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Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Tanya Fennell

Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Tanya Fennell! - Pics and info and more!

  • Name: Tanya Fennell
  • E-mail:
  • Age: 28
  • Where: Fredonia, NY
  • Height: 5' 2''
  • Weight: 115 Lbs.
  • Years Bodybuilding :2
  • Favorite Bodypart: Shoulders and yes... Booty
  • Favorite Exercise: Legs
  • Favorite Supplements: PGN Nutrition, Scivation and BSN

How Did You Get Started?

People whom you would like to thank for their support:

A great big thanks to Jen Hendershott and her staff of Get Phat camp, Cleveland 2009! They are all now more than just my trainers, but a part of my life, my mentors. A life changing experience that has helped me figure out who I am, where I want to go in life and my purpose here on this earth. Also, my family for being there for me no matter what, my mom especially for being strong and making realize nothing is more important than health and life! Allan Franklin, the greatest man in my life for being by my side and a huge influence on following my dream! Thank you.

Tanya Fennell.
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Tanya Fennell.

First, I would like to say "I LOVE". I entered the military (Army) in 2001 and immediately got sent to Germany at age 18 and around when Sept. 11, 2001 happened. I gained over 20lbs in 4 months from the stress of being away from home and thrown into a wartime situation at 19. 14-24 hour guard shifts = large pizza and Doritos, and takeout every day and night.

Then when our shifts got to be 12 hours and I had time to actually put on regular clothes, my jeans did not fit. I had to wear sweat pants! It just hit me and I turned myself around right there. I started doing research on healthy eating and buying magazines and that's when I found with the best articles and so much info. I also was dedicated to reading every Oxygen and Muscle & Fitness Hers magazine, ripping articles out and having them at my side.

I have been using your website since 2002, while I was in Germany and deployed in Iraq in 2004. While being deployed I started to teach aerobic classes after work, first to keep my mind off of being away and second the soldiers and civilians petitioned to have me teach. They saw me in the gym after work all the time doing aerobics from a portable DVD player or the TV the MWR (Morale, Wellness, and Recreation center) provided.

The site is amazing and I have learned so much about fitness in general that after the military I decided to get my personal trainer certification and Group Fitness certification in 2005 through AFAA. On September 22, 2007 at the Battle of the Swords (my first figure competition in Pittsburgh, PA), I got all my information, training, nutrition and posing from and Oxygen magazine, and placed 3rd out of 5!

After my competition in 2007 I went to Iraq to work for Honeywell Technology but I still had the competition bug but couldn't leave whenever I wanted to. So, I decided to bring the competition to me. I wasn't able to compete but it was nice to be surrounded in it again. I used to give the competitors classes at least twice a month when I had free time from my job. I loved that orders got to me overseas within 7 days, sometimes earlier! and others also sponsored my INBF competition that I promoted in Iraq May 2008 and can't wait to work with you more! 2 military competitors turned pro from that competition!

Tanya Fennell.
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Tanya Fennell.

Still in Iraq till June 2010, I continued to train, to teach classes and help others achieve their goals; soldiers and civilians overseas. I worked as a logistician overseas but my customers would come in and they know (well everyone knew) NOT to talk to me when I was in the gym training so they would come in the office, do business as normal but then end up sitting with me for hours talking about fitness, nutrition and workouts and how to stay motivated while deployed. I loved it! Some people just found out where I worked to get advice and ask the do I do it. I always seem so happy and I told them it's because I eat right and I work out! Over there it is so easy to say you do not have time or your food is limited but it can be done and showed them all!

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

Honestly, Get Phat Online has been the best training ever. I have always had a flat stomach and curvy hips and thought my genetics just wouldn't let me get those six-pack lines or tight thighs and glutes but... it happened with the help of GPO.

Superset - Two exercises are performed consecutively without any rest.
Trisets - Three exercises are performed consecutively without any rest.

Monday: Legs

Tuesday: Shoulders

  • Pre-workout Cardio: 60min Treadmill
  • Superset:
  • Superset:
      Alternating Up & Backs: 4 sets of 10 reps
      Reverse Up & Backs: 4 sets of 6 reps
  • Superset:
  • Superset:
  • Evening Cardio: 45min Elliptical/Bike

Wednesday: Back

Thursday: Chest

Friday: Arms

Saturday & Sunday

  • 2x 60 min cardio sessions. Usually incline walks on treadmill, outside at track or Aerobic classes! Something different and fun.
Tanya Fennell.
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Tanya Fennell.

What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?

Meal 1: Post workout

Meal 2:

Meal 3:


Meal 4: Pre-workout

Meal 5: Post-workout

Meal 6:

Late Snack:

  • 2 scoops protein shake with water and ice

What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?

Morning before cardio (during competition prep only):

15 min before workouts (cardio):

45 min before workouts (weight training):

Before and after workouts:

After workouts:


Why do you love Bodybuilding?

I could write a book on that! I love that fitness and health is never ending. I'm a goal setter and in fitness you can set a different goal every month if you want to and reach it, then move on to another. It's endless! At first I was 19 so it was all about looking good. Then after the years and my ambition to keep learning it just amazed me on how exercise and nutrition affects your mood, energy levels and all over feeling. Through looking at the amazing athletes on the site I always wondered how they kept going, how they ate the way they ate and I never thought it was possible for me. Coming from a mother who is Italian and pasta was a daily meal most of the time... and not just 1 cup!

But I printed the articles off the site and started eating like an athlete. Results were just immediate, not only was I getting definition but long hours throughout the day, I seemed to have energy and after work I still had energy to make it to the gym again. People started noticing the changes and I got questions everywhere I went. I loved it! I loved that I had all this knowledge and I wanted to share it with everyone.

Higher ranking soldiers started coming to me (as a private) asking me to train them so they could pass the PT test and make weight, so I did and I loved seeing someone benefit from what I taught them! That's when I knew my passion was fitness. My face would light up every morning because I got to do cardio and when I went to the gym people could see how excited I was to be there. Then everyone started asking me about figure competitions and I did not think I could do that at all. I didn't even know what it was, so again I researched it on I love to set goals for myself and achieve them and this one seemed like a very hard one and I wanted to try.

In 2007, I fell in love with the nutrition aspect of fitness. I ate well but I was dieting for my competition and to learn so much on how food affects your mind and body just inspired me to go to school for Exercise Science and to get my nutrition certification. Honestly at 18 and eating horrible I felt like I was 30 years old. Since working out and eating healthy, at age 28, I feel like I'm 19!

What Motivates You To Follow A Healthy Lifestyle?

I really don't need motivation for a healthy lifestyle anymore. It took years to learn how to eat right, how to cook healthier, pick better food sources and realize how food affects you physically, mentally and emotionally. Once you make the decision to turn your life around and take out the fast food and all the processed food at the grocery store your body feels light, your mind is clear, your skin starts to look healthier and you start to enjoy life because your body is fueled with the right food/fluids and everything is in place.

What Made You Want To Achieve Your Goals?

Myself! I am so hard on myself saying I couldn't do it that it made me mad and just wanted to prove to me that I could. I was one of those people saying I have genetics that just won't let me get in that good of shape. I was so uneducated! I was someone who said I didn't have time until I started working 84+ hours a week, taught aerobic classes and still had time for my workout. I was the one who said I could not just give up any food group or diet in such a crazy way because I love food. I was that person that I wanted to beat on stage.

Tanya Fennell.
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Tanya Fennell.

What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

My future fitness plans are to help others in their journey. Help turn their life around at any age. Hope that I can inspire people through my journey, my thoughts that life isn't easy but food isn't the answer.

2011 Competitions:

  1. The Arnold Amateur Bikini: March 3rd, 2011
  2. Ms. Buffalo: April 2011
  3. UFE Spring Bash in Canada: April 2011

After that, go to a national show this year probably in the fall.

Competition History:

  1. OCB Battle of the Sword, Pittsburgh, PA, Figure, Sept. 22, 2007: 3rd Place
  2. OCB Battle of the Sword, Pittsburgh, PA, Bikini, Oct. 2nd, 2010 1st Place
  3. NPC Jen Hendershott's AWW, Charleston, SC, Bikini, Oct. 23rd, 2010: 3rd Place

Promoted Events:

  • Iraq 2004, Aerobathon in Tikrit, Iraq: Soldiers and civilians=4 1/2 hours straight aerobics & toning!
  • Baghdad, Iraq May 2008: Promoted the INBF U.S. forces Iraq Middle-Eat Classic Bodybuilding & Figure Championships (2 soldiers earned their Pro card)
  • February 2011, State University of New York: Fredonia Biggest Loser Battle of the Trident

What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?

Anytime someone comes to me and asks me to help them lose weight, my answer is always the same thing, "It's not an 8-week program", it's a way of life, and in order to lose weight you will need to get educated. The first step is to learn about nutrition and portion sizes; once a person can do that and then incorporate exercise into their daily routine there's nothing to worry about. You'll be healthy inside and out, you will have energy, you will feel good and your outlook on life will be more positive.

Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?

I've followed Jen Hendershott, Latisha Wilder, Adela Garcia and a lot others through Oxygen. All of the women in the magazine and on inspire me honestly!

What Features Do You Use On

What don't I use? I order supplements from and I am so happy that it gets to my house - normally in 2 days too!!! It's awesome. I have read almost every article in the contest prep, food journals, training section that there is to read. I have printed them, tried others diets and workouts and learned what was for me and what was not. I am pretty active on BodySpace; the members are so motivating and inspiring. I use the app on my iPhone and it really helps me to track my progress especially when I am on the go, everything is at my fingertips when I need it. I always check the weekly transformations or fitness amateur section. I love reading about the men and women turning their lives around for the good and accomplishing big goals.

Additional Info: