Today we’d like to introduce you to Charles Rucker.
Charles Rucker was born and raised in Morristown, Tennessee by a single mother on disability. He started playing football when he was just three years old and his brother Stephen says, “In middle school, Charles was a naturally gifted athlete.” “Charles was always a competitor,” his dad would say. “By the time he was a senior in high school, he was a stand-out football player and track athlete too. His football team played for the Tennessee state title that year. They lost, but he was good enough to earn a full scholarship to the University of Cumberland in Kentucky.”
In 2005, Charles was in his freshman year driving home to see his family when he was cut off on the highway. It was a rainy night and his vehicle uncontrollably slid across the median into the path of an oncoming semi. That night Charles’ life changed forever. Just like that. After the accident, that threw him out of the car Charles was in and out of the hospital for about a year, enduring several surgeries to repair damage to his face and jaw, which initially had to be wired shut. He lost nearly 100 pounds and could only drink liquids. “I could tell he was deflated,” recalls his brother Stephen. “Our mom was his biggest supporter, and Charles was the baby of the family, so she cared for him deeply.” Stephen knew Charles needed a “push” to get back on the road to recovery, so he convinced their mother to let him come and stay with Stephen for a couple of weeks.
One day back home, Stephen tossed Charles the car keys and said he needed him to follow him somewhere. This was the first time Charles had driven a car since the wreck, but he trusted his brother and did it. Stephen talked with him about what he should be focusing on and not to dwell on the accident. It worked. The wreck changed Charles’ life but did not alter his fundamental drive to compete. After talking with his coach at the University of Cumberland and thinking about his future in football, Charles decided to transfer to Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, where he continued to play football.“I actually met Charles right after the accident,” says Coach Dwayne Beasley. “Some of the athletes I had trained suggested that he contact me to help him get back on the field.” Charles worked so hard that at times Coach Beasley had to tell him to take a day off just to recover from working out. “That’s how bad he wanted it.”
Meanwhile, Coach Beasley ended up working with Charles on and off the field for about five years. Whenever Charles was back in town during the remainder of his college years and even Arena ball, he would come in and cycle through Beasley’s training. It took about a year-and-a-half to fully recover, but Charles says, “I’m a hard-headed guy. If you tell me I can’t do something, I’ll prove to you that I can without any hesitation.” Eventually, Charles landed a spot with the Nashville Storm football team and even went on to win a National Championship! But the lingering effects from the accident, the injuries and the surgeries resulted in Charles eventually deciding to sideline his football career. Charles had been told by doctors that he might never play sports again, let alone football. He began working out as a bodybuilder and won his first competition in 2012, the NPC Music City Muscle show in Nashville. He loved the sport from the second he started in the gym. “It gave me the same feeling I got from football, a competitive edge, like running out onto the field before a game,” recalls Charles. That first victory back in 2012 was followed by nearly 30 top placings over the next five years, including Kentucky Muscle (2nd in 2013), a first at the 2015 Vulcan Classic Men’s Physique, second place at 2015 Tampa Pro and 2015 NPC City of Champions Bodybuilding show.
In 2016 Charles took second place at the Tampa Pro and a first at Music City Muscle. In 2018, after a recent competition in LA, Charles returned home sick, with a high temperature, throwing up and thinking he probably had the flu. While in flight, he passed out and his right leg began to swell up. A doctor in Hunstville said, “You need to go to the ER right now.” This was about eight weeks from the Arnold Classic in March at the time. As soon as he got to the ER, they did blood work and a CT-scan, and in less than three hours, he was in surgery. Charles had picked up a staff infection and was told he needed emergency surgery due to the infection entering his bloodstream. The medical staff drained the infection in his right thigh and Charles spent the next seven days flat on his back in the hospital, not at the gym training for competition. “He was so weak, and it took a few days before he felt any better,” When he got out of the hospital a week later, he met with his coach, who gave him clearance to go on with his training. Charles had a lot of ground to make up before Arnold, but he was ready for a fight. That year Despite all the challenges he still was able to make it to the finals.
In bodybuilding and men’s physique, there is a lot of self-focus due to a large amount of it being all about your physical development, conditioning, and presentation. That type of focus, along with the countless hours Charles has spent to cultivate his show-winning physique, is what made the man he is today. For anyone familiar with the contest prep for the Arnold, one of the premier bodybuilding competitions in the world, seven days in the hospital would mean immediate cancellation of the competition for that individual. But not for Charles. Ask his coach and training partner, Courtney English, who has been training with Charles on and off for a few years. The two are much alike in that they don’t sit around and chat. They put in their headphones and get to work, neither letting the other get the upper hand. If Courtney does ten of something, Charles does 11 and vice versa, which makes them always pushing each other to get to the next level.
In 2020, Charles is made another preparation for the Arnold Classic. He lost the title by one point “ losing the World Title by one point it’s something I’m going to think about every day until I step back on that stage in 2021,” Charles says. “This is not my normal workout routine, but it is designed for ramping up to the competition. This is a world-wide event and I will be up against the best so I have to be prepared, both mentally and physically.” Preparation for this Arnold has been a big challenge for Charles. In 2020 he had 13 friends and family members pass away. Charles lost his childhood friend and college roommate, Mark Gettis. Mark always was extremely motivated to Charles and would talk to him weekly, always checking in and providing him with inspirational quotes and videos on life and pushing through adversity when times get tough. Mark passed away at 33 years old.
Another childhood friend Meece Kyle death took a toll on Charles has they hung out all day together, played cards , Grilled out then moments before Charles left Meece ask him for a Ruck Nutrition shirt. Charles didn’t know this would be the last time he would see if childhood friend. Meece die few hours later after Charles left at 32 years old. The most horrific moment in 2020 was Charles losing his grandmother that helped raised him. He literally sat by her side and talked to her all night on September 2 when she took her last breath 3:33 “I was devastated all of 2020 to the point of just being numb,” Charles said. “But with my team around me and I’ve been able push through. “So I’m dedicating this year to all of them who can’t be here I know they watching” Along with his bodybuilding career, Charles also owns a thriving supplement company called Ruck Nutrition, one of the fastest growing supplement companies in the industry.
Ruck Nutrition is in it’s second year of growth and was built around one question, “How can we help others along their journey?” Charles says. He designed Ruck Nutrition to help people accomplish their goals at the gym, on the field or in any arena of their choosing. In 2020, Ruck Nutrition added meal prep meals, online training and coaching too. “We are also launching in 2021 new labels on all of our supplements along with some new products. Our lineup consists of PreRuck – a pre-workout – IGF-! Extreme – a natural growth hormone – and Ruck BCAAs for boosting muscle growth and enhancing exercise performance. This year we will be launching a total cleanse detox, free test booster, a fat burner and a few more surprises,” Charles says. You can pick up Ruck Nutrition products at RuckNutrition.com. If all of the above isn’t enough, 2021 He is also scheduled to release a book later this fall. “The book talks about some of the challenges I faced to get where I am today. No matter how bad things might get, I will always remember to never give up,” Charles says. “And I will carry that with me forever.” Follow Charles’ journey to The Arnold Sports Festival on his YouTube and Instagram pages by searching Charles Rucker on Youtube and @charles_rucker_
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I grew up with a single mother on disabilities Car wreck (lost over a 100lbs, in and out of the hospital for over a year, multiple surgeries on my face and hands, had to learn to eat and talk again, lost my football scholarship because of the wreck) Was homeless, had my car repo my first Arnold classic six weeks out and I have emergency surgery to save my life had infection in my bloodstream. 2020 I lost 13 friends and family members. Being with one of my boys all day then leaving and finding out hours later he passed. Sitting beside my grandmother asking her to keep fighting all the way to the moment she takes her last breath in front of me. My journey has been everything but easy or smooth. I will say God has never leave me or forsake me. He continues to give me strength and growth i truly believe he gives his toughest battles to is strongest soldiers.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am an entrepreneur I own Ruck Nutrition, a supplement company we also do food prep and we do online personal training. I’m in the process of writing a book and I have been a fitness model for the last eight years and I’m Men’s Physique to be a competitor.