Sunday, October 2, 2011
Q: First, Charla, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you Jason. I consider it an honor that you asked, seeing as how I just did my 1st show yesterday and am so new to this as a sport.
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I am a 43 yr old single mom to an adorable 4 yr old miniature dashchund, Duke. :) I was raised as the oldest of 3 in Hope, AR but have lived so many places since high school. I have lived in St. Louis now for right at 4 yrs and the past 2 have been spent owning and growing my own pet-sitting business.
Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I was never the athlete in school. I was in band but I have always had a passion for football and basketball. My dream actually used to be a football coach!
Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: I have worked out/been in the gym for many years. Started as a means to lose a little weight but I was that typical rollercoaster gym member. You know, the one who came quite often around a special event or the new year but never stayed consistent. But since last October I have made a complete life transformation and commitment to a healthy lifestyle thanks to the eye-opening discussions and pictures from one of my best friends who is a personal trainer.
Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: I like to think I picked it up easy. There are always new or advanced forms of an exercise that awaken me to just how far I still have to go though.
I started seeing some small results but the real results came when I ate with a purpose instead of letting food control me.
Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: Many friends had tried to encourage me to compete dating back 9 years ago. It wasn't until about 4 months ago I began seeing real changes in my physique and hearing those things again. I figured I am not getting any younger so "why not?" I paid my entry fee THAT day so that I would not allow myself to back out.
Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: Most supported me, yes. And many were so overwhelmingly encouraging. What has been a true blessing in my decision has been the new friends I have made and how encouraging and supportive they have been too. I have met some amazing people along this first journey!
Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: Wow! There were so many surprises along the way. I expected alot; the hard work...the sweat...the mornings of not wanting to wake up to go to the gym. I even expected the eating to have to change. But the biggest surprise was learning so much about how I had used food as a crutch before and just how eating clean can impact your entire lifestyle. I was surprised at how far I could push myself for something I truly set my mind to achieving.
Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: As I said, my very first show was just yesterday. It was the NANBF Gateway Naturals here in O'Fallon, MO. I entered into 2 categories; Beginner and Master's 40+. I placed 2nd in the Beginner Short class and 5th in the Master's 40+. Needless to say I was ecstatic at how well I did.
Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I would say my shoulders! Front, side, and rear...my shoulders are the best part. :)
Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: I do love training shoulders but for some reason I love chest day! Decline press is probably my favorite because it makes me feel the most strong. There's something about loading the bar with a plate and a quarter on each side and hitting it 6 times that makes me feel like SuperWoman!
Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: Before I decided to commit to the show I worked on a 5-day weight training split. Cardio might happen a couple times a week but nothing regular. The cardio was the biggest change for contest prep simply because I continued to add more and more.
My "normal" diet was the 5-6 smaller meals a day with an occasional cheat meal. But some show prep time the cheat meals were something I knew had to go.
Q: When someone sees your physique or hears you compete for the first time, what is the most common reaction? More positive or negative?
A: I was surprised at how many people assumed I compete even before I made the decision to. Overall, the reactions have been so positive and encouraging...quite motivating at times too.
Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: "How can I get abs like yours?"
To hear someone tell me they do 150 or 200 situps a day but then tell me they drink beer and eat wings all the time... But they want abs?
Yea, that would be the worst.
Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: The biggest misconception is still that weightlifting will "bulk" you up and "I don't wanna look like a dude". I try to explain my personal story and educate them on just how important weight training is to weight/fat loss but they still say "yea, but I just don't wanna look like a man".
The biggest thing I wish more of my immediate friends and family understood was just how hard contest prep is and how emotional it can be. It's just not a walk in the park and ladies do not walk up on that stage looking that way by spending only an hour a day prepping for it.
Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: The best part is the feeling of accomplishment I get when I am done with each workout.
The worst is when I am soooooo craving sour gummi savers or my favorite snack of peanut butter and maple syrup smothered on toast and CANNOT have it... UGH!
Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: Before I decided to compete I have to admit I never really followed the sport. But since then I have met some truly beautiful women...many right here in STL/Columbia. I would have to say they are who I admire because they are the ones that are helping inspire me. There are so many to name that I'm afraid I might miss one and would hate to leave anyone out.
I truly admire ANY woman who sets her mind on a goal and works to accomplish that...then steps on stage to display her work! AMAZING.....
Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Is there a character limit to answering this question? hahaha
I would have to put the peanut butter and maple syrup at the top of the list but having a sweet tooth like I do, candy, ice cream...cake... it'll all work!
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: Know that this is not a part-time commitment and there are going to be days that you want to quit. But she is as strong as her mind will allow her to be... where the mind goes, the body follows!
Q: Do you think its becoming more common for women to use the weights as opposed to just doing cardio and things?
A: I do believe it is working towards that way. I love to see a woman lifting in the gym.
Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I am a football and basketball (both college and pro) JUNKIE!
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Charla Davenport.
A: I play with dogs and cats for a living. It's an awesome job but I am studying for my fitness nutrition and personal training certifications. Right now my days include my visits, anywhere from 60-90 min in the gym and ESPN.
Q: Describe Charla Davenport in five words.
A: Determined, Focused, Sporty, Shoe-Diva (hope that's not 2 words), and Committed (not the crazy committed either...) LOL!
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: As much as I love sports and have been told "you're just one of the guys"... I am actually all woman and love to be a lady!
Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: Actually yes... I have already made the commitment to myself and my coach to do the Liberty show in April! Between show prep begins MONDAY!
Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: My pet-sitting business is always good... Pampered Pets Patrol! But I am really looking forward to getting my certifications and start helping other ladies (or men) transform their lives the way mine has been done. I hope to use my story and experience to inspire others.
Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Charla Davenport the athlete and competitor?
A: I would LOVE a sponsor...or 2 or 3. :) My email is email@example.com.
What they get in me is hard work, commitment to excellence, and an honest experience of the full circle. I have gone from the sz18, 180-lb weakling through the most common stereotype and cycles...to the figure competitor (and future pro) you see today. You get the truth and hardcore facts. :)
Q: Charla, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Jason, again, I am honored that you chose me among those you have to interview. I'm excited about what the future holds!