Thursday, October 14, 2010
Diane Mueller Interview
Looking at her contest history you see "1st place" written quite a few times. That is a credit to the obvious hard work and determination of Diane Mueller. When you read this interview you can easily see the love and passion she has for training and competing, and that is something that has to be admired and respected. Diane has big plans for 2011 and if she keeps up with that hard work, there is every reason to believe she will be a success in those plans.
Q: First, Diane, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do this. It is my pleasure to
tell you my story.
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I was raised in a small town in northeastern Wisconsin. I'm the youngest of
seven children, five boys and two girls, and admittedly, I am the runt of
the family. Being raised in a rural community and with having five older
brothers has helped me a great deal with my bodybuilding, as it taught me to
be as strong mentally as I am physically. As a child, we didn't have an
overabundance of money so my family had a "hobby farm" that helped to make
sure we had the food we needed to eat. We raised cows, pigs and chickens so
our freezer was always full. We all worked hard in my family, everyone was
expected to pull their weight, and I believe this is where my strict work
ethic was born.
Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or
A: In my family we were only allowed to participate in one sport per year, so
my sport of choice was Cross Country. I've always loved to run, but I found
running Track to be quite boring. I'm a terrible sprinter, my body is built
for endurance. I'm getting better with my sprint work, but it's not
something I will ever excel at. I am also an avid bicyclist. I love to ride
bike, always have. In fact if you look closely at my pictures, you'll see
that I have a large abdominal scar on my left side. That scar is the remnant
of a childhood bicycle accident where I ruptured my spleen. But that didn't
deter me. My parents were afraid I wouldn't want to ride my bike ever again,
but much to their surprise, I was back on that bike riding around the
driveway before I was healed enough to be able to go back to school that
year. I guess you could say I showed incredible resiliency even as a seven
Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: My first introduction to the gym was when a friend gave me a free pass to
attend an indoor cycling class that was taught by her personal trainer. I
fell in love with that cycle class from the very first day and it has been a
passion of mine ever since. I ended up joining that gym just so I could
continue to come to cycle class. Eventually I was given an assessment by one
of the personal trainers and I told this trainer that I needed help with my
strength conditioning as I was about to graduate from the Criminal Justice
program and would need to participate in some physical agility testing to
get hired with a law enforcement agency. I began training with this personal
trainer and the rest is history.
Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you
started to see results?
A: My body adapted to weight training very quickly and I began to see results
almost immediately. I've never had weight issues, so as I began to add
muscle mass it was visible because I didn't have a layer of fat covering it
up. I'm a naturally lean person, so for me, the difficulty comes in trying
to add size. Dieting down is easy for me, but bulking up, that's where I
have a hard time.
Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: About a year and a half after I had been weight training, someone hung up a
flyer in my gym advertising a local bodybuilding contest. I was reluctant to
enter the competition, but my trainer was determined I should do this, so I
did. I had no idea what I was doing at that first show, as I had never been
to a competition before. I taught myself how to pose by looking at the
pictures in the "Arnold Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding," I had no idea how to
diet properly and dehydration was nothing I had ever heard of. I was an
absolute mess out there, but at the same time, I had the time of my life
that day. I fell in love with competing instantly.
Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time?
A: I can't really say that I have the support of my family with regards to
competition. They don't care that I do it, but they don't do anything to
help me either. They just look at it as, "One of those weird Diane things."
Q: Was competing what you expected? Did anything surprise you about it?
A: I had no idea what to expect with that first competition as I had never been
to a show before. I went in there completely vulnerable. Fortunately the
show I competed in was a relatively small show, so I felt a little bit at
home, even though I was completely lost. I just walked around watching
people and took mental notes of the things I saw people doing, so I could do
some research when I got home. I'm a student of exercise and competition
strategies. I read as much as I can, as often as I can, about these topics,
because I don't feel you can ever know enough. There are always different
ideas and opinions out there that you need to be exposed to in order to
determine the proper path for you to take.
Q: Can you share your contest history
A: Sure, I just finished my fourth year of competition and this is my history:
*2007 NPC Fox Cities Bodybuilding Championships- Little Chute, WI- 1st Place Light Weight Class and Overall Champion
*2008 NPC Fox Cities Bodybuilding Championships-Little Chute, WI- 2nd Place Light Weight Class
*2008 INBF Midwest Natural Bodybuilding Championships- Madison, WI 3rd Place Light Weight Class
*2009 INBF Wisconsin Natural Bodybuilding Championships- Madison, WI- 1st Place Light Weight Class and Overall Champion
*2009 NPC Grand Prix Natural Bodybuilding Championships- Rockford, IL- 2nd Place Light Weight Class
*2010 NPC Midwest Open Bodybuilding Championships- Davenport, IA 1st- Place Light Weight Class and Overall Champion
*2010 NPC Texas Shredder Classic- Austin, TX- 1st Place Light Weight Class
*2010 ABA Natural North America- Bolingbrook, IL- 1st Place and Overall Champion
Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: Despite my abdominal scar, my abs are definitely my stand-out body part.
Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: My favorite body part to train would be my Back, followed very closely by
Chest. My favorite exercise to perform is the Standing T-Bar Row using an
Olympic Bar wedged in a corner. I like to do this exercise using 35# plates
instead of 45#'ers, because I can get a greater range of motion with the
smaller plate. You have to use more plates, but it is worth it. I love this
exercise so much because I can really feel all the muscles pump up and
working on each rep. That's an awesome feeling.
Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how do you alter
it for contest prep?
A: In the off-season, I usually get my bodyweight up to 20 - 25 pounds over
contest weight so I can add muscle mass. You have to eat large portions of
healthy foods and put on some body fat if you hope to grow. This year I
competed at 115.6 and my hope is to compete at 120 pounds next August. 5
pounds is a huge goal for a "natural" female bodybuilder, but it is a goal I
intend to reach. I don't do cardio during the off-season because I have a
hard time keeping the my bodyweight up, so adding in cardio would be
counterproductive. I train two bodyparts per day on an every other day
training split. I try to train a smaller bodypart when train a larger
bodypart to try to dip into the anabolic spillover from that large bodypart.
So I generally train my shoulders with my Quads, Biceps with either Back or
Hamstrings and Triceps with Chest. My weight training stays exactly the same
all the way up to the week before the show. I always stay in the 8 - 10 rep,
muscle building range. I don't ever go light for higher reps. My diet for
contest prep stays pretty much the same, just that I eat less food. I follow
a slow dieting method. I count it out so it comes to 1 to 1 1/2 pounds per
week and then I eat enough food to make sure I don't lose any strength in my
lifting and then burn the excess off with cardio.
Q: When someone sees your physique or hears you compete for the first
time, what is the most common reaction? More positive or negative?
A: Most people generally think I compete in "something" when they see me as my
upper body tends to stay quite lean all year. I hold most of my bodyfat in
my lower half, so when I'm in my off-season I always wear workout pants and
a tank top. As I begin to diet down, then I'll switch over to wearing shorts
because my legs slowly begin to take shape and people love to watch me as I
diet down. Most people in my gym find me inspiring to watch. So like I said,
most people think I compete in "something," but when I tell them I am a
bodybuilder, the positive attitude generally turns negative. Almost
instantly people start to think I take some sort of banned substances and
they automatically think I am too small to be a bodybuilder as visions of
Iris Kyle come into their minds. It's really sad the negative labels that
the sport of bodybuilding has been tagged with. Not everyone that competes
uses banned substances.
Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment
you are most sick of hearing?
A: "I can't lift weights because I build too much muscle."
Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or
the one thing you wish people understood?
A: I wish people understood that bodybuilding is about so much more than
steroids and "manly" looking women. To me, bodybuilding is the most
beautiful sport in the world. This is how I see the sport of bodybuilding:
You spend an entire year lifting heavy weights and eating lots of healthful
nutritious foods to give you the energy you need to train hard, repair and
grow. You do these things religiously all year long with the hopes of
building extra muscle mass, bringing up your "weak parts" and all-around
perfecting your physique. Then about twenty weeks before your competition,
you begin your diet. You maintain your heavy workouts, add in cardio, while
reducing your calories, to slowly remove those layers of body fat which had
served you so well as a fuel source during your off-season. But now those
layers are an unsightly vision that you become determined to remove
completely. As your contest draws nearer and nearer, your physique becomes
leaner and leaner until the day of the show, when your final masterpiece,
your work of art, is displayed. You've spent an entire year doing all the
right things to perfectly peak yourself for this show, to stand on a stage
and have your physique, your work of art, critiqued and judged against all
the other competitors who dared to stand next to you on the stage.
Bodybuilding isn't about winning or losing, okay on some levels it is, but I
look at bodybuilding as a mental journey. Competition preparation is a very
difficult task and only those who have ever done it, can truly understand
how mentally taxing it is. It tests your passion, your drive, your stamina,
and your discipline. But these factors are what make preparing for a show so
satisfying. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your physique at
it's ultimate best, knowing in your own mind, all the personal struggles
you went through getting ready for this show. That is what true pride feels
like. Proudly walking across that stage, hitting your poses, knowing you
were beat down by the process, but you rose above it and persevered. That
wonderful feeling is worth a million times more than any trophy will ever be
worth. That feeling is what makes this whole process worth while.
Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: The best part of competing is the feeling that you are a rock star for a day.
Everyone wants a piece of you. Everyone tells you how great you look,
acknowledges how hard you worked to get there, wants pictures taken with
you. Strangers ask for your opinion on things. You truly are on top of the
world... for that one day.
On that same token, the worst part of competing is coming down off your
competition high. You get so fired up as you diet-down and you get very used
to watching your body look better and better every day. Then the contest
ends and you go back to being a regular person. As soon as you eat regular
food and drink water, your body begins to go the opposite way. Even though
you know in your head that eating healthful nutritious foods is exactly
what you need to do in order to begin the muscle building process all over
again, it's still a bit depressing to watch your body fill up with water and
body fat. Your beautiful work of art becomes "average" looking.
Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I am very fortunate that the person I admire most in this sport is also my
coach, Jennifer Abrams. Under Jennifer's guidance, she has taught me how to
train and eat properly to grow, how to compete with dignity and class, and
how to carry myself as an inspiration and a role-model in my every day life.
The things she has taught me are invaluable and priceless.
Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: I don't really have a favorite cheat meal, as I don't stray from the basic
healthful foods in my off-season, I just eat A LOT more of it. One thing
that I love to eat however, and admittedly I eat too much of, is this before
bed snack I created. I take a scoop of vanilla casein protein powder, add
cottage cheese and some peanut butter and mix it up and eat it. You have to
add a little water to it or it becomes cement-like. But this tastes so good
to me and I have a hard time only having one serving of it.
Q: If another woman told you she wanted to start training, what is the one
piece of advice you would most want to give her?
A: Find a knowledgeable trainer to teach you the basics. A trainer will know how
to start you off slowly so you don't injure yourself and quit. It's
important to learn the muscles of the body and which exercises work which
muscle groups. This is where a trainer can help you get off to a good start
and get you headed in the right direction.
Q: Do you think muscular women are becoming more accepted by society?
A: Yes. It's been a long time coming, but I think society is finally beginning
to see that a strong woman is a beautiful woman, and that muscularity is
beautiful whether it is on a man or a woman. There is nothing more
attractive than a confident, assertive, strong person that knows what they
want and aren't afraid to go out and get it.
Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I enjoy outdoor activities, such as biking, running and walking. That's part
of the reason I enjoy competition prep season so much, because I finally get
to indulge in these activities that are off-limits during my off-season. I'm
also an avid reader. I love to read exercise and nutrition based books, of
course, but I also love to read about history and autobiographies. I love to
learn. You'll never see me reading a fictional type book, because in my
mind, if I can't learn something from what I am reading, then I'm not going
to bother reading it.
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Diane Mueller.
A: The typical day in my life is really quite routine... I wake up around 8:00,
I get all my food and work items all packed up and ready to go and then I
head off to the gym. I'm usually at the gym from around 10:30 or 11:00 until
12:30, then I shower and get ready for work, and then I work from 1:40 PM -
10 PM. I come home, goof around on the computer for a bit and then head off
to bed. Just an average day from an average person.
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: That I have an early onset of osteoporosis and one of the challenges I have
to deal with is more than my fair share of stress fractures. I'm currently
dealing with a stress fracture in my left femoral neck in my hip. I
accumulated this injury while I was prepping for this last show on August
7th. The injury came about two weeks prior to the show, so I had to figure
out how to rearrange my training to be able to get in the shape necessary to
win that show. It was difficult and painful, but I'm pleased to say that I
came into that show in the best shape of my life and I did it while being
injured. Now that's determination.
Q: Describe Diane Mueller in five words.
A: Honest, Loyal, Funny, Determined, Strong
Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I just finished my last show of the season on August 7th, so now I am well
into my off-season. I plan to compete in and win the ABA Natural North
America again next August and once I win that show I am going to continue on
within that organization competing as a professional. After that show in
August, I will move on to the Natural Team USA in Las Vegas and then if all
goes well there, move on to Natural Universe and Natural Olympia. Big goals,
but I'm tough enough to do it.
Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: I'm always loyal to my friends, so if I get the opportunity to give them a
plug, I'm all for it...
If you're interested in competing in bodybuilding, figure or anything else,
I highly recommend my coach, Jennifer Abrams. She is an amazing coach, but
more importantly, she is an amazing person. She has on-line options, as well
as personal training options, you can find all this information out on her
website: www.jenniferabrams.net and click on email me to send her a message
and you'll be on your way. Since I began training with her, I am undefeated
in my class and have won the overall in 2 out of 3 shows. Now that's a
successful track record.
Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are
they getting in Diane Mueller the athlete and competitor?
A: Yes, I am very interested in finding a sponsor. My goals for next year
include quite a bit of travel which will become very expensive, so any
financial support I can get would be very much appreciated. If anyone is
interested in sponsoring an upcoming bodybuilder with the heart and
determination of a warrior, please send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would be very happy and very honored to correspond with you and see if we
can work out a sponsorship.
Q: Diane, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words
before you go?
A: Train hard, Train NATURAL, Lift strong... It's time to GROW!!