Tamara’s fitness career began a lot later in life than most other competitors. In 1998, she was your average American wife and Mother. She worked a full-time job, took care of her family and thought it was the life God intended for her to live. She was like a lot of other women her age. she had gotten married, had children and in the process packed on more than 55 extra pounds! After a life-altering experience with a bathing suit in the Macy’s fitting room, Tamara knew she could no longer live the way she was. Through a lot of hard work and a change in her mind-set, Tamara lost and incredible 55 pounds and transformed her body into a lean and athletic new woman.
Tamara Carousos – Fitness Model Statistics
- Name: Tamara Carousos
- Height: 5’4
- Weight: 125
- Hair Color: Blonde
- Bust: 34 B
- Waist: 24
- Hips: 34
- Location: Vacaville, California
Tamara Carousos – Fitness Model Interview
How did you get started in the fitness modeling field?
I got into fitness modeling a little bit differently than most girls. I was overweight and had health issues that were affecting my life. I entered a physique transformation contest and to my surprise I won my division! I was then featured in a book about weight loss and various magazine articles. I started competing in the new figure division and I was hooked! I was picked up by MakAttack Fitnesswear as a fitness model to work the major shows like the Olympia and the Arnold Classic. Laura Mak is a huge inspiration to me along with Monica Brant. I am so honored to be a part of the fitness industry now, especially considering where I came from! I also am part of the MC Fitworks figure team and great friends with Monica Chang. Knowing these women has been a God Send for me and I am so happy to be a part of the industry!
What is the #1 thing you like best about being into fitness?
What I love about fitness is the lifestyle and being able to meet new and interesting people. I also love the physical challenge of pushing my body to its limit! People really don’t know what they are capable of until they put their mind into it and realize they can do it
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the fitness field?
My biggest accomplishment would have to be being able to compete at my age (I’m 43) and be able to teach others about living a healthy lifestyle. Looking back at how unhealthy I was, I am so blessed to be able to advocate a lifestyle of health and fitness. I have a heart condition that the doctor’s thought would only be helped with medication. I lost 55 pounds and I have not had an issue with my heart since! Speaking to people about their goals and helping them realize anyone can do this is truly a huge accomplishment to me!
What is the best way to get started in the fitness modeling industry? Should I just contact the photographers directly or should I use an agency?
The best way to get started is to network with others in the field. Go to shows, get to know people, pass out your business cards. The only way people will know you is if you make the effort to be seen! Compete in figure or fitness. Create a website for yourself and a portfolio. There are many girls out there who are very beautiful! What you need to do is to create a niche for yourself in the market that sets you apart from the others. Companies look for people who can present themselves in a professional manner and who genuinely love what they do! Be positive and smile! Your hard work will pay off!
Also, photographers are always at the shows taking photos. Set up some photo shoots the day after you compete or during the time you are going to be there. These photos can be used on your website or for magazines, etc.
Please describe a typical day for you. What is your daily routine like?
I wake up at 5am and do treadmill work for 45 minutes and then I stretch. Once I eat breakfast, I will answer emails from the office. I own another company called Extreme Outback Products, so I work there all day until 5pm and then I head to the gym! I train with my daughter who is 12 and my husband is my coach. He trains me for all my competitions and I have learned a lot from him! Having a family, a business and modeling is a lot to manage! But I wouldn’t have it any other way! After I train, I head home, fill in my journal, hang out with my kids and then off to bed! I am in bed no later than 10pm at night!
Because I travel a lot, I pack as much food as I can and make sure there is a good gym near or in my hotel so I can train! This way I don’t feel too guilty if I indulge in a meal out!
I don’t have that much time during the day to workout, so I really want to burn major calories in a short amount of time. What is the #1 “bang for the buck” cardio exercise I should do to burn serious calories?
My favorite fat burner is Sprinting! I learned this from Monica Brant and Kim Oddo. Sprinting burns a lot of calories and you can get great conditioning from it! I have a bad knee so I have to be careful with what I do and so far the sprinting has helped tremendously, especially in the butt and thighs!
How much weight (pounds) should I focus on losing every week? What is a safe amount to make sure I keep it off?
A healthy amount of weight to lose is 1-2 pounds per week. Losing more than that could cause you to rebound and put it all back on. Plus you want to build a much lean muscle as you can to support your frame. People who have a lot of weight to lose, also have a lot of loose skin, so losing it slowly can help with this.
What type of food or supplements should I take before and after my workouts to help me see results in gaining lean muscle and losing fat?
I am not a big supplement person. I believe in eating good organic food and drinking tons of water to help your skin. But I do love Glutamine, which helps with muscle recovery. Glucosomine is another supplement I take every day to help with my joints since I am older. I also drink a good high quality protein shake to add more protein in my diet. Diet is really the only way to lose body fat. Caffeine will help give you more energy, you just have to make sure you can tolerate it.
How do you deal with cravings for junk foods, sweets and salty food? I can stay on a diet for maybe a few weeks but I eventually get really bad cravings and binge on snacks and fast foods.
If you raise the amount of protein in your diet, you will not crave salt or fat as much. This is a proven fact! Start off slowly and make sure you are getting enough good carbs for energy. Women crave “mood foods” more than men. Don’t deprive yourself of chocolate if you want it. Have a small portion, but make sure you record it in your daily diet. If you know you can’t have even one piece because this will throw you off the deep end, then don’t! Create a cheat meal for yourself and eat whatever you want for that one meal! This worked really well for me, because I knew I had to be good for the rest of the week in order to have a cheat meal. And make sure you plan it into your food journal so that it is not a surprise!
I’m trying to create a healthy shopping list to stick with. What are some of the main foods I should include to maintain a lean and muscular physique?
This is a partial list of what I eat in my diet. Chicken, albacore tuna, lean red meat. Albacore tuna is very high in protein and low in fat. Also remember to incorporate a good quality protein powder into your list so you can have this for your snack. Making sure your fridge is stocked is part of the process, so make Sunday the shopping day! Take your kids if you have them and make it fun! You will look forward to this as you cook your meals together. Your kids will benefit as well as you set a good role model for them!
I’m about 35 pounds overweight. I have never started an exercise program and really don’t know where to start. What tips can you give me to get started on the right track?
The most important thing you can do is to write down what your goals are! Devise a plan to attain your dreams! Then contact your local gym and join or contact a trainer there to help you write out a great diet and exercise plan. Having the commitment to stick with your plan when you are having a rough day or are sick of eating chicken is the most beneficial thing in the world! Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is what drives people. Subscribe to your favorite fitness magazine, or website (like this one). Pick some fitness women who inspire you, put them up on your fridge and look at them every day! You will be surprised at how far you can go with the right attitude and support! Take it one day at a time and stay away from the scale! The scale lies because it does not differentiate between fat and muscle. Two people who weigh the same can look vastly different because of their structure and muscle mass!
I tend to eat out most of the time and really don’t know what healthy foods to order from the menu. What tips do you recommend for eating out at restaurants to make sure my diet will not suffer?
I always order half portions and ask that the starch be removed and extra steamed veggies be put there instead. I don’t eat the dinner bread on the table and I order water instead of soda! Just by doing this, you are off to a really healthy start!
What exercises do you recommend for getting a bigger, rounder and fuller butt?
I highly recommend sprinting and squats and step-ups. They are major butt blaster exercises! Incorporate them slowly into your routine and make sure you are doing them correctly! Form is more important than the amount of weight you can lift
What is the most challenging thing you deal with about consistently staying in top shape?
The biggest challenge for me is all the traveling I do! Eating out in restaurants can get hard! Training in different gyms can be a challenge too, when maybe the equipment is different from what you are used to! But if I keep my journal going than I am in pretty good shape, because this helps me so much mentally!
Please describe your normal diet. What do you eat in a typical day to stay in shape?
- Breakfast: 4 egg whites with 1 yolk. ½ cup of slow cooked oatmeal.
- Mid-Morning Snack: Tuna with spinach or protein drink
- Lunch: Chicken breast with a dark green veggie and brown rice.
- Mid-Afternoon Snack: Protein drink or bar.
- Dinner: Steak with salad and broccoli or Brussels sprouts.
What type of exercises do you include in your routine to stay in shape?
- Strength Training Exercises: All free weight movements with barbells or dumb bells. Squats for legs-bench press for chest-Laterals for shoulders.
- Cardio Exercises: Sprinting-treadmill work-cycling
- Additional Training: I try to get out side as much as I can when the weather is good! I love to bike so this helps! Swimming is another favorite pastime that is very relaxing for me!
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for developing toned and defined arms?
1. Maintain a consistent diet.
2. Tricep kickbacks and push downs are a great exercise for the back of the arm.
3. Push-ups are another great exercise for your chest and arms!
4. Bicep curls
5. Bicep body drags work the inner muscle of the bicep. Great exercise!
What are your top 5 tips for losing unwanted body fat?
1. Clean diet eating real food!
2. Drinking at least ½ gallon of water per day!
3. 45 minutes of cardio 6 times a week!
4. Changing your routine so you don’t get bored!
5. Strength training for shape to your muscles.
What are your top 5 tips for gaining lean muscle mass?
1. Create a diet that incorporates this goal into it.
2. Eat a lot of good high quality proteins such as I listed above.
3. Make sure you eat good healthy carbs to give you sustained energy!
4. Train hard and heavy to build up lean muscle!
5. Pose in front of the mirror so you can train your muscles to “pop!”
What are the top 5 tips you recommend for staying motivated on a fitness plan and truly making a healthy lifestyle change?
1. Take it one day at a time!
2. Create a fitness journal. Write in it consistently and note any changes.
3. Subscribe to fitness magazines that promote a healthy lifestyle.
4. Write your goals and put them up where you have to look at them everyday!
5. Put up pictures of who inspires you and look at them daily. Imagine you being the one in the picture! Create confidence by doing affirmations every day!
What is your training routine like? (Please include a few details – training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.)
- Monday: Chest/Triceps/Abs Cardio
- Tuesday: Legs, Calves- Cardio
- Wednesday: Day off from weight training – Cardio
- Thursday: Back/Biceps – Cardio
- Friday: Shoulders/Hamstrings/Abs Cardio
- Saturday: Cardio (Outside activity if weather permits)
- Sunday: Rest day
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for losing fat around the stomach and developing a toned and defined midsection?
1. 95% is a clean diet!
2. I do not eat any dairy products, because I am lactose intolerant. I have found this really helps to thin my skin and bring my muscles out.
3. Crunches on the medicine ball!
4. Hanging leg crunches
5. Oblique training (both sides!)
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for toning the thighs, hips and butt?
1. 95% is the diet!
2. Leg raises on all fours ( really tones the butt!)
3. Butt blaster machine at the gym!
5. Hip abductor machine for inner thighs!