Meet the Wellness Professional: Fit & Fabulous Edition - Tara Ebejer
Personal Trainer at RVC and creator of Fit & Fabulous, a program benefiting breast cancer patients at Norris Cotton Cancer Center
Every week I will be highlighting someone in the Upper Valley who falls under the title of "Wellness Professional" - trainers, nutritionists, therapists of all kinds (physical, psychological, massage), and creators of healthy products, to name just a few. I'll give them a list of the same 20 questions and they can choose to answer as many of them however they'd like.
This week I'd like to introduce you to Tara Ebejer, Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Coach, Professional Natural Bodybuilder, and Creator of Fit & Fabulous, a program benefiting breast cancer patients at Norris Cotton Cancer Center
About Fit & Fabulous:
Every year, fabulous gift bags are created for women who are receiving chemotherapy at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center for breast cancer. To fill those bags, Tara runs group training sessions where participants "pay" by donating tote bags or other items on a list. You get a workout and someone else gets a wonderful surprise just when they need it.
Tara is currently running classes to collect the bags she'll need to fill. To take part, just purchase a minimum of one tote bag at the event (a 31 Gifts Rep will be present to accept payment) and be prepared to get a great workout in a circuit-style group training class.
About Tara - Brief Bio: I love the feeling from exercising and share that with clients in fun and innovative ways. I am passionate about helping people reach their goals in achieving a healthy lifestyle. I am also passionate about helping others in need, being involved and volunteering. I’ve combined my passion for fitness and helping others to create my Fit & Fabulous Events for breast cancer patients at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center. I donate my time to help make a positive difference in the lives of others.
What is your fitness/wellness philosophy?
It is all about finding that happy balance. I don’t believe in non-carb or any fad diet. I do believe in eating healthy most of the time, allowing treats and training hard.
How did you get to where you are now?
My experience with bodybuilding taught me a lot about nutrition and training. Living it makes it easier to teach it. I learned how nutrition affects your body, training, mind, sleep, etc. This is where the healthy balance comes in! I’ve also worked with a great trainer for many years who taught me a lot about strength training.
Did you ever have any setbacks and how did you get past them?
I’ve had ankle and knee surgeries. My ankle surgery ended my marathon running days but then I discovered strength training, bodybuilding and now CrossFit. In the moment, your situation may seem like the end of the world and can be depressing but with the proper rehab and time you will always find your way. So many people (me included) return to their activities too soon which prolongs the rehab time. Patience is hard to learn but key in recovering.
What makes you unique in your field?
My clients might say that I enjoy inflicting pain and assigning homework but I'd say my on-going Fit & Fabulous Events at RVC. I began these events in 2012 in honor of my sister-in-law, Audrey Davies, who passed away from breast cancer. Participants purchase tote bags or donate items to create gift bags in exchange for group training. These gift bags go to women who are receiving chemotherapy at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center. In 2012 we stuffed only 18 paper bags. By 2016, Fit & Fabulous had grown to the point that members filled over 94 beautiful tote bags from 31 Gifts. I am able to provide fitness to the participants and then donate these surprise gifts for patients to enjoy. I received the best compliment last year when I was called a philanthropist. That makes me a unique trainer.
Fit & Fabulous from year 1 (18 bags) to year 5 (94 bags!) 2017's Goal: 110 bags
What's your go to meal for: breakfast, snacks/sweets, lunch, dinner, beverage?
Breakfast – I am addicted to P28 pancakes, especially the chocolate coconut flavor.
What's your favorite place to eat out in the Upper Valley? What do you usually get?
Lou’s for breakfast and I always order the healthy choice off the special menu. The sweet potato hash is amazing and their Nirvana cookies.
You're trapped on 12A in West Lebanon starving and you only have $8. What do you buy to get your through your errands?
Panera. They have the healthiest selections and they list the calories
What's your guilty pleasure (food or otherwise)?
How many can I list? Anyone who knows me well would say peanut M&M’s.
Tara post-body-building competition with her favorite guilty pleasure.
What's something health and wellness related that you wish you'd known years ago?
That strength training is the best form exercise. It would have saved my old running self from running all those marathons. All forms of exercise help the body and mind. However, with dieting and cardio alone a person can lose weight but they will often lose as much muscle as fat weight. That scenario doesn’t alter their overall body composition (percentage of fat to muscle) so they don’t get that leaner look they are striving for. Strength training helps you add and preserve lean muscle mass which keeps your metabolism high. Muscle takes 35-50 calories per day to maintain whereas fat only takes 2 to 3 calories per day. Also, strength training is what reshapes and re-contours your body, not cardio. I always use the example of someone who starts out as a pear shape and does a lot of cardio. They lose weight but basically just turn into a smaller pear shape. Below are the benefits of LIFTING WEIGHTS:
- Increased bone density
- Decreased body fat
- Increased metabolism
- Increased strength
- Improved mental state
- Decreased stress
- Increased energy & stamina
- Look and feel better
- It is FUN
What's the best health/wellness/fitness advice you've ever received?
Eat with purpose (My trainer Anthony Vorachak always tells me to eat more carbs) and lift heavy. The harder you work, the more you get to eat. I am a foodie, so this sounds great, right?!? Eat to fuel your body so that you can perform, sleep and recover.
What's your favorite quote or mantra?
When I am suffering during a workout and think I might die, I tell myself “Your brain gives up before your body” so keep going.
Who or what gives you inspiration?
My co-workers at RVC. They are all amazingly fit and strong.
What's something you wish your clients/class participants knew? Or did? Or didn't do?
I try to keep my clients well informed, I send out a lot of reading homework. I am proud of them and think they are all in the right place. They could all foam roll more and spend more time on mobility!
If you could only have one piece of fitness/wellness equipment what would it be?
A barbell. You can do so many things with it like squat, clean, bench, row, thrusters, etc.
What's your favorite non-gym physical activity?
Walking the beach
What are your passions outside of your field?
I love to travel, and read. I spend a lot of time on Fit & Fabulous. I would love to see this grow. Sadly, NCCC receives about 350 new breast cancer patients each year. My goal for 2017 is 110 bags. The social worker enjoys handing them out to see the patient smile at a very difficult time in their lives. I am working on ways to create more bags!
What is your least favorite exercise?
Snatches. I hated them but I am getting better at them and starting to (maybe) enjoy them just a little.
What is your favorite exercise?
I love to squat and power clean.
What are one or two tips you can give to help people be successful in their wellness journey?
- Be patient – it all takes time to learn and find what works. The results are not overnight or in a week – but months, years and on-going.
- Enjoy something about everyday – be proud of that day’s accomplishments and don’t be so hard on yourself. Every night before I go to bed, I tell myself what a great day I had and why.
How do you make better bad decisions?
Don’t beat yourself up over a bad decision – learn from it and move on. Life is short.
Where can people learn more about you and Fit & Fabulous?
Would you or your business like to be featured on "Meet the Wellness Professional"? Email Amy at RVCAmy at gmail dot com
Last Week's Interview - Jamie Crowe - Co-Owner of KDR Fitness
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