Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Neely Tartaglia

Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Neely Tartaglia! - Pics and info and more!

How Did You Get Started?

I was first introduced to the world of weight lifting and bodybuilding when I was 14. My high school offered an option to enroll in weight lifting classes as opposed to the generally required P.E. classes. Being the overachiever I've always been, naturally I opted for the higher level, more challenging course. This is where I started learning the fundamentals of constructing training programs, lifting positioning and technique, and got that initial drive to constantly push myself to always make progress in my training.

Neely Neely Neely
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It was around that same time that I got myself involved with sports medicine as an athletic trainer. I was trained in the areas of prevention, assessment, and rehabilitation of sports related injuries. I worked closely with various sports teams during that time before moving on to Oregon State University to continue in the same field. At OSU I majored in Exercise and Sport Science with an initial option of Sports Medicine. I then moved into the Fitness Program Management courses, which gave me a wider range of curriculum in the general health and fitness fields, including focuses in kinesiology, nutrition, and psychology.

Neely Neely
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During college I had some friends that competed in Fitness. I went to a couple of the shows they were in and I knew that it was something I wanted to try for myself. But unfortunately, my gymnastics background wasn't as extensive as I felt it needed to be to compete in Fitness. Shortly after I started looking into things, though, the Figure category became a part of the NPC. It was perfect for me.

In 2003 I entered my first Figure competition. I had no idea what I was walking into at that first show, but once I got off stage from my first judging round, I was hooked!

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

I tend to only work 2 body parts per day. And I've found that I make greater gains by splitting up my leg workouts into two separate days.

Neely Neely Neely
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I never work a major muscle group with its supporting counterpart. Such as Chest and Tris. In the pressing movements for chest, once the chest becomes fatigued, the triceps begin to take over more of the work. And I don't feel as though I'm getting an intense enough workout on the triceps after they've reached that pre exhaustive state. I prefer to work Tris with Back to avoid that early drain.

Neely Neely
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When working a large muscle group and a smaller muscle group on the same day, I usually start my workouts with the larger group unless I feel the smaller group is lacking and I need to emphasize them. Using Back and Tris as an example, I most often work through the core back exercises before I begin to focus on the Tris.

When working two major groups on the same day, such as Chest and Back, I use an alternating push/pull technique. And occasionally I will do compound sets, i.e., Flat Bench Press compounded with straight bar Cable Rows for 3 sets, then Incline Bench Press compounded with Lat Pulls for 3 sets, etc.

A Sample Week:

  • Day 1: Quads/Soleus
  • Day 2: Shoulders/Abs
  • Day 3: Chest/Bis
  • Day 4: off
  • Day 5: Hamstrings/Gastrocnemius
  • Day 6: Back/Tris/Abs
  • Day 7: off

Generally I do 3-4 exercises per body part (not including warm-up sets), 2-4 sets per exercise, rep ranges varying from 6-15 depending on the season.

My cardio programs vary throughout the year also. Off season I do 2 sessions a week at 45 minutes each. In season I do 4-6 days a week varying from 30 minute sessions up to 90 minute sessions as I get closer to show.

I've tried to do my cardio first thing in the morning before anything else but that always seems to leave me entirely too drained of energy. I like to do my cardio sessions shortly after my lifting routine or in the evening.

Neely Neely
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What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?

I keep my Protein and Carbs at about an even count most of the year. I don't really taper my carb counts down until roughly 6 weeks before a show. I've always been pretty lucky in the fact that my body can process carbs fairly efficiently. So generally I keep both protein and carbs around 1.5g/lb body weight and fats always in moderation (with the exception of those off season splurges!).


Primary Macro Sources:


    • Boneless, skinless chicken breast.
    • Lean turkey breast / lean ground turkey
    • Lean cuts of steak (top round, top sirloin) / ground sirloin
    • Egg whites


    • Yams
    • Baker Potatoes
    • Rice, brown and white
    • Oatmeal
    • Broccoli


    • Peanut Butter
    • Olive oil
    • CLA

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I eat 8-10 meals a day, including shakes. Smaller meals, enough to feel satiated not full. Throughout the day my protein to carb ratios go from 1:2 to 2:1 with and even 1:1 ratio around midday. I try not to eat any carbs other than leafy vegetables for 2-4 hours before I go to bed.

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What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?

Protein shakes have been one of the greatest things that have helped me. I don't like to eat first thing in the morning, so I make protein smoothies with fruits, oatmeal, and peanut butter. I get everything I need to get my metabolism going and it's so quick and easy to make.

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The same thing applies to my post workout shake. It's never easy to get that meal in immediately after a workout. So as long as I have a shake with me at the gym, I can get the protein in that I need. And it's fast acting protein so I know I'm benefiting right away from it and preventing any atrophy from starting.

Also, glutamine has been a staple supplement for me. I can put it into my shakes. It speeds up my recovery time and helps boost my immune system which is very important for when I'm prepping for a show.

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Why do you love Bodybuilding?

This is a sport where I'm in control. No one else can affect how I look but me. Going into a show, there's always a mystery of who I will be competing against. And that's the ultimate push. I can't be a slacker and just expect to win. Its 100% or it's just not worth it.

Somewhere, someone is training. Training hard. And if you're not, when you meet that person on stage, they will beat you.

I try to stick to that motto. It's all about the amount of effort I put out myself that determines where I stand in the sport and also how satisfied I am with what I've done. THAT is why I love this sport.

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What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

As far as shows, I'm planning on hitting Jr. Nationals and the USAs in the 07 season. I may throw in one or two more around then too, but those are the main ones I'm gearing up for. Of course, I'm going for that pro card!

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What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?

Stay focused! This is a sport where your own goals are what matters. Don't let anything get in the way of that. There's already plenty of stress (and absent-mindedness!) that occurs during show prep. Just make sure that you, and what you're striving to achieve, stay in the forefront of your mind.

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Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?