Gym instructor and bikini competitor Tara Kelly: 'I feel more confident at 36 then I did in my 20s'
Fitness fanatic and busy mum Tara Kelly gives us an insight into how her day shapes up on a plate.
Tara Kelly (36) began her journey to become healthier and fitter in May 2013.
"It has honestly turned my life around," Tara says of the lifestyle overhaul.
"I'm now 36 and feeling more confident and happier in my own skin than I did in my 20s."
In order to keep up with her busy lifestyle, Tara adopts a "flexible" approach to dieting.
"I started off eating 'clean' for six days a week and had a cheat meal which always turned into a cheat day on the seventh day of every week," she admitted.
"I decided that this wasn't a great relationship to have with food so I switched to a more flexible approach. I follow this approach both during my competition prep and in my off season," she says.
"I never deprive myself of anything as I feel the more you deprive yourself the more likely you are to binge," she offered.
For the last two years, Tara took part in numerous bikini competitions to showcase her hard work and dedication.
Each day, whether preparing for a contest or not, Tara gives herself a target of fats, carbohydrates and protein to hit depending on her goals and what training she is doing. However, this is more straight forward than it sounds.
"I basically eat when I'm hungry. Some days, I might eat three large meals and others it may be six smaller meals."
Here, Tara tells us what her average day on a plate looks like.
For breakfast, Tara usually has protein pancakes topped with Greek yoghurt, berries and peanut butter. I make the pancakes with three egg whites, one teaspoon of baking powder and one scoop of whey protein from an Irish company called 'Platinum and Diamond'. After this, Tara generally heads to the gym for her workout.
After training, Tara either has a turkey burger with vegetables and sweet potato wedges, or a bowl of porridge with protein.
Dinner for Tara is usually "more creative" and involves something like an aubergine and chicken curry with cauliflower rice. Her golden rule is making everything from scratch, and she adds that she hasn't used a jar of sauce in over two years.
As for snacks, Tara's go-to for convenience are protein smoothies, rice cakes with peanut butter and banana, Greek yoghurt with berries, celery sticks with peanut butter, stewed rhubarb or a Beltsander brownie.
Each morning, Tara swears by a green smoothie which she makes with fresh spinach, kale, frozen berries, spirulina, lime juice and some supplements.
"I feel if I drink this everyday I have gotten a good amount of greens in so if I don't get much vegetables in after that I don't feel so bad."
In terms of supplements, Tara swears by creatine, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Omega fish oils and magnesium.
"I sometimes suffer from water retention especially after high carb days, so I use dandelion drops or eat lots of asparagus as these are both natural diuretics," she adds.
"I try to encourage my family and friends to make better choices especially my 16 year old son Tyler who has a sweet tooth like his mammy. But he eats really well the majority of the time and has made me some very tasty and healthy meals," she says.
Inspired by her own health and fitness journey, Tara decided to become a qualified gym instructor last year.
"I'm currently doing an Advanced Nutrition course with The Fitness Institute too and I hope to do my full personal training course with the Fitness Institute later this year.
"I look forward to bringing my own knowledge and experience to my clients. I prepped myself for five out of six competitions that I did last year, and I feel I learned so much about my body and how it works.
"My motto is 'Never give up' - life will always throw obstacles at us and we will use them as excuses not to train or not to stick to our nutrition. If it becomes a lifestyle then you will stay on track."