Darrem became a champion without the use of any anabolic steroids or drugs, this making it all more remarkable. Darrem relies on intense workouts, good eating and sleeping habits, and high quality supplements.
BY THE TIME THE AVERAGE..
..man turns 36 years old, he has started to settle down a little bit. At first glance, Darrem Charles is no different. He's a dedicated family man who works hard at his job so he can support his wife and 15-year-old son. He likes to wind down by watching movies with his family or relaxing at the beach. Recently, he even moved into a nice, large house in a distant suburb of Miami.
Of course, one look at IFBB pro Darrem Charles' shockingly defined musculature and it's easy to see that he's in no way your average man. His dynamic posing routines and rock-hard, symmetrical frame have been exciting audiences at bodybuilding competitions for longer than he'd care to admit. But in the last year and a half, the native Trinidadian has started to make waves on the professional circuit. In 2004, Darrem nabbed two first-place finishes and three seconds, and he hopes to improve on that record in 2005.
"I think the best is yet to come," Darrem says from his Coral Springs, Florida, home. "I'm really peaking now, and my body is really responding, so we'll see."
DON'T JUDGE A BOOK ...
Darrem is about as unassuming as a 5'9", 230-pound statue of slate-hard muscle can be--he's polite, soft-spoken and respectful. But don't let the easygoing facade fool you. Underneath it all, Darrem is a fierce competitor.
"Oh yeah, I want to win really bad," he says with an intensity that belies his typically cool exterior. "I mean, this is what I do. This is my profession. This is what I work hard for. I've gotten a lot of raw deals in the past, and everybody knows it. So I always feel that I've got to be not just good out there but twice as good."
Darrem's famously laid-back demeanor actually comes from a confidence born of his tremendous work ethic. He does not believe in giving less than 100% in anything he does. As a result, his training regimen is both relentless and exacting. When it comes time for competitions, he doesn't leave anything to chance.
"It's all about knowing that I did my homework," Darrem explains. "That I didn't cheat on my diet. That I trained the way I was supposed to train. I know I'm totally ready, and I'm standing out there, confident. I'm standing out there with no regrets. When you know you've done all you can, then it's up to the judges."
IT'S ALL IN THE PRESENTATION
Regardless of what the judges think, Darrem has become a fan favorite over the years due to his dynamic and inspired posing routines. He begins his preparation several months before a competition so he can present his muscle as effectively as possible onstage. He's always on the lookout for something that inspires him--from television commercials to movies to songs on the radio--and will elevate his performances to new heights. Anything that grabs his attention is fair game.
"I spend hours and hours trying to find something that really hits me and that I think will be good for the audience," Darrem comments. "Once I find that inspiration, a lot of hours are spent putting the posing routine together. I put in lots of time for that little 2-3 minutes onstage."
Although he's widely respected on the IFBB circuit, Darrem feels he has been at the losing end of some questionable (to put it mildly) calls in past competitions. He freely admits that his mellow persona might have been partially to blame.
"Now I try to come off a little more aggressive onstage, which isn't really my personality," he says. "If you're too laid-back, the judges are going to take it that you don't want it bad enough. It shouldn't be that way--it should just be about your body and how well you present it--but they want to see [the competitive fire] sometimes."
ROME WASN'T BUILT IN A DAY
Perhaps the most astonishing thing about Darrem is that he had the best year of his career in 2004 at 35 years old, an age at which most professional athletes are on the downward slope of their careers. Of course, this is no fluke. Bodybuilding is a cumulative effort, and Darrem has steadily added mass to his exceptionally lean physique every year. He went into this year's Arnold Classic--an event where he placed a respectable sixth--at 230 pounds. That's 10 pounds heavier than his competition weight just a few years ago. Like fine wine, his physique just seems to get better and better with age.
But Darrem acknowledges that, because of his age, he can no longer be frivolous with his training, joking that his "wheels" already have at least a good 100,000 miles on them. A self-professed sports nut, Darrem grew up playing soccer and basketball. But he no longer fantasizes about being Michael Jordan or Pele. He's grown more comfortable in his own skin, and these days his dreams consist solely of beating the likes of Dexter Jackson and Chris Cormier at the Olympia.
"I'm a bodybuilder now," says Darrem. "I've grown to realize that in the last couple of years. And you know what that means? It means you don't screw around, because I'll tell you what ... I can lift 1,000 pounds, but if I just bend over to move a mat too quickly, without being careful, I can throw my back out."
Darrem may be considered one of the old men of the bodybuilding world, but he still has no plans to slow down anytime in the near future. He's scheduled for three more competitions this year--the New York Pro, on May 21, and the Toronto Pro, on June 4, (both of which he plans to win, by the way) and the Olympia. After that, who knows? Darrem loves bodybuilding, and he's confident that he has a good 4-5 years of serious competition left in him. "There's always the Masters," he says.
With Darrem's meticulous preparation and "slow but steady wins the race" philosophy, it's a good bet he'll be oiled up and under the lights for years to come.
Bodybuilding Titles Won
2004 Xtreme Pro Challenge - CHAMPION!
2004 Night of Champions - 2nd
2004 Hungarian Pro - 2nd
2004 Toronto Pro Invitational - CHAMPION!
2004 GNC Show of Strength - 2nd
2004 Olympia - 10th
2003 Ironman Pro - 5th
2003 Arnold Classic - 6th
2003 IFBB Maximus Pro - CHAMPION!
2003 Olympia - 7th
2003 Show of Strength - 6th
2002 SW Pro Cup - CHAMPION!
2002 Mr. Olympia - 16th
2002 Night of Champions XIV - 4th
2002 Toronto Pro Classic - 4th
2001 Mr. Olympia - 18th
2001 Toronto Pro - 3rd
2001 Arnold Classic - 8th
2000 Ironman Pro Invitational - IFBB, 5th
2000 Arnold Classic - IFBB, 7th
1999 Night of Champions - IFBB, 8th
1999 Ironman Pro Invitational - IFBB, 4th
1999 Arnold Classic - IFBB, 8th
1998 San Francisco Pro Invitational - IFBB, 3rd
1998 Olympia - IFBB,
1998 Night of Champions - IFBB, 7th
1998 Ironman Pro Invitational - IFBB, 2nd
1998 Arnold Classic - IFBB, 6th
1996 Ironman Pro Invitational - IFBB, 5th
1996 Florida Pro Invitational - IFBB, 9th
1996 Arnold Classic - IFBB, 10th
1995 South Beach Pro Invitational - IFBB, 3rd
1995 San Jose Pro Invitational - IFBB, 5th
1995 Olympia - IFBB, 15th
1995 Night of Champions - IFBB, 9th
1995 Niagara Falls Pro Invitational - IFBB, 5th
1995 Ironman Pro Invitational - IFBB, 5th
1995 Houston Pro Invitational - IFBB, 7th
1995 Florida Pro Invitational - IFBB, 3rd
1995 Arnold Classic - IFBB, 8th
1992 Night of Champions - IFBB, 11th
1992 Chicago Pro Invitational - IFBB, 12th
1991 World Amateur Championships - IFBB, Light-HeavyWeight, 2nd
1990 World Amateur Championships - IFBB, Light-HeavyWeight, 2nd
1989 World Amateur Championships - IFBB, Light-HeavyWeight, 5th