Introducing... MYSELF! ;-) Just a brief (ahem) message to say hi to all you lovely people!
Been meaning to pop on here for a while and say hi but I knew that when I did I’d end up writing nothing short of a novel and didn’t any spare time in which to do so!
So anyway, here I am now saying hello to you all!
So, where to begin... Background
Well, back in early 2009 I decided that I’d had enough of the weight that had been creeping over the past few years so decided to set myself a goal to motivate me to lose it.
I decided to enter the Maxitone Body of 2009 competition. At the time, Maxitone didn’t exist and it was just the “Maximuscle Body of...” but with a female category. I saw an ad for it on the tube and thought – this is for me!
Over the next few months I overhauled my diet and started eating really well and taking on board extra whey protein. Unfortunately I didn’t cut down my portion sizes and ended up *gaining* more weight! Nightmare!
After a few months however I managed to reach a balance where I was still eating healthily and enough to keep me satiated but producing a significant deficit such that I actually started to lose the weight I wanted to!
I actually made it through to the finals of the competition (you can read more about me here: http://www.maxitone.com/tarastevens.html
) but unfortunately didn’t win.
While I’d been dieting my interest in weight-training really took off and I was thrilled with how my body was not only shrinking but also changing shape and becoming firmer.
Early last year I’d hit a weight plateau and realised I needed another goal to spur me into action so I entered the FAME UK 2010 championships. I had fabulous fun but it was also one of the most stressful experiences of my life as I was totally underprepared both shape-wise and also my preparation was seriously lacking also!
Here are some pics from the competition. I was lucky enough to have the fabulous UKBFF Fitness Champion Irina Cotton make my bikini (the green one):
I took a break from competing for a good few months afterwards as my partner and I bought a new house which needed (and still does!) a lot work doing to it (hence how we could afford it!) and didn’t have time or money to devote to entering competitions. During this time however I did become a qualified gym instructor which is useful as I help out with the gym at my work which helps ease the tedium of working in front of a computer all day!
A friend of mine told me that the UKBFF had brought in a new bikini division and persuaded me to enter the UKBFF Stars of Tomorrow 2010 competition. I agreed and started training and dieting for it without much success initially. I also realised I couldn’t afford a new bikini so I set about making my own one from some cloth I’d purchased online.
Like with the FAME show I was quite underprepared and turned up at the theatre late, with my tan smeared all over the place and missing my bottle of Jan Tana! I’d left it at home – d’uh. Fortunately one of the other competitors was a doll and lent me hers otherwise I’d not have been able to compete (yes, it was *that* bad!).
Anyway, long story short I came fourth out of four girls – TOUGH, very tough :-( but then I’ve looked at the pictures from the show and can see why, too heavy in the lower half, definitely need to lean up.
Here are a couple of pics of me looking a little sad as I had to stand while the other girls got photographed with their trophies – quite like these pictures though so not all a total loss!! ;-)
I was so impressed by the UKBFF’s organisation and how seriously everyone was taken. I love my medal, nice and weighty :-)
So, onto this year, and I do want to compete again but I had ankle surgery in January and it’s not gone as well as I hoped. It’s early days yet though so I’m just keeping up my training (what I’m able to do) and keeping my diet in check too. About me
I work and live in London with my teenage son, boyfriend and 2 cats.
Although very busy and a bit impersonal at times I do love this city, have lived here my entire life and can’t imagine ever leaving it... well, until I’m too old to enjoy it anyway ;-)
I have a busy job in IT for a very large retail company. It’s not what I want to be doing forever though so trying to gain qualifications elsewhere. I have a level 2 Gym Instructor qualification and I’m hoping to start a PT Diploma soon, money permitting! My main interest lies in nutrition though so sometime in the future (when the mortgage payments are a bit less!) I hope to start a part time Human Nutrition degree.
I used to use the forum a bit back in 2009 under the name of BrokenYoYo
(which was the nickname I was using as my blog at the time was anonymous). I have also kept a blog since then which is here: http://www.tarafitness.com
I try and blog when I can but life really has a habit of getting in the way and often (as I train at home as well as at my work gym) when I have to choose between blogging or training, my dumbbells always win! ;-) Diet
My diet is pretty clean. I take on quite a bit of protein during the day, mainly from food sources like tuna and chicken, and tend to get the bulk of my carbohydrate from vegetables. I try to limit my alcoholic intake (which is touch as I'm so so fond of red wine!), I don’t eat junk food, neither does my boyfriend or son – I am very lucky to have a teenager who actually *enjoys* eating salads, vegetables, soups, wholemeal bread etc. Exercise
Weight training makes up the bulk of my weekly exercise. I train separate bodyparts and have done for the past 18 months, it really suits me, particularly as I use my work gym during my lunch break and like to get in and out as soon as possible so my workouts rarely exceed 45 minutes!
Cardio-wise, when I’m able to I like to run, walk, row, cycle, use the elliptical trainer, climb, play netball – anything active really!
My favourite form of cardio is Boxercise and I hope to teach it one day too, spinning comes a close second ;-) Future ambitions
Obviously I’d love to win a competition but for now it would be fabulous to just place! ;-)
I’m not sure what category I’ll enter the next time I compete. At the moment I’m not lean enough for Figure/Bodyfitness but I do really value my muscles and wonder if I have the right kind of attitude for Bikini – not sure I have enough ‘swagger’!
Anyway, at the moment I’m just happy to be able to hold my own in the weights section of any gym I encounter and see the progress in the mirror.
I love weight-training, it’s hand-on-heart been the best thing that’s happened to me in terms of improving my health and changing my self-image, I can’t imagine a time when I won’t be lifting and I definitely don’t intend to ever let age be a barrier.
So that’s me – told you I go on a bit!
I’ll be starting a training log on here hopefully soon and might post progress pictures too if I get round to taking some.
Hope to speak to you all soon!