Cherry and Cinnamon Baked Oats

All Things Fitness, Recipes

Hi I’m Charlotte and I’m an oats addict!

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Sundays are my rest days and my high carb/refeed days so I always take my time over my precious oats. This Sunday I decided to try making baked oats. I’ve seen baked oats all over instagram but have never tried making them before so I thought why not today! I didn’t follow a recipe, I just tried it my own way and my god they were good! Now you can make them too!

 

Ingredients:

  • Cherries- fresh or frozen
  • 50g oats
  • 20g chia seeds
  • 400-500ml Unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 medium courgette grated
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or more depending on preference)
  • Optional- 1 tablespoon coconut flour

Method:

  1. To be completed the night before:
    1. Mix together the oats, milk, chia seeds, courgette and cinnamon
    2. chill in the fridge overnight
  2. Preheat oven to 180-200 degrees C
  3. Mix in protein powder, baking powder and optional coconut flour to the overnight oats- consistency should be thick
  4. Line your oven safe dish with cherries
  5. Pour oats mixture on top
  6. Press more cherries into the oats
  7. Top with a sprinkle of loose oats to toast on top
  8. Bake for approx 30mins (the longer you bake, the thicker and more ‘cake’ they will be)

 

Oh my goodness, these oats were incredible! Actually incredible! img_8304img_8308img_8327

Let me know how you get on making them!

Love Char xxx

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Why I shouldn’t be your #bodygoals

All Things Fitness

As a health and fitness blogger I try and keep to a rounded selection of content from food, to supplements, to training, to recipes, to my body…. At the moment it has been VERY competition prep based. Why? Well that’s my life right now I am 5 weeks out from my next competition, surrounded by others on prep and if I don’t make it my life and throw everything into it, there’s no real point in doing it. I’m very all or nothing and if I get relaxed about my prep, well it’s self explanatory, the results won’t come!

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So why shouldn’t you want your body to look like mine?

My body is sitting at around 10% body fat and I’m 55kg- that means that of my entire body only about 5.5kg of that is fat. It is recommended that women shouldn’t have a body fat percentage lower than 10% as that is the lowest necessary level for normal body function. But let’s take a moment to remember that I am in prep for a purely aesthetics based competition and to be a serious contender I need those lower levels of body fat. A normal healthy woman shouldn’t really be striving for this level of body fat.

It can happen at different levels of body fat for different girls BUT I have now stopped having my period. This is just one example of how my body is dealing with what is being thrown at it. At first when it happened for a couple of months I started taking pregnancy tests because of the paranoid person that I am even though I knew it was impossible for that to be the answer, given where my romantic status is right now… (You catch my drift- oh hey immaculate conception…)

After this competition I am looking to take a year until I compete again for a couple of reasons:

• my body needs a break and to work its way back to a healthy state of internal homeostasis

• I want to build more muscle and if I’m constantly cutting and in a calorie deficit then that cannot happen

So while I LOVE competing and competition prep, if I want to keep doing it for quite some time I need to be sensible and strategic about it.

I post progress pictures and flexed six pack pictures because I’m proud of myself. I am proud of what I am achieving, the progress I’m making and how I’m getting on in my competition prep. Whilst I am super proud of myself this doesn’t mean you should want my abs, or my new found back muscles and pecs.

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So if I don’t want to inspire you with my body, how do I want to be inspiring you?

I would love you to be inspired by my positive outlook on life, my attitude towards goal setting and smashing those goals, my ideals of uplifting people and supporting each other even if they are your competition and if I can have this attitude in life, you can too!

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After my competition I will be progressively gaining some more body fat to a healthy and maintainable level and maybe once I’m there, my body could inspire you to get that butt in the gym. But for now I shouldn’t be your body inspiration.

If I can inspire you to make healthy changes and life choices, encourage some more body confidence and self love then I will be one happy bunny.

Please just remember I am prepping for a bodybuilding bikini competition that is purely aesthetics based and only maintainable for a short period of time.

Big love Char xxx

Chocolate Orange Mocha Zoats with Little’s

Competition Prep, Recipes

This has to be one of my favourite oaty recipes to date!

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Currently on my competition prep, I get porridge/oats twice a week so I like to make the most of them and spend time over them.

Let’s cut to the chase, here is the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 50g oats- I used 30g Jordan’s Chunky Jumbo Oats and 20g Quaker rolled oats
  • 1 scoop Chocolate Protein- I used Sun Warrior
  • 1 medium Courgette grated  (optional)
  • 10g chia seeds
  • Alpro Unsweetened Almond Milk – I use around 300ml
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder- Game changer!!
  • 1 tsp Little’s Chocolate Orange Coffee
  • Optional Squeeze of a fresh orange
  • Topped with 40g Vanilla Coyo- optional

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Method:

  1. Pour oats, baking powder and milk into a saucepan
  2. Cook on medium until soft and fluffy
  3. Optional- add courgette
  4. Continue to cook and stir
  5. Add in protein powder, coffee and chia seeds
  6. May need to add more milk- I like might less thick
  7. Add orange juice and stir – if using
  8. Take off of the heat and leave to settle for two minutes
  9. Pour into your favourite bowl
  10. Top with yoghurt or anything your heart may desire!

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These are SO tasty!

Why courgette and baking powder?

They both work to make the bowl bigger…. I am ALL about volume. Like I said, I only get oats twice a week so I will do anything I can to make them last as long as possible!

What are your favourite go-to Sunday breakfasts?

 

Love Char x

Making Prep Creative 

All Things Fitness, Recipes

Gooooood afternoon you wonderful lot!

Now, if you aren’t IIFYM and you have a repetitive diet on competition prep, it can be very easy to get bored. This is especially the case for me when the sun comes out and all I want is a tub of Almond Dream or Booja Booja ice cream.

So I decided to find a couple of ways to make my prep a little more exciting when I get those pesky cravings.

My third meal of the day includes a shake, so rather than having it as a shake I decided to blend it up and then freeze it in a bowl and make protein Ice cream!

Protein Ice cream

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  • 1 scoop protein powder (Chocolate Sun Warrior Classic)
  • 1 scoop Phil Richards Performance Greens- Coco choc (optional)
  • 10 g chia seeds
  • Approx 150ml water or milk

Method:

  1. Blend together the protein, greens and water
  2. Stir in the chia seeds
  3. Freeze
  4. Depending on how long you have frozen it for you may need to leave out for 5mins or so before serving and/or blend again
  5. Top with your desired toppings. I chose blueberries

It’s so easy to make. Just like ice cream!

BCAA Slushies

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Another great way to cool down on these (occasional) summer days.

  • 2 scoops BCAA – I chose MyProtein BCAA 4:1:1 Berry Blast
  • Water
  • Ice

Method 1

  1. Mix together your BCAA and a little water and blend with ice
  2. Enjoy!

Method 2

  1. Blend your BCAA and water then freeze
  2. Once frozen leave to stand for 5-10 mins
  3. Blend and enjoy!

 

These are so perfect, refreshing and keep you on track towards your goals! You could even make up two flavours and layer them pretending it’s one of those Fanta ones at the cinema…. You all know the ones!

BCAA Ice Lollies


Like the slushies, these are another way to use bcaas to stay on track and cool down without reaching for a fab!

  • BCAA- I used MyProtein BCAA 4:1:1 in Tropical Storm
  • Water
  • Ice lolly moulds

Method:

  1. Make up your BCAAs and pour into your ice lolly moulds
  2. Freeze
  3. Enjoyyyyyyy!

 

These are just a few ways I’m keeping my set prep food exciting. I’d love to hear what you do to keep it interesting too!

Love Char x

But you’re a PT, why do you need a coach?

Competition Prep

Sorry for being a bit here and there lately but competition prep has well and truly begun again.

I have a new coach, Tom Ford and I am LOVING prep so far! It is already so different to last time, it works better for me for sure but by no means is that slating my prep last time at all. They’re just two very different experiences.

So, as you know I qualified as a level 2 fitness instructor and level 3 PT in June this year. Honestly the best course ever! BUT that’s not the point of this post, let’s not meander now. As I was saying I qualified as a PT, I often now get asked why I then choose to take on a competition prep coach for my competition. I have a couple of answers here for you!

I thought about doing it myself, I really did! I thought about it a lot and my tutor on my course told me that my case study for a competitor was good enough to implement on someone, so I have the capacity to atleast physically train someone to compete. I just didn’t like the idea of not having anyone else to check in with or was an outside eye.

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I decided that if I prepped myself I wouldn’t be able to view the experience subjectively so I went on the hunt for a coach!

I had been training bits in a big bodybuilding gym in North London and started my search in there. Here’s how it went:

(After some small talk and pleasantries)

Me: so yeah, I’m looking to compete in October and need a coach

Them: okay cool so tell me more about you and your training now, have you ever competed before?

Me: yep, I competed in April for the first time, loved it and want to do it again…. And I’m vegan….
(Awkward pause)

Them: okayyyyyyyy…..

Me: (talks about being a non ethical vegan blah blah blah)

Them: oh so if you’re a non ethical vegan, you won’t be on prep right?…

Me: erm no it doesn’t quite work like that I’ll be staying vegan …

Them: erm okay I’m going to have to think….

So that’s how one story went. I left feeling like as a vegan I wouldn’t be taken seriously in competing. I messaged friends and family asking for advice, do I go against everything I’ve done for the last two years and leave veganism behind whilst on prep? The messages I got back were so supportive and I decided that somewhere out there was a coach that would take me on confidently as a vegan and I wouldn’t compromise this part of my life.

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So I put out a call for a coach who would take on a vegan and the response was overwhelming. SO many people got back to me with recommendations and from there I contacted some coaches and made my decision.

Oh hey #TeamTomFord ! So far, two weeks in I am LOVING prep and honestly very happy with my decision. Pure Elite October I am coming for you. This girl is committed and determined and passionate, there’s no stopping me now!

Head over and follow my other channels to keep up more regularly with how prep is going and what I’m up to:

Insta- @charlotteclarkeuk

Twitter- @charljclarke

YouTube- search charlclarke

Snapchat- charclarke91

Love Char xx

Re-mapping my mind

All Things Fitness

If you follow me on my other channels you’ll have all seen my ‘before’ pictures. Underweight with no real muscle mass. Believe it or not but at the time I thought I was a vision of health and fitness. I had a flat stomach sure but no real definition, I had twig like arms and my legs were pretty normal but not built- even though I thought they were… And as for my bum…. What bum?!

Without delving too much and boring you, I had some troubles in my teenage years with eating disorders and put my parents, my sister and my friends through hell. At the time you’re so entrenched in it that you think the world is against you and anything they’re doing is to hurt you not help you. I honestly couldn’t thank my parents, sister and friends for intervening and pulling me out the other side. I was HARD WORK, I know that now and owe them my life!

I went to uni and I was alright I sat at a healthy weight and had the time of my life! Luckily enough for a long time I stayed like that until I had some stomach issues in 2014 that just made weight fall off of me. I was having all sorts of tests so see what the problems were but nothing came of it and luckily things sorted themselves out.


Not too long after this I was all set to move to London and as much as she never said it to me, I know Mum was super worried about me moving away and looking after myself. At this point I was back to a size 6 and while I hadn’t made a conscious effort to lose all the weight I had lost, I certainly didn’t want to put it on so I just maintained that body composition for some time.

It was around this time last year when I was working at summer camp that it all clicked. I was surrounded by sportsmen and women, people who trained lots and were at the top of their game and/or had already smashed a sporting career. It was at this point that I became very aware that what I was promoting as fit and healthy, was not in fact fit or healthy. So on my return to London in September I made it my mission to build lean muscle. Unbeknown to me would I two months later be heavy weight training to compete as a bikini model!


Now? Now I couldn’t love my body more. I don’t train because I hate my body. I train because I love it and love watching it grow. The more I train and grow, the more I learn about myself too! Those that knew me at 15years old would not recognise the person I am today.

It took until I was 24 for it all to fall in to place well inside this mind of mine but I am so happy it has. I am happier than ever and I look back at photos now and can’t believe I didn’t know anything was wrong; or rather, wouldn’t admit it.

I remember posting this picture in 2014 because I’d bought my first pair of white skinny jeans. I thought white jeans were only for ‘skinny’ people. Boy was I wrong, I put them back on today (thank goodness for stretchy jeans) and they look SO much better with some muscle inside them! There is so much I would go back and tell 14 year old Charlotte but I can’t do that so its time to keep moving forward on this healthy, happy and slightly muscly path haha

Summer 2014



Now Summer 2016



So one final time. Thank you mum and dad, thank you Jessica, thank you to the friends at school who helped me and everyone in my wonderfully large support network you are all superstars and I couldn’t thank you more for saving my life.

I recently passed my level 3 Personal Trainer course and will be competing again in October so watch out world I’m coming for you!


Lots of love

Char x

OSHUN white

Reviews

Last month OSHUNwhite sent me a 14day teeth whitening oil pulling kit and a copper tongue cleaner. What with always being in front of the camera, I am always wanting whiter teeth. In January 2015 I took part in a study with the BBC to test the effectiveness of over the counter teeth whitening kits. The results came in and no one’s teeth had been whitened to a degree where it was noticeable to the human eye. This is because the active ingredient in teeth whitening kits isn’t strong enough and can’t be strong enough due to EU regulations. Many people get teeth whitening products sent over from the US because their rules and regulations are different. I have never used anything stronger than can be bought in the UK because I always get nervous about them damaging my teeth and only having myself to blame for being so silly. This was the reason why Oil Pulling has intrigued me for some time now.

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Oil pulling has been practiced for thousands of years as part of the ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda. The practice involves swishing a small amount of oil around your mouth for 5 to 15 minutes each day. Traditionally, unflavoured coconut or sesame oil would be used.

Oil pulling works to reduce the levels of harmful bacteria in the mouth, which are pulled out with the oil. This delivers a powerful, natural oral detox, resulting in reduced plaque, long-lasting fresh breath and a beautiful white smile.

~ OSHUNwhite

OSHUNwhite offer a 14 day kit, one sachet each day first thing in the morning before eating breakfast. This is really handy because if you’re staying at friends let’s say, you don’t have to carry around your great huge jar of coconut oil, you can just pop a sachet in your bag. They offer 4 flavours, Crushed Lime, Wild Cherry, Spearmint and Peppermint. The flavours really help to distract you from the fact you have coconut oil filled with toxins in your mouth…

I tried the Crushed Lime flavour. The guidelines say to swill it around your mouth for 5-15minutes, on my first time I lasted 5! I was SO disappointed in myself but its such a new and surreal sensation that I just couldn’t keep going any longer. Luckily like with most things practice made it better and more tolerable, however, even after the full course I still only managed 10minutes max! (what a wimp!)  I think for me it was the oily texture, yes I know it’s coconut oil before you say anything, it just didn’t feel like something I should be holding in my mouth for that long. Although I must say, the Lime flavour definitely helped!

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As much as I hate to admit it (because I was rubbish at it) it actually did work! I’ve heard mixed reviews about Oil Pulling so it was nice to be able to experience my own results. My teeth felt cleaners and glossier and they looked whiter so it’s definitely something I want to be able to learn to love. So thank you OSHUNwhite for introducing me to oil pulling and making it a nicer experience with such great flavours and convenient kits!

To get your hands on an OSHUNwhite 14 day kit head to their website here.

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Here’s to naturally healthier, whiter smiles!

Char x

What supplements I use and why

All Things Fitness

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I am a strong believer that if you’re eating a healthy balanced diet and training sensibly then you will get everything you need from your diet.

In VERY short terms:

Carbohydrates are not the devil and are actually vital to fuelling your body to train. These should be consumed in the form of complex carbs like brown rice and sweet potato. NOT white bread sarnies and chips, or everyone’s favourite crisp sandwich.

Protein is needed to repair and build your muscles and can be found in things like eggs and lean meats like turkey and chicken. Funny how those are the things I mention yet I’m vegan…. Most Vegan protein sources are also high in carbs e.g chickpeas so if I’m on a low carb week in competition prep, getting a high enough protein intake with minimal carbs is difficult.

Fats. Oh no not the F word! Healthy fats are essential for energy especially when working aerobically- e.g going on a long run. So fried mars bars- NO, Avocado YES!

Amino acids– in short these are the building blocks of protein. So these in your diet are going to help you recover quicker and build that muscle. Different Amino Acids come from different foods for example arginine can be found in chickpeas, but glutamine can be found in meat, dairy, eggs, spinach, cabbage, nuts and beans. This is another reason why a varied diet is key! There are 20 amino acids used by the human body with only 9 of them being essential for humans. These essential amino acids cannot be formed by us so need to be supplied externally via our diet.

Creatine phosphate is stored in our muscles and used to produce something in our bodies called ATP. This our main energy currency within the body. When we are doing short, explosive movements/exercises it is the creatine phosphate in our muscles that replenishes the energy that has just been used in that movement. To a lot of people I’m sure this sounds like a load of jargon, and for most people you will get ample amounts of Creatine through your diet so needn’t worry yourself. It can be found in meat and fish so for regular training there is not need for creatine supplementation. However, if you’re a veggie or vegan like me and want to be able to train hard and heavy and your muscles replenish your energy stores enough in rest periods, creatine supplementation may be wise. Unfortunately creatine isn’t something that is found in a veggie/vegan diet so for someone like me who is actively trying to build lots of muscle, aiming to up weights very regularly in the gym, creatine supplementation is key to help.

So what supplements do I use?

Soy protein:

At the moment I’m mainly using The Protein Works Soy Protein Isolate.

Why?

A lot of dietary vegan protein sources are also high in carbohydrates like chickpeas, pulses, beans etc so if I am aiming to up my protein intake to help my muscles build and recover, I’ll use soy protein. There are many other vegan protein supplements like brown rice protein or pea protein but Soy is my personal preference.

BCAAs

I use Precision Engineered BCAA powder to get those all important amino acids in.

Why?

With the level of training I do causing small tears in my muscle fibres, it is important to be consuming amino acids to help build new muscle fibres and recover faster in order to train again sooner. With Amino Acids being the building blocks of protein, it also ups my protein intake.

Creatine

I am currently using The Protein Works Creatine Gluconate

Why?

Like I said earlier, creatine isn’t found in vegan diets so it is important for me to supplement in order to help my energy system out and get the most from my training. Why gluconate? The gluconate factor helps transport the creatine to the muscle cells where it is needed rather than most of it staying in your stomach not utilised like creatine monohydate for example. Why would I buy something that I can’t utilise properly?

Glutamine

I use The Protein Works Glutamine Powder

Why?

Glutamine is another of those amino acids I mentioned earlier. It prevents muscle break down. ‘Glutamine also increases your ability to secrete Human Growth Hormone, which helps metabolize body fat and support new muscle growth.’ (Bodybuilding.com)

Glutamine has also been shown to support your immune system, so when training unbelievable amounts on top of working and studying it’s vital to keep my immune system in tip top condition to make me less susceptible to illness.

So there we go. Supplementation is the key word here. I don’t replace anything in my diet with these products, you would NEVER find me having a ‘meal replacement shake’ I love eating too much. Also like it says in the name, these products should SUPPLEMENT a healthy balanced diet, NOT replace things.

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If I wasn’t training how I am, for what I’m training for, I wouldn’t supplement so heavy if at all. Don’t get caught up in ‘I go to the gym so I HAVE to use supplements’ most of the time if you take the time to look at your diet, you can get what you need from just that. Abs are made in the kitchen right?! So don’t throw your money at a protein shake and expect all the results in the world instantly if you haven’t taken the time to look at and make any necessary changes to how your fuelling and replenishing your body with your food.

Now, I could have gone into all of this MUCH deeper because I love to geek out on this stuff but that’s just me!

Char x

p.s nope, I don’t take steroids.

Insecurities Laid Bare

All Things Fitness


We all have them! I obviously choose to put myself out there in being so active in my online presence, whether that be on social media or my blog. That does not mean that I don’t have insecurities. Sometimes it means that I’m more aware of them because I’m putting myself out there.

I am about to tell you all about one of my insecurities that troubles me daily but I choose daily to not let it hold me back.

If you read my peak week series in the lead up to my comp, you’ll have read about my horrendous experience with hair removal. Well, this is another one of those stories…

Ever since I was little I have always had a lot of arm hair. I was bullied a lot for it at school being called names like ‘gorilla’ etc. Even when I changed school at the age of 15, I was still bullied for it. Kids can be cruel. As I grew up, I noticed that other people didn’t comment anymore and even when I mentioned it they’d say ‘oh they aren’t that bad’ or ‘I hadn’t even noticed’ So even though I was super conscious about my arm hair and felt like it was part of my identity, as an adult it did not affect those around me at all. Due to how much I was bullied for it as a child I always told myself I would never get rid of it as it was part of who I was. I wasn’t about to let the bullies win and be ashamed of what was part of me. This stopped being an insecurity of mine and just part of who I was.

That was until enter a bodybuilding competition this year. I was advised to remove my arm hair as it would help with my tan and my muscular definition. So in February I decided to get ahead of the game and remove my arm hair then. Rather than waxing or shaving I chose to use a hair removal cream. I figured it was easy to use in the comfort of my home and the results would last for a few weeks. I used the Nair sensitive skin removal cream. I opted for the sensitive option to ‘play it safe’…

I performed a skin test as advertised on some skin on the inside of my arm. No problemo. Then I went on to try and rid myself of all of my arm hair. I followed the instructions to the letter. I didn’t leave the product on too long, only for the amount of time it told me to. When I started to remove the cream, my skin felt like it was being ripped off with it. I was in excruciating pain. The cream had burned all of the skin on my arms. I had actual burns from this product and it hadn’t even removed all of the hair. So I had patchy hair on my arms and burns.

I had to go to work that evening and it hurt so much just moving my arms. In the few days that followed, my skin was so dry and sore that I was having to constantly apply sudocrem and take pain killers just to get through the day.

That was February and my skin has never been the same. I have scars from the burns up my arms. My arms are ALWAYS dry and I’ve never had dry skin problems and I’m drinking so much more water than normal now with all of my training. Also, as the hair grows it brings through spots and blemishes which then end up scarring. The hairs grow through ingrown, leaving me with scars.


So now my arms are still my insecurity, just for a different reason. I love the shape of my arms now through my training it’s just a shame that I feel so insecure about how they look due to the spots and scarring as a result of using the Nair cream.

This is the first time I’m sharing this with most of you as I tend to shoot in a way to hide these scars and blemishes. My scars are worse on my right arm, so I tend to shoot so that that arm isn’t the focus or in focus in the frame. It isn’t that I’ve been hiding it, I just chose not to focus on it.


There we have it. We all have insecurities but I’m consciously choosing to not let mine stop me doing what I want to do. To many, this may not seem like a big deal but to me it’s huge and its like that for most people I’m sure.

Don’t let anything stop you from going after what you want!

(Just never use Nair sensitive hair removal cream haha!)

Char x

P.s. Why do all of my dramas seem to revolve around hair removal?!

FOCUS FITNESS UK : 1

All Things Fitness

One down, six to go.

So I’m currently one week into my intensive full time Level 2 and Level 3 Personal Trainer course with Focus Fitness UK. We work Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.


This week has mainly focused around learning the Level 2 Anatomy and Physiology parts of the course. This is the part of the course that worried me before I started. I wasn’t very good at the sciences at school so feared I would also struggle here.

I completed the main parts of my high school education at King Edward VII School in Kings Lynn. I loved both GCSE and A Level PE there and was taught by some really great teachers, I just didn’t do very well when it came to exams. In class I would know what I was talking about but give me an exam paper and I would struggle SO hard! So it was difficult when everyone including your teachers expect you to do so well in your exams and you come out having done quite bad. I did average in my GCSEs and badly in my A levels BUT somehow nailed my degree and found a passion for learning again. Even though I didn’t do well in those exams at school, I’ve managed to retain the knowledge taught by my PE teachers and am now applying it in my course (thanks guys!). It shows that sure, exams papers weren’t my thing but I did and do know the information. GSCEs and A Levels are more about your ability to pass the test rather than knowing the information and being able to apply it.

It’s all about finding your groove and figuring out what works for you. Sure, it may have taken me to the age of 25 to find that, but now that I’m here and on my way, there’ll be no stopping me. That knowledge was there and now I’m able to access it and apply it to what I’m passionate about.


In short, I’ve found my groove, I’m loving my course and can’t wait to get back on Monday. In week two we’ll spend more time planning sessions and being in the gym itself where I can also apply some of what I learned through my bodybuilding training!

Char  x