Name: Charelle Johnson
Height: 1,62 m
Competition weight: 51 kgs
Current weight: 56 kgs
Current city: Johannesburg, South Africa
Occupation: Assistant Fashion Buyer
How did you get started with training? Has it always been part of your life?
I began training at the age of 13 as a hobby after receiving physio therapy on a back injury I sustained as a gymnast for 10 years. Then only began training seriously at the age of 20, but even at this stage I had no intention of competing.
I just really wanted a six pack haha. The want to compete only bit me in January 2014.
How long was it from when you started training in the gym to competing in your first show? And what made you enter?
It took me 1 year to want to compete after beginning to train seriously. My first show was The 2014 WBFF South Africa, where I obtained my WBFF Bikini Pro card. I entered the show as a challenge to myself to remain consistent in my diet and training routine, and to break into my fear of wearing a bikini on stage in front of thousands of people.
I honestly had no clue what a pro card actually was and what it meant.
How do you manage to stay motivated and consistent throughout your training and eating right? Do you think it requires a lot of sacrifices?
I often substitute my morning cardio music with motivational YouTube speeches by Eric Thomas, ET The Hip Hop Preacher as he is better known. His words always kick me right where I need the encouragement.
I also have the most supportive family and friends who constantly remind me of my goal whenever I feel like jumping ship. The entire process definitely requires a tremendous amount of sacrifice, specifically on your time and food choices.
How important is the mental aspect of this sport? How do you keep a positive mindset and attitude through setbacks?
The mental aspect is everything in this sport. It affects everything from the amount of weight you lift tonight, to your consistency in your diet.
You have to constantly remind yourself that there is method to the madness and find ways to remain focused and driven.
I can wake up at 4:30am, motivated as all hell and then by 9am be taken downhill by a box of Oreos. I do a lot of self-talk and personal motivational writing, youtubing, praying and social media stalking of athletes who inspire me haha.
What are your future plans?
To compete in 2 Pro shows in 2016, to complete my current course in exercise science and nutrition and to begin motivating and helping others reach their fitness goals.
Did you ever imagine when you first started out that you would come this far?
No ways haha. I still question how far I have come to be honest.
I can sense that I’ve grown, but I guess at every stage of any journey one will always feel like a deer in headlights.
What do you think are some of the problems with the fitness industry here and what do you think it needs more of?
I think there is a massive gap in the market for sports agents/agencies in South Africa. Athletes, the world over, regardless of the sport, have some sort of representation who help them make sustainable careers out of their talent. Most athletes have little to no knowledge about legislative laws, sponsorship negotiations and PR.
As bodybuilding athletes most of us work a 9-5 in order to maintain the 24/7 that is this sport. If I’m working two jobs, I should always be banking on both.
Tell us a bit about your experience competing on an international stage overseas compared to competing here:
I’ve competed on two of the toughest stages in the WBFF, and both were incredible experiences, but we definitely have the best backstage vibe in South Africa.
Take us through an average day of yours:
- 4:15 | Wake Up and check Instagram haha
- 5:00 | Begin Cardio (Time spent is dependent on how close to show I am)
- 6:30 | Meal 1 and emails
- 8:00 | Get to work
- 9:30 | Meal 2
- 12:30 | Meal 3
- 15:30 | Meal 4
- 16:30 | Finish work
- 18:00 | Pre-workout
- 18:30-20:00 | Train
- 21:00 | Meal 5 and studying
- 23:00 | Last meal, check social media and head to bed. This is an early night.
Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your diet:
My philosophy is simple. Learn your body. However, if you’re looking to compete, get a good coach.
There isn’t a single great athlete in the world who didn’t have a coach. Makes no sense to me, Usain Bolt has a coach and we have people who think they don’t need one to become great. When it comes to nutrition there is always something someone else knows that you do not. Respect experience.
What are your top Nutrition tips for losing fat?
Drink A LOT of water and try add fasted cardio into your weekly workout regime.
What’s your favourite healthy meal recipe?
My morning steak with an egg, cayenne pepper and potato. I get very emotional when my coach, Victor Alley, removes it from my diet haha. That steak is my whole life haha.
Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your training and on average how long do you workout for?
On average I train for about 90 minutes in a session. I don’t have a philosophy, but I prefer a low rep, heavy-weight workout. Except on calves. Calves are every set to failure.
What are your 3 favourite exercises?
1. Side Lateral raises (for size in the middle head of the deltoid)
I just love the deep burn on this exercise when training to burnout. Also, my upper quads and glutes are very developed so this exercise is great for balance and upper body symmetry. Shoulders are my favourite to train.
2. Step-ups on assisted pull-up machine (to tighten and lift the glutes and hamstrings)
This is more of a press or step-down actually. I like to do this one at the end of every workout or just one burn-out set per leg after cardio.
3. Barbell Hip-thrusters (to strengthen glutes and hamstrings)
I love this one to tighten, strengthen and develop my glutes and I like adding in the single leg variation as I feel it targets my hamstring a lot more.
What advice would you give the ladies to developing a flat tummy and well defined abs? What are some of your ab training tips?
Personally I’ve found that the best recipe for visible abs or a flat tummy is sprinting, activating them during my leg workouts and good post-workout carb intake.
I was a gymnast for many years so I developed very thick abdominal muscles from the strength conditioning training there. Abs are made visible by good, consistent dieting, but thick abdominal muscles like all other muscles are made through weight training.
Favorite male Fitness models or bodybuilders?
CT Fletcher, Bradly Martyn, Roger Snipes and Ulisses.
Favorite female fitness icon(s):
Chady Dunmore, Sandra Radav, Paige Hathaway, Ana Delia and Bella Falconi.
“I don’t want to hang my hat on one area of life and think I’m successful, I’m not on that! I want the triple double.” ~ Eric Thomas
Best piece of advice you ever received?
From my coach Victor Alley and one of my best friends, WBFF Pro Muscle Model Arnold Vosloo “You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you work for!”
What competitions have you competed in?
- WBFF South Africa | Bikini Short Division | 2nd overall and Pro card awarded
- WBFF European Pro Championship | PRO Bikini Division | 2nd overall