Charlotte Potter went from never having worn a bikini in her life to competing as a Bikini Fitness Model at Miami Pro. She tells Sundried how losing weight has changed her life.
Tell us about your weight loss transformation.
In 2013 I was going on holiday to Mexico. I was 33 years old and had never worn a bikini, having struggled with my weight my whole life. I decided to make it my mission to lose weight so that I would feel confident enough to wear a bikini. I was just over 13st that January and by the time we went to Mexico 9 months later I had lost 4 stone and was down to 9st.
After that, I knew I wanted to maintain a healthy weight. However, I also knew how easily I get bored, so I started looking on the internet for exercise ideas, and that’s where I started to hear about bikini fitness competitions. The women who took part in them were so inspiring that it got me thinking, "why can’t I train to do a show too?" It took two years due to set backs, but in June 2016 I competed in the Miami Pro European Championships.
Although I didn’t come away with a prize, it honestly didn’t matter. I had an amazing time and it was all about the taking part and proving to myself that I could achieve great things if I put in the hard work.
What made you decide to change your life?
I have been overweight all my life. I love food, but I also love clothes and want to feel confident in what I wear and how I look. I am now starting to understand that balance is key, so I have transformed my life accordingly.
Talk us through your training and diet.
I train five days a week for two hours. My sessions are split so I do two leg days and three upper body days: chest and triceps, back and biceps, shoulders and triceps.
My meals are macro managed and I eat five a day. Most days I have porridge mixed with protein powder and berries for breakfast, rice cakes and peanut butter, a post workout protein shake, chicken, sweet potato and veg for lunch and dinner and then zero fat Greek yoghurts and peanut butter. Once a week I also have a cheat meal, normally fajitas or sausage and wedges!
What advice would you give someone who is overweight and wants to get fit?
Takes ‘before’ pictures and measurements because your bathroom scales won’t always show the progress you are making. Then take progress pictures and updated measurements every 2–4 weeks.
People are so quick to just step on the scales and if that number isn’t dropping they don’t think their bodies are changing, but they are, which is why taking pictures and measurements is so important.
Changes can be slow but they will come. Give yourself time, I’d say 10-12 weeks is a good length of time to see some really fantastic changes.
What made you decide to take things one step further and compete?
I wanted a new challenge and I wanted to prove to people that someone who had been as large as me could go to the gym and transform themselves.
How did having personal training help with your transformation?
I need to be accountable to someone, plus I wanted to take the stress out of worrying about my food and exercise plans. A personal trainer can also reassure you when the scales don’t show positive signs and help encourage you.
When you train on your own it’s easy to cheat; not to do that last rep or to go a little lighter, but with a trainer, they push you to the limit.
I also find it hard to get motivated sometimes, but knowing I have someone waiting for me at the gym to train me gets me out the door!
What made you choose to wear Sundried?
I love the look of the clothes. I wear my gym kit to work and it’s hard to find really smart, hardwearing, comfortable gym wear. A lot of the time I wear black and grey and I love the pop of red.
Plus, most importantly, Sundried are an ethical brand. They offer a unique charity code with every purchase so their customers can give back and care for the environment and their staffs’ wellbeing.
Charlotte's top tip:
I always tell people that if I can do this, anyone can. I want to be an inspiration and support to others who are struggling to get fit and healthy because I know exactly how they feel.
Sadly, there is no magic wand and this is a lifestyle you have to choose for yourself, but you can still have the odd treat and stay healthy. It’s all about balance.
Take one step at a time. You are amazing and can achieve anything you put your mind to.