Charlotte talks to us about her first year of competing with PCA in bikini category. How she managed her competition prep and diet while running her own business?
Full Name: Charlotte Clark
Past Federation: PCA
Coach: Mark Jones
Where are you from: Sheffield
What is your occupation? I own a waxing salon (The Wax Box)
When did you start competing and WHY?
This was my first year competing. I was asked by a coach to compete a few years ago but I didn't feel ready. It was something I wanted to do but didn't think I had the confidence to. I bumped into Mark in Manchester and walked away having agreed to compete so I started telling everyone so I wouldn't back out. I wanted to do it because the idea of stepping on stage terrified me and I wanted to push myself through a prep to see what I could do with my body.
Have you done any sports before?
I started swimming lessons when I was 5 and absolutely loved it, I started competing when I was 8 and did my last competition when I was 23. I guess thats why I'm so competitive.
What was the reaction of your friends and family when you decided to compete?
A few of my friends didn't really understand what I was doing and why I was doing it but I had a few who were so supportive of it from day 1, they knew prep came with restrictions and made the effort to work around me. My family didn't really understand it either but once they saw I was serious they started asking questions and wanted to know more about it, by the end they were so impressed of what id done and so proud.
Do you remember your first time on stage?
Yes, I remember waiting to go on and feeling like I was on a huge roller coaster that I couldn't get off. I walked out on stage thinking what are you doing! Once we’d done the first few turns I was ok, I gave my I walk my all and by the pose down I was a different woman.
Which competition did you enjoy the most and why?
I loved Body Power, not just because of the result but id met some of the girls that were competing before so it was nice to see them, the whole atmosphere of the event was incredible and I wasn't as nervous so I was able to enjoy it more.
What is your biggest success on stage?
Body Power, the whole day was just incredible, I walked off stage winning my category but the biggest achievement was getting an invite to do the am pro show at the end of the day. It didn't really sink in till after the show that i’d not just won but they'd seen something in me that was good enough to get on stage with the other girls.
What do you think girls should know before hitting the competition stage?
That it isn't easy, you need to be ready to prioritise prep, to be selfish and to be willing to give up parts of your life while you are on prep. The pretty side of prep is a fraction of the hours of work that goes into it so make sure you have solid reasons why you want to do it and don't underestimate how tough coming out of prep can be. BUT, you will learn so much through prep that you can put into other aspects of your life, you will be proud of yourself for what you have achieved and most importantly you will meet some of the most incredible people through competing and you even get to keep some of them in your life forever.
Who is your bikini idol?
I don’t really have an idol, just a long list of girls who have incredible physiques.
How was your last prep and how did you manage your diet?
Prep couldn't have gone better, a lot of people were picking their prep and bodies to bits but I didn't think I could have done this or I should look like that, I completely trusted Mark, he gave out the orders and I did the work and it paid off. I went into prep so focused and made sure I was ready to give my all. The diet was the easiest part, I had a few weeks on a plan and then was given macros but I worked this round my plan so it didn't change much, it just gave me a little flexibility with what I had. I think that freedom was part of what got me through.
How often did you practice your posing?
I went on a posing workshop 8 months before my comp and practised every week. I tried to do 20 minutes after my sessions even before prep started. When I was close to comp I would run through my walk and turns a couple of times each day. If I did it for too long or I wasn't feeling it it would stress me out so i’d take that day off and carry on the next.
Your favourite bikini colour?
I like the darker colours with pops of colour.
What is your next plans?
Its taken a lot longer for my body to recover than I thought so depending on when my body is recovered I have my eye on a few shows next year. I did a photo shoot with Chris Bailey just before my first show this year and loved that so I definitely want to get another shoot booked in.
Do you have any hobbies outside the gym?
I opened up my salon almost a year ago so a lot of my time is spent working on my business. I love baking as well so recently started selling brownies too. I used to ice skate when I was younger too so after comp I took that back up.
Who would you like to say thank you or give a shout out too?
It goes without saying Mark Jones, we worked really well together and I completely trusted him to get me to where I needed to be. My family for putting up with the moods, my girls Kat, Steph and Amy, they are always there for me and were absolute angels through prep. I went to see Kayla for posing, I learnt so much from her and she gave me so much confidence to get up on stage. One last one, YOU! I remember opening my bikini…and crying, trying it on for the first time…and crying again. When the hair, make up and tan was on the bikini just completed the whole look, i’d worked so hard for that prep and the bikini @bikinibkb by @bikini_mama was more than perfect!
Photos supplied by Charlotte Clark, Photo credit : Fivos Photography and Chris Bailey @ Bailey Image