The world of body building is an interesting one to say the least. Part sport, part beauty pageant, any way you look at it, there’s a tremendous amount of dedication that’s needed to succeed at it.

These days the sport has branched out in several directions and is no longer all about trying to look like a tanned version of the Incredible Hulk, at least not when it comes to women’s body building. New branches of female body building competitions have emerged such as figure competitions, fitness competitions and, more recently, even bikini competitions. Let that sink in for a second.

Yes, it’s all slightly confusing but these newer categories have been attracting a new wave of participants drawn to the tone and fitness aspect that these new competitions focus on.

One such newcomer to the sport is Camarillo’s Monteena Lane. Though she came to the sport later in life, she’s certainly making up for lost time, finding instant success.

Lane is a figure competitor, who, at the age of 50, had always been in great physical shape, but a chance encounter at a gym with two women who were training for a figure competition changed her life.

Lane accepted the invitation from the two women to attend the event in Culver City and she was instantly hooked. Feeling it was a great way to take her workouts to a new level and also that it presented a real challenge, Lane began training for her first competition.

What figure competition focuses on is not the behemoth look that’s usually associated with body building; it’s an emphasis on muscular symmetry and definition or, as Lane puts it, “a muscular Barbie doll look.”

A typical figure competition includes two rounds. In the symmetry round, the competitors appear on stage in high-heeled shoes and a one-piece swimsuit. They execute a series of quarter-turns, allowing the judges to view them from all sides for symmetry, presentation and other, not quite as muscular, things such as skin tone, hair, makeup and even clothing. In the next round, competitors return in a group, in high heels and a two-piece bathing suit, executing a series of quarter-turns for the judges.

With a focused training regimen, which comes somewhat naturally as Lane grew up in a military family, the newcomer from Camarillo won first place in her division. Wins at two competitions followed, and now Lane feel she’s ready for the next step, a national competition.

This week, Lane will head to Pittsburgh for the 2014 NPC Teen, Collegiate and Masters National Championship, a massive event. With a win, Lane could earn her pro card, officially becoming a professional competitor and being able to secure sponsorships, endorsements and prize money, which, at the biggest competitions, can be as much as $20,000.

Lane, the married mother of a teenage daughter, by trade is a registered nurse, currently working for Anthem Blue Cross, but her goal is not only to become a professional athlete in her 50s but to take her story and inspire others to get into shape no matter what their age is.

“I really do want to inspire people. People are in awe when they find out how old I am. They always ask, ‘How do you get your body that way?’ I want to give back,” said Lane just days before heading to Pittsburgh.

“How to be healthy, just with a good mix of exercise and diet, I can give that knowledge. I love personal training. Just ’cause you’re in your 50s doesn’t mean you have to be out of shape or overweight. You can change your health and your life at any age. I’m living proof.”

Monteena Lane competes on Saturday, July 19, at the 2014 NPC Teen, Collegiate and Masters National Championship in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She can be reached at