This interview is part of the Real Talk Real Women interview series, where we bring you the life-changing, heart-warming and inspirational stories behind the most successful women in health and fitness. Make sure to follow us on Instagram for the latest interviews! For this installment, we are joined by Tamara Jordan Haddad.
Let’s start off with a general introduction. How would you describe yourself, what are you all about and how did you get involved in health and fitness?
I am all about helping others empower themselves to be aware of the power they have within themselves. We all have it but many are unaware and are what I call “sleeping”. I want to reach others in hopes to help them awaken, begin loving themselves and begin to shape their lives they way they always wanted.
How would I describe myself? Aware, Awakened, Powerful, Loving, Compassionate, Leader, Coach, Loyal, Disciplined, Always growing and learning.
I got really involved within the fitness industry once I began competing in 2010 but have been an athlete all through my youth. I danced for 5 years (tap, jazz, ballet), then wrestled in high school for 2 years . In 2010 I did my first Figure competition then transitioned into Bikini Division the next year. I started with the intention to become better than I ever had been physically as an outcome from a broken heart that resulted from a controlling relationship. I learned later that my sport in fitness is completely mental and that's exactly what I needed. To learn how to control my mind therefore then having the ability to control my body and anything else I choose.
Where does your motivation come from?
It now comes from within, a love I have for myself deep within myself.
As you decided to make a career out of your passion - what were your biggest stumbling blocks along the way?
Most of all there is a financial struggle most times when pursuing your dream. In my sport you cannot make a living unless you are one of the top 5 athletes in the world. I am amongst the top group being an Olympian in 2015, but not in the top 5. To turn this into a career I need to sell a service and for me at this point it has been coaching bikini competitors, lifestyle clients, in training and nutrition as well as posing for bikini competitors. I have been doing that for the last 2 years and as is true for any small business, it takes time to grow. But it is growing, and I feel the most important thing is that I love what I do and I feel satisfied helping others change their lives through fitness.
Another stumbling block would be the disapproval from family. Coming from a middle eastern background it was difficult to get my family to understand my sport and business as a professional one and not to sexualize it. It has taken some time but things have become better in this area.
What’s your perspective on the importance of self-care?
Self-care is Self Love and it should be the number one priority in our lives. The reason being that if we are not well and fully cared for/loved from ourselves how can we do that for others or teach that to others. First you must be healthy and love yourself then you can give more to others.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about women lifting weight?
That lifting will make you too muscular, manly looking or bulky. When in reality unless you are on particular medication like steroids most female bodies will never become that.
Many young women who want to lose weight believe that not eating is the way to do it, without realising the consequences of that kind of behavior.
Why do you think this is and what’s your perspective on educating society on healthy nutrition habits?
I think this is because they may realize the truth of calories in versus calories out. By making a caloric deficit you will lose weight and become skinny but not necessarily healthy and strong. They are looking up to models that are very low on body fat and do the same to maintain that look. Our media makes this look like the most desirable body type when in reality it is not healthy.
As women we are meant to have a little more body fat on our body. One of the reasons that I am so passionate about nutrition is because it can change our whole physique and as well as internal and mental state. I want these girls to know it is good to eat but to stick with whole foods, clean foods, and to eat enough to nourish your body.
What are the most unexpected lessons you’ve learned on your health and fitness journey this far?
Learning that the process of competition is not necessarily a healthy one physically but can be benefit the mind much more than the body and that the girls in the magazines that so many look up to don't look like that everyday.
What do you do to maintain balance in your life?
This past year I have finally forced myself into going to a yoga class that has brought a lot of peace in my life and more awakening. This keeps me balanced and grounded. My quiet time in meditation and prayer helps me to maintain balance. Also in regards to nutrition and training I have found balance in being my best at staying consistent with my practice but allowing myself to enjoy life as events come up.
How do you stay productive?
I wake up early and begin to work. I make a lot of lists and cross things off as I get them done. My lists are daily in order of priority and I also make long term goal lists. I just use the notes section in my phone. I work as hard as I can until I need a break then I give myself time to rest and recover, then repeat.
If you could only choose one thing, what would you tell your younger self?
You are just as cool if not cooler than the coolest kid in school so just get comfortable at being you.
Can you give a breakdown of your current diet, training and supplementation regimen and the thinking behind it?
I eat when I am hungry. I stick with mostly lean proteins and any vegetable I like. I snack on small meals like this throughout my day. I add in healthy fats and carbs as I crave them. I have found that my body stays in a leaner physique by keeping my protein high and my carbs and fats lower. I also have cheat meals as I see fit (at least 2-3 times per week). I train daily to stay in the routine and habit of it. I may take 1 day off a week to rest but I really go with my personal feeling. Just like with my business. I go hard for as long as I can and when I need a break and my body says rest, then I rest.
My training routines I make up for myself daily also depending on how I feel but in general I hit my lower body 3 days a week and upper body 2 days a week, I add in full body workouts or cardio alone on other days. I stretch about 20 minutes each day in the sauna or eucalyptus steam room. The thinking behind my personal method for myself is that as long as I am consistent with my activity level and clean eating I can maintain my physique while still enjoying life. I am confident in my knowledge and experience with nutrition to be able to go out anywhere to eat and fit it in my style of eating that works with my body.
As per supplementation I use BCAA and Omega 3 from Athletic Greens, Glutamine chewables from GNC for muscle recovery and soreness. I use Vegan Vanilla Protein Powder mixed with Superfoods daily after my workouts or sometimes twice a day from IMSOALPHA. I also take Vitamin C and Biotin that I pick up at my local Trader Joe’s. When I need a boost of energy I use coffee or a fat burner, I recently found that is all herbal from “It Works”. I am careful to use clean water to drink as well (pHire H2o).
Going into 2017, what are your biggest life goals?
To continue learning to love myself more and to teach others the same. To continue growing my business into an even more successful one. To continue on my journey of reaching higher consciousness levels through meditation, breathing, and nutrition.
Where can people go to learn more about you online?