Introducing…Rev. Charles Hawkins
The Natural Champion
15 May 2006

As a youth, Mr. Universe Charles Hawkins was something right out of the old Charles Atlas ads. You know, the ones where an under muscled youth would have sand kicked in his face by a big bully. Charles (Hawkins not Atlas) was born and raised in Waveland on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, but though there was a beach he doesn’t recall getting sand kicked in his face. What he does recall is that as a spindly (that’s polite for skinny) youth, he was picked on not only by bullies of the male variety but by girls!

When he got to high school he discovered weight training and things quickly changed. He may have not had the best genetics, but from day one he brought the right attitude to the gym and before long bullies (of both sexes) began looking for another victim. There were sticking points to his progress, but he used them as learning points and kept on going, gradually getting bigger and stronger until he weighed 220 at 5'9" with a small, tight muscular waist and single digit bodyfat, and was squatting 600 pounds for reps.

Along the way Charles, aka the 'Hawk' entered a few bodybuilding contests, winning Mr. Mississippi several times (he used the shows to prod himself into better shape, not necessarily to win and definitely not to deprive others of the title), and other titles such as Mr. Florida and Mr. Gulf Coast. The culmination of his efforts was winning the Natural Mr. Universe in New York...all without drugs. Because of his tremendous musculature, Charles' drug free status is frequently questioned (this is often a matter of "If I can't do it, then how can he" mentality). The ever genial Charles has a ready answer: He will take a drug test - blood test, urine test, polygraph test or all of the above - any time, any place. End of story.

So just how did he get so hugely muscular and strong? Well, as mentioned already, he brought the right attitude. He set no limits for himself, and he took it for granted that hard work was part of the equation. He also refused to accept the idea that drugs were necessary to attain high levels of physical excellence. He did acknowledge that drugs might be a shortcut to reaching his goals and might even raise the bar on how big and strong he could eventually become, but he also believed that the power of the mind, and the spirit, was stronger than any drug. And besides, he had seen the drug assisted gains of others evaporate as soon as the drugs were discontinued.

Like most advanced bodybuilders, the Hawk has tried just about anything and everything when it comes to training. Having progressed by trial and error through the various advanced techniques and split routines, he has settled on a 5 day a week schedule, taking 2 days off per week for recuperation. He says he now prefers working a 'big' body part with a 'little' body part, though on the Hawk there are no 'little' bodyparts. For example, he might work chest and biceps one day, legs (thighs, hamstrings,calves)another day, shoulders and triceps a third day, and back and abdominals a fourth day. When asked whether he favors heavy weight with low reps or lighter weight with higher reps, Charles flashed his trademark broad smile and replied that he does heavy weights AND high reps.

A final note: As important as bodybuilding is to Charles, it’s not number one in his life. It's not even number two. While he was transforming his physical self he did not neglect the other facets of his life; he married, became a father, held down a regular job to support his family, and took on a second job - he became an ordained minister.  For Rev. Charles Hawkins, God comes first, his family second, and training third. And that, my friends, is the philosophy of a true Natural Champion.

Arley Vest 

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Arley Vest