Hello everyone, my name is Tania Clark. I am 48 years old and a pro figure competitor with the WBFF (World of Beauty and Fitness and Fashion). My decision to embrace health and fitness was about 3 years ago. Battling hypothyroidism, poor diet, extra weight around my middle, and basically just feeling lousy every day I knew something needed to change.
As a previous weight lifter in my 20’s it was nice getting back in the swing of a lifting routine. After a few months of lifting, I also started cleaning up my diet and started noticing some positive changes in how I felt on the inside as well as the changes on the outside, which was muscle development and fat loss.
It was the best I felt in many years and to see my changes was extremely exciting. To reach optimal health was my ultimate goal and competing was not even on the table at this point. I had started reading about figure competing and had my interest peaked and was secretly thinking to myself I wonder if this would be possible especially at my age. Needless to say I had no idea my coach, Greg Hasberry with Elite Figure and Fitness, best coach in the business, trains at my current gym and encouraged me to try competing, my journey started and I have never looked back. Being involved in figure competing takes dedication and at times challenging yourself beyond what you think you can endure. Many women are retiring at my age from competing and here I am just getting started, but that does not stop me at all.
I believe timing is everything and with my kids grown has allowed me the time and resources to train and give it my best. I refuse to use my age as an excuse and promise myself each day I get out of that bed to push hard and give 100%.
My coach has taught me to be patient, muscle does not grow overnight and it takes time to build and develop your physique to achieve your goals. Greg has also taught me that we compete with ourselves and not to compare ourselves against others. I always let that resonate in my head when I am on stage which allows me to shine bright and no matter the results I have given it my best.
Each person possesses a unique quality and we should embrace those outstanding qualities and showcase them with confidence and pride. When you can understand that then you will be unstoppable to achieve any goal you set out to accomplish. After two years of hard core training, in May, 2014, Orlando Florida I was awarded my pro card, figure division, with the WBFF at the age of 47. I actually could not believe it!! I had to keep pinching myself. My dream just became a reality!! Wow!! How many times in your life can you actually say those words? Hard work and dedication pays off and when you reach that goal it is the best feeling you can ever imagine! Your passion will shine through you on how much you enjoy living a healthier lifestyle and to be an inspiration to others that are looking to make that change as well.
Since cleaning up my diet I really became interested in nutrition, especially the science aspect. Back when I started my clean eating over 3 years ago, a friend recommend the Paleo Diet. Never heard of it, but when I started seeing the results I was absolutely hooked. I was extremely curious so I started reading books, studying Paleo and working in my kitchen to eventually create my own recipes. I do not consider Paleo a diet, I consider it an eating lifestyle.
I have been practicing Paleo for 3 years now and non-stop in my kitchen developing my personal Paleo favorite dishes and a meal plan and nutrition guide. My belief is nutrition starts in the kitchen. Its back to basics just like my grandma cooked when I was a child, nothing processed just good whole food cooking. The Paleo eating lifestyle, as I like to call it, consists of protein in each meal like organic eggs, grass fed beef, chicken, turkey or fish. Loads of veggies and fresh fruits like apples, pears, and berries. Also healthy animal fats like cooking with ghee (butter), lard, bacon grease, and coconut oil, I also consume nuts and seeds, like almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, raisins just to name a few.
I love making my own trail mix and power bars and use different nuts and dried fruits. Also I enjoy good carbohydrates sources like sweet potatoes, and will consume some grains like brown or white rice in moderation due to my activity level. I keep my cheat meals to once a week and I eat small meals 5 to 6 times a day. My cheats are some yummy sweets and I do enjoy an occasional red glass of wine.
You need to enjoy your favorites and allow yourself that indulgence and not deprive yourself. Paleo keeps me satisfied due to the healthy fat and protein content. The key is allowing your insulin to stay at a healthy level and avoid cravings like sugar and grains will tend to cause that issue. The way I look at nutrition is fuel for your body. You want to nourish it with the best foods to give you maximum results. Remember nutrition is 80% and exercise 20%. The nutrition must change along with a workout program to get the results you desire.
My future plans are to help others achieve their goals whether to lose weight or just reach optimal health simply by feeding your body with proper nutrition and supplementation. I hope to inspire, motivate and help others with what has helped me personally achieve my health and fitness goals. Our food today is not the same food we consumed as kids. It is full of chemicals, artificial ingredients and also over processed that just continue to negatively affect the health of our society.
Education is key to help others understand how to shop and cook again. It starts in the kitchen and not at a fast food restaurant and not in a box or can. Need to get back to basics in eating and my goal is to spread that news by sharing my cooking recipes and nutrition tips with all my followers. Many people today are fighting obesity, heart disease and diabetes due to the modern conveniences of fast food, refined sugars, soda and over processed junk in our grocery stores. I am extremely passionate about helping others change their eating habits for a lifetime.
I hope eventually one day we can convince food manufacturers that we do not want artificial ingredients, GMO’s (genetically modified foods) or over processed ingredients that leave no nutritional value. We have to continue to be a strong voice and not give up!! Our body is our biggest investment and need to fuel it with good whole foods to stay strong, healthy and to feel good each and every day.
Also being a figure competitor and doing Paleo has some people scratching their head, since it is considered a “low-carb diet”. Paleo is naturally low in carbs, but can be modified to suit your nutritional needs depending on activity level. I add additional carbs when necessary to help me with my training and performance.
Another reason Paleo works well is it allows me to gain a healthy weight off season and also make muscle gains while maintaining low body fat. I am 48 so doing extreme up and downs on weight is not healthy and do not want to take that risk. My coach and I both feel this program works extremely well for me and my gains are gradual and precise depending on what muscle groups we want to develop more to add symmetry and size. Also knowing that I feel
100% confident in my program translates onto the competition stage and as long as I am happy with me then I am already a winner!!
Also another key to a successful healthy lifestyle is planning your meals and snacks. I cook and prep my food weekly and it takes all the guess work out of what to eat each day. If you have it planned chances are you will follow it since you went to great lengths to cook it yourself and you know exactly what you are eating. I think
many people have a hard time with this step, but if you plan ahead and design some really simple recipes then you have just made a huge leap to a positive change in your health goals. That is what I hope my meal plans will bring to people is the ease of cooking while enjoying some really yummy foods.
I have developed a Paleo meal plan and currently working on my website Paleofitchick.com WOW, had no idea of building a website is a big challenge, but it’s a dream and goal I intend to finish and so excited and worth every minute! Below are a couple of recipes I out of my meal plan I hope you will enjoy!
Paleo Immune Booster Power Bars
8 medjool dates, pits removed
¾ coconut flakes, shredded
½ cup of raw unsalted pumpkin seeds
¾ cup of nuts, (I used ½ walnuts and ½ pecans)
½ cup cacao nibs
½ cup dried goji berries
1 tsp raw unfiltered honey
½ tsp cinnamon
First take your coconut and place in food processor and pulse until coconut is shredded. Next add your medjool dates and pulse a few times to blend with coconut. Next add your seeds, nuts, cacao nibs, berries, honey and cinnamon. Blend until the mixture starts to stick together and starts forming into a big ball. I also will add a few drops of water to make sure the mixture will stick well. After that take out and work it with your hands into a rectangular shape on plastic wrap to desired thickness and wrap up tight and place in refrigerator for a few hours and then take out and slice. This will keep fine in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or you can freeze them and take out 30 minutes before eating.
Kickin Chicken Thighs
3 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 jalapenos diced (I use the jar jalapenos and just chop them up)
2 garlic cloves minsed
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp raw unfiltered honey
2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp fresh or dried Rosemary
1 tsp black pepper
In a bowl, combine all ingredients except lemon. Next pour in a gallon ziploc bag and then add your chicken thighs to the bag. Seal shut and then I take the bag and work the marinade around the chicken make sure it is good and coated. Place in the refrigerator overnight. Next day grill them on medium heat sealed up in aluminum foil for about 20-30 minutes. Next open the foil and squeeze lemon on thighs and seal back for a few minutes.
I feel so blessed to be at this point in my life and very thankful! My goals are to help and to inspire others, especially women my age. You are never too old to chase a dream whether to get on stage or just to improve your overall quality of life. I have a wonderful family, job and coach and wonderful teammates that are always
I want to thank the WBFF, Paul and Allison Dillett for allowing me to represent their organization. I never thought in a million years I would be writing this bio and how far I have come and still yet to go. I remember when Allison presented our pro certificates that night and remembered how deep my emotions ran and how I took that dream and made it a reality.
She also gave us some excellent advice that we should take this accomplishment and further our careers in the health and fitness industry or wherever the road of success leads us. I could not agree more and appreciate that advice that you are always growing and learning in this industry and the sky’s the limit if you put in the hard work and dedication.
Also, a huge thanks to my coach, Greg Hasberry with Elite Fitness and Figure, for training me and believing in me.
He is passionate about health and wanting the best for all of his competitors. Greg is like family to me and I am so thankful he is in my life and is constantly guiding me and my other teammates the value of success. I have so many wonderful friends and teammates that are constantly supporting me as well as each other to reach their goals.
You definitely need that support system in your life that will help you thru your fitness journey. Also I want to thank my wonderful husband Joe who supports me 100% and is always giving me encouragement and is extremely proud of me. Also my daughters Abby and Brooke that are equally proud of me and I hope that it gives them inspiration to chase their dreams, because they do come true!!
In conclusion, as individuals we all have dreams and to turn that dream into a reality is an absolute joy that cannot be duplicated. Wherever the road my lead you, I say go for it!!! You have nothing to lose other than not trying it at all. You just have to get up and get to that start line of that race and go!! Needless to say I have my challenges just like everyone else, but I get up each day full of new goals and hopes that are waiting for me to accomplish.
We are never promised a tomorrow, so embrace each day and live your life to the fullest!!
I invite you to my facebook fan page and other social media sites to get more great nutrition tips and recipes and my journey to the 2015 Worlds Figure Pro show August in Las Vegas!!