Shaqasia Ruffin - Figure Competitor

Itís kind of uneventful how I actually started competing. I would drive 7-8 hours to visit my boyfriend T (who is now my husband) in Florida. Well, he was, and still is, into bodybuilding and I honestly just grew tired of hating what I saw in the mirror. Now I wasnít fat by any means (I mean I was runner for goodness sakes and my body was pretty small) but I was never happy with my body, always thinking I was indeed fat, smh. So instead of growing impatient with my constant self-criticism T began to take me to the gym whenever we met up. He took the time to teach me how to work-out properly.

Ya girl wasnít playing today.

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I remember what catapulted me into competing was when I had visited him one weekend he did two things, first he took me to gym and introduced me to these freakishly beautiful, powerful, athletic, muscular, aesthetic, amazing and strong women who were clearly in control of their lives, who had showered me with compliments about my shape and how I would do well in bodybuilding (which if Iím being completely honest I had paid no serious attention to in the past). The second thing T did was have me attend a bodybuilding show with him and I was like what the f*** is this? I was like naw not for me (we showed up when bikini was on stage) but when those physique women came out I fell in love and so naturally I jumped into the figure category lol because realistically that was where I fit best. And Iíve been competing since. Working with the amazing Shelby Starnes for over 2 years and this being my 3rd year working with my husband.

My diet from off-season to pre-contest this year has been a bit interesting. Obviously itís always difficult the first two weeks, because my off season this year I was really getting into it, I was eating cake, ice-cream, cheddar Chex-mix (my secret addiction), my husband and I found this awesome pie place in Washington (well worth the 30 minute drive), this list goes on and on but I had to switch up my pre-contest prep this year. This all stemmed from me wanting to do a mini cut for Tís show at the Toronto pro, he placed me on a low carb diet where I was only eating carbs after my workouts. It was doing this that helped me with understanding my body a little better as well as working with Shelby. I found out two things about myself 1. My body does not digest rice properly and 2.complex carbs do the opposite of what theyíre supposed to do to me, making me feel sluggish and tired. So we decided to the same thing we did for the Toronto show for my pre-contest diet. A brief overview of my diet: I eat 5 times a day lots of fats, chicken, and veggies while only eating complex carbs in 2/5 meals . I eat oatmeal before I work out and blueberries with my post workout meal. My caloric intake is around 2489 calories a day.
I canít say Iíve tried any diets that have failed. My body is just reacting differently to certain things as I get older and we just continue to play around with new and old foods and medications like digestive enzymes.

Honestly Iím still working on stage presence, lol. Iím good until right before I walk out on stage, but I believe that was because I was unprepared. Now this year when Iíve actually taken the time to consult with multiple posing coaches, the most helpful being the beautiful and amazingly talented IFBB Figure Pro Julia Waring (who is definitely going to have a wonderful career), I am much more confident in the package that I will be bringing to the stage.

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I think I have a slight addiction to the gym, lol. I have a hard time taking a day or two off so I rest when my body tells me to. I try to work legs 3 times a week (splits/ quads, hamstrings and glutes, whole leg), shoulders 2 times a week, back once a week, chest and arms (when needed those two muscle groups can get out of control fast for me), abs 3 times a week and calves, letís just say I need to do them more often. No fasted cardio for me at the moment but I do 20 minutes 5 times a week after I work out and sometimes before my leg days as a part of my warm-up. I like to eat my pre-workout meal 40 minutes before I hit the gym and I eat my post-workout meal immediately up to 1 hour after I finish up at the gym.

I always meet great people backstage at the events. I love how all of the competitors are like family, I guess because weíre all feeling the same thing, nerves!!!! I will say that for my next competition I will use a different makeup artist, for my show at the Arnold Amateur in 2017 my makeup was atrocious, especially my uneven eyebrows, YIKES!!!!! I mean you canít tell in the photos (well for the most part) but my make-up was trash, never again! Other than walking around looking like ďwho done it and whyĒ I always meet the kindest and supportive athletes who soon afterwards become cool acquaintances.

Being an athlete consumes a major portion of my life throughout the week day. This doesnít bother me at all because I donít like clubs, bars, or drinking or even doing too much throughout the week to begin with. However, I donít allow it to rule my life. I always make time to do what I want on the weekends, yes I still manage to get into the gym on the weekends but I also make time to do things I enjoy like making wigs, reading, writing, sightseeing, and hiking. My husband enjoys traveling so itís not uncommon for us to take a flight out of state or a drive somewhere for the weekend, were pretty active unless we need downtime. Then we resort to anime and movie marathons as well as enjoying one anotherís company.

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Future plans in fitness? Take on the pro stage and be the best. This is not me being cocky but I believe in speaking affirmations and blessings over yourself and others, and letís be honest we all do it to win, no one does this just for the experience or to be mediocre. Iím also very competitive so when I see the top competitors I respect and admire their hard work and dedication as well as their accomplishments but I also think that they are all beatable and so I keep pushing. I also plan on helping my husband with his business ventures, yíall stay tuned for whatís about to come ;).
In life? I plan on going to school to major in English and become and editor and author.


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