Contest Weight: 43.8kg
Offseason Weight: 49kg
Comp Coach: Michael Schneider
PT: Sarah Jane White
Posing Coach: Phoebe Cooper
NatBod: Share a little background information about yourself for our readers?
Diana Peter: I’ve never been a sporty person and growing up I’ve always tried my best to avoid anything too physical. In fact, I remember pretending to be my mom and writing up sick notes that I would hand to the physical education teacher and this happened a lot through high school.
DP: I was at a low point in my life; I’d just broken up with my ex of 4 years and had a few other situational problems at the same time. Stressed out, I started drinking a lot, usually 3 times a week and also started smoking. The smoking gave me anxiety so it didn’t last very long but I continued drinking. On one particular night out, I remember having a picture taken and not recognising myself in it. That’s when I knew I wanted to make a change. It was hard at first, not knowing which gym to join, what to do at the gym, how to use the equipment, a lack of motivation and constantly feeling insecure about how I looked. I didn’t want to give up as I had signed a gym membership for a year so I got a PT, Sarah White. She taught me all I needed to know about weights and motivated me to keep going. It was also a lot harder to bail when I had someone at the gym waiting on me. That was all I had planned for up to that point but I noticed I was enjoying my time at the gym and so 2 days a week turned into 3 days and it kept increasing from there.
DP: Learning the right technique is an important one to start with. And trying to remain injury free. I have a close friend who has suffered from an chronic injury for a while now and she was very close to competing but had to step back to heal and do her rehab which is so frustrating with all the hard work you put into building and maintaining muscle. I am thankful I did not sustain anything more than bruises!
NB: It is common to see beginners making mistakes in the gym. What do you believe are the biggest mistakes first timers make?
DP: I can’t speak for anyone else but I thought that I could continue eating whatever I wanted just because I was training. It was only when I started eating clean that I started seeing big changes in my body and I realised how important nutrition is.
DP: I love shoulders, back and bis! The look of a strong, tapered upper body is so attractive to me. As much as I hate leg day, I force myself to do it so I don’t end up with chicken legs! Plus, it’s all about proportion and symmetry with body building.
NB: Weight training is becoming more popular for women than it has been in the past. What do you believe is leading to this growth in female participation?
DP: I think aesthetics would be a big part of it. More and more women are realising that weights don’t make them “bulky” like men. Though I think for a lot of women there’s usually a bigger motivation than just purely aesthetics, and it would be different for all of us.
DP: I was going to the gym every day and noticed big changes already. I wanted a bigger goal and looked up to a few people at my gym like Sami Rose and Anna Louise who were competitors. I admired the dedication and sacrifice that was put into comp prep. I wanted to see if I was capable of those values that I looked up to.
NB: You took out two third place results in your first competition. How did that feel?
DP: Amazing! It was unreal! I couldn’t believe it was me! I didn’t sleep the entire night. Definitely one of my biggest achievements. Never been prouder of myself. To say I was on cloud 9 would be an understatement!
NB: Competition wise what do you consider to be your strong points?
DP: I think being open to criticism is probably my strongest point. I’m open to opinions and happy to take it all on board in order to improve.
DP: I want to compete again in Season A 2017 and I’m hoping to work on getting more muscle mass. Due to the fact that I have only been working out for little more than a year I think I could make some big improvements! I’m also hoping to be more prepared with dieting this time around! That was the hardest commitment I made last comp season.
NB: Why do you choose to compete in natural, drug tested competitions?
DP: I feel like it’s the healthy thing to be doing. It ensures longevity in fitness and with my health. The downside to it is that competing natural means having to possibly go up against people with better genetics, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
DP: Do your research well and be prepared. You may not win every single comp, so learning to lose gracefully and win with humility was probably my biggest lesson. Talk to as many people (coaches, competitors, organisers, anyone really) as possible, no question is a silly one. If you are picking a coach, train with them for a period of time before you commit, as everyone has a different style of doing things.
NB: Thank you for your interview. Would you like to add anything else?
DP: Massive gratitude to my coach Michael Schneider for constantly pushing me together with the girls in team Schneider (Dani for sharing this journey with me). It was a long and tough journey from start to end but a big thank you for getting me on stage! My love to Sarah Jane White for being an amazing friend who is a constant stream of positive energy. Blessed to have you every step of the way. Phoebe Cooper-Jackson for all your 5am mornings invested into me for posing classes. So much appreciation for you, especially the mornings without coffee! Not forgetting the people at work; Louise, Bruce, Talia and Scott who have supported me. Thanks for believing in me and putting up with salmon and broccoli being microwaved everyday. Jessie for inspiring me to want to do this and checking on me the last few months when things were tough. It means more than you know.