It’s time to exhale that breath you’ve been holding so long (and probably didn’t even know you were) because The Oxygen Challenge 7 is here. In our seven-year history with the Challenge, we’ve asked you to choose one coach or another, one team or another, one “side” or another. But this year, we all desperately need each other in ways we never thought we would. This year, there is no choosing necessary — both coaches are available to all Challenge participants, which means that everyone has twice the opportunity to get stronger, leaner, more mobile and healthier than ever. So sign up, join in and get moving.
Let’s get strong together, or as we like to say it this year — (To.Get.Her) Strong.
ON THE RUN
Tara Laferrara has always been on the fast track to fitness — literally: In high school, she ran the 100 and 200 meters and nabbed the Colorado state title in the 200 meters in 2007. “I was on [some sort of] team starting at age 10 onward and strictly competed in track for six years,” Laferrara recalls. “All I knew was how to run fast and turn left.”
Once she got to college, the teams that had held her accountable and pushed her to excel were gone. Laferrara lost her training mojo and instead adopted a sedentary lifestyle. She topped it off with a little junk food here and some beer there, and before she knew it, she had gained 20 pounds. Laferrara knew she had to do something to reclaim her fitness, so she put her running shoes back on and hit the pavement. “I tried long-distance running because that’s all I thought I could do,” she says. “I actually ran three marathons … and didn’t like doing any of them.”
But fate intervened in the form of a persistent friend who kept inviting Laferrara to a boot camp class in the park. “I turned her down several times but finally said yes, and it was the best decision I ever made,” she says.
Laferrara attended every session she could, and when they moved the class indoors to a studio, she followed. Others encouraged her to become an instructor herself, so she earned her group fitness and personal training certifications and has been teaching clients in both settings ever since.
Laferrara’s OC7 workouts focus on real-world (as well as aesthetic) applications. “This program is for improving performance, but it’s also for increasing your confidence during the other 23 hours of the day,” she says. “I want you to feel like a badass bringing in all the groceries in one swoop. And I want you to take all the stabilizing and strengthening you do in your workouts and [apply it] to your posture when you sit in a chair behind your desk all day.”
Laferrara offers modifications and adjustments for all her exercises so everyone is included. “You’ll do lot of supersets, AMRAPs, straight sets and strength-based training,” she says. “There is some HIIT, Tabata and cardio extras, as well. And I do love me some box jumps and ladder drills. If you stick with it, you will absolutely see improvements.”
NEVER GO HUNGRY
Laferrara hates the idea of a diet. “My philosophy is to eat what makes you feel good,” she says. “Eat in moderation. Put your fork down between bites. Drink a ton of water. There’s no such thing as good food or bad food, and I hate the term ‘cheat meal.’”
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
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