Interview with Canadian Fitness Pro Danielle Ruban

IFBB Fitness Pro, Danielle Ruban will be competing in her second Fitness International competition this week. She was away from competition in 2013 due to a shoulder injury but is rehabilitated and ready to rock in Columbus. Danielle took time from her busy schedule to do this Hardbody Interview and share a bit more about herself. The Canadian gymnast turned IFBB Fitness Pro shares her love for the expresso machine, why she would never cut it using a fanny pack and more.

danielle ruban


Name: Danielle Louise Ruban

Birthday: Oct. 10, 1983

Born in: Belleville, Ontario

Currently live in: Cambridge, Ontario

Occupation: Online Contest Prep Coach

Years competing: 5 this will be my 6th year

Competition history:
2012 IFBB Arnold Classic Europe – 12th
2012 IFBB Ms. Fitness Olympia – 12th
2012 IFBB Toronto Pro Supershow – 4th
2012 IFBB Pittsburgh Pro – 4th
2012 IFBB St. Louis Pro – 3rd
2012 IFBB Ms. Fitness International -9th
2011 IFBB Pan American Games Championships 1st in tall, 1st Over-all
2011 IFBB North American Championships 1st Over-all (Pro Card Awarded)

Any pets? Two big, furry German Shepherds

How about plants… do you have any plants… are you a plants person?
I love plants! But I could not be trusted to keep one alive.

If someone has more than three cats and single they are… Who they are?!? Is this a trick question? “Judge not lest ye be judged” 😉

If someone wears a fanny pack to the gym they might be… A minimalist. I practically need a hockey bag.

One trend you wish would come back in style… I know I am going to embarrass myself here: Bell-bottoms.

What was your favorite event in gymnastics? The floor exercise, by far. I pretty much only did the other events so I could do floor routines!

How often and long do you train gymnastics/routine? About 2.5-3 hours, 4 days a week.

danielle ruban fitnessDanielle performs her routine at the 2012 Fitness International.

What areas have you worked on since your last competition?
Plenty! I have really focused on re-building my physique. I cannot wait to see how everything comes together at my first show back! I worked equally hard at improving my routine, which will be explosive and exciting! Those are just the physical changes; mentally, I have matured a lot as well.

Do you think it’s more challenging to get exposure for Canadians than your US counterparts? No – I think if you compete internationally and you reach out to the right people, we Canadians can have the same opportunities as American competitors.

What would be a “typical day” for Ms. Ruban?
I wake up at around 6:30, and my first stop is the coffee maker. I just got an espresso machine and I am loving it! If it’s a “routine practice” day, I’ll eat first and then away I go! Three hours later I am back home, and my dogs are looking at me because they want to get a workout in too. I take them to a park and throw the ball until they have had their fill. Next, I spend time communicating with clients or creating new/updated programs. Being a contest prep coach is extremely fun and rewarding, and I am grateful to have found a profession that I’m so passionate about.

This close to a show, I will weight train, but go early to practice posing first. I practice my presentation daily now that the show is so close.

My training coach is a ‘Strong-man’ competitor, and today we will train back and shoulders. It’s amazing – I am days out from my competition and still lifting more weight each session! It’s highly motivating. Once I’m back at home, I will do some more work before folding up my laptop and getting ready to relax for the evening with my husband and dogs. All of us pile on the couch and watch a good show or movie. Some nights, if he is at work, I will read or journal before bed. I am usually in bed by 10pm and before I fall asleep I visualize my fitness routine or physique round presentation over and over until I fall asleep.

Favorite body part to train?
Shoulders. I was out with shoulder injuries this past season, and they have come so far. I finally feel really strong training them – That’s what fun is for me.

Did the shoulder injury keep you out of competition in 2013?
Not competing in 2013 was a hard choice, but a wise one. I had bilateral shoulder issues which took a very long time to heal. No treatment was working on me, and it was really hard deal with mentally. I wanted to take time to build and improve my physique, and for 6 months I couldn’t even take my shoulder through a pain-free range of motion. Working with a chiropractor who used the Graston Technique (where scar tissue is aggressively broken down) is what really helped. I was finally able to start working through the injuries and making some gains in strength and physique development. It’s not realistic to go from show to show, stay in peak condition, and make muscle gains simultaneously. I took the time to invest in my future fitness career. I started training with Craig Bongelli, who is a StrongMan competitor, and he has really helped me become much stronger and more explosive. I am excited to display these improvements to both the physique and routine round this season! I also took the time off to focus on building my training business, where I prep competitors for IFBB affiliated shows. Training clients who end up having a great experience and do well is almost as rewarding as competing myself.

Least favorite body part to train?

How important is a good coach?
It’s not important, it’s key. Speaking from personal experience, I can say my coaches Layne Norton and Craig Bongelli have helped me to chase my potential in a way I never thought possible.

What tips do you have for women who are currently looking for a coach… What should they look for?
I think a GOOD coach should have personal experience with competing (i.e. Be a competitor themselves), have experience coaching competitors, and should have some kind of applicable education such as Kinesiology, Anatomy or Physiology degree. I think it would be a great idea for the individual looking to compete to speak to current or past clients of the coach they are interested in working. I think a good coach should genuinely care about their clients, love what they do, and lead by example. They should inspire, not intimidate, and consider the competitors’ HEALTH first and foremost. Here is a great video log by my coach Layne Norton:

danielle ruban fitnessDanielle at the 2012 Fitness Olympia

Favorite way to prepare chicken?

BBQ! But this winter, I opted to use the deep covered oven baker – Thank you Pampered Chef

Favorite flavor of Mrs. Dash?
If I had to choose, the garlic on. But salt is not the enemy, so why not have Montreal Steak Spice?

What do you eat the day of a show when you know you’ll be performing your routine?
Similar to what I would eat on a day I am practicing my routine. I will have already eaten some carbs the day before, and prior to prejudging, so that’s really all I need. Maybe a few sips of Revolution Nutrition KICK, too!

How important is it to have a strong support team when prepping for a show?
I have learned this prep just how very critical it is. I have always had the support of family and my husband and my sponsors, but this year I have friends who will be there to support and cheer me on, and have been there the entire journey. My coaches will be there, too. I am dedicating this show to those people.

Any sponsors you’d like to thank?
Revolution Nutrition for always being there to supply me with my Supplement Arsenal and Cynthia James of CJ’s Elite Competition Wear for my Fitness Costume.

Where can people find more info on you?
On twitter: @DanielleRuban
On instagram:@TeamRuban

Favorite social media outlet?

Facebook AND IG – Don’t make me choose!

How excited are you to be heading to Brasil?
Words cannot describe! I have always wanted to compete internationally in the sport I love, and now I will be going to South America for the first time in my life!! I may never have gotten that opportunity if I wasn’t doing what I am so fortunate to be doing, competing in Pro Fitness

Favorite motivational quote.

See more photos of Danielle in competition and performing her routine here.

Disclaimer: Reader discretion advised, please consult your physician before beginning any exercise or diet program.