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Tara MacDonald: Living her best life

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Tara MacDonald Headshot
Tara MacDonald Headshot

For Tara MacDonald, it’s always been about living her best life. One thing is for sure for this forty-six-year-old Dartmouth, Nova Scotia native, and owner of Plus Fitness with Tara, being a certified personal trainer has not only opened the door to her wellness journey but has provided the opportunity to help others. It would be fair to say Tara has faced a few hurdles, professionally and personally – but she never gave up.

Who is Tara MacDonald?

In a word – I’m a change agent. Yes, I’m a curvy, fun, body-positive coach and personal trainer. But at the heart, I’m an entrepreneur in the health and wellness sector. I’ve had a few businesses, including fitness clubs and personal training studios.  I’ve reinvented myself several times while continually upgrading my skills and offerings. Some may say I thrive on breaking down barriers. Today, I weigh in at just under 300 pounds. Not the picture of health and wellness projected as a personal trainer – but my journey proves that life challenges don’t have to be a barrier. It’s about having the right tools you need to be a rock star in fitness. What I want my clients to embrace is a healthy love of themselves.

What was your AHA moment?

It was in the 80s in high school. I had to do these endurance and fitness tests which were part of the Canada Fitness Test.  I could never complete the ten laps without having problems breathing. It was later diagnosed as an asthma attack but, went undiagnosed for a long time. Imagine having this problem without any support. It established my relationship with health and wellness. But it also fueled my cause to help support people based on my personal experiences.

Is there one story or experience that has impacted you personally and professionally?

Meeting and being accepted by CanFitPro trainers Andrea Thatcher and Janice Forand at the certification sessions. They were very welcoming of a plus-sized person in a personal training and a fitness instructor course. They didn’t care about my size. They just wanted to make sure I succeeded.

Lifetime Achievement?

In 2018 – getting my Certified Personal Trainer certification. That was a turning point. But the learning never stops. I am also a Reiki Master Teacher, Fitness Instructor, Yoga Instructor RYT-200, Healthy Eating and Weight Loss Coach, Beachbody Coach, and I have my nutrition certification with 2B Mindset Nutrition (not diets). I’m also a Certified Chopra Center Instructor in Primordial Sound Meditation. So, my wellness toolbox is constantly expanding. For your client’s sake, you can never stop learning.  

What’s behind the passion?

Honestly, I think it was just being able to help people overcome their challenges and feel comfortable in their skin so that they can go to any gym or fitness class and be like, I’m fine here. This is my place too.

If I can give somebody the confidence to walk into any fitness club, then I am living my best life.

 Best and worst advice?

Never, never, never give up, from Winston Churchill.

As entrepreneurs, sometimes we’re designed to fail and then learn from it and try something else, adapt – pivot.

Worst advice – when I was told my businesses were not sustainable. That’s when the never, never, give up mantra came into play.  When there’s a rough storm, you know the sailboat adjusts the sails, right? You don’t just give up.   You know you got to get to land so I basically I revised my sales and kept moving on.

Last word

Own your journey.

Discover Another Game Changer: Get inspired with Jennifer Ettinger!

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  • Marylene Vestergom is a Toronto freelance writer who has reported at four winter Olympic Games for CBC and CTV. Her work has appeared in the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail and other leading media outlets. Her focus includes health, fitness and lifestyle trends.

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