Previous Cover Girls

Nathalie Charbonneau

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© Mark Bradfield TF: Tell us how you got into fitness. You’re awfully young, no?
NC: Well, growing up I was always extremely active. I threw myself into every sport I could cram into my schedule. From dance to track and field, volley-ball, basket-ball. You name it! It wasn’t until I was about 17 that I decided I wanted to try something new and weight lifting seemed to be something that could grow on me, so off I went. I signed my first gym membership at Goodlife fitness and fell in love since day one. A year after that, I found myself starting at the cover of a fitness magazine (which I still own to this day) I told myself that one day I would be that model. I did my research, hired a trainer and stayed consistent over the years. I find myself loving the fitness industry more and more every day.

TF: At that age, did your friends think you were a little “off”?
NC: I don’t think that my friends were the only ones who thought I was a little different. I know my parents worried a lot about me during my transition. After all, it’s not entirely common to see a teenager committing to a vigorous training program and nutrition plan. Not to mention, turning down friday and saturday nights with friends to make it to the gym the next morning. I was always the type who would tag along without hesitation. It was a big adjustment for my friends and family, even for myself, to prioritize my needs and goals. Having a structured plan, a great mentor and my eye on the prize are the things that really what kept me driven. When you want something badly you find alternatives to work things out.

TF: What goal are you eyeing at the moment?
NC: I’ve always been the type to aim BIG. Ive set out a series of small goals to get me to one big goal. I have a lot of motivation to do several things with my life, not only in regards to fitness. I look forward to graduating University over the next few years, managing a small business, owning a home and having a family of my own. Long term, those are some of my most important goals. Looking into the side of fitness, I’m pursuing my Pro Card much like many other competitors. Along the way, I want to be portrayed as a humble and respectable woman. I’m in the process of setting myself up for success, appreciating every day that I’m given to do so!

TF: We love what we see so far! What’s a typical day in the life of Nathalie?
NC: A typical day always starts off my favourite way… Breakfast! I usually get an early start to work. I’ve been working for GoodLife fitness for the last 3 years, it wasn’t until November that I took a new position as a personal trainer. Getting up early for work has never been more rewarding! I truly enjoy being able to help people achieving their own fitness goals! In between clients I would typically do my own workout. It’s never been easier to find time to focus on my fitness! At the end of the day, I look forward to going home to my dogs and catching up with some friends. The next day it starts all over again!

TF: What’s one of the biggest changes you made to get to this point in your “fit” life (can be training, nutrition, etc)..
NC: In all honesty, I hear a lot of athletes talk about the drastic changes they’ve made to their social life, or their lifestyle habits over all. I can’t say that any part of me felt like I was at a loss when I decided to commit myself to competing. Iv’e always believed in a balanced lifestyle. Although, I think the biggest change for me was the aspect of dieting. I always ate very healthy, but having been very active all my life, I never really focused on portions of carbohydrates. Let’s say I had a hard time saying “no” to a second plate of my dad’s home-made spaghetti when I had already spent my calories and macronutrients for that meal.

TF: Do you believe in “cheat” meals? What’s your take on staying “on plan” and deviating?
NC: There’s a lot of controversy on the effectiveness of cheat meals. Some say they work, others say it’s a waste. Lucky for me, my coach and one of my close friends helped me understand that a flexible diet will never feel like a “diet”. Iv’e learnt the importance of reverse dieting post-competition and staying on track even after the lights go off and the spray tan washes out. So I guess to officially answer your question, I believe that a “cheat meal” can have a way to fitting into anyones meal plan so long as they take the proper measures post-show.

TF: There is a lot of controversy, and with the advent of the Internet, it seems there’s a person ready to shout their point of view to anyone who will listen.  What’s something you think most people should be re-educated on?
NC: I agree entirely. Fitness and nutrition are evolving constantly. The cross between old science and new discoveries can cause a lot of confusion. I think that what most people need to know is that fats play an important role to organ function, tissue health, but most of all, fats can actually aid in weight loss. Surprise! So many people hear the word “fat” and run away scared, when it really can have so many positive effects!


7 Random Questions

1. Peanut or Almond Butter?
NC: Peanut!

2. Best way to get your cardio in?
NC: Wind sprints in the summer!

3. The absolutely weirdest thing you do at the gym?
(it’s going on record that this is taking you a loooooong time to answer)
NC: Thats a tough one… I do a lot of weird things on a regular basis haha. I’d have to say that I sometimes get carried away in thought and find myself smiling or chuckling by myself. I’ve had a few confused gazes from people in the past

4. Something you’d absolutely LOVE to be able to do but can’t?
NC: I’d love to be able to come back in my next life in the shape of a dog, no work all play!

5. What’s one sugar-free (or healthy) food that is BETTER than it’s not-so-healthy counterpart?
NC: Peanut butter protein balls!!

6. What’s your favorite colour to wear?
NC: I like bright colours. I’d have to say a peacock blue or a neon green!

7. Is it ok to drink green beer on St. Patty’s Day?
NC: I think it’s safe to eat or drink anything green on St Patty’s! maybe checking the expiration date beforehand.

TF: That’s it!! Any last words?
NC: I’m excited overall for what’s to come this year.  So many opportunities!  Feeling ready to conquer the year!  Thank you for interviewing me, it was such an honour!

Publisher/CEO at Training & Fitness Magazine. Fitness, Fashion & Beauty Photographer with a perfectionist complex.

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