This photo was provided by Diane herself from a gym shoot, taken by photographer Mark Mason. You can view more of his work at http://www.markmasonmedia.com.
FitGems Nation: Let’s kick this off by telling us a bit about yourself.
Diane Whetstone: I am a Washington State girl born in the tiny town of Sunnyside. It was a farm town 1 mile square and only 3000 people with quite a few being my family members. I lived there until age 14 my family moved to Kennewick where I graduated high school. I moved to Los Angeles for 8 years but moved back home to Kennewick. I now live near Olympia and work for the State of Washington as a Data Warehouse Administrator and supervisor. I have three passions, fitness, computer technology and my husband. I feel lucky to be able to be involved with the things I love.
FitGems: When did you first start competing?
Diane: I have been competing in muscle sports since 1994 with bodybuilding competitions. In 1999 I switched to power lifting. I was able to achieve a few state and world records. When NPC created a new division called Figure I knew this was something I would want to try. In 2004 I placed 3rd at age 54 at the Washington State Championships in the Over 35 division. In 2005 I had knee surgery so I had to take some time off from training. After a few years and a lot of hard work I’m now back competing. This has been my passion for a long time and I hope to be able to do this for many more years.
FitGems: What is your strategy when you head to the gym? Is it mostly weight-training, mostly cardio, a balanced mixture of the two, or something else?
Diane: I would probably call it a balanced mixture but I really prefer weight-training. My strategy is to do whatever my trainer and husband instructs me to do. At the gym is probably the only place I will let him tell me what to do so I think he takes advantage of it. But seriously, he is a good trainer and he knows his stuff. That is how we met because I hired him as my personal trainer in 1993 to help me loose 40 lbs. He is the one of the best trainers around and the one who introduced me to bodybuilding and competing.
FitGems: At first glance, has anyone mistaken you for being in something OTHER than physique competitions (MMA fighter, boxer, pro wrestler, track and field runner, etc?)
Diane: Not really. I just get mistaken for someone younger than I am. I love it!!!
FitGems: With women’s physique and bikini now part of the NPC and IFBB, do you feel that there’s now a division for every female who wants to compete?
Diane: I love the fact that they added physique. With the extremes that female bodybuilding has taken, it is nice to have a venue for those who don’t wish to take it to that level. Please don’t get me wrong. I love the bodybuilding/strong woman look but it is not for everyone and not everyone can achieve it.
At the other end of the spectrum is bikini. It is great of the young women who don’t want to get that hard lean look. But I have some personal issues with it. They now have a Masters Over 35 division. Please don’t have an Over 50 division! You won’t see me in it. Come on, do you really want to see your grandmother doing those poses?
FitGems: You recently competed in the Masters Nationals and placed 6th in the Over 55 class. How did it feel to be the oldest competitor on the show and do so well in it?
Diane: At the contest I thought I might be the oldest but after some checking around I found that Kay Friend, my fellow Washington State competitor was actually older than myself. She placed 5th ahead of me.
In April of this year I competed in the 2011 Emerald Cup and also placed 6th out of 13 Over 50 competitors. There were 3 of us who were over 60.
Still, being one of the few competitors over 60 I feel is an achievement in itself. Next my goal is to break the 6th place barrier! Top 5 here I come!!!
FitGems: If you weren’t a part of the female physique world whatsoever, what would you be doing right now as your profession?
Diane: As I answered to a previous question I love working with computers. I’ve been in the IT field since 1970. I’ve been a keypunch operator, computer operator, computer programmer, web designer, security analyst, database administrator and now a data warehouse administrator. I love learning new languages, software and hardware. When I’m not working at my job or getting ready for a contest, I’m maintaining the websites for our health club company. My husband is a co-owner of the FitStop24 in Olympia and Yelm, Washington. I also maintain the website for the NPC Northwest Championships the FitStop24 promotes each November.
FitGems: What (if anything) would you change about any of the IFBB female divisions?
Diane: Of course I would like to see more Masters divisions. According to the 2010 census the largest population group was female between the ages of 45 and 65. This comprised 26% of the USA population. Soon this baby-boomer generation will be 55 to 75. I think both the IFBB and the NPC need to recognize this and understand there is whole generation they are ignoring.
FitGems: Which competitor (past or present) you look up to the most for your inspiration?
Diane: There are many. My first idol was Diana Dennis because of her beautiful posing routines. Now my idols are Ernestine Shepard, world’s oldest bodybuilder and Dee Lazard who competed in the Masters Nationals placing 1st place in the Over 60 bodybuilding division. They are both actively working as personal trainers. They look amazing. I just hope I can do for Masters Figure competition what they have done for Masters Female Bodybuilding.
FitGems: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to compete?
Diane: • First, go watch a show and learn about the sport. It’s not as easy as it looks.
• Start by entering a small local show. It will save you money on hotel and travel costs and you might even bring home a trophy!
• Find someone to coach you. You can easily get lost in the details of contest prep.
I formed a team for our gym’s competitors. We are here for each other. The experienced competitors are teaching the newbies. We have posing classes and after contest parties! We have tons of fun.
For more on Diane, visit her Facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/dianewhetstone, her Bodybuilding.com site (where you can view her contest prep pictures at) at http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/damedi, and you can email her via Facebook at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once again, thank you Diane for conducting this interview with us!