Instagram, @carlahampshire - photo by Dave Paul
Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hello! My name is Carla Hampshire. I began my fitness journey a little later in life. I was 36 when I first stepped into a gym. I was actually there to purchase a gym membership as a Christmas gift for my husband, never thinking about fitness as a possibility for me.
But when I was taken for a tour of the facilities, everything changed. I had entered a new world, a world I KNEW I wanted to be a part of. I was fascinated by everything I saw and felt there that day. After Christmas, I too joined the gym. This would be the beginning of a wonderful, life-changing adventure.
I had a voracious appetite for everything related to bodybuilding and nutrition. I learned and progressed quickly. My trainer mentioned to me one day that if I continued training this way, that he could see me competing as a bodybuilder in a couple of years. He had just lit a fire inside of me. Could I? Should I?
At this time, I was a busy mother of six children. How could I even entertain the idea of competing as a bodybuilder? Plus, I wasn’t sure that I would have my husband’s full support.
I continued training, learning, and growing for the next 10 years. The idea of competing remained just that – an idea – a wonderful dream, but not for me.
That dream finally saw the light of day after 10 long years when I could no longer deny my passion for the sport.
With my family’s full support, I competed for the very first time at age 46. By now, I was also a grandmother. Move over world…Grandma Carla is here to compete!
It was the most amazing experience – like birthday and Christmas all wrapped up into one. At a competition the following year, I went on to take 1st place overall and earned my Pro Card. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined such an honour. All my hard work and dedication had payed off in a big way! This was an incredible accomplishment, but there was more to come.
I had a wonderful, six-year bodybuilding career, with a total of 13 competitions in both Canada and the United States capping off with a 1st place finish as a Professional Bodybuilder at the NGA World Championship in New Jersey. Not bad for a grandmother!!!
Describe a typical day of training
Though I am retired from competitive bodybuilding, the gym is still a huge part of my life. I really enjoy weight training. My programs take me 60 minutes to complete, usually followed by some form of cardio, stretching, and foam rolling.
For cardio, I will use a variety of equipment: elliptical, rowing machine, Jacob’s ladder, stationary bike, treadmill. The one I use the most is the elliptical machine. My stretching routine involves many stretches for the lower back, hips, and legs. These are the areas in my body that require the most attention.
My favourite time of day to train is early in the morning. It energizes me for the day.
This is my current training split:
- Monday: Back and Biceps
- Tuesday: Core
- Wednesday: Legs
- Thursday: Chest and Triceps
- Friday: Shoulders
- Saturday: Spin class and/or a hike in the mountains with my husband.
- Sunday: Rest and focus on spiritual things and spending time with my family.
How do you keep going and push harder?
Progress gets me excited. I have been recording my workouts and the weights I do since the very beginning. Seeing the weights increase, feeling like I’m recovering faster, seeing positive changes in the mirror, and getting stronger are all motivating factors for me.
I usually set myself up with a theme for the year to keep me focused and dedicated. For 2019 my theme is ‘LIMITLESS’. And a quote I use to remind me of my goals is:
I have an amazing trainer, Trainer Tory. He is very encouraging, and keeps pushing me to excel in everything I do. I have spent years training by myself. But two years ago, I decided that I wanted to experience having a trainer in my corner. There is no doubt that his constant support keeps me motivated.
And of course, it’s always great to receive compliments from my wonderful husband of over 38 years. He has been and continues to be immensely supportive and proud of me. It keeps me going strong.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
It has been seven years since I retired from competition. I continue to train just as hard and stay lean year-round. This is what I LOVE to do.
My exercise regime includes strength training, cardiovascular exercise, balance exercises, and flexibility training.
As a woman in my late 50’s, I know the importance of eating well and staying fit. These are the building blocks that will take me into my 60’s, 70’s, and beyond with energy, vibrancy, and great health. I am also very aware of the great benefits that a healthy diet and weight training have for women in regards to bone density and overall well-being.
Fitness has been part of my daily routine since late 1997, and I don’t see myself slowing down any time soon.
How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I am grateful that I have not suffered from grave injuries through all my years in the gym. You have to go hard while you’re in the gym, but you also have to learn to relax, eat well and recover when you’re away from the gym.
Sleep is hugely important for recovery. I begin to wind down and relax one hour before bedtime. I also keep a consistent bedtime during the week. I’m in bed by 10 and up by 6. On weekends, I sneak in a daytime nap as well!
Another important aspect of recovery and taking care of the body is to have regular visits with a massage practitioner, acupuncturist, chiropractor, physiotherapist, or osteopath. I am blessed to have wonderful people on my healthcare team.
How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
I typically eat five to six smaller meals throughout the day. I include a large variety of vegetables, fruit, beans, quinoa, yams, brown rice, eggs, nuts and seeds, and meat in my diet. Sometimes bodybuilders are guilty of focusing too much on meat and disregarding the importance of getting all the wonderful micronutrients that are available through plant foods.
I also include an organic, vegan shake to my day for additional protein which helps me recover faster. I am currently using Vega One, but I am always searching for and trying out new products.
I prefer to get most of my nutrients from food. But when you train hard, it’s important to supplement as well.
I take a multinutrient vitamin and mineral supplement to ensure that I get an adequate amount of micronutrients to support my training.
In addition, I take vitamin B12, which helps the body produce red blood cells, which are responsible for delivering oxygen to the muscles.
Vitamin D and C help me keep my immune system strong, and together with K2 and calcium and magnesium, support the development of healthy bone, cartilage and connective tissue.
What has inspired and motivated you?
My desire is to continue to be a role model for my husband, my children, and my grandchildren. They are my greatest motivation. It’s my wish to also be able to reach out and inspire others to eat well, stay active and enjoy a fit and healthy body for the rest of their lives.
I often get messages from complete strangers letting me know how much I inspire them. This is an enormous compliment but also a big responsibility. I try to live each day so that I can humbly continue to inspire those around me.
One way I do this is through my book HEALTHY BODY FOR LIFE – A Guide for Women Over 40. I share my story, as well as guide women towards a healthier, happier life by covering topics such as detoxification, nutrition, exercise, managing the changing hormones, sleep, and stress management.
You can order your copy of my book from my website or from all online retailers such as Amazon. If you are a woman over 40, or a personal trainer working with women over 40, this can be a great guide.
Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
I love this quote because there is so much truth in it. If you seek to improve your health, your fitness, your life, take a good look at what you are currently doing. Is it getting you the results you desire? Do you feel vibrant, energized, and healthy? If not, then you must make some changes.
If you need help, reach out to a nutritionist and/or a personal trainer. The information and support they can provide will be a worthwhile investment in your future, better self.
Are you taking on clients right now?
I enjoy traveling and speaking at conferences, especially women’s conferences. I am always seeking new opportunities to share my message, and help people everywhere adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Please reach out to me for your conference, workshop, or event needs. I am currently speaking on the following topics:
- Shift Your Metabolism – Shift Your Weight;
- How to Maintain Vibrancy as you Age, and;
- Overcoming Overwhelm.
I also do a motivational keynote sharing my story and how you too can live a healthier, happier, more fulfilling life.
Where can we learn more about you?
Or reach out to me by sending an email to: [email protected]
I would love to hear from you.
Thank you, Bulk Hackers, for allowing me to share my story and my thoughts.