Tara Green Shed 26 Pounds And More Than Half Of Her Body Fat!

Tara always thought that she was a fit person, but after taking a few before photos she discovered that there was room for improvement. Read on to see how she changed her diet and exercise and competed in figure!

Vital Stats

Name: Tara D. Green

Email: buscoboo@gmail.com

Bodyspace: V1

Tara D. Green Tara D. Green


138 lbs
Body Fat:


112 lbs
Body Fat:

Why I Got Started

In '06, I was just cruising along, thinking I was just fine. I considered myself to be an athletic girl, I pictured myself to have a fit physical appearance. My best friend and I would always talk about our workouts, reporting in over long-distance phone calls about what new weights we pushed in the gym. I was sporadic with my efforts, following no plan, but because of the simple fact that I WENT to the gym, and most people did NOT, I thought I was doing pretty good!

I remember seeing a leg workout in Muscle and Fitness with Timea Majorova. I loved the shape of her legs in that article, and I ripped the article out, convinced that it had to work! I really, seriously thought I had the 'secret' to good legs right there, in my hot little hands! Yessssss ... the 'secret workout' I never had before!

Well, I followed that workout for a few weeks. I got sore, but I never saw my legs look any different. I thought it was 'all about the workout.' I thought if I followed the reps and sets of these certain exercises, I would have 'those legs.' I truly thought this combination would yield that picture, like those reps and sets were some sort of magic formula!

Now, I could not tell you what Timea's arms looked like in that photo ... I didn't CARE! I wanted nice legs! I didn't see anything wrong with my arms, so they were not even a consideration in working out. In addition, there was NO consideration of diet. I remember thinking that if I ate MORE protein bars, I would slim up quicker (yes, really!).

I ate plenty of sugar; I considered it normal to have sugar every day. I figured it was fine as long as I was 'working it off.' I specifically bought 'fat free' candy, because fat=fat, right? Well, that really is what I thought.

I Considered Myself To Be An Athletic Girl, I Pictured Myself To Have A Fit Physical Appearance
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I Considered Myself To Be An Athletic Girl, I
Pictured Myself To Have A Fit Physical Appearance.

But...how did it all change?

One day, my best friend bought the Body for Life book, and he called me up-completely excited, telling me all about it. I sort of had this thought of, 'here he is with some scam diet book, and all he has to do is go to the gym.' I reluctantly went to the store to find this book, and expected to see right through the scam in 5 seconds flat.

I wound up leafing through the pages, and honestly ... I was MOTIVATED like crazy when I saw the before and after photos that were plastered inside of the cover of the book. Plus, it wasn't a huge, thick, technical book. I liked what I read as I skimmed, but mostly ... I liked those pictures.

One of those girls had the 'Timea Majorova legs' that I had admired so much in that magazine I bought earlier. I brought that book home and read it in one day. All fired up and ready to go, I took step one: I took my 'before' picture.

THAT is what did it. That picture stunned me into reality. Did I really look like that? Was I really such a ... PEAR? Was I really ... sort of ... I dunno ... FAT? I did NOT picture myself to look at all like that. All of a sudden, I was humbled and embarrassed. WHAT was I doing in the gym? Why did I not even look like I worked out? I thought I was so fit, and I wasn't ... or at least I didn't LOOK like it!

The truth was ... I was FRUMPY. I looked thick and pear-shaped. I had a moment of disbelief, wondering if I was just a product of my genetics. After all, I worked out! I would look better if I had the right genetics, right? My efforts would SHOW, right?

I looked again at the pictures in the book. Was everything with this book and diet just a huge moneymaking scam? If you were meant to look like a fitness model, weren't you just going to have to be born that way? I didn't think so. I didn't think these people were anything more special than I was. I read the book and maybe I had been duped, but I believed every word.

So ... that's when it started. I wanted to LOOK like I was fit. I wanted vengeance for all of my fruitless hours in the gym! Clearly, I was doing something wrong, and the girl who thought she knew so much was about to get schooled. If these people in this book could do this, I knew I could, too. I have always said this, "Someone has to be THAT person, so why not YOU?" I have some fierce determination, and I was READY to change.

I Have Some Fierce Determination, And I Was Ready To Change
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I Have Some Fierce Determination, And I Was Ready To Change.

How I Did It

There are really two parts to this story, and the first part is this part where I got into the Body for Life book and followed that program. It was setup as a 12-week program, with 3 days of 45-minute weight training sessions, and 3 days of 20-minute HIIT cardio sessions.

The book also outlined an eating plan, with 6 small meals spaced every 2-3 hours. This was my first exposure to any sort of eating plan, or 'diet.' It seemed really hard to me, but I really got into it, because I felt like such a 'hardcore workout girl,' and I loved that feeling.

I started one 12-week program, but I didn't follow it too well. After a couple of weeks, I hired a trainer, competitor Renee Paul at 24-hr Fitness. She helped me learn about the sport of Figure, and I toyed with the idea of competition, but I didn't really believe that I 'had what it took.' With her help, my starting weight of 138 pounds and 29% body fat ended at 124 pounds and 23% body fat over about 12 weeks.

My Starting Weight Of 138 Pounds And 29% Body Fat Ended At 124 Pounds And 23% Body Fat Over About 12 Weeks
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My Starting Weight Of 138 Pounds And 29% Body Fat Ended At
124 Pounds And 23% Body Fat Over About 12 Weeks.

After our success, I decided to do the Body for Life program on my own, and this time I entered the contest. So, in Feb of 2007, I did another 12 weeks on Body for Life.

Keep in mind that I was traveling this entire time. In fact, my notes say this, "Out of 84 days, I was on the road for 56". I had to learn to pack the food for travel, measure, plan around international laws with regard to meats/nuts/veggies, and cook WAY ahead of time. I could be away from home for a week at a time, and this was not uncommon.

In 12 weeks, I had gone from 124 pounds and 23% body fat to 118 pounds and 16% body fat. I truly followed that book, and had plenty of good weeks and bad weeks. Trust me, THIS WAS HARD! Sometimes I focused on what I couldn't do and I had to learn to change that attitude to move on. The numbers may not sound impressive, but the shape of my body was much different!

I did not place in the contest, but I was not at all disappointed! I wound up going on a Body for Life Cruise with my best friend Frank, the one who introduced me to the BFL book, on the DAY I finished my program!

Sometimes I Focused On What I Couldn't Do And I Had To Learn To Change That Attitude To Move On
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Sometimes I Focused On What I Couldn't Do And I Had To Learn To Change That Attitude To Move On.

I was excited about all I learned, and my body now reflected my new knowledge. I wanted to go somewhere with this, to further it. So here I was with this new body, and I wanted to learn more.

I spent 3 months relaxing, and old habits crept up on me. At 127 pounds and back at 19% body fat, I began to look for more motivation and new ways to get fit. I really wanted to give the sport of 'Figure' a real shot. I was now looking for a specific program just for this type of training.

This is the second part of my story! In July of '07, I began to search the internet, typing 'best figure trainer Denver', and things like that into the Google bar. I wound up on a website for a trainer who had a team of girls who competed. I looked at the picture of those girls and they looked like fitness models. I won't lie: I was intimidated! I was excited! Should I call? Am I cut out for it? Could that be me ...?

Then, the braver side of me said, "Why not?", and I called trainer Carla Sanchez, coach of the Performance Ready Team that I had seen on my computer.

I made an appointment with her to learn about competing and about her team. I remember after our meeting that she said, "I know you need to think about it, so call me when you decide what you want to do." I already knew. I knew exactly what I was going to do, but I played it cool like I was really going to mull over it like a level-headed person might do.

I was way too excited to be level-headed, though! I called her the next day and committed to doing a 12-week program for my first figure competition. I started on July 11, 2007, and did my first competition on October 19, 2007 (about 3 months later).

Note: This is the program described in the supplements and training and meal details below.

I was not in perfect shape at this point. I still had a good amount of fat in my legs that I wanted to see if I could lose. I wanted to see how close to that 'fitness model' look that I could get. Could my body even DO that?

My workout program followed the program that Carla designs for her Performance Ready Team. My diet was tailored to me, which I really liked. I mostly worked out on my own, and being an airline pilot, I often had to improvise in hotels.

I was working out in the middle of the night, midday, early morning ... whatever time I got into my hotel was what time I worked out, and it was never the same gym, time or time zone! Sometimes I had NO gym, and I used parking lots for lunges, jump roping, and sprinting!

I had to really adjust things to fit my crazy life! I ran into problems with keeping food cold while being gone days at a time, and had many a canned and cold meal. Imagine packing 5-6 meals a day for 7 days! I did NOT cheat on that diet, though. I was allowed one cheat meal per week, and I took it, but in between, I was strict. I also doubted myself a bit as to whether I would make it to stage looking competitive, so I felt that I had to control the things that I could, as best as possible.

I enjoyed the time with my teammates, and loved the varying workouts and how hard I was working. Everything was at a whole new level - I mean, you think you're INTENSE? You don't know intense until you get on a competition program! I felt so lucky to have stumbled upon something that suited my personality so well. My body was changing fast, and by the time I reached my first competition, I had those tight legs that I never thought I could have. I had muscle and still looked feminine.

I remember doubting myself, though, not realizing how competitive I had become. I walked into Carla's office about 2 weeks prior to my show and asked, "Do you think I will be ready?" I remember she looked up from her papers on her desk and gave me this look like, "What are you talking about?" and she said, "uh, yeaUHHHH", as if it were obvious. I really did not have a clue. I remember being worried that my best friend and his girlfriend were coming to watch me, and I just hoped that I wouldn't place last!

I really still did not realize how much I had changed until after the show was over and I saw my pictures - I could not believe that was me! I had placed first in every category I had entered, except one. I had won the 'overall.'

I walked out of that auditorium and still could not figure out why I had won so many things, "What did I win, exactly?" I asked Carla. She looked at me again with that look I had seen two weeks prior to my show, "You won the WHOLE THING!" she said, laughing. I was so new at all of this!

So, that is how I did it! Special thanks to Carla Sanchez and the Performance Ready Team for allowing me to provide examples of my program that I followed to my first show in 2007! Thank you!

I now live in Texas, and train online with Kim Oddo of www.BodybyO.com. I compete on the national level, and have earned top 5 placings in 2009 and 2010. With Kim's expert help, I continue to improve each year! Look for me in upcoming shows for 2011, and remember: "Someone has to be THAT person, so WHY NOT YOU?"


All listed were used during the time period with the PR Team '07

Morning and Post Workout:

  • Muscle Milk Light: 1 scoop

3 Times Daily Including Pre Workout:

  • AST Beta X: 2 tabs (later reduced to 1 tab)

Pre and Post Workout:


Meal 1:

  • 6 Egg Whites
  • ½ cup Oat Bran (measured dry)

Meal 2:

  • 1 Apple
  • 1 scoop Muscle Milk Light *

Meal 3:

  • 4 oz Chicken Breast
  • 1/2 cup Brown Rice
  • 8 oz Green Beans
  • 1 tbsp Udo's Oil

Meal 4: Pre Workout

  • 1 scoop Muscle Milk Light*
  • 1 serving Amino Acids
  • 1 GoLean Hot Cereal Packet

Meal 5: Post Workout

  • 1 scoop Muscle Milk Light*

Meal 6:

  • 4 oz White Fish (I used Halibut a lot)
  • 8 Asparagus Spears

I drank one gallon of water a day (no sodas!)

*I had always had problems digesting many protein powders, and found this to be the only one I could digest at the time. A whey isolate or quality protein powder would be fine here.

One cheat meal per week ... I have to admit, for me, this was usually a restaurant dinner (like fajitas/chips and salsa) and some candy for dessert!


Failure - That point in an exercise at which you have so fully fatigued your working muscles that they can no longer complete an additional repetition of a movement with strict biomechanics. You should always take your post-warm-up sets at least to the point of momentary muscular failure, and frequently past that point.

Day 1: Glutes/Legs/Shoulders/Biceps/Abs

  • Hack Squats: 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Stiff Legged Deadlifts: 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Wide Stance Squats: 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Machine Shoulder Press: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Upright Rows: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Lateral Raises: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Weighted Walking Lunges: 1 set of 50 reps
  • Weighted Squat Jumps: 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Lying Leg Curls: 3 sets of 6-8 reps, each leg
  • Leg Extensions: 3 sets of 15 reps each leg
  • EZ Bar Bicep Curl: 10-12 reps
  • Leg Raises: 20 reps
  • Dumbbell Bicep Curl: 10-12 reps
  • Air Bike: 1 set of 50 reps

PM Cardio: HIIT Cardio/Plyo (Run through this series twice, no stopping)

  • 5 min Run at 10% Incline
  • 30 Squat Jumps
  • 5 min incline Walk at 15% Incline
  • 100 revolutions w/ Jump Rope
  • 5 minutes Step Mill
  • 30 Alternating Jump Lunges

Day 2: Cardio Only

Day 3: Glutes/Legs/Back/Triceps/Abs

  • Ball Squats w/ Dumbbell: 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Stiff Legged Deadlifts: 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Reverse Lunges: 3 sets of 30 reps
  • Wide Grip Lat Pulldown: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Parallel Bar Dips: 3 sets to failure
  • Wide Grip T-Bar Row: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Tricep Rope Pressdown: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Weighted Walking Lunges: 1 set of 50 reps
  • Lying Leg Curls: 3 sets of 6-8 reps each
  • Leg Extensions: 3 sets of 15 reps each
  • Standing Calf Raises: 3 sets of 25 reps
  • One Arm Row: 3 sets of 10 reps each
  • Leg Raises: 3 sets of 20 reps
  • Bench Dips: 3 sets to failure
  • Decline Reverse Crunches: 3 sets of 20 reps

Day 4: Cardio

  • AM Cardio: Incline ladder Cardio: Start at 0% incline, increase 1% each minute up to 15 minutes, then decrease by 1% every minute till back down to 0% incline.
  • PM Cardio: HIIT cardio 30-40 min

Day 5: Glutes/Legs/Shoulders/Chest/Abs

  • Barbell Squat: 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Stiff Legged Deadlifts: 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Wide Stance Squats: 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Dumbbell Incline Chest Press: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Upright Rows: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Lateral Raises: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Stationary Lunges w/Dumbbell: 3 sets of 10 reps each side
  • Alternating Jump Lunges w/ Dumbbell: 3 sets of 20 reps
  • Adductor: 3 sets of 25 reps
  • Abductor: 3 sets of 25 reps
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 10-12 reps
  • Tuck Up Crunches: 1 set of 30 reps
  • Pushups: 3 sets to failure
  • Reverse Flyes: 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Day 6: Special Training

  • 2 hour 'Run the Rocks' class at Denver's outdoor RedRocks Amphitheater (lots of stairs, Plyo, running, and bodyweight upper body exercises all mixed together in a beautiful Colorado outdoor setting!)

Day 7: 2 hr Cardio Mix

  • Your choice (hike, bike, or go snowboarding if slopes are open!)

Suggestions for Others

It does happen with hard work, clean nutrition and a program that works for YOU ... around YOUR lifestyle, no matter how crazy or unorthodox it is. Don't listen to anyone who points out all of the reasons it 'can't be done!' I stand on stage against moms, formerly obese competitors, full time workers, stay at home moms, sponsored athletes, athletes with medical conditions and athletes with obstacles that seem impossible to overcome. They are amazing, and they are NOT better or more special than YOU ARE.

What about genetics? You tell me. Until you put your 'all' into it, how do you know what your genetics are? Look at my before pictures! Do you think I would have been called someone with 'good genetics'?

It Does Happen With Hard Work, Clean Nutrition, And A Program That Works For You
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It Does Happen With Hard Work, Clean Nutrition,
And A Program That Works For You.

FIND a reputable trainer. If your goal is to compete, find someone who has trained a COMPETITOR, and who knows about the rules of the organization that you want to compete in (I compete in the NPC). The rules and posing can be different, from what supplements you are allowed to use, to how to hold your arms in a pose.

It is common to hear of gym 'regulars' offering to train a gal, and a lot of times, they know how to work out, but are not aware of how to train you to meet what the judges are actually looking for in a physique.

Some can push you into believing that you 'have to' train or eat or supplement ONE way, and one way ONLY, 'or you'll never be competitive.' I get numerous emails and comments from would-be competitors who have been told this. I want YOU to know that you can compete on your terms. MY terms include workouts/meals that work with my travel, and competing drug-free; this is what I want. I pick trainers that are able to work with these things.

Go with a trainer that matches your philosophy on how YOU want to get to the stage. I promise: there is no 'ONE WAY.' If you hate cardio, there are trainers who minimize cardio. If you hate fish, don't go with a trainer who really feels strongly about putting fish in every meal.

If you need a 'team' to workout with, there are teams out there! If you never need to see your trainer and can do online training, you can also do that! There are online forums here and elsewhere to ask around. Don't rush in and think you can 'put up with anything' just to 'look like that.' Be smart, and stay true to yourself!

Finally, don't compare. By this, I mean don't waste your energy comparing your situation to that of another competitor. Someone always seems to have it easier, and someone always has it harder than you do. You decide to compete, and you decide to be judged. Be prepared for the work and consequences that come with both. You are GOING to get judged! Are you okay with criticism? Yes, you might look your BEST EVER, but remember ... this is a comparison event!

Last place doesn't mean you look bad; it means someone was judged the best in COMPARISON to you! You ALL look amazing! Know where you stand before you step on stage. A placing should never determine where your self esteem lands; this is coming from someone who has placed both first ... AND last! Steer clear of conversations that place blame or accusations on judging.

Don't Waste Your Energy Comparing Your Situation To That Of Another Competitor
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Don't Waste Your Energy Comparing Your
Situation To That Of Another Competitor.

Don't judge other competitors. You haven't walked in their shoes, and they haven't walk in yours. Some girls compete for fun, and some for career. Respect them! They have all earned it, and have overcome countless obstacles to be there.

On show day, you have your 'zen girls,' and your 'omg stress!' girls. Offer your smile and your help- relax ... competition is NOT personal ... no one is 'out to get you.' You are part of a much larger team than you know!

It is an HONOR to be surrounded by so many likeminded women! Some will become lifelong friends! Some you will see year after year, and some - maybe you - will become stars in the industry!

Whether you decide to compete or not, make the decision to start your journey now ... honestly, if not now, WHEN? Remember that it's HARD! Keep fueling your fire with what motivates YOU, specifically. Be INFORMED and know what you want from a program or trainer. (I recommend a trainer, because I think you will realize how hard you CAN push, and you have some accountability in your program).

Keep a system of support close by, whether through an online forum like the ones here on bodybuilding.com, interacting with members here on BodySpace, or finding workout buddies and teammies. You will rely on them sometimes to help pull you through, and to help you realize that there is a world of fitness out there. This is invaluable when it seems that the 'normal world' is pulling entirely in the opposite direction.

I absolutely wish you the BEST in your transformation or in your competition goals! Someone has to be 'that person' ... It can be you!