Toned Muscle is a Lie: You Need to Build Muscle to Get and Look Fit w/ Tara Garrison

by Mike Mutzel


As a mother of three, Tara Garrison believed the way to get a more toned physique was more cardio and light weights, high-reps.

But when this approach stopped working, Tara switched things up: less cardio, heavier weights and lower reps.






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Time Stamps:


02:40 Weightlifting was empowering. But Tara’s body really changed when she dialed in her nutrition.

04:38 BDNF, dopamine and serotonin were upregulated by eating whole foods and proteins.

07:05 Your body does not thrive in an environment of self-hatred. Food is not the enemy. It gives us life and pleasure.

13:40 Mental health inner work and physical health/fitness outer work grow in parallel.

15:07 Be curious about what your body is capable of.

18:05 It takes time to build the neuromuscular connection. Stick with it. Be willing to suck at it for a while.

19:50 Tara lost 40 lbs from weightlifting and eating whole foods.

22:20 Women, work as hard as you can toward muscle growth, and you will lean out and have a toned look.

26:10 If you are pursuing muscle growth, you can have a little protein or carbs sometime in the hour after your workout.  Do what feels best.

26:50 In an intense workout, you are in fight/flight mode. Waiting until you are hungry after a workout allows you to return to parasympathetic/rest and digest mode.

28:10 Skeletal muscle and hormones adapt to your biologic rhythm. Be consistent with workout timing.

30:50 Tara does not take days off from going to the gym at her scheduled time. She may take the day off from lifting, though. Tara uses her gym time to get into flow state.

32:40 Tara rotates workout focus through strength (1-4 heavy reps), hypertrophy (8-12 rep) and muscular endurance (12-15 reps). She also does HIIT, walks and does yoga.

35:20 The reason most people do not get results in a short period is because they do not go intense enough. At the gym, do what brings you joy that day so you want to come back again. Pay attention to how you feel.

40:10 Compound movements get the most activation and are good if you are traveling.

41:40 Heavy compound movements creates a hormonal adaptation response afterward.

42:30 True high intensity cannot be maintained for 30 seconds. It is about 8 seconds maximum. What Tara lacks in time, she makes up for in intensity.

49:33 Muscles are carb-sponges. The average person can store between 350 and 500 grams of glycogen in their liver and muscles. Athletes can store over 800 grams.

53:00 Going to bed early has been life-changing for Tara. At 9 pm, lights go out for the whole family.

58:40 Ask your body what it needs, listen and act.

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