Grit and Fitness of "Tara Jenkins"

Hello, who are you and what sports/fitness routine do you play?

Hi, my name is Tara Jenkins & I’m from Melbourne. I have been in the health & fitness industry for the past 8 years & have been a high-level athlete since the age of 10!

I began my fitness career in track & field. I traveled all over Australia competing in 400m, 800m, discus, race walking & the odd pentathlon. I realized at the age of 10, if you work really hard at something & dedicate yourself to it, you can really go places & achieve some great things! This really cemented my mindset in life & I still have that same work ethic to this day.

Once I became tired of track & field, I learned Gridiron & bodybuilding simultaneously as they complemented one another. I represented my state as a full back & running back & also gained sponsors within the bodybuilding industry as my athleticism & physique were in good shape to help promote these companies.

Towards the end of my gridiron career (I was about 28), I dived headfirst into CrossFit as I LOVED that it was so freakin' hard and there was SO much to learn. I literally became obsessed with getting fitter, stronger & perfecting the movements. I focused all of my energy on becoming a better athlete every day and by the age of 31, I represented Australia in the CrossFit Games.

Since then, I have competed Nationally & Internationally and lived a very fortunate lifestyle where I get to travel & train all over the world - Until Covid hits!

I have been working on my strength & mindset every day in my garage & holding back until we get the all-clear & I can refocus on competing again. 

How do you get ready to train for your sport/how do you train?

I like to train in the mornings as I find in the afternoons I’m very lethargic. So I’ll get up, eat some breakfast & have a coffee, then train 2 or 3 people, then I’ll train myself - usually around 9/10 most days. 

For breakfast, I eat either 2 pieces of gluten free toast, peanut butter, banana & rice malt syrup (lots of good carbs for training) or I’ll have about 60g of oats with water, add in a scoop of protein powder (I use True Protein WPI), then I’ll add some blueberries on top, half a banana, a teaspoon of peanut butter & some rice malt syrup. 

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day as it sets the tone for the day! Eat well and you’ll have a rippa day! 

My training consists of an active warm up over static stretching. So a 2-3 min ride or row followed by a body weight circuit to get the blood pumping. Then, I’ll do my heavy lifting component of training while I’m warm and fresh.

After lifting I’ll do a few wods - which are basically high intensity circuit training consisting of weight lifting, cardio, functional training & gymnastics. After that, I’ll finish up with some body building, core work and some static stretching right at the end.

I train 6 days per week for 90-120 mins per day most days. I take Thursdays as an endurance day (active recovery) and Sunday I have off completely. 

I like to do 6 week blocks of training where the program will be very similar every week but will get slightly harder each week (progressive overload). This keeps me getting fitter, stronger and injury free :) 

After a workout/game, how do you recover your body? What do you do to get your body in shape? What type of diet do you eat? 

For recovery, I like to use an app called GOWOD and stretch for 10-15 mins per day, I try my best to get 8 hours of sleep if I can and I have Casein Protein every night before bed as well as Adrenal Switch. This really helps my recovery!

The best advice for recovery is your diet though! A clean diet and eating enough calories is going to be the biggest benefit for you. 

I like to eat as many unprocessed foods as possible - bread is probably the worst thing I eat and it’s not even that bad.  My body type can tolerate carbs very well, so I count my macros and eat 40-50% of carbs and about 30% protein & 30% fats. Counting macros is perfect for me because it allows me to eat enough to cater to my training style and I don’t undereat or overeat.

One day per week I’ll eat whatever I want so I never feel like I’m missing out on the yummy stuff.

6 days a week I’m a good girl and one day a week I’m a food monster! It’s all about balance :) 

How do you prevent injuries when you’re training? What type of stretches do you normally do? What’s your routine looking like?

I like to do a really good warm up (about 15 - 20 mins) that involves active body weight movements like lunges, squats, push ups or very light weights to get the blood flowing. 

If I’m sore in a particular area, I will do some stretching in that area, but I prefer to do long static stretching after training. 

-Active warm up

-Stretch sore areas if they are really bad


-Static stretching for 10-15 mins after

As I’m on my feet most of the day, this also helps recovery. If I were working a stationary job, I would probably try to fit a 10-15 minute walk in at some point in the day too - this helps blood flow and recovery. 

If there is someone wanting to get to your level, what type of advice would you give them?

Be patient, consistent & make sure you’re enjoying the process. Surround yourself with like minded people and the journey is much more fun. Don’t be too hard on yourself too, we do this because we love it, it shouldn’t feel like a chore. 

Find yourself a good gym
Find yourself a good coach
Follow a structured program
Dial in your nutrition & supplementation
Avoid alcohol/drugs
Prioritize sleep
Enter local competitions so you can learn about yourself & where you need to improve
Write down your weaknesses and work on them every second day
If you can find a training partner - get one. This person will keep you accountable and it won't be such a lonely road
Keep entering competitions so you can challenge yourself, stay motivated & work on your mindset

How do you structure your day now? What projects are you busy with?

Every day, I wake up at around 5am or 6am, train a couple of clients and then get my training in so I’ve got the rest of the day to work on business.

After training I usually attend to emails and write programs for online clients.

I have a few sponsors & I get a lot of modelling/promo work so I need to make sure I get content most days and that all needs to be approved before it gets posted. I try to post daily on social media (if I can) but sometimes life gets a bit hectic!

The afternoons/early evenings I’m coaching again, anywhere from 2-4 clients. 

Night time is chill time with my boyfriend. I usually cook us a healthy dinner and then we’ll watch a few episodes of whatever program we are binge watching & we’ll be in bed by about 9.30-10pm. 

How has your journey on social media been? Future plans?

Up until last year, I used social media as a ‘training diary’ so I could look back on my athletic adventures one day and be proud of my progress. I haven’t had any professional help with my account, I’ve just winged it and tried to be as honest and as educational as possible so if anyone stops by, maybe they can take something away from it and learn something to better themselves. 

I’m the type of girl who ‘wears her heart on her sleeve’ and I’ve been very open with my ups and downs and mental health battles. I’m not ashamed of anything and I’m very open about it all. Helping other people helps me and if someone can relate to any part of it and feel less alone, that’s an achievement. 

Last year I started getting paid to post which is awesome! Especially because Melbourne has been locked down for over 200 days, so that’s been a massive help. So I’m taking it a little more seriously now and trying to educate myself on the trends & business on social media. 

My plan would be to continue to do what I’m doing, educate, promote & hopefully build my online client base so when we can travel again, I can travel & compete & still cover my rent at the same time :) I would love to get back into doing international fitness retreats & keep meeting new friends all over the world. 

As for the future, future… I would LOVE to open a gym :)

Knowing what you know now, what do you wish you could tell yourself 10 years ago?

Haha put down the tequila & go into that CrossFit gym you’ve been too scared to walk into. 

Partying is fun (in moderation) but health, fitness & meeting like minded people is sooooo much more rewarding and will make you feel fulfilled. 

How can our audience find you online? 

You can find me on Instagram @tara.nicole.jenkins  

You can find my online bodybuilding & food plan app at www.tarajenkinsfitness.com

You can find my online CrossFit & Athletic programming (Gladiator Fit) at www.tarajenkins.com.au

Link to Tara Jenkins's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tara.nicole.jenkins/

Tara Jenkins has been in the health & fitness industry for the past 8 years & has been a high-level athlete since the age of 10. She also represented Australia in the CrossFit Games.

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