Friday, January 28, 2011
INBA Pro Diane Mueller Interview
Really happy to have a second interview with Diane Mueller. Allows her to share some great news. First if you remember from her first interview she had an injury that hampered her leg training, and she is now healed, so that's great news. Also she had a great 2010. Did three shows, winning her class in all three and the overall in two of them. Not hard to figure out why she had that success either. Diane is as dedicated and hard working as it gets. She rated 2010 as a 9.5 for her, well get ready because I expect 2011 to be a perfect 10 for her.
Q: Diane thanks for taking the time to do another interview.
A: Thank you so much for the opportunity to do this again, it's always exciting
to visit with you.
Q: For those not familiar can you tell a little about yourself.
A: I am a light weight bodybuilder from Wisconsin, who is doing the best I can
to make the most out of every opportunity that comes my way. I am not the
most genetically gifted bodybuilder there is, but I have a very strong level
of determination to improve my musculature every year.
Q: Can you update people on whats been going on with you since our last
interview, on and off the stage.
A: The biggest news since our last interview is that my hip has healed up and I
am back into my leg training. For those who may not know, I struggle with
stress fractures in my lower body. I definitely have had more than my fair
share, this year being no different, as I had a stress fracture in the left
femoral neck of my hip. Trying to overcome these setbacks always proves to
be a real challenge for me, but little by little, I am making progress and
my legs are becoming more developed every year, despite these untimely
As far as upcoming contests for me, I will be competing as a natural pro in
the INBA Natural Team USA competition in Las Vegas, NV on September 24th. I
am so excited for this competition as I will be living my dream, competing
in a large venue as a natural professional athlete. It doesn't get any
better than that!!
Q: Have you been watching any of the competitions lately? Anyone impress
A: I have had the pleasure of watching a few local shows this past fall,
generally following the progress of my fellow teammates with Team Abrams. I
am always impressed with the dedication and passion displayed by the
athletes wherever I go. It is so inspiring to sit in the audience and watch
these athletes display all their hard work with so much pride and
enthusiasm. I never get tired of being around the sport of bodybuilding,
it's the most wonderful sport in the world.
Q: What are your thoughts on the new Physique division?
A: This is a difficult question for me, as I'm not overly familiar with the new
category. It's hard to have an opinion when you've never actually seen it.
But, since you asked me, I will go with my gut feeling on this. It makes me
wonder how many divisions for women there really needs to be? We have
bodybuilding with multiple weight classes, fitness, figure and bikini... and
now we have physique? All these divisions seem a little crazy to me. These
added divisions are probably great for the promoters who are lining their
pockets with entrance fees, but in my mind, it is hurting female competitors
more than it is helping them. The more divisions there are, the more our
already small pool of competitors there will be in each division. Female
bodybuilding has taken the hardest hit with the introduction of all these
other divisions and I think that is very sad. There is so much pride in
training as heavy and hard as possible trying to create the leanest and most
muscular body possible. In my mind, physique sounds like what female
bodybuilding would look like if the NPC had a standard of testing its
athletes for banned substances. In the natural federations such as the INBF
and ABA, just to name a few, there isn't a problem with overly muscular,
masculine looking women, because those athletes are all tested before they
ever step on stage.
Q: Have you noticed any one part of your physique that you really improved
on in 2010?
A: During my 2010 competition season, my goal was to work on leg mass and of
course the old standby's of back and shoulders. I was quite pleased with my
legs this past year, despite having to start all over in my training yet
again due to a stress fracture in my left foot. So I am always pleased
whenever I see any growth in my legs. Other than that, I was able to really
add some nice mass to my back this past year.
Q: Heading to 2011, what do you want to improve on?
A: This year I am focusing very heavily on my biceps. Now that I have brought
up some other lagging body parts, my biceps needed more work, so I am
working to keep my biceps in check with the rest of my physique. Aside from
my biceps, I am still trying to add size to my legs and shoulders.
Q: Looking back on 2010. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate the year for
yourself competing wise?
A: 2010 was an AMAZING year for me... I would rate it at a 9.5%! I competed in
three shows in 2010 and I won my class in all of them and won the overall in
two out of three shows!! That is an incredible success rate, most of which I
attribute to searching out and finding the proper assistance I needed to
perfect my presentation. In the fall of 2009, I contacted Jennifer Abrams to
work with me on my stage presentation, and the rest as they say, is history.
The time I spent working with Jennifer became invaluable to me and I decided
to make the most of my efforts by training with her and joining her team.
She turned my off-season and competition season training around, and I am
convinced that she is the reason for my success this past year.
Q: As far as the fitness industry, are there any changes you would like to
A: I wish there was a greater emphasis on natural athletics. There are so many
beautiful physiques built drug-free, yet all the magazine attention,
supplement contracts and prize money is given to the people who have turned
their backs on their morals and sold out to using performance enhancing
Q: Depending on who you talk to, some think women in the industry are getting more respect, then others say less. Which side do you fall on?
A: I think you have been getting conflicting opinions on this topic because
there are two very dominant sides to it. I feel women are getting more
respect in health and fitness because they make such wonderful examples and
role models for the industry. I love seeing women who are taking care of
themselves and look healthy. Magazines are scattered full of them.
The opinion turns negative when unnaturally large women are showcased, who
have given up their femininity in return for overly large muscles. Men don't
have this problem because they are already male, so using banned substances
only makes them capable of building more muscle, it doesn't mess with their
nature/gender. People enjoy seeing strong women, but only to a certain
extent. I hear comments all the time saying, "I like the way you look right
now, but don't get any bigger." I hear that A LOT! Of course my goal is to
get bigger, but how much bigger I get will be determined by genetics and
Q: Do you get a lot of people asking for diet and training advice? If so, whats the most typical type of question?
A: Yes, people ask me to train them or ask for advice all the time. The most
typical question, is also the most difficult question to answer, "How can I
look like you?" That's a pretty generalized question, so I tend to give them
a generalized answer. I usually say, "Train heavy and hard, and follow a
healthy diet." When people ask me to train them or ask for training advice,
I give them a very flattered smile but simply say, "I'm not a personal
trainer, so all I can do is tell you what works for me..." and then go on to
try to answer as many questions as I can.
Q: Can you give people an idea of what your typical training routine and
diet are like.
A: Right now I am in my off-season, so this is my opportunity to add quality
muscle for my completion in September. As such, I only train 4 days per week
and don't really do any cardio to maximize my recovery time. You grow while
you're outside the gym, recovering from your workout, not while you are in
the gym working out. I am also a believer in training the smaller body parts
with the larger body parts to give those smaller parts additional growth
opportunity by tapping into the anabolic spillover. So a regular week looks
like this for me: Sunday - Chest, Tuesday - Quads and Biceps, Thursday -
Hamstrings and Shoulders, Friday - Back and Triceps. Abs and calves are
spread out amongst those training days.
My diet stays pretty close to my contest diet all year round, the only
difference is that I eat A LOT more in my off-season. I understand that in
order to grow quality muscle, you need to eat a full diet of healthful,
nutritious foods. So my meals stay with the same staples of: Chicken breast,
bison, fruits, vegetables, brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, peanut
butter and protein powders. These are all quality foods that serve your body
well, whether you are in growth mode or contest prep mode. Your body always
appreciates quality fuel.
Q: What is your favorite healthy meal and favorite cheat meal?
A: My favorite food to eat is this mixture I make up of: chocolate casein
protein powder, cottage cheese and then either strawberry yogurt or peanut
butter (depending on how my calories are for the day). My favorite cheat
meal is quite simply, pizza! I have a hard time walking past a pizza without
snatching a piece when it is sitting out at work.
Q: What body part do you most enjoy training and why?
A: My favorite body part to train is Chest, because it is a muscle group that
responds really well for me.
Q: Which do you least enjoy training and why?
A: I've never been too much of a fan of training Biceps, however, since I've
began training them harder than ever this year, I've adopted a love/hate
relationship with them. I still hate training them, but now I love to train
them because I can see the fruits of my labor already with increased size. I
can't wait until diet season to see how they look when I'm stage-ready!
Q: When it comes time for off season, how long do you consider your off
season, and how far over contest weight do you like to go?
A: How long my off-season is depends on when my next show is. I'm a believer in
stripping off the body fat at a slow and controlled pace to prevent losing
too much muscle. So I usually count out 16 - 20 weeks from the date of my
show and that is when I begin my diet. I think 15 to 20 pounds over contest
weight is a satisfactory place to be, but once you start hitting 25 pounds
over contest weight, I think it becomes more of a hindrance than a help. My
body responds really well at 15-20 pounds over, that is when I feel my
strongest and healthiest. When I weigh around 135, I feel like I can take on
Q: Do you prefer training alone or with a partner and why?
A: I'm definitely an advocate of having a trainer. I like having someone with
me who is solely focused on me and who only has my best interest at heart.
When I'm working out with a trainer I am able to lift heavier because I have
a spotter to make sure I don't hurt myself, and I have someone to help force
me through those last brutal, muscle building reps.
Q: Usually I ask what the biggest misconception about competitors is. This
time I will ask whats the biggest misconception about you?
A: The biggest misconception about me is that I am full of myself and
difficult. When I'm at the gym, I'm in the zone. From the moment I walk in,
until I'm ready to leave, I'm all business. I am completely focused on and
preparing for my training session, and not making small talk with all the
other ladies in the locker room or scattered about the gym. Most women tend
to be put off by me because they want to talk to me the entire time that I'm
in the gym, but when I'm there, I have a very limited amount of time to
accomplish all the things I need to do, and making small talk is the last
thing on my mind. I train very heavy and very intense, because that's what
it takes to make your body look it's absolute best, and improving my body is
my only mission.
Q: What would you say is your biggest achievement so far in the fitness industry?
A: By far, my biggest accomplishment was on August 7th, 2010 when I earned the
privilege to compete as a natural pro. I was so overcome with emotion and
pride, I think I smiled for two weeks straight.
Q: What is a typical day like for you?
A: My days are really quite normal and boring. I get up, get my things ready
for the gym and for work and head off to the gym, I go straight from the gym
to work and I don't get home until 10:30 pm, so I finish a few odds and ends
at home and then go to bed to start the crazy cycle all over again.
Q: Finish this sentence. In five years I will be____?
A: Standing on the stage for the INBA Natural Olympia, anxiously awaiting to be awarded the championship. Hey, a girl can dream, can't she...? :-)
Q: Anything else you want to plug or promote?
A: If you or anyone you know is looking to improve their competition
experience, I highly recommend contacting my coach, Jennifer Abrams. She
provides on-line coaching, personal training, assistance with competition
prep, and is the leader of her formal competition team, Team Abrams. Since
I've begun working with Jennifer, my confidence level has increased
dramatically and my competition results have been supreme. I am so thankful
I chose her to help me with my competition preparations and I am confident
that anyone else would feel the same way. She is wonderful to work with. You
can find her at www.jenniferabrams.net.
Q: Looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what do they get
in sponsoring you as an athlete?
A: Yes, I am definitely in the market for a sponsorship. As you all know, the
costs of competing are very expensive and now that I'm competing on a
professional level, the costs have gone up even higher. By sponsoring me, I
would advertise that company's products like crazy, I'd be a walking/talking
billboard for them all day long. I'd wear their tank tops to the gym, their
t-shirts out in public and would talk about their products to everyone I
come in contact with. I'm a hard working person and would be honored to work
at their booths at expos, too. If anyone is interested in getting in touch
with me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'd be honored to talk to
Q: Diane, again, thanks so much for doing this. Any last words before you
A: Don't lift like a girl, lift like a bodybuilder. Train hard, train strong,