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September 12, 2011

A Day In The Life: Tara’s Fall Training & Diet Update

By Tara Ballard

Hi everyone! Wow, can you believe Summer is over and we are already into September? Fall is my absolute favorite season though, and I look forward to it every year!

We have quite a few girls prepping for Fall Bikini and Figure competitions, including Jillfit coaches Emily Saunders, Jillian Teta and Kelley Vargo. It’s also exciting to watch our first-timers go through their prep and start to see positive changes, both physically and mentally. It will be even more exciting to cheer them on as they step on stage!

So, what am I doing this Fall?  Some of you know that I was possibly going to be donating a kidney to my Dad sometime this season. Those plans have been put on hold due to some health issues he is having, and probably won’t happen before the end of the year. I had pretty much planned my Fall around the surgery, but then found myself with a decision to make knowing that it is delayed: Do I compete or not?

I have decided NOT. I have to admit that part of me wanted to, mainly to be “part of the gang”, and then there was also the thought that if I don’t compete, I am not up to par or something (my perfectionism rearing its ugly head again). But, after thinking it through, I decided that it is just not what I want to do right now.

So, what am I doing this Fall? I’m still training hard, eating clean, working (which involves some travel), and enjoying the simple things in life like playing with my dogs, sitting outdoors and watching the birds and other wildlife, spending time with family/friends, reading, and learning how to de-compress (hard for my Type A personality).

It’s kind of funny though, I seem to be more motivated than ever with my training – I think not having a deadline approaching helps me actually enjoy training more. I’m not so worried if my legs aren’t cut enough or my butt isn’t high enough or if I’ve added enough size to my delts. That being said, I am noticing positive changes in those areas, which is definitely a welcome by-product of the training :)!

Here is my current workout split – I call it Project TFT (“Training for Tara” and no one/nothing else):

5:00am: 30 minutes outdoor sprints with my significant other – I will do a little core work after this
9:30am: 30 minutes chest/triceps/shoulders with Jill

10:00am: 20 minutes rowing intervals on the Concept2 rower
10:30am: 30 minutes heavy legs with Jill

5:30am: 15-20 minutes core
9:30am: 30 minutes back/biceps with Jill
10:00am: 30 minutes hill repeats with Jill

9:30am: 30 minutes shoulders with Jill

5:30am: 20 minutes Jump rope intervals/core (optional – I do this only if I want to)
6:30am: 30 minutes light legs/plyometrics with Emily

7:30am: 30-45 minutes Back/core
8:30am: 30 minute Track sprints with Jill


The lifting split stays the same each week, but I will sometimes vary the cardio workouts. You’ll notice that all of the workouts are short, and high-intensity. I lift heavy most days (with lighter burn-out sets mixed in), and rest only when I need to, ensuring that I get a good release of growth hormone to help burn fat and increase lean muscle.  I love that I can get in and out of the gym in no time, and on with the day :).

For diet, I adopt Jill’s “eat 90% clean 100% of the time” philosophy…if I slip up, it’s ok; I acknowledge, accept and move on. No guilt-ridden “I suck” parties.  The more I live the fat loss lifestyle though, the less I want certain things that I used to crave. It truly is a lifestyle.

I have made a few minor changes in my diet, including eliminating most grains and dairy and focusing on “real” food such as lean protein, green veggies, fruit and healthy fats such as avocado. I have also made the switch to eating organic/cage-free/hormone-free as much as possible. I feel that these small changes have helped me stay leaner in my off-season, but no less satisfied.

So, there you have it…my not-so-exciting, but no-less-fulfilling Fall training and diet update!

What’s in your plans for Fall? I would love to hear!

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