Tarran Mead on becoming a fitness model at 32

Bulk Nutrients ambassador, professional bodybuilding competitor and online coach, Tarran Mead, won her fitness modelling pro card in just her second show. What’s possibly even more impressive? She was just 32-years-old and matching it with women who had been training and competing for years.   

Whether you are interested in participating in a fitness competition or not, there’s no denying Mead’s motivation and determination (not to mention her lean and strong physique) is something to behold. 

STRONG Australia caught up with Mead to find out exactly how she did it. Plus, her tips for  incorporating her training and nutrition secrets into your own routine. 

SFMA: How did you first find your passion for health and fitness?

Image: Stewart Douglas Photography

Mead:  A state netballer for over six years, I left school thinking I’d become a PE teacher. But my plans quickly changed as soon as I joined a gym during my University gap year – I was hooked! The passion and the lifestyle of the instructors and personal trainers instantly connected with me and I knew it was what I wanted to do. I was a qualified trainer by the time I was 19-years-old and I’ve never looked back. 

SFMA: What part of fitness modelling comps do you enjoy the most?

Mead: I love the challenge of bodybuilding comps – the journey to changing your physique is truly rewarding. I thrive off the discipline and mindset needed to achieve the goals I set for myself.

SFMA: What do you dislike most about fitness modelling comps?

Mead: I believe bodybuilding is about building a better physique each and every time you step on stage – if you’ve done this, you’ve won, regardless of the outcome on the day. I dislike some of the comparisons women make between themselves on stage and how this can translate into coldness between competitors. The best comps are the ones where women lift each other up and pay respect to the hard work each person has put in. 

SFMA: Why should women consider doing a fitness modelling comp?

Mead: Stepping on stage and being proud of all your hard work, dedication and discipline is a feeling like no other! It’s empowering and it translates into all other aspects of your life.

My advice to beginners would be to make training a habit – almost like brushing your teeth. Be consistent and know that it takes time to see results but never give up – anything is possible, at any age!

SFMA: What’s your average day on a plate?

Pre-workout: Banana on toast with peanut butter or fruit.
Post-workout: Protein oats.
Meal three: Eggs any way (or egg white if in prep for a competition) with ham, tomato and spinach on toast.
Meal four: Kangaroo and veggies.
Meal five: Protein smoothie.
Meal six: Chicken, fish or beef with veggies. This is usually a meal with my wife, and could be anything from tacos to curry. I’m very flexible with my dinners, as we both love food and eating. When I’m in prep for a comp, I’ll make sure I work my calories and macros for the day around my dinner.

SFMA: What supplements do you take?

Mead: I have used Bulk Nutrients supplements for almost 10 years now. Supps I take daily include:

  • Protein powder: I use protein powders both after my workout and in my smoothies. It’s an easy and convenient way to up my protein intake, aiding muscle building and helping to squash my sweet tooth. I use Bulk’s Protein Matrix – I always have the Chocolate and Vanilla flavours in my pantry. It’s so creamy and delicious! 
  • Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs): Sipped throughout my training session for recovery and muscle building. 
  • Creatine: This has helped me build muscle and strength, and recover better. 
  • ZMA Powder: A combo of zinc, magnesium and B6 to help me get a solid night’s sleep. 

SFMA: Why Bulk Nutrients supplements?

Mead: My wife actually found them one day while researching supplements – we loved that Bulk are Aussie-owned and high-quality, yet affordable. We have used the supps ever since, so I always dreamt of being tapped on the shoulder for an ambassadorship. Bulk’s passion for educating people and helping them achieve their health and fitness goals aligns perfectly with my own values. Their products are also outstanding quality and I haven’t found a product that doesn’t taste great or mix well.

SFMA: What does your average training schedule look like?

Mead: I weight train five to six days per week, following a split body routine. At the moment, this is three days upper-body and three days lower-body. 

SFMA: What has been your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it? 

Mead: The greatest challenge in my sport is stepping on stage for the first time (and every time!). I still get very nervous, but I try to channel that worry into stage presence and flair. Proving you can overcome your fears is really satisfying. 

In life, my greatest challenge has been coming out as gay. It’s life-changing when you learn to love yourself and accept who you are. You need to know and understand that other people’s opinions don’t actually change the essence of your character and it’s their loss if they can’t accept your awesomeness.

SFMA: What’s your greatest achievement?

Image: Supplied by ICN Victoria

Mead: Winning the 2019 ICN World Pro Miss Fitness Model at the ICN World Championships.

SFMA: What does being a STRONG woman mean to you?

Mead: To me, strong isn’t just related to physical strength. Strong is being confident in your character, your decisions and the essence of who you are. Strong is being a positive role model to others and using your influence to build others up. I want to empower women and men to be strong in all facets of their life.

SFMA: What’s next for you in 2020?

Mead: I am finally launching my online coaching, which I’m so excited about! My comps this year have been cancelled due to COVID-19, so I’m using the time to focus on my business. I might look at competing in a powerlifting comp though, if they go ahead! 

Main image: Stewart Douglas Photography

Keto super powder
About Katelyn Swallow 36 Articles
Katelyn Swallow is a journalist, editor and communications professional based in Perth. She is the Editor-in-Chief of STRONG Fitness Magazine Australia, the previous editor of Women's Health and Fitness magazine, and a regular contributor to STRONG in the US.