Christian Duque: Age is just a number. In today's fitness industry, the mainstream public is starting to realize that working out could very well be the
fountain of youth. Today's guest is a prime example, especially as she easily dominated women half her age on stage. Charina, thank you so much
for taking the time to do this interview. Please take this opportunity to introduce yourself to our audience. Also, please share a fun fact or two.

Charina Baker: My name is Charina Carrera Baker & I'm 44 yrs of age. I was born in Manila, Philippines, lived in San Francisco Bay Area & now
settled down in asmall town, Evans, GA

I am a bottomless pit when it comes to eatingI love Lenny and Larry’s cookies and ice cream in between. My real professional background is working
as Human Resources Mgr. for high tech, with a Theater background too. So yes I can sing!

Christian Duque: Take us back to when & why you got started lifting? Was there a person or event that inspired you to want to compete?

Charina Baker: It was in 2014 when I contemplated competing, but like any other newbie, the “how to” was a challenge.  I sought out the advice from
a close friend and she told me to
just do it - like Nike!  I was an avid runner and I trained a couple of days per week, ate 4,000 calories per day and
burnt off real well with long distance running and loved cooking.  These are pastimes! I burn and eat! Lmao.  

What I have learned now as three years fast forward is that you can never go cheap with prep. If you want a change in your physique, then hire
someone that can really mold you into looking your best - educated guidance is necessary to achieve your goal and that is when Mike and Trish Wood
of Iron Addiction stepped in and changed the way I look.

Christian Duque: Although more and more people are discovering the fun in lifting and eating clean, few realize that women look better on stage,
particularly wiht muscle, as they get older! Talk to us about how proud you are about your physique and how well you do on stage.

Charita Baker: I am not going to deny it and be a hypocrite - I want to win as a  pro.  It's a lot of hard work - months & months - to get that honor.  
I served a bit of time training as an amateur in the sport & got my pro card last year at Masters Nationals, but being a Pro is a whole other ball game.  
I know that winning is great and I felt great & proud after I got my pro card, but never thought I would, so when I stepped onto my first national show,
I was there to learn & experience the ride, it was icing on the cake to come home with a badge. The true reason of pride is what I've done to get there.

As I started prepping last year for my pro debut, I conditioned my mind that winning will not come easy as a  Pro. I have to establish my relationship with
the sport & to those that are veterans.  In the span of three months I have already gathered so much knowledge that I can use for future competitions.

Christian Duque: Talk to us about your amateur career in the NPC; what was your very first contest, and what changes did you have and/or what
lessons did you learn that helped you get from that first show, to earning a coveted IFBB Pro Card?

Charina Baker: My very first show in NPC was the Muscle Heat in North Carolina. It was such a big event and I felt so incompetent walking in there.  
Not only did the women look great, but their self-confidence was awesome!

As I walked out of the show, I knew my physique had o change if I wanted to do well in the sport - with that comes guidance.  I took the leap in hiring
qualified trainers who had very good experience in putting athletes on stage.  I trained 6 days per week for a whole year and come nationals they told
me I was ready.  And off I went…

Christian Duque: With regard to training, you've a jaw-dropping physique, particularly a tiny waist, great legs, and flawless glutes. You also have a very
tight mid-section. How much of this is genetics and how much is hard work?

Charina Baker: I don’t have a tight mid-section. I had two kids both C-section and after both I gained 45 lbs.  My genetics dictate that I always had good
legs and quads, that comes from my father's side of my family, but also has a great deal to do with my training.  I could probably skip a quad day or two,
but the rest of my legs from hamstrings, tie in, & glutes have to be worked consistently.  Upper body is a must for me and I am up for a challenge during
my off-season from my trainers.

Christian Duque: As far as nutrition is concerned, what's your approach to meals. Do you eat according to numbers, a specific approach (low fat,
KETO), or do you eat according to how your body responds. What matters more to you, particularly during contest time, the scale or the mirror?

Charina Baker: I hate the scale!  I only use it close to peak week. Most of the time I would go with the way I look. I can hold water in an instant so I don’t
worry when I know sodium has come into play in my meals.  I eat pretty much whole foods, but I also love cookies, which are my weakness.  I am an avid
eater of healthy fats, so please do not put nuts in front of me or I will hide in the corner like a squirrel.  

Christian Duque: In terms of supplements (whey, preworkouts, bcaa's) do you use any? Do you think people spend too much time worrying about pills
& powders than on quality meals?

Charina Baker: I take BCAA and Glutemine daily, along with some other vitamins, supplements, and super foods. I do incorporate protein powders in
my prep, but I try not to use them closer to the show.
Christian Duque: In addition to being an IFBB Pro, you're also a posing instructor. I have to admit, that after covering NPC & IFBB shows for over a
decade, it's very upsetting when a competitor has a solid physique, but loses out on class or overall wins, simply because they don't know how to
show it. How much do you pose and what would you say to competitors that don't take this aspect of competing seriously?

Charina Baker: I know that I am not the best poser and I continue to learn the best angles of my body daily.  I tweak my pose in an instant but the key is
really to learn all the poses as possibly as you can.  During the beginning of the prep, you cannot see your physique very well and as you lean out, you
will notice that some poses look better on you so when I teach a posing class, I always tell them to learn “all” the standard poses so that they can apply
it to their routine in the future. Self confidence is absolutely a MUST on stage.  There are moments as a bikini competitor where I  have been asked you
to shorten my routine and if you are not comfortable performing a free style on stage, then you will be caught off guard. The last thing that a judge wants
to see or you want to show is how uneasy you are with your routine so my advice is to practice daily even for just a few minutes.  Some may say posing
about 8 weeks prior to your show date but I say as soon as you decide to compete, start posing even if it is not perfect.
Christian Duque: As we wrap up the interview, where can your friends & fans
go to keep up to date with you on social media? Also, what plans do you have
for the rest of 2017 - whether on the stage
or off, related to the fitness industry.

Charina Baker: I plan on focusing on my kids' extra curricular activities and
being more involved with their school. I want to bake endlessly and cook
colorful foods again.  In the world of bodybuilding, I want to continue to help
women get on stage. I am going to update my blog as it is not active right now
and write more helpful tips for staying on track with health, fitness and family
life in general.  Other than that, I say come what may.  

Christian Duque: Leaving the last question for last, please take this
opportunity to thank all those that have helped you along the way.

Charina Baker: My biggest supporters are my family, kids and husband.
They understand the world I have lived in for three years both off-season and
on.  Even off-season, I was very focused on improvements so my diet was still
different than theirs. It was consistently 6 meals a day for the last 3 years.  
I have such supportive kids who understand the demands of bodybuilding
prep, especially in the days leading up to the contest.  My husband is my
biggest fan and he has always supported my sport.  I am very lucky to have a
great team to really help me day in day out.  

My coaches Mike and Trish Woods not only physically but also mentally have
been a guiding light for me.  You have to get someone that has put athletes on
stage, brought them in their best, and turned some into Pro's.  There is no
doubt that they are talented and gifted in this arena.

I'd also like to thank my friend who has been by my side off and on season.
We understand the world of this sport.  They were there for my journey -
during the happy and painful times.  God who has given me the blessing to
compete.  This is an opportunity for anyone because it is a “first world luxury”.  
I am not begging for food on the street or experiencing hunger, sick or in pain.
I am happy to do it - win or not. I won already, prior to starting a prep, because
I know that I have such a supportive team above all else!