By Tara Ballard
Happy Holidays, everyone! I hope you all are enjoying the Season, and are getting to relax a bit and spend time with loved ones. Things get so hectic this time of year, and I think we sometimes forget the things that matter most. I have learned many lessons this year, the most important being to cherish the time spent with family and friends…every single moment!! I’m tempted to get a little “woo-woo” on you guys, but I will save that for another post :).
The past three months have been pretty chaotic, and I just returned home from another work trip. I will admit that it is difficult to stay in a routine when I’m away from my home turf, but I’ve learned to cut myself some slack and do the best I can. And it’s kind of funny…once I stop putting so much pressure on myself, things just kind of fall into place where diet and workouts are concerned. It’s funny how that works :)!
I’m still uncertain as to what fitness challenges I will pursue in 2012, but my number one goal is to be happy with my body year-round. For me, that means not bulking up in my off-season. I would prefer to fit into the same clothes all the time, than to have a separate off-season wardrobe – ha! I have managed to maintain (maybe even add a tad) muscle mass since my last competition in May, while staying lean. My personal fat loss formula enables me to do this, and does not involve deprivation or hours of exercise.
Here’s a glimpse into how I’m currently eating and working out:
I have found that I am happiest physically and mentally eating a mostly Paleo-type diet. I would say that I’m about 80% Paleo right now. The bulk of my meals consist of meat/poultry/fish, lots of green veggies, healthy fats (avocados, nuts, egg yolks) and some fruits (mainly berries). I still do oat bran in the morning (either mixed with whey, or with chicken and spinach), and I will have a white potato once/week. This seems to be working very well for me, and I find that I’m satiated for longer and have fewer cravings. Bring on the MEAT, baby!!
While this way of eating is working great for me, everyone is different; and I understand that there are mixed schools of thought on this…especially due to the fact that eating this way naturally lowers the amount of starchy carbs eaten. I will tell you that my energy is great, I have not lost muscle, and am right where I want to be at this point in my life. I get a little upset when I see posts from other coaches slamming all other ways of eating that don’t jibe with their own. Finding one’s unique fat loss formula is a process that is very personal, and not everyone responds the same to one particular way of eating. It’s all about what works for YOU!! Sorry…had to have a little mini-rant there :).
I’m pretty happy with the amount of muscle I have right now, so I’m really just trying to maintain, while maybe adding a little thickness through my back and shoulders. I’m doing a mix of lighter and heavier weight splits, with some Metabolic Effect workouts mixed in; along with short interval cardio workouts. I currently work out 5 to 6 days per week, but everything is very short in duration. If my body is tired, I will take an extra day of rest. Here’s what a recent week looked like while I was traveling:
25 min leg/core workout, mix of light/heavy weights and plyos
45 min interval treadmill workout (this is the absolute maximum on cardio I will do!)
50 bench jumps
10 min jump rope intervals :)
30 min chest/triceps/shoulder workout
30 min back/bicep/core workout
25 min incline sprints
50 bench jumps
20 min jump rope intervals/burpees
20 min Metabolic Effect shoulder workout
30 min leg/core workout (similar to Monday)
20 mins heavier back workout
30 mins flat sprints
A couple quick shots of my current physique
I’m really enjoying mixing things up, and for me, that is crucial! I find that the jump rope is a great tool to use while traveling…it packs easily, I can do it pretty much anywhere and it adds some diversity to my workouts.
So, that’s it in a nutshell. I plan to stay on this particular course for awhile, changing it up as needed to keep things fresh and challenging, while also maintaining life balance!
Happy, Happy New Year to you all! May 2012 be your best year yet!! Love, Tara ox