Ipswich: Body building mum overcomes blood poisoning to win three national titles

Charlene Hart, Ipswich body building champ

Charlene Hart, Ipswich body building champ - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich mother overcame serious blood poisoning to win three categories of a national body building championship.

Charlene Hart, 31, of Stoke Park, took home three titles at the third annual Miami Pro Fitness & Model UK Championships at the Alban Centre in St Albans, Herts on October 12.

She placed first in two categories, Ms Bikini and Yummy Mummy, and won the overall title out of around 150 women from across the UK.

Miss Hart almost didn’t make it to the competition after she suffered a severe health setback in April, developing septicaemia in hospital after an operation to remove lumps from her chest.

She had to be put on an IV drip of antibiotics and spent two months in hospital, slowly beginning to rebuild her fitness in June.

“Before April I was in and out of hospital for 11 weeks, and five years ago I had to have surgery to remove a blood clot from my stomach, I had a couple of seizures too.

“It was a scary time, but as soon as I felt better I wanted to get back to the gym”, Miss Hart said.

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She still has to monitor her health carefully as her blood count fluctuates but said she now felt the best she had ever felt.

Miss Hart suffers from a hereditary blood clotting disorder that her mother also has, and which she said doctors believed is connected to her other health problems.

“I have to watch my blood pressure, but being an athlete you have that in general anyway”, she said.

Despite her struggles, the fitness fanatic now does four hour-long cardio workouts and four weights sessions a week, having just Wednesdays and Sundays off.

“I want to show other mums and young girls that you can still be curvy, sexy and have some muscle”, she said.

“Lots of people criticise me and say I’ll end up looking like a man, but when they see my pictures they see that’s not true as I’m still feminine and have curves.”

Miss Hart has a 13-year-old daughter, Tia, and her parents are the owners of The Smock pub on Maidenhall Approach, Ipswich.

She said: “Everything I do in my life is for my daughter, if I can be successful it provides a better lifestyle for her, she’s my angel and she’s good as gold - I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

Miss Hart studied nutrition and fitness after sixth form and is a qualified boxing coach, Pilates instructor and massage therapist.

“I don’t have a boyfriend, I don’t get approached by many and if I do it’s not the right kind, but all the guys in the gym are really friendly and I get a lot of respect from them”, she added.

She now plans to enter more competitions next year, including ones in the States, and will probably move up a category to Figure or Fitness, which require more muscle definition.