Name: Caroline Ruckstuhl

Age: 27

Occupation: Business Development Manager for Penske Automotive and Orangetheory Instructor

From: Arlington, VA

Organization & Division: Figure


When did you start living the healthy lifestyle and why did you choose to do so?

-7 years ago I became a kickboxing instructor for LA Boxing, several years later I ran my first few ½ marathons, a couple years after that I began crossfit; this is when I was introduced to Paleo. I ate strict paleo for almost two years, cutting out gluten, processed foods, sugars and dairy. My energy levels had increased, my strength was through the roof and I was feeling better than ever. Since then I’ve competed in 2 crossfit competitions, PRed in my last two ½ marathons and started teaching at Orangetheory fitness.


When did you decide to compete?

-The past two years have been my healthiest and I have had more fitness success than ever before. I’ve always admired those who body build and have been asked by many why I don’t compete. After evaluating my current goals and challenges I decided that competing in figure was my next big thing!


What shows have you done and how did you place?

-I have never competed in figure before but am very excited to see show day!


  What motivates you?

-My friends and family motivate me to keep going and be the best version of myself. I have a great support team and a large following. I truly feel I have inspired others and push my friends and clients to the next level. Once you start seeing results your motivation is kicked into the next gear!


What is your favorite healthy recipe (can you provide the recipe below)?

I LOVE to cook so I am always coming up with new ways to make healthy meals. One of my favorites would be “Apple butter chicken”. I buy a whole organic chicken, stuff it with sliced sweet onion, red apples, garlic, sea salt and pepper. I based the outside with more garlic, sea salt and pepper and cover it with apple butter I buy from the farmers market. Bake in the oven at 350 for about 40-45 minutes re basting the chicken with more apple butter. Cooking times may vary depending on the size of your chicken. I would suggest covering for least 30 minutes and uncovering the last 10-15 minutes getting a crispy outside! ENJOY!


What is your favorite exercise?

-This would have to be planks and squats! A strong core is SO important and I LOVE me some squats!


Who are your role models?

-My fitness role models would be Ronda Rousey, Christmas Abbott, Andrea Ager, Ingrid Nelson, my fellow instructors who work extremely hard and motivate others and all of my fellow fitness friends trying to be the best they can be!


What is your favorite quote?

-“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened” J


 Tell us one random fact about you.

-I’m obsessed with Christmas and the Christmas season


What was something you learned that was inspiring or different for you? Something that was a “light bulb” moment that demonstrates the uniqueness of the program.

-Something that has been extremely different for me is how isolating and personal this sport can be. I am very used to working-out in group environments and it has taken great adjustments and internal strength to work at my maximum efforts alone. It takes a completely different mindset but once you find it, something new is unleashed within that you didn’t know you had. A greater drive than I’ve ever felt and greater sense of personal strength.


What have you learned from competing and the coaching you received with Michelle.

-That with the proper guidance, competition training plan and motivation I can do anything I set my mind to. This has been an incredible journey and I have learned so much about myself. Michelle has been a huge support and has reminded me when I’m down why I wanted to do this in the first place. This is definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and I will remember this experience and keep the lessons learned for the rest of my life.


What is about the coaching that you love and have learned about?     

-I have never had a trainer or coach before so having someone to guide and mentor me through every move and every bite of food has been a great experience to say the least. I could have never done this alone and wouldn’t have known the slightest on where to start. Having Coach Michelle lead me through this entire journey has been amazing. She has gotten to know me a lot better since we first spoke. She has learned what coaching styles work best for me personally and when I need a good kick in the butt or someone to listen to my worries. She has prepared me for what to expect along the way and the rewards that come along with completing a prep such as this.


Any Final “Thank You’s” or a message to those who want to compete

-Thank you to Coach Michelle for helping me through this process, I couldn’t have done it without you! Thank you to my friends, family and fiancé for putting up with me through this! You have all been so incredibly supportive throughout this entire journey!