Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Charmaine Barden Interview

Q: First, Charmaine, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you for this opportunity. I am always excited to talk about fitness.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A; I grew up in Columbia, Mo and moved to Wisconsin after my second semester of college to continue my education in Marketing. I never really was sure what I really wanted to go to school for and always was interested in other careers. During my schooling, I had heard about Radiology and thought it might be of interest to me. I soon applied and was accepted into a Radiology Technology school and later became a CT Technologist. I can’t seem to stay away from school too long because it wasn’t long after I was doing that job that I decided to go back to become a Mechanical Engineer. I am currently a mechanical engineering student of junior standing at UW- Milwaukee. As, far as family goes, I am the youngest of 6. I come from a blended family. We do not all have the same parents. I love my family and was so happy to see them this past weekend for my wedding. I just married the love of my life, Eric Barden.

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: Yes. I have always considered myself athletic. In junior high and high school I played soccer and was the co-captain of my volleyball team. After high school, I wasn’t active in any organized sports but always continued to stay fit by picking up other activities (rollerblading, biking, windsurfing). I am always ready to try something new. I love being active.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: An X-boyfriend of mine was interested in bodybuilding and was always talking about weightlifting and diet. He had some Muscle and Fitness magazines that I would always look at. I just think it is so amazing how much control we have over what our body looks like. I was able to learn about how to eat and weight train through these magazines. This was about 10 years ago, and at that point, it was just a dream to compete.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: I have always stayed fit but didn’t start strict training until January of this year. It came very easy to me because I had most of the knowledge I needed to make my dream a reality. I just needed a little extra to get me competition ready. I was waiting for the right time and that dedication and drive to kick in. I didn’t see dramatic results until after about 4 months. I was working on building my muscles and eating the right foods to maintain them. My trainer finally put me on a strict diet that helped me shred the fat. I lost about 13 pounds which helped define my muscles and I could finally see what I was working for. It’s difficult to lose fat and maintain muscle. I still have a lot of work to get my physique how I would like. It is a work in progress. It takes time.

Q: You are about to compete for the first time. What led to the decision to compete?
A: A dream. I can see myself on stage competing with others who have worked so hard, just like me. It’s exciting to have your hard work acknowledged.

Q: Is competing something your family and friends support?
A: I think so. I don’t really hear negative feedback. I don’t really hear much at all actually. I just hear things like, “oh that’s right, Char can’t eat that” or “can you do something with me or do you have to go to the gym?” It’s just acknowledged that it’s a part of my life, but not a support type of a feeling. Eric has always supported me and it keeps me smiling when he calls me “Beefcake”.

Q: Whats been the best and worst part of the prep process for you?
A: The best part of the prep process for me is when I started seeing shoulder development. I wasn’t blessed with nice rounded shoulders and have worked very hard to have some definition in my shoulders. When I did my first posing practice with my trainer and she told me, “Your shoulders are coming in nicely”, that made my day! The worst part for me was during the wedding celebrations this past weekend. There was a lot of great tasting –not –good –for –competition food and one hungry bride and I failed. I gave in to the cake and the delicious food. I was doing so well 10 weeks into my diet. I still feel terrible about it, especially being 2 weeks from competition.

Q: As it gets closer are you more nervous or excited?
A: I am excited! I don’t feel nervous at all. I can’t wait to walk across that stage.

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I don’t really feel like I have a best body part. I am liking my arms a little bit more than I used to. I have worked on them the most.

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train?
A: I train my shoulders the most just because I personally like how toned shoulders look.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how are you altering it for contest prep?
A: The last couple months, I haven’t really followed a strict weight lifting plan. I do lift weights 5 days a week but I like to work on what I feel my body needs or build where I think I am lacking. My normal diet has been plenty of good carbs (Ezekiel bread, brown rice), good fats like avocados and almonds, and lots of protein like chicken, tilapia, eggs and lean ground beef. My contest prep consists of meal 1: egg whites and spinach, meal 2: chicken and green beans, meal 3: Hydro whey protein, meal 4: chicken and spinach, meal 5: ground turkey and asparagus, and meal 6: chicken. 1 gallon of water a day!

Q: When someone sees your physique or hears you will compete for the first time, what is the most common reaction? More positive or negative?
A: I get a positive reaction. Most people think it’s interesting or different so they have a lot of questions about it. I don’t mind talking about it and I find that my excitement about fitness provokes an excitement in them that makes them want to eat right or get fit.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: I am still a beginner so I probably haven’t had a chance to hear too many comments. I suppose it is hard for me at this point in the diet when people think I should be able to eat something just because it is healthy, like a banana or something and I can’t. They don’t understand that I have to have a certain amount of protein and no sugars and a minimal amount of good fats.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: I heard someone say once that they didn’t want to lift weights because they didn’t want to be big like a man. I don’t think people realize how much effort and time it would take to build that much muscle. A little weight lifting helps with fat loss and gives nice feminine curves to the body.

Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: I love to work out, but it does take up a lot of time in the evening. I feel like I am rushing all the time to keep everything in my life going. Of course, the best part of training is the awesome results when you see your body and it almost looks unfamiliar because it has changed due to your hard training and steady will power.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I have always admired Monica Brant. She is one of the first figure girls that I saw in those magazines 10 years ago. I was able to meet her recently . She is a kind person who loves to share her knowledge of the industry.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: I didn’t, until I started carefully thinking about what would be my “reward”/cheat food when I got it. I have to say that I cannot wait to have a Culver’s cheeseburger! I also keep thinking about a waffle with butter and syrup. I can’t seem to get that out of my mind.

Q: If another woman told you she wanted to start training, what is the one piece of advice you would most want to give her?
A: Be patient! Changes will come in time. Keep working steadily and results will come your way. Do not give up and do not waiver! You CAN do it!

Q: Do you think it’s becoming more common for women to use the weights as opposed to just doing cardio and things?
A: Oh, yea. I think it’s very common. I see a lot of women at the gym in the weight section. I think magazines like Oxygen and Muscle and Fitness Hers have taught women how to use weights and train and this makes it less intimidating.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activites you enjoy?
A: Yes! I love to do a lot of things. One thing that I am trying to do right now is learn the ukulele. I have never been a musical person but I want to be able to play some songs. I also am very excited about a new business that I have just started but don’t have enough in place yet to talk about it. I hope to have it up and running within a month. Also, video editing is so much fun for me. I haven’t done too much of that this summer due to wedding planning but I hope to have some time before school starts again to enjoy some of these things.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Charmaine Barden.
A: Ready for the day by 6 am. 45 minute drive to work (Yuck!). Work all day. Weights and cardio at the YMCA when I get home. Eat my meals every 2-3 hours. Do regular household chores. I don’t know where time goes because it’s usually time for bed by the time I relax.

Q: Describe Charmaine Barden in five words.
A: Loyal, Driven, Random, Easy going, intelligent.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I wish it was something like that I know Chinese or something like that but I suppose they would be surprised to know that I competed in the Mrs. Wisconsin 2008 pageant, just because it was a random thing that I did to help me get over stage fright and public speaking.

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: No plans. I am going to play it by ear and see how I feel. I never want this to be a stress in my life. I want to always do what makes me happy, so I will reevaluate after my first competition.

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: Yes. I would like to acknoweldge my trainer, Sandy Wiedmeyer. Sandy has always been there for me when I have questions and has given me advice from her own experience as a Pro Figure competitor. Her and Staci Boyer have collaborated and made TEAM F.A.B for figure and bikini competitors and beginners who would like to compete. Sandy and Staci make a great team! Becoming a member of Team F.A.B will give you access to discounts and valuable knowledge that is needed to compete in figure and bikini competitions. I am proud to be a TEAM F.A.B girl!

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Charmaine Barden the athlete and competitor?
A: Yes. I am looking to have sponsers. They can reach me by email or by facebook by searching that email address. They are getting a person with a zest for life, who is driven and loyal. A person that would represent a product or service with the passion for fitness that shines though.

Q: Charmaine, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Thank you so much for this opportunity again and thanks to all those who have supported me. Special Thanks to my husband who always supports me in all the things that I want to do in life.


  1. Great Job Char!! Hope you the best in your competition.

  2. Great job Char! I am proud of you.

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