Kim Baldonado, Sue Monroe
A 64-year-old great-grandmother from Los Angeles beat out several of her younger competitors in a bikini competition earlier this month in Atlanta, Georgia. Ruby Carter-Pikes says her family's poor medical history inspires her to stay fit and live a healthy lifestyle. Kim Baldonado reports for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on June 20, 2012.
A 64-year-old great-grandmother from Los Angeles beat out several of her younger competitors in a fitness competition earlier this month in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ruby Carter-Pikes and her six-pack abs placed second in the Women’s Figure category, placed in the Fit Moms catergories, and was named Women’s Super Masters Champion, according to a video posted to FitSciences Championships’ Facebook page.
"It's like showing people age is only a number and you don't have to get cut up or do anything crazy, just be healthy and take care of your body," Carter-Pikes said.
Judging for the Figure category focused heavily on shoulder, latssimus dorsi and quadriceps, according to the event’s website.
“Abdominal development is very important as well. Definition with a limited amount of striated muscles,” the rules read, in part.
Carter-Pikes is the oldest of twelve siblings and the first granddaughter of 45 grandchildren, she writes on the fitness site BodyProud.org.
"I have to look in the mirror sometimes and say, 'Damn girl, you're 64!' But I feel the same. I can do everything I ever did," she told NBC4.
In her online profile, Carter-Pikes, who grew up in rural Mississippi, writes that her journey to fitness started when she saw her family members’ poor health result in early death and lost limbs:
"It wasn’t until I was an adult and had four children that I really start to realize and recognize the devastation of my family’s poor eating habits and the effects it had on the health my love ones including my grandmother, mother, aunts, sisters, uncles, brothers, etc.," she wrote.
"For example, my grandmother died at 57 after being diagnosed with heart problem and high cholesterol; my mother fought the battle of diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease; a sister leg was amputated as a result diabetes (while on dialysis). A niece was diagnosed with diabetes at the early age of 11 and was prescribed insulin shots immediately. She lived with the disease until the age of 32."
Carter-Pikes attributes her family’s eating habits and medical history, in part, to a lack of health education among African American and Latino communities.
"Coming from a black family, and most Hispanics, too, we die from high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, kidney failure, it's not because of our genes, it's because of what we eat," she said.
The self-described fitness guru emphasized there are no shortcuts to a healthy life.
"You can't put it in a bottle, you can't put it in a box, you can't put it in a pill, you can't cut it out, you can't suck it out, you have to live it," Carter-Pikes said.