Holly Tabor - Figure Competitor

Holly: My journey to the stage for the very first time was a long one and a culmination of so many different things. Growing up I had always been athletic; I dabbled around with different sports but primarily played softball and ran competitively. I was never overweight but like a lot of young girls saw my muscular legs as "big" and "fat" compared to the girls around me and developed a very unhealthy relationship with food and my body. I struggled with anorexia for a very long time. When I entered high school I become obsessed with getting smaller and I would run 10+ miles a day and barely eat anything. Meanwhile I am reading Oxygen Magazine and Shape thinking that what I was doing was going to help me achieve my "dream body" like the models in the magazine.

When I got to college I started teaching group fitness classes and indoor cycling classes, still running way too much. I ended up meeting a trainer from the Czech Republic named Pavel (love him) and expressed interest in wanting to build muscle and get strong. I worked with him a few times per week and each session I would look around the studio at the pics of people he had prepped for competitions and think, "I want to do that". I was in nursing school and life got busy and I sort of let that dream slip away.

Fast forward to 2011. I was pregnant, running obsessively to try and remain fit which really just meant skinny in my mind. I was still teaching group fitness and cycling and still starving myself, yes, even in my pregnancy. After I had my daughter I decided I needed change. I ended up joining CrossFit about 6 months after she was born and became obsessed. My view of the female body began changing and my desire to be skinny changed into becoming more muscular. I didn't want to just look the part, I wanted to be strong. Over the next 2.5 years CrossFit was my primary mode of training but I was becoming more and more interested in competing and it re-ignited that college dream of mine. I found myself watching YouTube videos of shows, buying Muscular Development and reading as much as I could about the sport of bodybuilding. In 2014 I was at a CrossFit event and saw a girl run past me with amazing hamstrings and ended up talking with her at the end. It turned out she had just competed in woman's physique. From there she introduced me to her coach at the time and that's how it all really began for me. Bodybuilding became my primary focus in training along side of CrossFit. I gave up my group fitness classes and cycling and focused on building my physique.

Off-season to pre-contest is quite a bit different. My body likes carbs and uses them pretty efficiently. This past year was about building my metabolic capacity and pushing my calories as high as possible while maintaining a relatively lean physique. My goal is to build muscle during my off season and you have to eat to grow. My coach reverse dieted me upwards of 375 g carbs, moderate fat, high protein close to 3,000 cals this past off season. I track my macros even in off season but I am a bit more flexible. I keep an 80/20 approach. 80% whole, clean, nutrient dense foods and maybe 20% "fun" foods with a weekly cheat. During contest prep it changes quite a bit. Obviously the goal is to get lean which means losing the excess body fat. I go from a caloric surplus to deficit. There is no more 20%, it's 100% whole, clean, nutrient dense foods, lower sugar. I continue to track my macros and some weeks they change, other weeks they stay the same. I respond really well to lower fat, moderate to high carb and moderate protein. Everyone's body is different and it's really important to find a coach that will guide you in the right direction and make adjustment based off your specific body.

Failed diet: Starvation. I had an awful experience my first prep. I basically was being starved and there was no balance amongst my macronutrients. Each week all macros were being reduced and I ended up looking really flat on competition day. I don't really respond well to keto, although I have never done it for a really long period of time.

I follow a split training method. I train shoulders and back twice a week because they are lagging body parts. I stay heavy on both of them and through in some higher volume on the 2nd day I train. Mondays I train shoulders. Tuesdays I train legs- we keep the volume and intensity high on legs because they are very developed in comparison to the rest of my body. Wednesdays I train back and hit a few things for biceps. Thursday is an active rest day for me (during prep cardio). Friday's I train shoulders/chest/triceps. Saturday I train back and glutes and Sundays is rest day (unless during prep). Cardio is generally hiit 2x per week during off season and changes quite a bit from week to week during prep. I eat 6 times per day most of the time, even during prep. I generally stack about 30% of carbs pre workout and 30% of my carbs post workout and try to balance out the rest of my meals. During off season I drink intra workout carbs.

Building self-confidence to compete: For me it started to come naturally as my body changed. The more my body changed the more I started to see myself like the girls I had looked at and admired for so long. Lots of practice! Being in the suit when you practice makes it feel natural and that much more exciting.

On Stage: The morning of my show when I was getting my hair and makeup done I remember looking at myself in the mirror and thinking, "wow, this is really happening". Really that was my thought all day. I was in awe. It was my time and it was the coolest feeling being a competitor vs spectator. I was no longer watching past shows. I wasn't nervous at all. I was excited and ready to do it because it had been such a long time coming. Each show I go to as a spectator (Olympia, the Arnold) my excitement for my next shows grows and hey, who knows, maybe someday I will be on one of those platforms.

I am doing 3 shows this summer. May 14, June 11 and June 18. I will probably take the remainder of 2016 and 2017 off to grow but will let my coach, Jason Theobald (scooby prep), help guide in the direction he thinks I need to go. I own a CrossFit gym and personal training/nutrition business so it will be fun to start throwing some CrossFit workouts back into my training.

email: holly@hollybuilds.com
IG: @Hollybuilds https://www.instagram.com/hollybuilds
website: www.hollybuilds.com

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A photo posted by HOLLY?? ??holly@hollybuilds.com (@hollybuilds) on

Holly Tabor