Fitness has become part of my lifestyle.

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Fitness fanatic:Diane Rieder

Diane Rieder is 35-year-old full time working Mom and an amateur bikini fitness athlete.

She wrote a column for Justjody.co.za about her fitness journey.

My fitness journey started 2 years ago when I decided I wanted to change my lifestyle and become the healthiest and strongest version of myself. I had been a smoker for 17 years, ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and was what you call ‘skinny-fat’ thin with absolutely no shape or strength. I didn’t want to live the lifestyle I was living anymore, tired with no zest for life. I wanted to be fit, to be able to play with my son and set the right example for him. I made the conscious decision to start my health and fitness journey, step by step, day by day and I haven’t looked back.

I train 5-6 days a week, incorporating both cardio training and weight training. Weight training has changed my whole mindset of training. It’s so important to include weight training into your training programme as it gives a woman beautiful shape, strength and keeps your metabolism boosted, even when resting. My diet is very clean, mainly chicken, tuna, hake, green beans and sweet potato. I do have a very sweet tooth and I love cake, cookies, ice cream and pizza so I have to be very disciplined, especially during competition prep.

Fitness has become part of my lifestyle. I look forward to my training sessions and crave the natural high that exercise gives you. I believe we are built to enjoy physical activity and I can really feel both physically and mentally the difference in myself if I haven’t been training. In this journey, I found myself falling more and more in love with fitness and decided to give competing a try after it had been suggested to me by a personal trainer. I had never thought of doing anything like this before and had no idea that there were so many divisions available to compete in. In my mind, bodybuilding was about huge muscles and mainly an industry for men. Once I started reading up and finding out more about the industry, I became more excited to give it a try. After watching a clip about Ernestine Shepherd, the oldest competing female bodybuilder in the world I was convinced, especially because I had decided to start competing at the age of 34, Ernestine only started training in her 50s and still competed into her 70s.

I competed for the first time in 2016 and didn’t compete again until over a year later, you have to be mentally prepared to handle the stage and I wasn’t going to compete again until I felt I was really ready. I recently competed at Muscle Mulisha Grand prix 2 where I placed 2nd in my division. I loved the show and really enjoyed the camaraderie between the athletes, the athletes support each other a lot, probably because we understand each other, we understand how much discipline and dedication it takes to compete and we respect each other for that. I am completely hooked and I am looking forward to competing again in the near future. I’m so excited to learn more about what I have realised now, is my passion.