Cherry and Cinnamon Baked Oats

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

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

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 

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?

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

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

Off Season in Charlotte’s Head

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This right here is pretty much the thought process I go through on a minutely basis on my off season. Okay, slightly dramatic… daily for sure:

1: Okay let’s do this, cant stay stage lean

2: YES calorie increase. time for allllllllll of the food

3: Oh no! too much food. I feel sick

4: Well at least my body hates this bad food, time to be good again

5: Ooooh is that food?!

6: Oh hey booty! Look guys check out these booty gains

7: Where’s my tan gone. Must tan tonight so I look like I still have muscles

8: Thank goodness for my macro increase, I’m so strong now!

9: Oh, I dont like this whole softer look thing going on

10: Maybe I’ll do a mini cut….

11: Who am i kidding why would I put myself through that voluntarily, carbs are my best friend

12: Carbs are the devil I look so soft. gross

13. Ooooh is that porridge?!

14: Look at these new muscles this is great!

15: Maybe I should train some abs

16: Abs are you still there somewhere?

17: Guys have you seen my HUGE booty now?!

18: I should probably do a little bit of cardio again…

19: Nope bad idea I HATE cardio!

20: Oh did I mention I have a peachy bigger booty now?

True story. Who else can relate?

Char x

p.s Have you seen these booty gains?

p.p.s No really, have you?!

OSHUN white

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

Train fitness guest blog

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Last month I was contacted by TRAINFITNESS and was asked if I would put together an article about competing as a vegan. I chose to wait until after my competition so that I could give a rounded account of the whole experience and how I did it.

If you head over to their page here, you can have a read for yourself.

Char x

 

Pure Elite: My First Competition

So following my peak week series, it’s about time i updated you on the competition day itself.

I woke up at 6am ready and raring to go… well almost, I actually woke up with a raging headache but it was nothing that a bowl of oats and a coffee couldn’t sort out. I chose to do my own hair and make up for the competition, may as well put my years of dance show prep to use and know exactly what i want and will look like rather than pay someone and feel super guilty if i want to change it after if i don’t like it. So off i set curling my hair and painting my face, my tan from the day before still getting darker by the second. Tyla made me wake her up early so she could sit with me while i get ready so that she didn’t miss a thing from the day- cutie!

Disaster strikes- heart starts palpitating as 70 million beats per minute as I open an email to say that the competition couldn’t find the confirmation for my category change so I was competing as Fitness Model Tall… when I had changed to Bikini Babe Short so unless I could find the confirmation email, thats where I was…. I have never scrolled through my email so fast yet so thoroughly in my entire life. I found it!! Thank goodness! I sent the emails back and everything was fine and i was reassured I would be competing in Bikini Short. With over 300 athletes to organise and with all sorts of category and admin changes to be made in the run up to the show it was only natural that the odd mistake would be made here and there, we are all human! Now that that was sorted I could calm back down and carry on getting excited for the day ahead and my first ever competition.

Once i was as ready as i could be, Dad drove me to Margate Winter Gardens where the competition was being held so that i could get ANOTHER layer of tan applied- that made three coats…Mahogany doesn’t even begin to describe the colour. It’s so peculiar, in a room amongst 300 other tanned athlete, the colour doesn’t look all that extreme because you’re all the same colour. It isn’t until you leave that backstage bubble and see your family who are a normal shade of Human that you really see what colour you are!

The show began at 12.30… (give or take half an hour) with the athletes parade. We all walked on, gave a little wave and the stage filled with 300 odd competitors all crammed together. We had lift off, the excitement escalated and we were off! My category wasn’t on until around 4.30pm so I spent most of the day meeting some really lovely girls and guys, practising my posing and walking and eating rice cakes. I tell you, if you were a fly on the wall in this room and you didn’t know what was going on, what it was all about or anything you would be fascinated and probably think we were the strangest people.

We were the third class after the interval so when the interval came around it was time to jump back into my bikini and heels- well not quite jump, the bikini bottoms required lots of wiggling. I had set myself up with some of the loveliest girls and we just all got excited together, started getting ourselves ‘pumped up’ and lots of ‘ooooh have you got this’ ‘ooooh can i borrow that?’ NOTHING like my dance competition days where there was SO much bitchiness and rivalry. This was perfect.

That’s our call, we were up. Time to head backstage and find out our order and do our final bits to get ourselves in the right headspace to step onstage. I was the penultimate girl in our class, there were about 30 of us and the competition was FIERCE. On i walked for my T walk. Walk, Pose, Walk 3 poses, Walk, Pose, Walk, Pose, walk to the back, pose. Then the first group were called forward for quarter turns. This was our turn to go forward and pose to the front, the side, the back, the other side and then the front so they could see direct comparison before heading back to the back of the stage to keep posing while the other two groups headed forward for their quarter turns. Finally the sassiest pose off happens where all competitors are called forward, everyone fighting to be seen and be at the front in the middle. The best thing to do here is remain graceful, classy and composed and let your posing do the talking. We were DONE! We were ushered off stage.

I came off and was overcome by all of the emotions you could possibly ever feel in one go. I had the time of my life up on that stage. I will openly say that I felt like I wanted to cry because it was over and I loved it so much SADDO! I couldn’t decide whether I then wanted to go out and see my family and friends or just keep backstage until everything was done. I was scared that I’d go out and see them and hear ‘Charlotte you were great, you’ll definitely place’ ‘you were the best up there’ ‘yep you smashed that’ While of course those are always wonderful things to hear, your family and friends will always be biased and we don’t know EXACTLY what the judges are after. I did choose to head out and see everyone and I did hear those things which in some respects does breed disappointment when you don’t place but I know they were just incredibly proud of how far i’d come and were just also incredibly excited in the whole atmosphere. I also got to see pictures and videos of my performance and I will openly say I can’t believe how good my bum and legs looked! So that was a great boost for me.

Results time! We again popped out bikinis and heels back on and went on stage to line up and hope you hear your name and number called out in those all important placings. Now, I didn’t place and while it would have been lovely to place, this was my first competition and I’ve only been training for five months. This competition for me was to get a feel for things, see how it all works and decide if competing was something i wanted to continue to pursue. In the lead up to things I grew concerned that I’d fallen in love with the process of getting to the stage, that there was always the possibility that I’d step on the stage and not enjoy the performance side of it after dreaming of doing it for years. Luckily for me, I LOVED the competition side too. I only trained for five months, what I keep saying to people is, I wouldn’t only train dance for five months of my entire life and EXPECT to land a role on the went end in my first ever audition. So while I didn’t place, I had the time of my life at Pure Elite and am so happy that this was the competition I chose to enter as my first. Stewart and Janine (the founder and director of Pure Elite) have managed to create a competition with a supportive family feel between the competitors and themselves and that’s a really wonderful thing to be able to achieve so thank you both!

I have had my images back from Matt Marsh and he really is incredible, I am so happy with my stage shots. Thank you Matt!

I am planning on competing with Pure Elite in their competition in October. I will be spending the next six months  focusing mainly on building my upper body and mainly maintaining my lower body (okay maybe some booty gains). I will invest more in my posing and stage routine in terms of coaching and professional help, hopefully from The Champion Maker herself Audrey Kaipio. See what magic she can work on this dancer! I have spoken about how proud of myself I am and how happy I was with what i did on stage.That isn’t narcissism, it’s just pride from a huge journey for me. I know I have lots to work on for my next competition and that hard work has already started.

Thank you to everyone who helped me get to the stage and supported me in my journey but most of all thank you to Artur Pavlos my coach/trainer. He transformed me from fairly fit slim dancer to strong bikini competitor. At the end of the competition day, he pulled me in for a big hug and told me how proud  of me he was and we already started speaking then about what we should work on for next time. I started to cry because he told me he was proud. Grandma goes ‘it’s okay Charlotte, there’s always next time’ …. I wasn’t crying because i didn’t place, I was crying because Artur told me he was proud. We had been on one hell of a journey together and my first competition was over!

Here’s to the next six months of building and growth both physically and mentally and Pure Elite i’m coming back for more in October! I’ve got the competition bug now!

Char x