Tamra Judge is proof that age ain't nothin' but a number. The 48-year-old has been rocking the body of a twentysomething over the past six months thanks to a rigorous training regimen in anticipation of her first fitness competition, Musclemania's 2016 Orange County Show on May 28.
The Real Housewives of Orange County mom ended up killing the competition, placing first in her division (35 and older) and placing first overall. But Tamra said she never thought she would reign supreme. "It was a beginner's competition, and I didn't know what that looked like, and I didn't know who my competition would be. I didn't really think about that. That was never really a driving factor for me," she told The Daily Dish. "I really just wanted to set this goal, work my butt off, stay disciplined, and the end result was being onstage. It wasn't until the last couple weeks that I thought, 'Oh my God, I really have to be onstage now.'"
In fact, Tamra said her age was actually a motivating factor in her decision to take on this challenge. "It was something that I've always had in the back of my mind," Tamra said. "Never really thought I could do it. Forty-eight, I'm going through the time of my life where your body starts changing, and it's easy to gain weight if you're not careful. I watched [my trainer] Mia Finnegan, who is 49, and she looks amazing. So I just kind of picked her brain and told her I always wanted to do it, and she's competed in hundreds and hundreds of shows in her lifetime. So she told me that you can do it, that anybody can do it, that you can gain muscle until the day you die. So I said, 'Let's do it, then.'"
Tamra got right to work training with Mia, who has experience appearing in fitness competitions, such as Ms. Natural Universe, Fitness Olympia, and Fitness America Pageant, as well as training other women to take the stage in pageants like Miss Universe and Miss Mexico. "She understands how the female body works," Tamra said of working with her "amazing coach."
Most of us probably get exhausted just from watching Tamra's workout routine (clip above), but they were actually kind of a piece of cake for the RHOC mom. "I had a few injuries, but for the most part, the workouts weren't that difficult for me, I think, because I've always worked out. It was just a different workout," she explained. "Before I was used to more high-intensity where you're really winded, and this was like old-school bodybuilding. It was cardio, but it was low-intense cardio, so it wasn't that difficult. If I had to go run five miles right now, I'd probably die."
Actually, the most challenging part of training for Tamra was the diet. Chowing down on little more than ground turkey, chicken, vegetables, and hardboiled eggs day after day eventually felt like "a chore" for her. "Eating that food was the most challenging," she said. "It's hard to start chewing. Like, you just feel like you're just chewing and chewing and chewing. I don't want to eat this. It's not food anymore. I'm tired of it."
Ensuring that she was eating enough and every three hours was also difficult for Tamra. "For me with my busy schedule, especially with filming [RHOC], it was really hard," Tamra said. "A lot of times, I would train and then run home, take a shower, and leave, and that would mean not eating, and that's something I couldn't do."
That's where Tamra's husband Eddie Judge was especially helpful. "I knew that her weakest link is meal prepping because it's so time-consuming," he told The Daily Dish. "And as the primary cook of the family, because I love to cook, I would make meals for her and set it up and help her as much as I could."
But it doesn't sound like Tamra needed a whole lot of help staying on track since she was "100 percent committed" to achieving her goal. "The only time I really went off my diet, because diet is a huge part of it, is the few times I had alcohol. That was maybe three times in six months," Tamra told The Daily Dish. "Just having the drive inside you and knowing that I wanted this really bad, I worked really hard, and I didn't want to let [Mia] down, I didn't want to let myself down. I just wanted to follow through and was never really too concerned about winning."
And Eddie is just in awe of Tamra's body transformation and success. "I think she looks amazing. Definitely a lot of work to get where she got," he said. "I can't say it enough, I am super proud of her, not just for the transformation but for the journey that she took. It's a lot of work, very disciplined, and definitely not something that everybody can do."
We didn't think it was possible, but Tamra aspires to become even more fit in the future. "I'm not quite where I want to be yet, so I still have some room for improvement," she said.
If you also want to achieve a killer bod like Tamra's, you'll soon have the chance. Tamra and Mia are working on introducing a program to help people prepare for fitness competitions of their own at Cut Fitness, the California gym Tamra founded with Eddie.
Though Tamra let herself indulge in some nachos and doughnuts to celebrate her win last month, she quickly returned to the gym to prepare for a Fitness America competition in Las Vegas in November. (Her success at Musclemania's Orange County Show also allowed her to qualify for a Fitness Universe competition in June, but she said she has passed on participating.) "When you have a goal in place, it's easier to maintain," Tamra said. "When you don't have a goal and you don't have something to look forward to, like a competition or a photo shoot or a wedding or something like that, it's easy to get sidetracked and get off your journey, so just keep setting goals for myself and doing it."
We'll keep following your body transformation, Tamra, one amazing selfie at a time.