Tamara's future shaping up to be a winning one
New Plymouth's Tamara Merriman is surprised at the results she has achieved in her first year as a competitive bodybuilder.
In the weekend the 38-year-old won the shape division at the National Amateur Bodybuilders Association (NABBA) Asia-Pacific Body Building Championships in Boracay, Philippines.
She and her partner Darren Faulkner, of Whanganui, also took out the mixed pairs division after a last- minute decision to enter.
Merriman placed second in the shape division at the NABBA Taranaki Body Championships in March and also won best female performance at the competition.
Merriman said her success had come as a surprise.
"Definitely, it is just amazing," she said.
The shape division was judged on symmetry, poses, athletic tone, routine and overall feminine shape.
"It's the more glamorous side of body building, there is not as much muscle mass as there is in other divisions," she said.
The dance and fitness instructor said she enjoyed the routine section of the competition.
"Being a dancer I love that side of it because I can choreograph and be creative with my routine."
Merriman was convinced to give the sport a go by a personal trainer who was attending a dance class.
"She said to me ‘you could do this'."
"I'm used to competing on stage in dance but I've got more clothes on."
However, after putting together a training and diet plan Merriman hasn't looked back.
She said she was approached by the NABBA president after the Taranaki champs asking if she would represent New Zealand at the Asia Pacific Champs.
"Since it was my first competition it was a bit of a shock to be asked."
Merriman said she decided the opportunity was too good to turn down but admitted it was even more of a shock to have won.
"I had some pretty stiff competition. I didn't expect to win."
She said after all the hard work and dieting the competitors were able to let their hair down after the championships.
"After this competition we all had a break and went to McDonald's."
However, the break didn't last long and Merriman now has her sights set on the national championships in Auckland in October and hopes to gain entry to the Universe Championships in Germany in November.
"I would certainly just love to get a place at the nationals but I know I've got a lot of hard work to get there," she said.
"I have no idea where this journey will take me."
Taranaki Daily News