Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tarah Andrews Interview

Tarah Andrews is someone I am very impressed with. I see a big future for her both competing and fitness modeling. She entered the gym in part due to a leg injury from running and it led to her competing in and winning her first show. I see a lot more of that happening for her.

Q: First, Tarah, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Absolutely, Jason! I appreciate your interest in getting to know me!

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself?
A: I’m 25 and the eldest of two siblings. I primarily grew up in Blaine, MN with my mom and sister. After graduating high school I went to college to pursue dental hygiene at Minnesota State University, Mankato. My passion is fitness and nutrition, so I’m hoping to be able to build a career out of it someday!

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I come from a very athletic family, so being active came naturally. I spent a lot of time playing basketball with a neighborhood full of boys, so I’m sure that’s where I developed my competitive side! I owe my mom for letting me be in any sport I wanted…from basketball and volleyball, to gymnastics and horseback riding. I was always outside practicing, shooting, doing back tucks, whatever my sport of choice was at the time! My Grandpa even gave me the nickname, “legs” when I was little because they were so toned from all of my daily activities!

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: Initially it was due to my knee injury from a marathon I ran in summer 2010. I couldn’t run distance without being in pain, so I turned to weights. I also went through some personal struggles, some having to do with family, others with a rough breakup. I think the best way to handle situations you can’t control is to focus on making yourself the best possible person you can be. Finding and learning to love myself started in the gym, and it was a blessing that changed my outlook on life.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: When I first decided to start eating clean and weight training, I felt like a fish out of water. I had no idea where to start and I didn’t have any sort of direction. I spent numerous evenings at Barnes and Noble reading up on clean diets and guides to women’s fitness. I was a constant sponge soaking up advice from other competitors and making sure I was staying on track with my workouts, no matter how tired I was. It was definitely a hard thing to start on my own, but very humbling. As far as results, I saw a drop in weight within the first 7-10 days. Putting on muscle mass took a little longer for me to see but once I saw it, it was a big change!

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: I needed a goal, something to work towards so that I didn’t get lazy. I was very motivated by other female competitors that I met along the way…and I think it took them telling me that I have what it takes for me to realize that I could do it. One athlete in particular ended up becoming my coach, mentor, and pretty much my on call support system at any hour of the day! I’m very thankful for her support because it made my first competition a great experience. I loved every second of that journey, and it’s likely that I’ll keep competing and setting higher goals for myself.

Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: I don’t think anyone in my family really understood what I was getting myself into…they just knew I was committed to my time in the gym. Some of my friends didn’t seem very interested, but there were a few that gave their support unconditionally. Whether it was phone calls, spending late nights at the gym with me, helping me prepare food, or giving me tough love when I felt like I was in over my head. I appreciate those people and wouldn’t have been successful without them.

Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: It was even better! I expected to trip and fall in my heels (we all know how un-graceful I can be in those things!) In all seriousness, I expected to be nervous, but once I got on stage and heard my friends and coach cheering for me, I felt right at home and very proud to be there. I was in awe of the other competitors and how lucky I was to be standing next to such strong, beautiful women. It really is something I will never forget.

Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: 2011 Fitness America Great North—Bikini Tall Class Champion

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: Probably glutes. I work really hard to keep the back end tight!

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: I love lower body workouts, anything that brings my legs to failure and has me hardly able to walk the next day! I’m a big fan of split squats with heavy weights. They’re killer.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I eat 6 meals a day, mostly lean proteins, greens and whey shakes when I’m on the go. I’ll do carb loads some days as well as alter my salt and water intake when it’s getting close to show time.

Q: When someone sees your physique or hears you compete for the first time, what is the most common reaction? More positive or negative?
A: Definitely positive. I have many people sending me feedback on my progress and it really means the world to me when others are inspired by the hard work I’ve put in. That’s what life is about…not only making yourself the best you, but giving OTHERS that gift too! I’ve found so much happiness in helping people that come to me in the same way I went to other athletes when I was in need of direction.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: I guess the one question that continues to surprise me is, “Can I look like that without cutting sweets and alcohol?” I wish! (haha) My opinion on that is, go big or go home. You only have one body to live in…so why not take care of it the best that you can? Have a cheat meal now and then, but don’t go crazy with the sweets and booze!

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: I think it’s a common misconception that when people hear “fitness competition” they immediately think of women that don’t look feminine.

Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: The best part is obviously feeling great, having a lot more energy, and looking solid. I’ve developed a lot of great new friendships while training, which I’m very thankful for. I enjoy seeing my coach and working on my walking/posing routine. Also, seeing the other women I practice with is always a highlight of my week, we don’t hold much back from each other…much like a little fitness family! As far as the frustrating aspect of training, that probably falls into constantly having to pack my meals wherever I go. However, I am so used to that now that I hardly notice I do it. It’s a habit that is worth developing!

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: Chady Dunmore, Jamie Eason, Kim Dolan Leto, Barb Server, Tara Thatcher, Megan Moon, Stefanie Rollins

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Chunky peanut butter is my all time favorite cheat food. If given a spoon, I could eat an entire container of it in one sitting. My dog loves it too, he gets cheat meals when I do! Also, I’ve been known to carry a few dark chocolates on me at all times. That way if I have a wicked craving, I can handle it and not go completely overboard.

Q: If another woman told you she wanted to start training, what is the one piece of advice you would most want to give her?
A: Seek people that lift you up and WANT to see you succeed. Stay motivated. Educate yourself because there are always improvements that can be made.

Q: Do you think it’s becoming more common for women to use the weights as opposed to just doing cardio and things?
A: I do think it’s more common! I love it! I walk over to the “weight side” of the gym with my shoulders back and my head held high. It may be mostly men over there, but that’s nothing to be intimidated about! The women I hang with can bench with the best!

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I go to a lot of live music shows, that’s a big hobby of mine. Traveling, setting new goals for myself, being outdoors, and being around people that make me laugh. Laughing is really important!

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Tarah Andrews.
A: Wake up early, eat breakfast, grab a coffee, go to work, hit the gym, and find some time to connect with friends/family before I fall asleep! I’m a creature of habit. I really like my weekdays to stay routine.

Q: Describe Tarah Andrews in five words.
A: Passionate. Motivated. Grateful. Balanced. Outgoing.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I’m a HUGE dork. I think the dumbest things are funny. I do “Irish jigs” to make my coach laugh and dance in my car while sitting in traffic. I send my friends pictures of how huge my stomach gets when I’m water loading and snort when people make me laugh really hard. Oh, and I like Justin Beiber.

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I’ll be competing in FAP-Vegas this fall. Next year I’d like to compete in figure as well as bikini.

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: Perfectly Prepared LLC- Tara Thatcher (my coach and mentor, I highly recommend her services.) Also, Michelle Thomas- Willow Salon in Maple Grove MN for sponsoring me. Scott Palmer Photography ( Jason Moliter (aka Miss J –hair and makeup.) and the people who have given their support through this journey! You’re all stuck on this ride with me! :-)

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Tarah Andrews the athlete and competitor?
A: I’m always looking for sponsors! I have an extreme love for fitness and people who are passionate about great products. My hope is to become a part of a great team of sponsored athletes who all work together. Contact me at OR!!

Q: Tarah, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Of course! Thank you and big congratulations to all you amazing female athletes who are competing this season, keep pushing forward!


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