15 Questions with Dina Barela: Mom and Elite Fitness Competitor

“Health is wealth.” -Often attributed to Buddha or Mahatma Gandhi

Dina Barela San Diego Fitness Instructor
Dina Barela is a single mom of two boys, certified personal trainer, certified sports nutrition specialist, life coach, fitness competitor and internationally published model. Dina says that her biggest passion is to help others in reaching their highest potential and to help them live a happier, healthier and fitter lifestyle.  Recently we were able to sit down with Dina and ask her a few questions about her life, fitness, and living a healthy active lifestyle.  Here is what we found out!:

About Dina Barela

San Diego Lifestyle:  Great to see you Dina!  Please tell our readers a little about yourself and your background.  Where did you grow up and how did you get into health and fitness?

Dina Barela:  Well, I’m originally from Germany, and now live in Las Vegas, NV.  I’m a single mom of amazing two boys.  After nearly 10 years of marriage, I made the difficult decision to split with my ex due to the toxic environment.  I relocated to Las Vegas from the East Coast, and rebuilt my life.  When I moved to Vegas over three years ago to be close to my sister, I had nothing but a car, my two boys, and small amount of savings.  Since then, I’ve built a successful business called Results by Dina, LLC.  Changing other people’s lives through fitness and positive life coaching is very rewarding.

SDL: Were you an athlete growing up?  Did you compete in competitive sports as a kid?

Dina Barela: I use to play soccer and tennis, but had to give that up due to surgeries and long recovery times.  As a teenager, I had multiple reconstructive surgeries, which put my dream to be an athlete on hold.

Dina Barela Las Vegas Fitness Instructor

Photographer: Richard Julio

Dina’s Personal Journey to Being an Elite Fitness Competitor

SDL: You’re in such amazing shape, and as another mom it is amazing to me that you are in such incredible shape.  Can you tell us about your daily and weekly fitness routine and what got you into competitive fitness contest?

Dina Barela: I’ve always admired bodybuilders and other athletes because of their hard work and dedication.  In my experience, nothing worthwhile in life ever comes easy.  I wanted that challenge of getting in top shape and started training harder then ever.  Looking at my boys, I knew I owed it to them to work hard to be the best.  

After years of hard work, and against all odds, I decided to compete as a National Physique Committee (NPC) bodybuilding athlete.  I pushed through lots of pain and trials and went on stage for the first time March 2014 with the National Gym Association (NGA).

In my first three events, I placed 3rd twice and 5th once. That gave me the confidence to know that I could compete with the best.  Since then, I’ve placed in the top 5 a total of eight shows:  once in 2nd place, twice in 3rd place, a 4th place finish, and a total of four 5th place finishes!  I qualified for nationals at my second show in July 2014 with a 2nd place at the NPC Patriots Challenge in Vegas.

My typical preparation for a show is anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks, training six days a week.  My prep includes weight training, cardio and flexibility training.  I prep my own meals, select the right vitamins and various supplements.   During the pre-show dieting phase, all of this is crucial to staying healthy, energetic and happy.  I drink at least a gallon of alkaline water per day, get plenty of rest, and enjoy seeing my body transform.  I love competing, but I also just love fitness and all the positive things it brings into your life.

Dina Barela Las Vegas Fitness Instructor

Photographer: Richard Julio

About Fitness and Nutrition

SDL: Some people say that nutrition is 90% of fitness. Do you agree with that, and how do you incorporate nutrition into your fitness regime?

Dina Barela: I disagree.  It takes both at a high level.  You can’t out-train a bad diet, but just eating healthy won’t allow you to gain lean muscle, improve your health, and you certainly won’t get a nice shaped physique. If you want it all, give it your all!  I believe it takes 100% nutrition and physical activity for a long, healthy and happy life.

Dina’s Biggest Fitness Accomplishments and Goals

SDL: What’s your biggest fitness accomplishment to date?

Dina Barela: Honestly, my greatest physical accomplishment is giving birth to two amazing boys, and raising them!  (Dina gives a big smile).  My biggest fitness competition accomplishment to-date was becoming one of four finalists in the nationwide Flex Bikini Model Search, where I was subsequently published internationally in Flex Magazine in 2015. (Check out my profile on Flex here!) I’m very proud to have been the only mom who made it to this level.  Since then I was published in MiMundo, Maestros, Brazil’s biggest MMA magazine and made it as the fitness model “FIT & SEXY” September 2015 in musclemediaonline.com.  Soon I will be published in South America’s Muscular Development Latin! I’m truly blessed and grateful for all the opportunities I been given. I’m a very lucky girl.

Dina Barela Las Vegas Fitness Instructor
SDL: What’s new for you these days?

Dina Barela: My most recent accomplishment is writing a monthly column about fitness and nutrition in Muscle Media Online.  I’m very excited to be able to share my knowledge and experience to help others live a healthier and more active lifestyle.  I especially love to inspire other single moms, and moms in general, to be confident and follow their dreams.

SDL: What are some of your current goals in the world of fitness and in life?

Dina Barela: I would love to make it on the cover of a couple amazing magazines. To promote health and fitness products, building my website out in the U.S. and internationally would be great.  But my ultimate goal is to leave this world to my children, and next generations, as a healthier, fitter and happier place.  I have a passion for education, motivation, inspiration, and kindness.  I try to make those things a part of my daily life, and I work hard to share my experience and love for a healthy lifestyle with my friends, family, and clients.

Dina’s Thoughts on Being a Personal Trainer and Working with Clients

SDL: Let’s shift gears a bit.  How do you like personal training as a profession?

Dina Barela: I love using my knowledge in physical training and nutrition to help others transform not only their physiques, but also become overall happier and healthier.  This is very rewarding!  Being patient with others is the key for me.  I like having a good sense of humor, and keeping things interesting for my clients, so there is never a dull moment during training. My clients leave their stress and worries at the door, and head-out a training session sweaty and yelling “I don’t like you!”, but all with a smile on their faces, because they see and feel the results!  I educate my clients, treat them with respect, encourage them, motivate them and hold them accountable. I keep workouts fun, using new techniques and styles. Results by Dina, after all, has turned-out to be the name of my business, and for a good reason!

SDL: Do you train men and women?

Dina Barela: I train both.  I also specialize in training overweight children and teenagers as well.  It breaks my heart training obese young kids who are 11 years old but weigh 190 lbs.  They struggle so much.  But the reward to watch them transform into confident, healthier, happier and more active kids is PRICELESS!

Dina Barela Las Vegas Fitness Instructor

Photographer: Richard Julio

Dina’s Recommendations for Getting a Six-Pack

SDL: I’m a mom and I definitely do not have a six-pack. What is your secret? How do you do it?

Dina Barela: I used to like six-packs on guys. Then I thought if they can get one, so can I!  I ask:  How important is it to you?  Do you really want it?  If the answer to these questions is “very much and yes”, then eat clean, train your abs three times a week, do cardio and use weights to add resistance.  Crunches, leg-lifts and mountain climbers alone won’t give you a six-pack, although it will keep your tummy flat.  You’ll need to challenge your abs like any other muscle. It’s hard work, and really, you are what you eat.  No cheap processed foods, no refined sugar, no breads, and no excessive dairy.  A “clean diet” is made-up of whole foods like oats, brown rice, quinoa, fruits, veggies, and lean proteins.  You need to drink plenty of water, make sure your fiber intake is high, and take a good CLA (Editor’s Note:  a CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid, is an Omega-6 fatty acid proven to reduce body fat while preserving lean body mass) to help lower overall body fat.

Dina Barela Elite Fitness Model

Photographer: Richard Julio

Dina on Training Moms

SDL: Do you do different exercises with moms then you do with regular clients?

Dina Barela: Unless they are moms to be, no!  Being a mom is not a handicap.  If you can give birth, you can break a sweat in the gym! (Dina laughs!)

SDL: Many moms say they do not have enough time in their day to work out.  What advice do you give to single moms who are thinking of starting to get in shape?

Dina Barela: Be prepared, or prepare to fail! Join a gym, pack your gym bag the night before, and make sure you go to bed early.  People waste so much time with mindless things, like TV shows.  Set an example for your children. After all, monkey see, monkey do!  I only use Netflix and don’t have cable by choice.  It frees-up so much time, and money that you can invest in a gym membership and other activities to improve your family’s healthy lifestyle.  Try to jog outdoors, go to the park, let your kids play and take a mat with you to workout.  Join a gym with daycare, schedule your “ME time” with activities to improve yourself, take yoga classes, spin classes etc.!  Explore all fitness options ‘til you find something you really enjoy.

Dina Barela Las Vegas Fitness Instructor

Photographer: Richard Julio

Dina’s Longer-Term Aspirations

SDL: What are your long-term career aspirations?

Dina Barela: I’m working on building my online personal training business and writing eBooks on all the topics I want to share with others to help them improve their lives.  I’m eventually going to open-up a gym and health center catering the entire family including a fitness center, fun classes and indoor and outdoor activities.  It will include fun nutrition education and cooking classes for 5 year-olds to 110 year-olds!  It isn’t only adults that need to improve their health and lose weight.  Unfortunately it’s more and more young children and teenagers that need lose a significant amount of weight.  In many cases, they need to change their eating habits and unhealthy lifestyle habits as well.

Thoughts on Being a Mom, a Friend, and Living Life

SDL: Do you have time to do anything when you’re not training, working out, or being with your kids?  How do you get everything done?  

Dina Barela: I enjoy the beach a lot.  San Diego is one of my favorite get away spots.  Being a single mom is challenging at times, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  My boys are my world, my inspiration, and motivation to be the best I can be. They deserve an amazing life, and for me to teach them that with hard work and kindness you can get anywhere you want in life. 

SDL: What are the most important things you want to impart to our readers?

Dina Barela: Wake-up everyday and decide to be happy. Have pride in how far you have come, and faith in how far you can go. Then jump out of bed and make it happen! Always be kind, and be somebody’s reason to smile daily.  A simple “good morning” can make somebody’s day!

Dina Barela Las Vegas Fitness Instructor
SDL: Thanks for your time Dina! We look forward to seeing and hearing a lot more from you! We will let our readers know that you are available in the Las Vegas area to train clients at their home gym or at their hotel gym if they are traveling. I also hear you are in the Miss Jet Set competition, and that readers can vote for you once a day! We will do that right now. (Readers..go here to vote for Dina!)

Dina Barela: Thanks San Diego Lifestyle. I look forward to it and thanks for the vote!

The San Diego Lifestyle
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The San Diego Lifestyle is a blog site focused in the active and luxury lifestyle in San Diego. Our goal is to be your guide to enjoying the active and luxury life!