Monday, January 11, 2010

Tara Ballard's Contest Prep Journal


I hope everyone has had a great week!!!

For me, the week has been extremely busy with work, training, etc., and I feel my motivation dragging a bit several times. There are times during the process (at least for me) where I ask myself "why am I doing this again??"... but I always come back with the same answer, "because I love it!". So, I press onward.....

I'm still getting used to my new hypertrophy diet.... I know all of the food is necessary to build lean muscle, but whoa, it's a lot!! I actually get two cheat meals a week, on Wednesday and Saturday, and that is an adjustment as well. I'm trying to embrace and enjoy it, because I know once cutting begins, I will miss those meals :-)!

Training went really well this week, despite my little dip in motivation. It played out as follows:

Trained back/bi's with Jill

Cardio, core

Trained legs with Jill
Cardio, core


Cardio, core
Trained Shoulders, Chest, Tri's with Jill

Cardio, core
Trained legs on my own


My cardio sessions are generally pretty short right now, due to being in the building phase. They typically last no more than 45 minutes, and consist of HIIT- type training. My preference is either 15% incline sprints on the treadmill, sprints on the stepmill or running the stairs at the local college stadium (which I haven't done recently because of the weather). I'm sure anyone who ah known me for awhile will remember the days when I sued to spend hours (literally) on the stepmill, bike, treadmill (or a combo of all). Well, I have seen the light, my friends! And while I do falter sometimes and revert to my prior cardio-queen behaviors, I have learned that I can get better benefits and results by training shorter, harder, and smarter. AND I', not spending 3+ hours in the gym every day.

I was reminded of my previous crazy workout schedule just this week when I was putting together a diet for a client of mine who wants to compete in her first Figure event this summer. I decided to take a look back at the information I had given to Jill when I made the decision to start training for Figure. Here is a typical day from a year ago:

3:00am or so: Wake up
4:00am: Tempo or goal pace run-5 to 7 minutes
5:00am: Have been doing a strength circuit of push-ups, pull-ups, dips, hanging leg raises- 5x
5:30am: Teach 60 minute cycle class
5:15pm: Teach 60 minute cycle class
6:15pm: Teach 60 minute cycle class

Can anyone tell me what is wrong with this picture? LOTS of cardio, that is for sure! My body had no chance to build muscle- It was eaten up by cardio before it even had a chance to grow at all.

Gradually, I cut back on teaching so many classes, and cut out PowerPump altogether. It was extremely hard to change my habits and accept the fact that "less is more", but now I can't imagine going back! I'm posting a comparison I did before the falls shows- you'll see Cardio Queen Tara- thin, but with very little definition, and then REFORMED Cardio Queen Tara :-). Of course, diet was a huge part of the process too... but between changing my mindset about cardio and diet, wow, what a difference I felt!

On to travel prep....

Travel is one of the biggest challenges I face when training for an event. My job requires me to travel every 5 to 6 weeks, and while I always go to the same place and know what to expect, it's still difficult to not give into temptation and go out for wine, etc. with friends. The hotel where I stay is awesome though- all the rooms have full kitchens: stove, microwaves, full refrigerators, plus pots/pans/coffeemaker, etc. So I usually pack a cooler with the following for the week:

* ground turkey
* ground bison
* egg whites
* Healthy Hemp bread
* broccoli
* mushrooms
* spinach
* asparagus
* chicken breasts
* unsweetened almond milk

The travel is about 7.5 hours, so I make sure I pack a smaller cooler with easily accessible items: ground turkey patties, asparagus, and Sweet potatoes.

In my other bags, I have packed:

* My new travel-sized George Foreman grill-- yay!!
* Magic Bullet blender (to make shakes)
* Whey protein
* Spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, chili powder, cayenne, etc.)
* Supplements
* Hot oat bran ( I eat this instead of oatmeal)
* Probably some other stuff I can't think of right now!

As far as the week goes, I have a lot of projects to deal with this week, so it may be challenging to east every 3 hours.... our office has a nice, big refrigerator in the break room, so I won't have an issue taking my stuff with me. The hard part will be politely declining the lunch invitations :-(. But, it will all work out! Socially, there will probably be one or two nights that I go out for dinner/drinks- the goal is to make those nights the same as my cheat meal nights (Wednesday/Saturday). All in all, it should be fine, although being prepared is key!!

Workouts should be fine. If I need to, I can do my cardio before work in the hotel fitness center, and then do my lifting in the evening at the local YMCA. I do my best to stick as much as possible to my normal routine when I'm on the road. It's tough sometimes, but it usually works out!

That's all for now....hope you all have a wonderful week!

Until next time- train hard and remember to find happiness in every day!


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