A day in the life of Terrace body builder Charis Whittington during the months leading up to competition is intense.
She gets up at 4 a.m. to do her first hour of cardio, makes breakfast with her family, goes to work at the local gym she owns with her husband where she trains clients all day and fits her own workout in between clients, and then does another round of cardio before picking up her daughter and going home – and she does it all while following a strict diet, a diet that gets stricter as she gets closer to competition day.
But all of that hard work is worth it with Whittington recently placing third in the province at provincial championships after placing first at qualifiers in Fort St. John weeks earlier.
“I went in there feeling pretty confident especially since it was three weeks after the last show,” she said. At that tournament, she came in first in her class, physique, setting her up for her first provincial show the last weekend in June in Vancouver, where she ultimately came home with third.
Whittington says her class, physique, is for women who are in the middle – not totally big and bulky but not tiny either. To excel, judges are looking for the “whole package,” she said. “Nice muscle tonage, nice lines, muscle fullness” and things like femininity, hair, nails, and skin tone and texture.
“Everything,” she said.
She now has a two year window to take a shot at nationals, a competition she declined to attend this year but might attend next year.
“It’s a hobby,” she said. “You do it for yourself, you have to enjoy the process and enjoy how training and eating can change your body.”
And the competitions are a chance for her to interact with and support fellow bodybuilders from around the province – and it’s a surreal feeling being up on stage after preparing for so long, she said.
“It all comes down to those few minutes on stage,” she said.
“It’s kind of crazy, it goes so fast. Before you know it you’re on stage, before you know it, you’re finished.
“It’s neat because you get this connection with these people. In Terrace, we’re a small town … You go to these [provincial] events and you see ‘I’m not the only crazy one, there’s two, three hundred people who are also doing this’,” she said. “It’s a neat feeling.”