CHARINA FARGESEN DARES TO BE DIFFERENT
Interview & NYC/GYM photography by Ben Yosef
July 2013 Cover Story
On the evening of May 17th, I hopped onto Facebook and noticed my buddy from Midwest Muscle, Kaelin Patterson, had messaged me with a video he thought I should see. I am always on the hunt for new and exciting things and athletes to feature in Natural Mag, so I was eager to see what it was.
I clicked on the link and watched what appeared to be a figure competitor walking on to the stage. Then, suddenly she began to…dance. Between dance moves she would weave in the standard figure poses. My first reaction was, “ummmmm, what tha? She can’t do that.” My second thought was, “wow, I like it!” And my final thought was, “I gotta talk to this girl and find out what’s going on here.”
Within an hour or so we had scheduled a photo shoot, and committed to an exclusive interview. Several days later I had sampled amazing, bodybuilder-friendly, gourmet cuisine, captured dozens of fantastic images, including a fun photo for the July issue cover, and became a big fan of Charina Fargesen.
“I enjoy music and I enjoy to dance. Both are art in motion. A good beat is like a drug to me. It rushes through my veins, takes over my mind, and makes my body move.”
Ben: I have never heard of the three minute T-walk. This is so interesting. From the look of your choreography, you must have a background in dance.
Charina: I took a few lessons. [Laughs] Actually, I danced for many years. Jazz, tap, ballet. I love a good beat. I love to dance. It takes away all the bad. [Laughs] My parents emigrated from Ukraine in 1981, when I was nine years old. They didn’t know anyone, nor have money to give me after school activity. My trainer Steve, tells me that I’m a waste of a sport. [Laughs]
Ben: What are your workouts like?
Charina: All my workouts are resistance, my own body weight, and Kettlebell.
Ben: Wow, really? That’s Interesting.
Charina: I use Kettlebells, dumbbells, Bulgarian bags, sand bags, bungee bands, and ladder bands. I also use a Prowler sled outside.
Ben: I am excited for the photo shoot. It will be interesting to see and photograph your workout. It seems to be so different from what most competitors do. How did you get into this style of training as opposed to standard/traditional weights or machines?
Charina: I turned to the gym life because I had Fibromyalgia. I happened to find an amazing trainer who knows every point of the body. This is how he trains me. This is how I’m pain free. And it totally works. But the most important thing about me, I’m the cleanest eater out there. I cook gourmet, super-clean, super-yummy.
I’m so excited. I also cooked up a storm for you. I will give you a taste of my Eastern European gourmet, clean, lean, soy free, dairy free, and sugar free cooking. The recipe eBook will launch at the end of July.
Ben: Charina! It was great meeting you on Saturday! What a fun time. Thank you for all of the food. Marlena and I tried everything!
Charina, your workout is unique, intense, and I must say, entertaining. This style is so much different from anything I have ever seen from a competitor. Would you say that this style of training is solely responsible for the look of your physique today?
“The board is used because of the different positions it can create. This gives varying muscular activation for lower body training.“
Charina: You are so very welcome. Absolutely. This is the only training I know. I have full control of every muscle, every part of my body. I’m in charge, not machines. I’m not being built, I’m being sculpted.
Ben: What were the symptoms of your Fibromyalgia, and how has your training given you relief from it?
Charina: As far as Fibromyalgia, it’s the main reason why I can’t lift heavy weight. I would have to say the it was the most unpleasant pain ever. Around 2009, I developed annoying numbing feeling in my right shoulder. Over time, the numbing grew to pain and traveled to my head, causing severe headaches, and the pain traveled to my right buttock, causing complications in sitting for too long. I underwent many, if not all tests in existence. The doctors could not detect one abnormal thing in my body.
Ben: So, the doctors eventually diagnosed this as Fibromyalgia?
Charina: Yes. A doctor in the city diagnosed this as Fibromyalgia. But, he also told me that Fibromyalgia is just a name with no meaning. He said they don’t know how or why it exists and there is no treatment for it, except some crazy pill they have a commercial for on tv. I think it’s bazaar to take an anti-depressant to heal a breakage in a muscle. [Laughs] I hope that makes sense.
“This focuses on dynamic postural alignment in athletic positions, while efficiently producing or resisting force via banding or plyometric loading.”
Ben: What can you tell me about Fit For Life? And, was this style of training created by them?
Charina: My training began at Fit For Life in Marlboro, NJ because of Steve Pucciarelli. He is a MT, Level 4 Z-health practitioner, and certified RKC. Steve calls my training Advanced Joint Mobility.
I was also introduced to Dr. Charlie Weingroff. Charlie is also at Fit For Life. He trains in DNS, ART, Dry Needling, Graston, FMS/SFMA, and RKC. Between the two genius guys, I’m 90% “Fibromyalgia Free.” And like I said before, I’m not built by machines, I’m sculpted. To sum it up, functional movement keeps me aware of every part, every muscle in my body. You have to check out Dr. Charlie Weingroff at www.sparqtraining.com. You will be amazed.
Between being taught proper body alignment, and classes with Steve, I forget 90% of the pain I went through. To me, it’s magical.
Ben: This past weekend I had the opportunity to meet you in person, and your physique is very impressive. I also got to witness your workout routine, and you flow through it with fantastic balance, agility, and flexibility. Seeing what I did, I am most definitely convinced that the Fit For Life folks are onto something. How long have you been sculpting your physique, and at what point did you decide to become a figure competitor?
“My daughter…constantly made sarcastic remarks about my flabby ass.“
Charina: I walked into Fit For Life at the end of the summer of 2011. My son Kyle is seventeen-years-old, and plays AAA ice hockey, so you can imagine his injuries. I brought Kyle to Steve to help him get better. At the same time, my daughter Chanel, an eighteen-year-old comedian, constantly made sarcastic remarks about my flabby ass. True story. [Laughs] So as I’m sitting and watching Kyle get rehabilitated, I decided to join the Fit For Life team.
“These are used to challenge the nervous system in cross patterning and/or as HIIT/endurance training (depending on the day).”
Around this time, Jody Phillips, co-owner of Fit For Life, was preparing a few girls a for a figure competition. Jody noticed my interest and said, “Charina, you are next.” The idea of being on a stage, competing, and wearing an itsy-bitsy “Swarovskied-out” suit totally had my attention.
I stepped into the competition world for fun, for my entertainment, and I fell in love. My first T-walk was a sixty second routine. I actually thought I would get disqualified for performing it and I didn’t care. To me it was worth disqualification, but they loved it. Joy has it taped.
“These are used to challenge the nervous system in cross patterning and/or as HIIT/endurance training (depending on the day).”
I also joined a lifestyle program called “The Ultimate Transformation Challenge,” created by Thomas Phillips. What a great success this program was for me! I lost my ugly cellulite and was creating the body I always wanted. This program is what inspired me to cook and create clean, healthy gourmet meals.
With regard to flow, balance, agility, and flexibility, maybe my background in dance has had a lot to do with it, but I also work hard on perfecting my moves. Steve taught me to think of every move I make. Chin tucked in, butt tight, short rib, and so on…alignment.
Ben: “Charina Fargesen: Dares to be Different“. That’s going to be the name of this feature! [Laughs] What a great story. And now you are working on your first cookbook? You brought me a lot of food to taste last Saturday. I must say that I am very impressed. What can you tell me about the book?
Charina: I was born in Lvov, Ukraine. So I’m used to delish food. Going through UTC, the steamed, grilled, broiled, and so on-chicken, bored me. I was desperate for food. Mind you, I can put away food. So I began to explore my options. I became a food translator. I took the food I usually cooked and translated it into a healthy version. I can do that with any food. I even created a Charinamisu. [Laughs] I like it!
Ben: This sounds really exciting. I think a lot of people, competitors as well as others, who want healthy alternatives, would love to learn more about this concept of food translating. Not only that, but people who think eating healthy is only about chicken and rice, would be able to add some variety into their diets.
Ben: Charina! Upon completing your workout, you quickly made a wardrobe change, and we took to the misty streets of NYC. You were such a good sport, the weather did not cause you to miss a beat. How did you feel about shooting in the drizzling rain?
Charina: [Laughs] Rain doesn’t bother me. “I’m not made of sugar.” It was actually more fun, more real, and more challenging. Deep inside I wanted it to pour, so you would get unique shots.
Ben: What a fantastic answer. I love it! Charina, you have such magnificent control over your body, posing, and posturing. Photographing you was exciting because you offer so many angles. This also really comes through in your performance and presentation on the figure stage. How did you get so good at this?
Charina: I took lessons in ballet, jazz, and tap for a very long time. I quit dance when I was sixteen years old. Between ages fifteen and eighteen I was a major NYC club kid. Perhaps all of the above contributed to my performance and presentation.
I enjoy music and I enjoy to dance. Both are art in motion. A good beat is like a drug to me. It rushes through my veins, takes over my mind, and makes my body move.
Ben: I love it! Charina, what a pleasure it has been getting to know you. You have such an amazing perspective on training, food, competing, performing, and life. You are truly one of a kind. I will be keeping an eye out for you as the contest sea-son continues. And, I am exited for your new book!
Charina: Thank you so much Ben.
Ben: When will you be competing next?
Charina: Not sure yet. I kind of make a last minute decision.
Ben: Oh yes, I forgot! [Laughs] Your contest season strategy is to have no strategy. You really are daring to do things differ-ently. I think it’s brilliant!
Charina: Every day is planned out for me a year in advance. Hockey practices, hockey games, cheer, tennis, etc. I need some excitement in my life. Besides, it’s more fun that way. Just do it.
Jody Phillips – My coach, my partner in crime. She travels all over with me.
Matt Maher – Mattie is an awesome substitute coach when Jody can’t be there. He is an amazing trainer.
Tom Phillips – His Ultimate Transformation Challenge introduced me to clean, healthy eating which inspired me to cook gourmet. This also lead me to write my recipe book “Charina’s Guide to Svelte Body.”
Steve Pucciarelli – My private trainer. We can call him “The Sculptor.”
Kaelin Patterson – We only met once, yet became great friends via Facebook and texts. He defined me as a diamond. And since then, he has been the platinum that supports the diamond.
Chad Austin – I met him last year back stage. I was lined up for my walk and he was there eating away at his yummy food. He gave me so much confidence that moment and a few laughs. I will remember that night forever.
Kai York Photography – Another amazing person. He took a chance having a photo shoot with me. Thank you for that.
My kids – Chanel eighteen-years-old, Kyle seventeen-years-old, and Taylor nine- years-old. My kids are great supporters. They love to show me off. But my little Taylor is my greatest fan of all. Love my trio.
My best friend – Irina Palatnik. She is there for me morning, day, and night. She is there through my worst and my best moments in life with nothing but love, warmth, support, and good advice.
Joe Franco – He is the promoter for the OCB show in Burlington, NJ. His amazing show is where it all began. Both him and his wife provided a wonderful first show experience.
Also I want to thank all the people that love my cooking and are anxiously anticipating my cook book to come out.
And now you Ben – Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to tell my story. Having you as not only the editor but my personal photographer for the July issue is beyond, beyond. I am a very lucky girl.
I’m sure I forgot to thank many. So I just want to thank everyone who I ever came face-to-face with or who crossed my way. Thank you, thank you all.
OCB Beyond Nutrition Natural | April 21, 2012-Burlington NJ
Figure Debut 1st Place, Figure Open 1st Place, Overall Winner, Best Presentation
OCB Atlantic Super Show | May 5, 2012-Richmond, VA
Figure Open Short 1st Place
OCB Bay State Natural | June 23, 2012-Amherst, MA
Figure 35+ 1st Place, Figure Open 3rd Place, Best Presentation
OCB Mid Atlantic | August 25, 2012-Burlington, NJ
Figure 35+ 1st Place, Figure Open Short 1st Place, Overall Winner, Pro Card
IFPA Pro International | Sep.15, 2012-Overland Park, KS
Figure Pro Short 3rd Place, qualified for Yorton Cup
IFPA Yorton Cup | October 27, 2012-Phoenix, AZ
Figure Pro Short 5th Place
ANBF New Jersey Natural | May 11, 2013
Figure Pro 1st Place, Figure Master Pro 1st Place
“The idea of being on a stage, competing, and wearing an itsy-bitsy ‘Swarovskied-out’ suit totally had my attention.”
“I stepped into the competition world for fun, for my entertainment, and I fell in love.”
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