Fitness Amateur Of The Week: Tuff-Ah Than Most 37 Year Olds!

Tuffah thought she was too old to compete but humbled herself quickly. See how she overcame pregnancy and self-doubt to reclaim her life!

Name: Tuffah Dunne
BodySpace: Dunne5
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Age: 37  Height: 5'6"
Weight: 122 lbs contest, 130 lbs off
Years Bodybuilding: 1

How Did Your Fitness Journey Begin?

I'm originally from Kenya, Africa, and am married to a soldier. We have three beautiful daughters ages 18, 11, and 15 months. I was a tomboy growing up and was really into athletics. My favorite sports in high school were swimming, basketball, and volleyball. My mother supported my sisters and I in life and sports, which made us comfortable to try anything.

Five years ago, my husband asked if I would like to compete in a figure bodybuilding competition. At first, I said no and thought it wasn't for me. I didn't think I could win. He said I would never know unless I tried. I gave it thought, but wasn't ready, so I continued with daily cardio and lightweight lifting.

After giving birth to my third daughter, I became weak and gained 28 pounds. One month later, I became determined to get back into shape and look better than ever. When I first got back into the gym, I noticed exactly how weak and fragile I had become. It was a major disappointment and I felt like I let myself down. I did my best to push through every workout to make it count and slowly started to gain strength and endurance.

After Thanksgiving in November 2012, I started to train for figure and got serious with nutrition and lifting. It took 16 weeks to prepare and get my body where it needed to be.

My first competition was the Denver NPC Nutrition Company where I won three overall championships and was completely overjoyed. It proved that I could do anything I put my mind to. The key is to stay positive and truly dedicated to the challenge, and know that hard work pays off. Age, pregnancy, or weight shouldn't stop anyone from reaching their dreams. The sky is the limit. Working out is more than just looking pretty, sexy, or losing weight. I love working out because it balances my hormones, I feel strong, but most importantly because it keeps me healthy.

How Did Your Passion for Fitness Emerge?

Fitness is my only thing that allows me to be myself and selfish. I enjoy working out because my body responds well to strength training. At age 38, I compete with younger competitors. I believe anything is possible if you're committed, motivated, and focused. I'm not interested in clubs or bars. The gym is my playground and keeps me disciplined.

What/Who Motivates You to Live a Healthy Lifestyle?

When I decided to become a fitness trainer I also wanted to improve the lifestyle of my kids who are athletic, but love to eat sweets, chips, and dessert. I wanted to change my family's eating habits and introduce healthier food to them. I still bake for them, but substitute healthier ingredients and allow a cheat day once in a while.

Where Did You Go for Inspiration?

My husband inspires me because he works hard and doesn't make excuses. I appreciate his dedication. I see the same work ethic in my kids which assures me they will grow up to be respectful, motivated, and hardworking adults.

What Are Your Future Fitness Plans?

I would love to make it to the next level, but this is just the beginning. I want to become an IFBB figure pro. I plan to enter the NPC Northern Colorado Championships in Denver. I'm working to build my physique and gain more muscle, especially on my lats.

What Is the Most Important Fitness Tip?

Don't give up when it gets hard. Make realistic goals and push yourself. If you follow a workout and nutrition program the right way, you will see results. Always remind yourself why you started an improved life and log your workouts and nutrition plan. If you cheat, don't be discouraged and get back on track. Nobody is perfect.

Who Is Your Favorite Fitness Competitor?

Camala Rodriguez and Ann Claiborne.

How Did Help You Reach Your Goals?

I use BodySpace to track my progress and have used it to become friends with lots of positive people who help and inspire me.

Tuffah's Top 5 Gym Tracks

  1. "Just Give Me A Reason" by Pink (feat. Nate Ruess)
  2. "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (feat. Wanz)
  3. "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne
  4. "This Love" by Pantera
  5. "Walk" by Pantera