Tara Laferrara takes moving every day seriously. With a whole lot of variety and a balanced approach to movement, she started the TL Method to help people train with on their own terms. As a college student, she had a one-track mind but has since evolved her approach towards strength and mobility. We dove into her evolution, the importance of ‘me time’, and how the TL Method nurtures motivation.
Growing up, what drew you to athletics?
I have three brothers. So when I was young, my mom wanted me to do everything really girly. She signed me up for dance and cheerleading, I always pushed back. It was never my thing, I wanted to be more like my brothers.
I have always loved playing basketball. When I was a freshman in high school, I was on the JV team, always stealing the ball from other people. Once I would take the ball, I would go for a breakaway layup and miss it. I was faster than the ball. My coach then told me to try out for track, and I did but wasn’t excited about it. Turns out, I was really really quick. So I stayed with that until I won state in the 200m and went on to college running track.
Since those college days, how has your approach to fitness evolved?
Oh gosh, in the best way possible. Fitness as an athlete and teammate is competitive. I was always trying to beat everyone and always beat myself up. It was everything from going so hard in workouts that I would throw up to doing two-a-days like it was my job. I used to always want to be like the other athletes on my team. I was the “big” one and got called out for being too overweight, so it was one diet after another. Then when I finished being a sprinter, all I ever knew was to run, so I ran marathons but never liked it.
Now my approach is simple: find movement that you love and keep doing it. It’s what I do for myself and for my clients. Working out should never be a chore. It’s also not really about me anymore, which is cool. I’m able to help find the inner badass in every human I come across.
“Find movement that you love and keep doing it. It’s what I do for myself and for my clients. Working out should never be a chore.”
With your fitness programme, the TL Method, participants get 24/7 email access to you. What’s something people often get ‘wrong’ along their health journey?
I like how the word ‘wrong’ is in quotes because what is wrong and right? I don’t know if there will ever be that clear of a distinction. I feel like a lot of people are just confused. There is a lot of information out there, so who am I to believe? I want to help educate my members and see self-confidence soar again in and out of the gym.
But I guess to answer this question fully, I think people think they have to go to the gym and workout. If you dread going to the gym and working out, don’t do it. But find something you do love. There are so many ways to move your body. Mine isn’t the only way, and neither is Karen’s.
The TL Method offers different workouts every single day of the year, what’s your process to keep the programme so diverse?
It’s precisely the way I train. When I was an athlete, we would do a lot of the same workouts all the time, and that got boring to me. The base movement is always the same. A squat is a squat, but there are so many variations of said squat, so it’s easy to mix things up. I have over 1500 exercises that I create workouts with, so it’s fun for me to always mix things up!
What’s the importance of having a team?
Just the other day, there was a teammate who said she wasn’t going to go to the gym, until she saw all of these posts on the Facebook group that made her want to get up and go! I believe everyone should be a part of some sort of team. Imagine how hard life would be if you always did things yourself.
What does a typical day look like for you?
This changes every day and every week. It’s always spicy! I teach 7 group classes a week at a gym I co-own called Compass Fitness. Plus I have about 6 clients I see on a pretty regular basis. Other than that, my focus is TL Method, which is all online, and my own workouts. So I wouldn’t say any day is typical, but I would say they are all fun. There’s always at least one dance break.
“I used to think that I was an athlete only in college, and now I realize how wrong I was. Not only am I an athlete today, but so are all of the other people I work with on the daily. I’m lucky to be surrounded by such incredible humans that work hard. We are healthy, we are athletes.”
On your podcast, you talk to a myriad of inspirational women, what’s been the biggest takeaway from those 40 or so episodes?
Ask for help, shoot for the stars, and never give up on your dream. Every woman on the podcast has been so incredible. I’m so glad we were able to make that happen last year, but at this point, it’s on pause for now.
How do you keep a balanced, active day-to-day lifestyle?
I love what I do. People make fun of me sometimes for how often I’m smiling when I’m working out, and that is totally me. I’ve found movements that make me so happy, it’s a date with myself for an hour each day. Everyone should have a date with themselves daily. No one else is you, take care of that body of yours.
What does the term ‘everyday athlete’ mean to you and how does it resonate with you?
To me, this means that everyone is an athlete. I used to think that I was an athlete only in college, and now I realize how wrong I was. Not only am I an athlete today, but so are all of the other people I work with on the daily. I’m lucky to be surrounded by such incredible humans that work hard. We are healthy, we are athletes.
Photos by: Matty Ayers