am.
Please spread the word and bring friends, family members, neighbor, etc.  NON-members are welcome!!!!
If you cannot attend but would like to donate an item(s) you can leave items with me at anytime. 
Thank you!
In memory of my beautiful sister-in-law, Audrey Davies.  I miss you everyday!!!!

Fall Harvest Special at Yankee Farmer’s Market

This is a bodybuilders dream – GOOD QUALITY MEAT ON SALE!!!!


meat sale

Just in time for holiday cooking & cool weather…A hearty sampler of Pasture Raised Natural Meats (Fits into about 4 cubic feet of freezer space). YOU COULD SPLIT THIS WITH FAMILY, FRIENDS OR A FELLOW COMPETITOR!!


Chicken Package (25-30 lbs of mixed turkey and chicken)

¼ Pig (30-35 lbs of mixed pork)

Buffalo Freezer Teaser (20-25 lbs, a variety of buffalo)

Regular Package Price: $659.99 (5% discount)

Purchase by October 20th and save even more-

10% package discount &  Only $629.99

This special requires order and payment by October 20th.

After October 20th, Package price with 5% discount will be effective at $659.99

Please allow approximate 2-3 week lead time for package pick up or shipping.

On-line Orders to be shipped:

Shop on-line  – after you have shopped & selected your shipping option (last step) SELECT YES when prompted ‘Are you a TARAPRO Member.’ They will track your purchases for the incentive program. You will receive store credit for the 12th month based on the average purchases you made over the year. THEY CAN SHIP RIGHT TO YOUR DOOR ANYWHERE IN THE USA!!



Training Update 9/13/2014

sept 14 front bicep

As of today, 9/13/14, I am 7 weeks out from my first show (DFAC World Finals in Miami) and I must say this past week has been the toughest week for me. I knew it was coming; I was feeling so great for so long and now the prep feels real. You all know what I am talking about; lack of energy, workouts feel heavier, can’t sleep, want to cry for no reason and increased hunger.   On the flip side some positive points are that I am looking leaner, I am not losing too much strength and it’s only 7 MORE WEEKS till I get to be on stage. Getting to meet and spend time with fellow competitors, be on stage and see the progress you’ve made is what makes it all worthwhile.  I am excited about the progress I’ve made on my legs. As a former marathon runner my legs were the smallest part of me. I’ve spent a lot of time under a barbell this year doing lots and lots of squats! I think today’s picture shows progress in my quads.

Sometimes the weight scale does not give an accurate account of what is happening during prep so I send Eric weekly progress pictures. Listed below are other indicators that tell me I am getting close to show time…….

Armpits – they are so concaved that they are impossible to shave so it is time to let them grow a bit to get waxed – ouch! Do MALE competitors experience the same armpit situation?

Buttocks – it hurts to sit on wooden chairs or the floor – no more cushioning left on the cheeks.

Sleep – it is hard to sleep through the night due to hunger. I go to bed early in hopes of sleeping right through the night and have a day of food ahead of me. However, I open my eyes within an hour or two with much disappointment.

Compliments – are increasing from family, friends, clients and fellow RVC members. The positive words help at this point as I need all the reinforcement I can get so thank you.

CardioUGH is all I have to say – I vow to not do any cardio machines during 2015!!!

Food Porn – is increasing and my meal is already picked out for after my show on November 1st – yes sad as that sounds I’ve already researched the restaurant in Miami and know what I am having – Joe’s Crab Stone watch out.

I know that the next 7 weeks will be the toughest but I am looking forward to the challenge! Some moments will feel great and other moments will be tough and I will question “WHY”. I have to remind myself during those weak moments that I really do love the training, love the dedication it takes to both nutrition and training and the results are satisfying. I can already see that I am bringing a better version of Tara to the stage in 2014!!

Got MEAT??

Buffalo, Beef, Chicken, Pork, Venison, Lamb

I am very excited to announce that I have been sponsored by Yankee Farmer’s Market in Warner, NH. This is going to be a GREAT working relationship because Yankee Farmer’s Market is a huge part of my training & nutrition. I purchase all of my MEAT from them – it is good, healthy, lean protein. As a personal trainer I encourage my clients to make healthy food choices and already have most of them ordering their protein from the Farm. I believe you have to practice what you preach and anyone that knows me knows how passionate I am about my food – I blame my Italian heritage.


This is an exciting opportunity for me and YOU!!! HOW? Well they are offering an incentive based program for continuous purchasers.

On-line Orders to be shipped:  Shop on-line, there is no MINIMUM or MAXIMUM amount – after you have shopped & selected your shipping option (last step) SELECT YES when prompted ‘Are you a TARAPRO Member.’ They will track your orders with this code for the incentive program.  You will receive store credit for the 12th month based on the average purchases you made over the year. THEY CAN SHIP RIGHT TO YOUR DOOR ANYWHERE IN THE USA!!

RVC Members, Staff & local friends:  I will organize a monthly pick-up and delivery. Place your meat order anytime on-line before the 1st Thursday of every month and I will pick up the order on the 2nd Thursday of every month and bring to RVC. Make sure you use the CODE TARAPRO delivery to RVC– this will let the Farm know that it is part of the pickup and delivery. Orders will be ready for you to pick up after 2pm. You will receive the benefit of the incentive program too. Mark your calendars!

My favorites are the ground bison (makes GREAT burgers, tacos, chili, etc.), bison maple breakfast sausage, bison bacon and the pulled bison (ready to eat just needs to be heated)!!

Now start shopping and don’t forget to use code TARAPRO.

Fish & Slaw Panini

fish panini

This tastes amazing and its LOW carb & fat!!! It has become my new favorite lunch and is a great way to use up left over fish.

Calories             336

Protein                 46

Carbs                    20

Fat                           8

Ingredients & Directions:

*1 Joseph’s Lavash Wrap (100 calories, 10gprotein, 14gcarb & 4gfat)

*6 oz Halibut Fish (grilled, broiled or baked – I grilled mine with lemon juice and a Korean BBQ spice rub)

*3 oz cabbage slaw

*1 TBSP sweet and spicy mustard and 1 TBSP Dijon mustard

Mix slaw, chopped up fish and mustard together, place in wrap and put in hot Panini press until bread is crispy.