Dena Weiner Interview

She has a body that most of us could only hallucinate about at the age of 45, a body that most thirty-somethings would kill for. Dena Weiner has traversed the fitness world to become a successful fitness competitor and participated consecutively in nearly 80 fitness competitions (!). Dena is very diligent about her and her family's healthy lifestyle, and apart from being a fitness competitor, she owns a mortgage company.

Author: Jonathan.L - owner Models Observer
March 2008

* Dena, how did you get into the fitness field?

Dena Weiner: I got into fitness on July 31, 1994 on a dare. I went to a gymnastics reunion and some of the girls dared me to do some of my flips. Now might I tell you I was 4'11 87 pounds when I went to UCLA on athletics scholarship for gymnastics when I was 18 years old. I grew 7 inches. So at 32 years old and with three small children 6, 5 and 3 year old my old teammates didn't think that I would take their challenge and run with it. I entered the Galaxy Fitness show in January 1995 and have never looked back. I have now competed in 76 fitness and figure shows to date in the last 13 years. And I am not slowing down anytime soon. I already have 5 fitness and figure shows on the books for the first part of 2008 alone. I will be competing in Pro fitness and figure in Toronto Canada at the World Championships in June 2008.

* During the 13 years you have done 76 fitness and figure competitions! That means that you stay in shape all year round. How do you keep so fit? Is it easy?

Dena Weiner: I did 14 fitness and figures shows last your in 2007 alone all over the world for 7 different fitness and figure and bodybuilding associations. I am fit for life. I motivate, encourage, inspire and educate others that I come in contact with about the importance of being healthy and fit for life. I compete in fitness not to win or lose but to participate, challenge myself and to set goals. But more importantly it's the journey getting on stage that I thrive on. I love the preparation and the thrill of challenging myself with a new routine or a new look and training with others to follow me on stage. Maybe that is why I have done and still do many different affiliations. I keep fit year round because I make health and fitness a priority in my family with my three teenage sons and my husband of 20 years. I make 80% of all my kids, my husband and my healthy meals. My kids all play football in high school and college. I train with them off season so they can perform better on the field during the season. Preparation, consistency discipline and dedication are the key to success. With the positive mindset that I have it is easy for me to stay lean and fit 12 months out of the year. Going to the gym each morning at 5:30AM is a habit of mine. Sort of like getting up in the morning and brushing my teeth. Smile!!!.

* You've just won the pairs fitness competition (fittest Couple contest) at the annual Fitexpo's annual contest in Los Angeles. Please tell me about the preparation that went into this.

Dena Weiner: Rado and I have been paired up together for the last two years. We went to the local gymnastics center to use their crash mats to learn all our Cirque du Soleil moves, the lifts, the strength moves and the gymnastics moves. We had to get out routines choreographed to music once we picked a theme and outfits for our routines. We have had two different themes from our last two routines. We are in the process of coordinating our 3rd routine for this year, 2008 to the themes James Bond (Rado) and me being his Bond girl. We have to practice the routine over and over because of the timing issues and the coordinating of our lifts with the music. Rado and I also have to stretch a lot to make sure we are able to do our entire flexibility moves look effortless.

* How would you describe the interpersonal collaboration while training with your partner Rado? What do you learn from each other?

Dena Weiner: We have a mutual respect for each other. Rado is 15 years younger than I and he brings a fresh approach to life being from Europe. He has only been in the United States for the last 5 years. We both feed off each others enormous amount of energy we have. We have amazing chemistry together on stage and a very high level of connection. We are both born performers and we are big HAMS!! I actually judged Rado in a Fitness and body building show March 1, 2006. After the show I went up to him and suggested we work together to try and promote health and fitness and to bring a new category of Pairs Fitness to different fitness and body building affiliations. Rado and I have different philosophies with what we want to accomplish in life. We come from two different walks of life. But what we do share is the passion for health and fitness and the ability to show people on stage that we are staying fit and active because we are truly having a lot of fun! We have a lot of passion and truly feel blessed that we have the opportunity to perform together all over the world with guest appearances and competitions. In November 2006 we won the Natural Universe together and in December 2007 we traveled to Thessaloniki Greece to win the Natural Olympia.

* How does competing as a couple differ from competing as an individual?

Dena Weiner: We feed off of each other's energy on stage and when we practice so competing as a pair, couple is much better than competing individually. We are able to be a lot more creative with our routine and costumes for our pair's fitness routine together. We are able to motivate each other as a pair so we can also compete individually. We support each other 100% no matter if it's together or individually. Competing as an individual is a lot more nerve racking and not as fun.

* What motivates you?

Dena Weiner: Life in general motivates me. Being positive each and every day to take challenges head on as a learning experience. I am very blessed and very thankful for all that I have in my life and all the people that are in my life. I wake up each and every morning feeling very fortunate to be where I am today and it's because of the people that surround me. Smile!

* Did you surprise yourself with your fitness abilities at any point?

Dena Weiner: No, I am always challenging myself to be the best I can be. I do not compete in fitness to beat anyone but myself. I have been an athlete my entire life participating in ice skating, track and field, tennis, soccer, gymnastics, skiing, snowboarding, water skiing and all sports that my sons and brother played over the years. I am an athlete and a JOCK! I do not take my athletic back ground from my parents for granted. I have worked hard my entire life to participate in sports at the highest level and to train to be prepared to compete.

* How has your body, cardiovascular stamina and muscle endurance have changed over time?

Dena Weiner: Being in my 40's, my skin tone has started to sag. But I have been able to fill up my skin with muscle to make my skin appear much younger. I am still doing at 45 years old what I learned at 7 years old in my fitness routine, my signature move, a full twisting back flip. But now I do it on a hard wood floor at 45 years old instead of on a padded mat when I was in gymnastics. My body has held up over the years in my cardiovascular and muscle endurance because I have been consistently training then both for the last 14 years. My body responds to muscle memory from all the years of gymnastics when I was lifting my own body weight. I would say over time my body has responded better to weight training and cardio endurance.

* What sport requires the highest degree of fitness from its athletes?

Dena Weiner: No doubt about it I would say gymnastics. I was a competitive and nationally ranked gymnast for many years. I was a gymnast from ages 7 to 22 years old. Gymnastics supplied me with more than just physical development. I believe and have proven that gymnastics is an extraordinary sport that developed flexibility, strength, grace, time management, coordination, self-esteem, discipline, respect for self and others, determination and good health habits. It also provided me a good foundation for ALL other sports (including fitness) by developing my strength and coordination, as well as minimizing any chance of injury by increasing flexibility while learning the proper falling techniques.

* How has motherhood influenced your life?

Dena Weiner: Motherhood has been one of the best experiences of my life. It has taught me patience and the ability to care for others. Motherhood has balanced out my life with business, family, children and health and fitness. I have been able to be an awesome role model to my three teenage sons 19, 18 and 16 years old about the importance of being healthy and fit for life. My husband and I are teaching our children to grow up and be responsible adults and be a positive influence on society. That is accomplished by my husband and I being great role models and leading by example.

* What do you think are some of the most difficult problems faced by parents?

Dena Weiner: Being consistent in what they expect out of their children and what the rules of the house are. My husband Keith taught my kids young that we as a family work as a team. We all do chores around the house and we all contribute to the household in some way. Parents do not understand that you can give your kids all the materialistic things in the world but a good home cooked meal and their time is what children want and need the most. Parent often get so caught up in their jobs and social life they sometimes neglect their own children and the lack of time they spend with them.

* If I asked your husband and children how it is like to live with an extremely athletic wife/mother, what would they say?

Dena Weiner: My children are already following in my footsteps. My oldest son competed in November 2007 with me at Model America. My sons know they have the genetics and the positive attitude that they can be anything they want no matter what obstacle is put in front of them. They have seen me go through a lot of hurdles and obstacles to get to where I am today. They know it comes with a price that you need to work extremely hard, with dedication, discipline, being persistent, must be very consistent and you must have the will to keep going even when the going gets tough. Living with me has allowed my children to follow their dreams and to push themselves to the limit. My husband says he is always just trying to keep up with me. And that he is always there to take advantage of eating my healthy food I cook and for me to kick his ass at the gym when we train together.

* In addition to being a mother and a fitness star, you own your own business, Mortgage Processing Express, Inc. Please tell me about it and the services you provide?

Dena Weiner: I have owned my own my own Mortgage Company since 1991. I have a real estate license and I do a variety of different things in the business. I am a loan officer where I generate home loan refinances and purchases from clients that need financing. I also do a processing center where I process other mortgage broker's loans for them. I also do contract underwriting for various banks and mortgage companies. I also train loan officers and loan processors about program guidelines and what the lenders are looking for to close their loans. I have helped start up companies get their bank approvals to do business as a mortgage broker.

* What do you think is at the heart of our fears of aging? Do you have some tips for women on how to look young and attractive?

Dena Weiner: Older people lose confidence in their appearance and they think they become less desirable. Society has put a negative stigma on aging American's. As we age people fear that they will have more injuries if they participate in sports or do more strenuous workouts. You must always be consistent in leading a healthy lifestyle. You need to take care of yourself and allow more free time for you. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Show your self confidence of who you are as a person. A positive attitude and a beautiful smile go a very long way with anyone you come in contact with. I use no expensive creams and soap. I use on my face good old soap and water and a good sunscreen daily to keep the sun at a minimal.

* What is your most favorite place you have visited?

Dena Weiner: I have been very fortunate to have been able to visit many places around the world. But for me the most beautiful place in the world (other than my home town of Orange County, California) is Vancouver (Victoria) in British Columbia Canada. The weather is beautiful and the people are very warm and friendly. The scenery is amazing and the ambiance is breath taking.

* Where do you see yourself in the future?

Dena Weiner: That for me is a very tough question. I am currently pursuing some other avenues in my life that I have not really explored. I would love to do some more modeling and possibly do some acting. I love to challenge myself so maybe a marathon at 50 years old and the Senior Olympics in gymnastics at 60 year old. I know that I will be a participant in sports and some sort of fitness competitions for many many years to come. Life is an adventure and an amazing journey though life. I will never let an opportunity pass me by! I do believe that life is not a dress rehearsal. You are on stage every minute of your life. The character you choose determines your destiny!!!

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