When you see a person with an amazing physique your first reaction is always to drop your jaw in awe. Why so? Think of the first thing that comes to mind. Dedication. Will power. Discipline. Even obsession, in some cases. These types of things don’t come over night. In fact, A lot of people who work out often still may not have the incredible physique that a bodybuilder has. The lifestyle simply takes more than an hour at the gym every day. It’s a complete lifestyle. Eating habits are different. Recreational activities are different. This type of life takes a firm choice. You can live a healthy life without being a bodybuilder. So why choose to be? It can be something as simple as seeing Schwarzenegger in a movie, being bullied as a child, or even a singular situation. Maybe you had a eureka moment. All I know is when I see it, I give my instant respect. Like a salute to a general in command.
When I first saw Diana, the first thing I thought was intimidation. Not towards me but in general. I’ll tell you why. Women’s athletics is still a growing spectacle in all categories of sports. I’ll give you an example. The first bodybuilding competition was held around September, 1901. However, the first women’s bodybuilding competition wasn’t held until 1979. Nearly a century later.
The push away from the stereotypical house wife role, to “We can do it, too!”, came during and after World War II. Even though women had already started fighting for rights around the late 1800’s, the public campaign came around the 1940’s. Since most the men were at war, woman had to show that they had what it takes. Even when society tried to keep them boxed in. This push has elevated to the incredible stature that it is today. Watching women such as Serena & Venus Williams dominate tennis, or watching Amanda Nunes destroy the UFC women’s division has definitely been a treat.
(Photo Cred : Marty Gottlieb)
I even asked Diana does she think she intimidates men at all. She responded, “No, in fact, I think it makes them approach me even more. I think they love the discipline aspect of it.”. This is that part that definitely intrigued me.
So what actually drove Diana to sculpt her body into this amazing physique? There may not be a definitive answer but she did tell me an interesting story about a scar she had on her arm.
As I gazed at every unique muscle on her body I noticed a scar on her left arm. You can almost miss it in pictures if you don’t look closely. Being a journalist I always want to hear the inside scoop, so I asked her about the scar. She responded,
“That’s where most of my insecurities really came from now that I think about it. I hated that scar and I would hide it all the time. It lowered with my self-esteem a lot. I broke it in a freak accident when I was around 9-10 years old. I was high up on a swing and fell off. My elbow hit a rock and broke it. My elbow that is. Now a days I embrace my scar. I’m not embarrassed about it anymore and I tell the story with confidence. It makes me unique and I like that.”.
(Photo Cred : Marty Gottlieb)
This simple rock story may be the reason that she is rock solid today. Mentally and physically. Her life started off pretty normal, though. I mean, besides the fact that she was home schooled. In fact, she was home schooled from kindergarten to middle school, which she explained was a “huge culture shock”. Diana was into athletics early, as well. She played basketball throughout her school stint and was a stand out player. After graduating from Bloomfield Tech in 2009 she attended Iona College on a full scholarship.
After a stand out rookie year, where she was the runner-up for rookie of the year, she slowly started to lose steam. She exclaimed that she has always been a shy person with low self-esteem. She believes this is the reason that she slowed down.
“So here I am, a D1 player who didn’t go pro or go overseas like “I’m supposed to”. I felt like a failure and had no choice but to look for work. A year later I decided to join a gym. I missed being active. I hadn’t realized that playing basketball year round was keeping me in shape and the sudden stop would make me lose it a little. I didn’t eat healthy, I drank, partied, and was overall unhappy. I was lost and beat myself up for years for not perusing a professional basketball career like most D1 players do. For 3 years I went through tough hardships that included relationships, self-esteem issues, health issues, and more. I was tired of living with no purpose. I needed a change.”
Around 2018 is when she regained her flame. She decided to challenge herself and compete in a bodybuilding show. She said she had it on her mind for 2 years before she actually took action. She didn’t feel like she was 100% focused and was nervous about doing something that would put her in the center of attention. Then she remembered the quote, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”. This led to Diana hiring a personal trainer and eventually a nutritionist. After 4 weeks on their plan she picked a show to compete in. She told herself no more hesitation, it’s go time!
She practiced posing in the mirror after she finished doing Lyft, which would be around midnight. She also followed her coach’s meal plan with precision. In July of 2018, merely 4 weeks after she began her training, she entered a Natural Organization called the INBA PNBA. There, she won first place in Figure Novice and Figure Open. Crazy right? This woman was determined! This expedited success came from a determined work ethic. Diana says she wants people to push pass the thought that they are “too busy” to push towards things they want.
“My typical day, before my first show, would be to wake up at 5am to Lyft. Then I train. I go to work and after work go back to do Lyft. Afterwards, about midnight, I head to gym again to practice posing. This routine is almost everyday.”
Later that year, Diana became certified in personal training and holds two pro cards in Figure and Physique. She has since competed in 8 shows over the course of 2 years.
Her most recent victory came Nov.16th at a big show In Las Vegas with the INBA PNBA, The Natural Olympia. She placed 3rd overall and was named the National Athlete of the Year by the same association. Seeing this amazing feat in such short time said a lot about her determination. When a person falls in love with athletics it requires a totally different kind of commitment. It’s a life style change. This brings some much fire out of people. It also makes you think more of your over-all health. A strange observation I made throughout the years is that the majority of people maintenance their cars better than they maintenance their bodies. Diana noticed herself slipping and not only bounced back but became something much better than before.
( Above Coach Marc Tauriello & League President Denny Kakos)
“In the end, it all started with me just wanting to be active again. The gym became my happy place. It became an outlet for stress and distractions in the world. Never be afraid to fail, for failure is apart of success.” Diana expresses.
“Bodybuilding is an extremely tough sport, physically and emotionally. Despite it’s difficulty, I find myself loving every bit of it. There are a lot of highs and lows. Especially dealing with the strict diet. Can you imagine eating the same thing every day for months on end? The temptation to cheat is unbearable at times. You might as well forget about having a social life during the preparation. It slowly diminishes. Through all this, the workouts only get more intense. I love this mode, though. I can sense that’s it’s challenging me physically and emotionally. Anything that pushes me in this way, I feed off it. Just like in my basketball days. The fire I got when we played a tough team. When I missed a couple of shots but was determined to bounce back. Even when I made a bad play and had to sit on the bench and reflect on how to improve. I love all of that. What I love the most about this sport is that it taught me a lot about nutrition. I will continue to eat healthy, have balanced meals, and diet naturally. I am a stronger woman today because I took a chance to go for something I wasn’t sure I was ready for, and made myself ready.”
(Photo Cred – Marty Gottlieb)
Here is a list of placings Diana has had throughout her career as a bodybuilder.
2018 East Coast Classic – 1st Figure Open , 1st Figure Novice
2018 The Philip Ricardo Legend’s – Pro Debut , 1st Place
2018 Natural Olympia – 9th place (world) (17 competitors)
2019 The Philip Ricardo Legend’s Classic – 3rd place
2019 Eastern USA Pro-AM – 1st Pro Figure , 1st Women’s Physique (Earned Pro Card in women’s physique)
2019 The Nationals – 1st place in Physique pro debut
2019 Muscle Beach International – 1st in Pro Women’s Physique
2019 Natural Olympia – 3rd Place , National Athlete of the Year
Diana would like to credit her Nutritionist, Mentor, and Coach Marc Tauriello (Extreme Gym, Nutley,NJ) for her outstanding success thus far.
Today, Diana is still a full time bodybuilding and has plans to continue to have ground breaking success. She works and a personal trainer in between time. Congratulations on all of your success and keep striving for greatness!
Written : Bruce Walton Jr