Muscle & Strength Talks To Bikini Competitor Kara Harding
What is your athletic background, and how did you get involved with fitness and bikini?
Played soccer, ran track and did gymnastics throughout high school. Have been doing yoga for a year. I got involved by watching a friend compete in figure. I then started a spraying tanning company and started spraying competitors and thought my shape is not far off from being able to get on stage.
I always had the childhood dream of being a model but was told that I was not tell enough. Despite this I was always asked are you a model, and told what great legs I had. The tipping point for me was when a NPC judge thought I was a competitor. When I told him I wasn’t he said I should compete, and that I would go far.
Then next show he saw me again and asked why I wasn’t doing it…so I thought why not. This would give me life some clear focus and determination.
What do you love most about fitness?
Seeing changes within myself. Not only how I look, but also how I feel.
What keeps you motivated?
People around me who are on my side and cheering me on. Everyones support means so much. I have to say my coach/trainer is amazing. When I think I can’t he just reminds me of my goals and I push harder.
What are your future goals, dreams and plans?
Not going to lie… that little girl dream is always there. I would love to be a fitness model. My goal is to get my pro card in one year. After that I want to help others achieve their goals, in working out or as a life coach.
What does your current training and split look like, and what do you like most about it?
Cardio 5 days a week, each body part once a week. So 3 days of weight training, 2 days of yoga, and a car push…the variety keeps it all interesting.
How often do you perform cardio?
5 days a week, 30 minutes of cardio. I switch it up by mood, some days I do 3 different 10 minute machines and others full 30 minutes on the bike so I can get some good reading in.
What are some of your best training tips for someone who just wants to look good and ripped, but doesn’t want to compete?
Cardio and diet most important.
How important is progression of weight in some form, in the muscle building process?
Very…push to muscle failure. The muscles will repair themselves and you will be stronger.
What are some of the most common mistakes made when someone is trying to build muscle and/or get ripped?
Bad form, and not doing enough heavier weight.
What are some of your most and least favorite workouts and why?
Hate abs… no matter what way I train them.
Do you have any gym, muscle building or fitness pet peeves?
Hate those sweaty peeps that don’t wipe off the machines.
What are your best tips for getting ripped and shredded abs?
Diet and cardio.
What advanced training techniques work well for you?
What does your post-workout nutrition and supplementation look like?
BCAAs and a protein meal with carbs and veggies.
How do you prepare meals? Do you cook daily or cook for the week?
Daily. Still only eating 3 meals a day.
Do you believe recomping is possible (gaining muscle while losing fat), and if so, is it as difficult as most people think it is?
No it is not. You have to know what you are doing.
What are your favorite cheat meals and foods?
Glass of wine.
What are some of your best diet, nutrition and supplementation tips for someone who just wants to look good and ripped, but doesn’t want to compete?
Clean food, low salt, protein, carbs early in day and lots of veggies…and don’t forget your water.
What does your current supplementation plan look like?
Just started BCAAs.
What are your favorite meals and foods?
Love French fries and buffalo chicken fingers. Actually anything greasy bar food yummy…but none of that until after my show.
How important is nutrient timing for performance and/or building muscle?
Workout music – Don’t care, or MP3 player?
Doesn’t matter. I like to think or read as I do cardio, and when lifting weights hate those things in my ears.
What are some of your favorite motivational quotes?
“The great gift we have is to choose.”
If you could be one athlete or person for a day, who would it be and why?
No one. I don’t feel like you should every try to be someone else. Instead, write your own story.
Do you have any tips for someone who is looking to compete in your sport?
Just do it. What do you have to lose? (rather you win or lose you always win). You started training and changed yourself, had confidence to get on stage, and finished a goal you had.
What attracts you to the natural side of sports and competition?
OMG…never want to be that big or not look like a lady. Scary.
Favorite activities and hobbies you enjoy when away from the gym?
Love the beach, and being social with friends and family. I can’t ever sit still.