How Does It Become a Bodybuilder?

Written by: Violet Myers

The ideal female form is a forever changing phenomenon. Each decade seems to harbour it’s own unique standard of beauty, from the hourglass figure of the 50’s to the slender boyish look of the 60’s. We’re still waiting for round, stretched and flabby to make a sweeping come back…any day now girls, any day. The 90’s saw the rise of ‘Heroin Chic’ – a look inspired by the super sexy figures of those dealing with crippling drug addictions, because nothing screams ‘FASHUN’ louder than a heart murmur and chronic liver damage. Following this, thin body shapes remained fashionable for several years in different variations: from the enigmatic thin and tall to the controversial return of tall and thin.

But now the ideal body has evolved again, with women shunning the ‘don’t hug me I’m as delicate as a baby bird’ look and embracing the arms, the abs and the all-important strong ass. The 2010’s is all about muscle and social media won’t rest until everybody knows. A daily barrage of bulging biceps, ripped abs and glutes rounder than Danny Devito are pinned, tagged and shared across the web and for many of us, this is where they stay. But for a few committed individuals these goals are a way of life.

Charlotte Clarke body builder training in North London, magazine North London, health, fitness, bulk up, training, gym, haringey, finsbury park, stroud green, crouch end, islington, hackney.

Charlotte Clarke is 24, a former dancer and is competing in her first body building competition in April. We asked Charlotte to tell us about the realities of intense fitness, in an attempt to de-mystify the world of body building and extreme health:

“I’ve wanted to do it for years, but never thought I’d get the opportunity or be able to afford it. It can be very expensive, but my trainer put together a package for me. It can be £30 upwards for an hour with a trainer, so luckily the programme makes it more affordable. I met him while I was filming a TV advert for our gym, he asked me if I’d like him to train me and as soon as he suggested it a little seed started to grow. Then I knew I wanted to do it and that we’d do it together.”

“Since deciding to take this step I’ve had mixed reviews. A lot of people have given so much support, much more than I thought I’d get, while some are under the impression I want to be a female version of Arnold Schwaternegger. I don’t want to get like that, I physically couldn’t get like that, I have a small frame so it would look ridiculous anyway. I didn’t tell my parents straight away. I was nervous to tell them, it’s not everyday your daughter wants to be a body builder. But they’re really excited, they want to buy my first bikini. My Mum had two conditions; no steroids and she has to be there on the day. Their support was overwhelming, it made me cry!”

Charlotte Clarke body builder training in North London, magazine North London, health, fitness, bulk up, training, gym, haringey, finsbury park, stroud green, crouch end, islington, hackney.

“I’m a vegan and people can be very judgmental about my food, they assume I’m not getting enough protein and that I can’t possibly reach my goals with this diet. But there are a lot of body builders who are vegan, some guys who are huge. You can get a lot of protein from a vegan diet you just have to track it. I’m bulking at the moment, so what I’m on right now is about 2,700 calories a day, it’s great, I eat round the clock and I love to eat! It’ll be a completely different story when I’m cutting – I’ll be begging for my food back!”

“Training comes in six week cycles. Monday, Wednesday and Friday are legs, then Tuesday is chest and back, Thursday is arms and shoulders and on top of that I do three days of HIIT training and core. Three times a week I do double gym days, interval sprints and three rounds of core. I have a full time bar job, so I have to workout between my shifts. Sometimes when I work a short shift, I’ll go do weights beforehand with my trainer then do my shift and then come back to the gym to do cardio, people say ‘“Charlotte you’re crazy, I’m going to bed!” but I’ve got to do it. My social life is kind of on hold at the moment but I’m not one to go out drinking anyway, I’ll have a very occasional drink. I don’t enjoy being drunk, I have catchups over coffee and lunch but don’t socialise in the evening. I’m 24 and I sound so old!”

Charlotte Clarke body builder training in North London, magazine North London, health, fitness, bulk up, training, gym, haringey, finsbury park, stroud green, crouch end, islington, hackney.

“I was born with a heart defect. I would get heart palpitations for about 3 hours at a time, at 180 beats, so sat still I’d be exhausted. I had an operation at the end of my first year at uni, I took a couple of months out without doing any exercise. It was really weird to not exercise for so long. It was the longest I’ve taken out since I was about 2 years old. It was strange. I was scared when I came back to it, but then I started dancing again, moved to London and started lifting weights.”

“I feel like a specific type of person becomes a bodybuilder. You have to be completely dedicated and committed to it. I’m not the sort of person who could give up. I think a lot of people would like to give it a go as it can look quite glamorous on the competition side. But they don’t see just how much training goes into it and how much effort goes into the diet. You have to be in it the whole way, you can’t half heart it.”

“Generally, I’m feeling good, even with the double gym sessions. I do get tired though, but my body is responding well to the training – my body fat has gone down but my weight has gone up, I’ve put on four kilos of muscle. I’m quite a small girl and it’s weird that I get on the scales and I’m actually excited when the weight has gone up!”

Charlotte will be competing in Pure Elite. You can track her journey by following her blog.


Photos: Michael Barry

Close up of brisket burger being held in two hands at Brave Sir Robin for North Four Magazine
Eat & Drink

Eat/Drink: A Love Letter to Cue Point and Brave Sir Robin

When danger reared its ugly head, Brave Sir Robin turned and fled… to his namesake pub on Crouch Hill for a craft beer and a top-notch meal from kitchen residency Cue Point. Warm globes of light hang above intimate booths, specially commissioned wall design offers a rich backdrop, and cosy sofas, deep armchairs and plentiful cushioned stools ensure no one is without a seat.

Bahn Mi Baguette at Pho Hot Vietnamese restaurant in Holloway North London shot for North Four Magazine.
Eat & Drink

Banh Mi and Friends at Pho Hot Holloway

Flocking to Holloway Road on one of the many Sundays that we’ve spent at the Nag’s Head Car Boot Sale, we spotted a new Vietnamese place called Pho Hot getting ready to open up their doors. Being the nosy folks we are, we peeked inside and spotted a menu. Banh Mi was on it. It's a baguette, but not as you know it. Glory of all glories! It’s been far too long since I last consumed this distinctive sarnie and I'm happy as Larry that there's a new Banh Mi joint on my doorstep.

Lee Garrett standing on stairs with window in background for North Four Magazine

Top 4 Tips to Protect Your Skin From London Winter!

Baby, it’s getting cold outside, and what better way to aide our frostbitten noses than a chat to a professional skin person? We’re talking to Lee Garrett, founder of The Garrett Clinic, accomplished skincare specialist and heralded by many as the UK’s leading Skin Guru. Read on to find out his insider tips for surviving this winter season with your skin looking as radiant as the moon that breaks a stormy night.

Illustration of tank with duck in it reading 'peace is coming' at Atom Gallery for North Four Magazine

Tomorrow's World at Atom Gallery

Joined by over 50 other artists incorporating printmaking, painting, digital art, photography and small-scale sculpture, Tomorrow’s World presents us with utopias, dystopias, predictions, prophecies and visions of the future. We hit up the private view last Friday and it was pretty damn bleak, in the best sense of the word.

Brave Sir Robin Opening 14th December 2017
Eat & Drink

Local Thinking, Craft Beer Drinking: Brave Sir Robin Launches in Crouch Hill

Carouse founders Chris, Theo and Ben – the charming folk behind Kentish Town’s Rose and Crown – have a new venture afoot and we couldn’t be more bloody excited to see it. We’ve been creeping in their windows, peering through the paint and sneaking glimpses at builders’ bums for a few months now (okay, maybe not the last one), watching these guys transform this cosy corner of Crouch Hill into a rather cool little boozer. Now they’re opening and everyone is invited. Come one, come all, and try all 20 of their beers on tap with us.

Back of persons head with cigarette tucked over ear

Body Hammer: Clubbing, but not how you know it

Last month I decided to try clubbing again. I don’t quite know what came over me, but I actually (brace yourselves) enjoyed it. I went to Body Hammer’s monthly party in Manor House and I’m here to tell you to go too, whether you love clubbing, hate clubbing, or really couldn’t care either way. #notspon

Close up of person shoving a stuffed potato skin into her mount at Skins in The Magic Roundabout for North Four Magazine
Eat & Drink Events

Go Your Own Way at Skins' Fleetwood Mac & Cheese Night

Rich, fried, buttery, potato-y vessels loaded with flavor combinations that go down rather well with craft beer, late nights and good times. Ha, who am I kidding, EVERYTHING goes down well with beer. You heard that right buddy, loaded potato skins are back with a bang (and a generous portion of bacon) and are currently being served at Old Street's The Magic Roundabout by street food pop-up Skins and we could not be any happier. Well, unless they were to stuff it with, say, Mac and Cheese or risotto. Oh, that's exactly what they do? Well paint me green and call me a cucumber.

Christmas Gift Guide by Pretty Shiny Shop in Stroud Green North London
Lifestyle List

A Very Pretty Shiny Christmas Gift Guide

Magical gifts, wonderful gifts, marvellous gifts, beautiful gifts, gifts, glorious gifts glo-ri-ous giiiiiifts. Please Sir, I want some more. It’s that time of year again and whether you love it or loathe it gifts will be purchased and presented into expectant hands. Stroud Green's very own Pretty Shiny Shop have compiled a gift guide to help ease the shopping shock. Imagine only having to trot to your local gift shop and tick off your entire shopping list in one fell swoop. Done, finito, terminado! To make it that little sweeter, it's also all very affordable... so you won't even have to pick a pocket or two.

Three people clinking plastic glasses in the air in a tent with people in the background at Thor's Tipi Bar in Regent's Place
Eat & Drink Events

Drink, Feast, Conquer, Repeat. Thor's Tipi Bar Has Arrived.

Alright guys, it’s happening. The frosty charm of December is, once again, being beaten to a pulp by the capitalists’ wet dream: Christmas. The hideous twinkling of artificial outdoor lighting is starting to appear, with tourists flocking from far and wide to watch D-list celebrities press a button. Invitations to Christmas parties flood in from your multiple part-time jobs, ensuring you make bad decisions bi-weekly til next year. Supermarkets are selling 12-day advent calendars containing confetti, cookie cutters and candles for a flawless £50. And oh, how the mulled wine flows.

Girl peeking through gold and pink balloons at Top Balloon in Shop Stroud Green for North Four Magazine
Eat & Drink Events

Shop Stroud Green Christmas Trail 2017

Who doesn’t love a cheeky statistic, correctly sourced? You know we do. Well, did you know that for every £1 spent with a small business, 63p is re-spent in the local area, as opposed to a measly 40p in every £1 re-spent locally with larger businesses? An absolute travesty, am I right? That 23p has to mean something, right, guys?! Guys? Guys, where are you going? Wait, there’s freebies involved too!

Eat & Drink Events Lifestyle List

Top 4 'Christmas is just a bad excuse for a' Winter Markets

By gum there are a lot of winter markets this year. Fueled by sickly sweet mulled wine and overpriced pulled pork sliders, we’ve managed to wade our way through the murky waters of winter markets and find some decent looking ones round this here part of town. Don’t let our Grinch-esq vibes put you off (I’m more of a Pancake Day person myself) because, if you’re into markets, you’ll probably like these. Read on, if you’re merrier than us.

The Vinteriors team and Mary le Comte at Moseyhome in Finsbury Park, North London for 'Style My Shop'.

Style My Shop: Vinterior x Moseyhome

Take a short walk along Finsbury Park’s own sunset strip and you’ll find MoseyHome, an interiors retailer and styling consultancy who have invited us to collaborate with them on an exciting new series titled 'Style My Shop', in which they invite some of London's most talented interiors experts to quite literally style their shop. Interiors porn at it's finest.

Eat & Drink Events List

Top Five "It's That Time Of Year Again" Things To Do This Winter

Why was the snowman sad? Because he had a meltdown. Much like us, every year, when winter comes. It’s cold, it’s dark, and we know Christmas is on its way. But hey, it’s not all bad – the events round this time of year can be pretty swell. So don your scarf-shawl-blanket and get your frolic on, it’s time for fairy lights, scarfing mulled wine and stuffing your face!

Hand feeling colourful splashes of artwork at Smith and Sinclair Flavour Gallery
Culture Eat & Drink Events

Suck it at The Flavour Gallery

Touch, taste, smell, hear and create art. Smith & Sinclair, purveyors of the Edible Cocktail, presents The Flavour Gallery: a multi-sensory adventure that’ll seduce your senses and tickle your taste buds beyond all imagination. Ooh matron!

Hodgepodge on Crouch Hill, North London. New restaurant opening November 2017
Eat & Drink

New Opening: Hodgepodge Crouch Hill

Offering modern British cuisine with a smokey twist, Crouch Hill's newest contender to its foodie scene, Hodge Podge, is all minimal styling and hearty yet inventive dishes.