Fitness Model Tamarra Hay Talks With

How did you get started with bodybuilding?

I guess I have always been a sports nut – baseball, football, hockey, kick boxing – anything competitive and active has always lit a fire inside me.   Some of my fondest memories of my childhood are practicing roundhouse kicks with my older brothers (there were more than a few fat lips as we worked on our depth perception!).

While I started working out as a teenager, I took a bit of an unconventional path to bodybuilding, competitive fitness and modeling – a path that wound through business, media, family and ultimately ended in front of the camera.

As one of the original drivers of the social spa movement in Canada and the US, I spent a number of years building a successful business on the premise that health was driven by positive social interaction.  My success in business lead to numerous media appearances in international publications, on radio, television and the web.  While successful in business however, family has always been my priority.   In early 2009, I left the spa industry to manage a health issue with one of my children, a decision that brought stability to a difficult family situation and forever changed the course of my career.

During this time, I set my sights on a fitness and modeling career that would leverage my media experience, energy and competitive drive, while allowing me the flexibility to put my family first.

With the help of fitness competitor friends, Fran Dennis and Jodi Hughes, I recommitted myself to clean eating and intense training.  Since that point, things have really just snowballed!!  I shot with renowned Oxygen, American Curves, and Playboy photographer, Paul Buceta last year, which really kicked my career into high gear and opened up a wealth of fitness and modeling opportunities and the chance to shoot with other major fitness and glamour photographers across North America.

I am currently training with Canadian bodybuilding champion Mindi O’Brien and Team O’Brien for the upcoming competitive season starting with the SAF event in June.  I am a firm believer in listening, absorbing and learning from the best…..and Mindi is certainly the best!

Where does your motivation come from?

Keeping up with an athletic husband and kids is a huge motivator for me.  Setting a positive example for my teenage daughters and 3 year old son is extremely important.  Through my commitment to my own fitness I am sending a positive message to my kids: work hard, be healthy and take pride in yourself and everything you do!”

What is your training philosophy?

I am a strong believer that anything worth doing is worth doing well!!  My training follows this basic premise… workouts are very structured, efficient and intense.

If you have to pick only 3 exercises, what would they be and why?

I’m a bikini and lingerie model at heart, so working out my legs and back side are the obvious choice for my favourite body parts to workout.  Squats and walking lunges are my two favourite exercises to blast these muscles.  My third favourite exercise would have to be medicine ball axe choppers on the Bosu ball to really hit my obliques.

When trying to cut down do you prefer to use HIIT or just normal cardio?

I use a combination of normal cardio and HIIT to keep things fresh and keep my body guessing.  Seems to work well!

What is your philosophy on nutrition?

My daily nutrition is pretty structured.  I try to stick to small clean meals every 3 hours, balancing high quality lean protein with complex carbs, starting with my favourite oatmeal with blueberries at breakfast!!.  I eat lots of fish and chicken and supplement with protein shakes to make sure my body keeps up with my training.

What are your favorite meals?

Spinach salad with chicken, cranberries and a drizzle of maple balsamic vinagrette (and goat cheese and pecans if I’m cheating!)

Favorite cheat food?

Cheat meals are a necessary part of staying on track and for me it has to be cheese!  Any cheese will do in a pinch, but warm brie with red pepper jelly is hands down my favourite.

What supplements do you use?

Pre-workout I use Gaspari SuperPump 250, during my workout I use Gaspari Size On and post workout I make sure to get lots of protein with an Isoflex Whey Protein shake with added L-Glutamine.

Favourite Quote?

As an avid hockey fan, I tend to lean heavily on a Wayne Gretzky quote:

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take “ .  True in hockey, true in business and true in  life!