Tarryn Garlington - IFBB Figure Pro

I began my journey into fitness shortly after having a child six years ago. My initial goal was to simply get into shape and shed the excess weight that I'd put on during pregnancy and I thought I was doing a great job when I first began. I was using an app called "My Fitness Pal" to track/log my diet and workouts and had lost a gradual, but decent, amount of weight in a three year time span. It wasn't until the weight loss stopped and I'd ultimately reached a plateau, when I realized I may need a little help going forward. I knew that I needed to do something challenging because I figured doing something totally out of my comfort zone would probably be the only thing that could take me to that next level. I reached out to an old childhood friend that I knew in the bodybuilding community and they were able to connect me to my current competition prep coach. I started competing in 2014 and I haven't looked back. Since then, I've competed in four NPC shows in the Figure Division and one IFBB Pro level show, with my sixth show slowly approaching.

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Competing is pretty straightforward. You eat, workout, sleep, and repeat, but by a long shot, the diet is THE HARDEST part of competition prep. During the offseason, my diet is easier to follow and adhere to, as it's typically high in carbs. The offseason is the time that bodybuilders use to grow and improve, so a high carb diet is needed to fuel the intense workouts required for growth. In season, pre-contest, is completely different. My coach will typically place me on a carb cycling rotation. I'll have two days of low carbs, followed by one day of high carbs. This rotation will continue for the duration of my prep with only a few slight modifications depending on my physical progression. We've tried incorporating a Ketogenic-type diet into my plan, but found that carb cycling was better at producing the results that we were looking to achieve. I don't personally count or track my calorie, protein, carb, or fat intake. My meals are planned for me by my coach and I simply eat as she suggests and I train according to the workout plan that she's prepared. So far, that relationship has worked in my favor.

The training program that I follow is what I would consider standard for any Figure competitor. My weight lifting regimen consists of training splits, meaning I alternate the muscle groups that I train throughout the week. For example, on Monday I'd train Shoulders and Biceps, on Tuesday I'd train Legs and Abs, on Wednesday I'd train Back and Triceps, and this rotation would continue throughout the week. My weight training sessions are usually followed by 20-60 minutes of cardio, which is usually a rotation of LISS or HIIT, depending on how close I am to contest. I make every attempt to eat my 6-7 daily meals according to a set schedule (i.e. Meal 1 at 0400, Meal 2 at 0700, 3 at 1000, 4 at 1300, 5 at 1700, and 6 at 2000), and I typically workout in between meals 4 and 5.

For me, being on stage is the easiest part about competing. I participated in several beauty pageants as a very young girl up through my senior year in high school, participated in full blown theatrical productions in college, and was a member of a traveling Air Force performance ensemble, so being on stage comes very natural for me. Part of conquering stage fright is being confident in what you're presenting, and my goal is to never step on stage, in any capacity, if I'm not 100% certain that I am presenting my absolute very best.

To date, my most memorable show will have to be the show where I earned my IFBB Pro card, the 2016 NPC Jr. USA Championship in Charleston, SC. The preparation leading up to that show was literally the easiest to date and I went into the show with the most serene feeling. Looking back on it, I have never been as calm and stress free leading into a competition than I was heading into that show. It's almost as if my body was telling me, "No worries lady, we've got this!". This was the ONE show that everything fell into place from start to finish without any hiccups. That show will always hold a special place in my heart.

Being immersed in the world of competitive bodybuilding requires a great deal of sacrifice and a strong support network. I'm a working professional, married, and I have a 6 year old child at home. Without the support of my family, I would never be able to do what it takes to be successful in this sport. When you factor in the time spent working from "9-5", meal prepping, and working out, there is literally very little time left in the day for anything else. Thankfully, I have the support of my husband who takes on the bulk of the household duties (i.e. dinner, after-school pickups, homework with our little one, etc.) during the 16 weeks that I'm in contest prep. I have a HUGE amount of respect for all of the single moms out there that still manage to find the time to compete and take care of home. They are the true ROCKSTARS in this industry!

I truly enjoy being on the stage. The glitz and glamour, getting all dolled up for the day, is what keeps me coming back for more. The moment when that feeling fades is the moment that I'll decide to hang up my heels. Until then, I'm going to continue to compete in show after show for as long as my purse and desire will allow.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tarryngeefit
Email: tarryn.garlington@gmail.com

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