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Danielle Ruban has been involved in competitive athletics and personal fitness her entire life. As a youngster, she competed in gymnastics, track and field and cheerleading. She began coaching gymnastics at the age of 14 following her retirement from that sport, and one could speculate that that was where she developed her training roots. At 25, she started her journey into competitive fitness. It was when she began to really take-off in this sport, that she developed a desire to help others to learn how fitness could enrich their own lives.
TF: We got to know you after you had begun competing at the IFBB level. Up on stage, you’re one of many athletes in the fitness class who have the difficult task of not only looking good and presenting the proper physique, but also performing a complex routine including tumbling and acrobatics. What was the draw to that class, rather than Figure or Physique?
DR: Honestly, I don’t know if I would ever be able to do Figure or Physique because I live for the routine Round. It’s what I fantasize most about and draw the majority of motivation from. I love looking like an athlete but I LOVE to train like one more. The satisfaction I get from improving my level of skill and presentation is what feeds my fire. Plus I believe you can connect so much more with an audience with the Fitness routine vs. quarter turns.
TF: It definitely shows. You’ve routinely have one of the best routines which spectators can watch. There are obviously many competitors who come from a gymnastics or cheerleading or dance background, but are there many who have little experience in this and decide to wade into the Fitness class?
DR: Those who do are the ones who impress me most! I have a fitness client who only had a rugby background and she managed to learn everything from complex pushups to splits, holds and jumps. Adela Garcia herself literally started with NO background of any kind. That is amazing and so no – you do not need a gymnastics or cheer background.
TF: Who do you draw inspiration from?
DR: Myself and my core belief that I can do something great in this lifetime. BUT externally my greatest inspiration is Oksana Grishina. She is pretty much the reason I have pursued fitness as far as I have. “If you recognize greatness in someone, it means that you recognize that you have some of that greatness in you”
TF: What’s the next goal you’re striving to achieve?
DR: I want to focus on my areas that need the most improvement thereby increasing the effectiveness of my entire process. If I accomplish this then I imagine I will achieve the outcome oriented goals of winning a pro show and making top 5 at the Olympia. Whoa that’s scary to admit but dreams need to be big enough to scare you a little! You need to figure out what price you are willing to pay for them and then get busy paying that price.
TF: Let’s take a side-step for a sec. What do you like to do outside of competing and training? Give us another side of Danielle we may not know..
DR: I really like taking time to reflect on everything I experience through journaling. I like tackling self-discovery questions and just try to find ways to grow and stretch on the inside. I also love spending time with my dogs and being in nature. I love to read or indulge in a good movie or TV series from time to time.
I value spending time with family and friends who don’t put any kind of expectation on me. It doesn’t always matter what you are doing if you love who it’s with.
I always am listening to audiobooks. During driving or doing mindless tasks like laundry or cleaning. I guess fitness is what I do for adrenaline kicks.
TF: What’s harder: the physical workouts or sticking to a strict diet?
DR: Ohhh the diet. For me anyway.
TF: What’s your guilty pleasure?
DR: It’s silly. Sour cream glazed Timbits. I should go to meetings…
TF: Do you enjoy the modelling side of the industry? Are you as comfortable being in front of a camera as you are up on stage?
DR: I should ask you that question! About me lol. I do really enjoy it. I have learned that some of the poses can feel un-natural but with the right photographer you can end up with some amazing shots. The difference is that I have rehearsed the routine on stage many, many times. And photo shoots you need to be creative and flexible on the spot.
TF: What’s something about the fitness industry that some people might not realize?
DR: I think that it keeps you young at heart. If you know anyone who is older that lives the lifestyle and is very much into the industry, they tend to act and look younger than their peers outside the industry.
TF: So you’re really 42, is that it?
DR: LOL! When I turn 42 it will be like my 19th birthday all over again.
TF: You’re usually part of a posse when we see you at the local regional shows. Who’s in your inner-circle and why?
DR: The two best people in my world I met through the Fitness Industry. On my left you have Melissa Shadd who is one of my greatest ‘real life’ inspirations. On paper she Co-hosts a TV show, promotes the KW Oktoberfest OPA show, is a very active OPA judge who runs posing seminars are while living the life of a Naturally Fit Mom…off paper she is so much more.
On my right you have Jaime Filer who is their online editor-in-chief and Social Media Coordinator for Muscle Insider Magazine and then some. She also does personal training and is an ambassador or Six Pack Bags.
These two women support me more than anyone ever has before. I used to go it alone and since they came into my life everything has so much more joy and meaning. I really can’t say enough except I just adore and love them. We three have an ongoing Facebook conversation entitled: The Tree House
7 Random Questions
1. What’s the best song in your playlist right now?
DR: I have a Christmas play list right now and my favorites are the Muppets Christmas Carols. True story.
2. If you had to choose a single protein source from the following options, what would it be?
3. What’s the one exercise you feel most silly performing?
DR: Perfect Curls
4. The last truly-scary thing you volunteered to do?
5. Where’s your favorite vacation destination?
DR: Myrtle Beach
6. What can you do better than anyone else you know?
7. What’s the next bucket list item you’ll check from your list?
DR: Olympia 2015 and shoot with yours truly, Mark Bradfield!