Archive for the ‘Fitness Modeling’ Category

Functional Training

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

by Maggie Mangiel

Maggie Blog





maggie pull ups 2


My love affair with iron started over 7 years ago.  I love lifting.  I do it when I am happy, sad, excited or even anxious.  I am down for iron during all seasons; I even walk to the gym in -20 degree Celsius to get it in. Being a fitness model and a bikini competitor, my go-to method of training is isolation training.  My goal is to build muscles and sculpt a jaw dropping physique accompanied by beautiful feminine curves. Isolation training is very ideal for muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth and increase in size) because isolation exercises are movements that involve one joint or one muscle group. You get to focus on that particular muscle and pay it full attention then allow it enough time for recovery.  I would train one or two muscle groups a day, for example; deltoids and triceps, dedicating at least 4 different exercises to each group.  Isolation training is also great for people who are healing from an injury or muscular imbalance.  Because my commitment and dedication to training resulted in amazing gains, I decided it is time to push the envelope and shake things up a little.  What is life without some spice?!  I want to be stronger, faster…better!!! As great as isolation training is, it does not always translate well to real life, but functional training (FT) does. For example, performing a 40lb/100m Farmer’s Walk will make carrying your groceries from your car to your 4th floor condo a walk in the park. Or when picking up a child or a desk, you recruit the same muscles as picking up a medicine ball during a medicine ball slam. So basically functional training is specially designed to improve your performance in real life and real sports situations because different muscles have to work together to achieve the desired movement.  Functional exercises work multiple joints and emphasize the body’s natural ability to move.  The best thing about Functional training is that it is suitable for everyone from a beginner to elite athletes.  It is for all people who want to train smart to step up their personal level.  To get stronger and fitter, improve their performance in their sport, prevent injuries, lose weight, look better or just to become their healthiest and fittest.  Here’s a sample of one of my functional training exercises.


Sample Workout

50 Push-ups

50 Pull-ups

50 Barbell Squats

50 Dips

50 Burpees

50 Situps

50 Medicine Ball Slams

50 Jumping Lunges


maggie pull upsI usually perform these with little to no rest in between; only to collect energy when needed.  I incorporated two sessions of FT into my weekly training routine beside my three sessions of isolation training and one session of yoga with aerobic exercise 5 times a week.


There are many benefits to functional training that isolation training does not offer.  By doing this type of training, you will develop greater strength, balance, coordination, endurance, flexibility and focus. In addition, it is the best way of training to prevent injuries. Here are few benefits that I have experienced first hand:


1. STRENGTH: FT provides functional upper body, lower body and core exercises that will improve the strength of your muscles.  Functional training exercises work with multiple joints, challenging whole muscle chains, just like in real sports and real life.


2. ENDURANCE: FT training sessions are designed to improve your aerobic and anaerobic endurance so you can go harder for a longer period of time.


3. BALANCE AND COORDINATION: Coordination and balance are one of the key ingredients of FT.  It is the secret of being able to react appropriately to different situations or changing conditions.  Training our balance and coordination is not only to achieve our best performance but more importantly to prevent injuries.


4. FLEXIBILITY: Training for real sports and real life range of motion is a fundamental advantage of functional training! Muscles and joints prepared in this way perform better and resist injury better.


5. FOCUS: Every FT session has been designed to improve focus. Time interval work/rest periods help you to stay focused when performing and also to relax and collect energy when resting.  The exercises (see sample) are very challenging and by reducing resting times during the training sessions the training itself does not only get more efficient but you also train to stay focused when your body is already tired. Being able to focus will also help you avoid injury through mistakes and mishaps in your sport.


INJURY PREVENTION: For all levels of athletes injury prevention is a big gain and one of the reasons worth training for. For non-athletes staying healthy is a must in order to achieve the goals planned. To avoid injuries it is essential to perform exercises with proper form.


In order to perform optimally and get the best results from FT, do the following:

1.  Warmup with an aerobic exercise for 5-10 minutes making sure there is enough blood flowing through the muscles and the body is ready for intense training.

2.  Make sure you are not training on a full or an empty stomach.  Eat 3-2 hours before training.

3.  Cool down and stretch after your session.

4.  Hydrate well.

5.  Eat plenty of complex carbs, healthy fat, and lean protein; don’t cut back on carbs, you will need the energy.

6.  Get enough sleep.


Note that functional trainer differs from fitness’ latest craze and bastard child known as CrossFit.  There are no Olympic lifting style exercises such as clean and jerk or snatches.  Absolutely, no heavy lifting while racing the clock, and most importantly, proper form takes precedence in FT.  As you can see from the sample workout, most of the exercises are done with body weight or light weights, and the movements involved in performing them are very natural, e.g., pulling your own body weight, jumping, picking up a ball…etc.  The point of FT is to get stronger and prevent injuries so paying special attention to form is key, and never sacrifice form for speed.


Maggie Mangiel of Body on Track, for War Room Sports

Free Yourself from Emotional Eating

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

by Maggie Mangiel





Your relationship with food, no matter how conflicted, is the doorway to your freedom.  Freedom from the morning battle with the person looking back at you from the mirror and judging every roll on your back and dimple on your thigh.  From the scale that reads, “holy cow, that’s a high number” to sucking in your tummy every time you meet someone you have not seen in a while.  Harriet Tubman once said, “I freed a thousand slaves; I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves”.  Your unbreakable cycle of weight gain and loss might be more than just bad food choices and sedentary lifestyle.  It might be something that you are not even aware of; it could be accredited to the self sabotage effects of emotional eating.  Emotional eating is when you eat not because of hunger but due to loneliness, happiness, boredom, sadness, anger, emptiness; or just filling a void or numbing a pain.  Some people would reach for a pint of ice cream when they are confronted with a conflict at a workplace.  Or binge on a box of cookies after an argument with a loved one.  Sometimes, you eat because you are disappointed that your favorite jeans no longer fit, and you end up fueling the fire or creating a secondary problem instead of doing the logical thing which is facing and resolving the original issue.   Emotional eating is a compulsion you develop to protect yourself from confronting the undesired and the intolerable.

It is hard to fix a problem when you do not know its nature or the fact that you are indeed suffering from a problem.  So first figure out if you are an emotional eater.  You might be an emotional eater if you are always on a diet yet cannot keep off the weight.  You go through a bag of chips without even tasting or enjoying it.  You are always being consumed by thoughts of food, eating when not hungry, then feeling terribly guilty for doing so.  Turning to food during stress or when faced with a conflict.  Those are undeniable signs, and they should not be ignored.

To get rid of emotional eating, you have to implement two solutions, one psychological and the other physical.  Address the problem, psychologically, by digging deeper into yourself.  Open up and look inside you, and without judgement, ask yourself serious questions about how you feel.  Do not fear your answers, meet your feelings with openness.  Deal with them no matter how painful.  If you find them too overwhelming to handle on your own, talk to a family member or a friend.  Call a help line.  Or even write them down then read them out loud to yourself, and you will be surprised to find out that they no longer hold power over you.  Remind yourself how strong you are, and how you deserve to be in a better place and deserve to be happy.  Once the psychological solution has been cemented then you can start on the physical.

To some, the physical aspect can be much easier to manage.  Use these steps to help you practice awareness eating:

1.  Do not eat until you are emotionally comfortable.

2.  Set time for your meals.

3.  Dish out a serving size portion in a small dish or bowl, never eat from a bag or box.

4.  Sit down and eat on a table, in a calm environment, in full view of others.

5.  Pay intention to your chewing, contemplate about what is in front of you, taste it, and take pleasure in it.

6.  Eat without distractions such as surfing the net, listening to music, or reading.

7.  Sip water between bites.

8.  Do not skip meals.

9.  Learn to recognize hunger and fullness cues.


Free yourself from the the shackles of emotional eating, and tell yourself that having a bad moment during a 24 hour day is not a good enough reason to punish your body by eating whatever you can get your hands on.  Establish a positive relationship between your emotions and food in order to take charge of your body and put an end to weight fluctuations.  Use food for fuel not comfort or escape.


Maggie Mangiel for War Room Sports

My Spiritual Journey to My Best Body Yet

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

by Maggie Mangiel




No athlete trains for second place.  If you have ever competed in any form of organized sports, you know that you always have to shoot for the stars, always go for the gold.  Physique competitors are no different.  Whether in the gym, on the hills, the bleacher, or in the kitchen, we put our sweat and tears in it.  We give it all we have.  However, there is a slight difference, our competitors are our former selves, i.e. last year’s physique.  I strive to bring a better, stronger, healthier package than what I delivered last competition.  Not improving upon the physical standard I attained last time on stage is what I truly consider a failure.  Since the beginning of the year, I have been training for my fourth competition with the WBFF.  This time, I decided to only concentrate on the Diva Bikini Category since I wanted to enhance my “lady lumps” and maintain a healthier body fat percentage.  My goal was to achieve an overall balance in my physique while revealing leaner abdominals and leaner, muscular legs and glutes.  I got down to business and came out with a plan that yielded great success.  I was so balanced I thought I might have been doing something wrong.  But the increase in my lean muscle mass and the drop in body fat percentage indicated that I was on the right path.  I was sleeping like a baby.  Totally stress-free.  Now you ask how did you do that, well let me tell you.  I sat down and asked myself a couple of questions and then was able to come up with some answers that made a difference.

First, why do I compete?  Well, here is why.  Competitions are the best way to get that fabulous physique and get in the best shape of your life.  Winning is not my ultimate reward; It is just icing on the cake. I  never focus on my placement.  After all, this is a subjective sport and five people’s idea of beauty should not be my main concern.  I swore to myself to never be the girl that broadcast her anguish and disappointment to her competitors, the judges, or the crowd in lieu of any unfavorable ruling that she might have suffered.  I am definitely not going to send the organization an angry letter about how I felt that I should have placed higher than contestants, 5, 17, or 45.  I compete for the glamour.  For that five minutes in the spotlight when I rule as Queen Diva.  It is when my inner Grace Jones comes to life.  Pull up to the bumper, boys!  This is a show not a competition and for that brief moment I am the headliner.  The audience came to see me, and I would give them the best performance of my life.

Secondly, I asked myself how do I obtain the tremendous physique I need while maintaining a healthy relationship with food and exercise?  In order to answer that, I fired my coach/trainer.  “Bad move,” you say?… No…It was the best idea I have ever come up with.  Not only did I save money, which meant I could splurge on more shoes; I realized nobody knows my body and psyche like I do.  Besides, I had failed to establish a trustworthy relationship with my coach.  In addition, three years of studying and researching sports and nutrition sciences makes me well equipped with all the information I needed.  I amended my diet plan and training regiment in a way I found ideal for my lifestyle.  I added healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats to my meals and limited my cardio sessions to 45 minutes to 1 hour a day 5 times a week.

One day, as I was shopping for a new James Patterson book, I came across a soft cover by the renowned family therapist, Dr. Judi Hollis, entitled “From Bagels to Buddha”.  She illustrated how she lost weight and kept it off by embarking on a spiritual journey.  I was very intrigued.  I have been desperately searching for a way out of my sugar craving and love/hate relationship with my diet meals.  I started meditating for twenty minutes daily and doing three hours of yoga weekly.  Slowly but surely, I started to look at food for exactly what it is, fuel for my body.  I started noticing that I gained a broader focus for the the tasks at hand.  When I am running; I run. When I am eating, I eat.  My self-discipline was phenomenal.  Against enormous adversity (yes, a bikini model’s life can be hard too) I managed to not skip a training session in the last two months leading to the show.  My moods were enhanced and I held a more positive general attitude.  Also, I experimented with cooking flavorful meals while staying within my caloric requirements.

When showtime arrived, I was both physically and mentally prepared.  My family and friends were in joyful attendance as I came out floating like an energetic butterfly that had freshly hatched from its cocoon.  I had never felt better throughout my entire life.  Knowing that I had stayed more dedicated and determined than ever during my training, not only gave me the best physique I’ve ever had, but it also gave me a sense of accomplishment, victory, and a true state of inner peace.  Ultimately, I earned a top 10 finish, but in my heart I had won as soon as I stepped on stage.

Maggie Mangiel for War Room Sports


The Lighter Side of Black

Friday, September 14th, 2012

By Maggie Mangiel




One of the most prevalent but unspoken of issues in the black community, in any part of the world, is colorsim.  Even in a day-to-day conversation, we seem unable to escape color references such as, “I’m sure you know Nikki, the tall light-skinned girl”, or, “look at that boy; he’s so dark, he is midnight blue”.  We have been demanding for years that the white community acknowledge, address, and terminate racism, but if we continue to point out the differences in our shades of blackness, how do we expect them to overlook it?  To make matters worse, some of us commit a truly horrific act.  So called “lightening creams” have created one of the most atrocious epidemics encountered by the black community since slavery; bleaching our skin in an unsuccessful attempt to conform to the “norm”.  Whose norm exactly?  In a recent article written  by a New York Times journalist on the issue; he quoted one of the men interviewed, “you have to change yourself, dilute yourself in order to fit into the Western norm and live in White America”.  So in order to succeed, one has to look the part.  This is the message some black celebrities seem to be projecting.  In 1999, North America was mesmerized and captivated as we all watched the home-run record race between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire play out.  I was on team Sosa and even got the jersey to prove it.  There was immense support for Sosa, not only from Chicago Cubs fans, but also from African Americans who didn’t even follow baseball.  An athletic brother with a Latin spice, can’t go wrong with that.  Then two years ago, pictures of a lighter skinned Sosa surfaced and I was wondering many things, but first was “how?”  Apparently, Sosa has undergone a skin-lighting treatment.  Well I was flabbergasted.  What would compel a successful role model to do such a thing?  He is in the spotlight; hell, he is in the record books.  His name has been immortalized.  I felt so ashamed and let down by someone I once idolized.  However, Sosa is not the first black person to do so.  Many other black celebrities, Michael Jackson not included, have been accused of doing it, from Roberta Flack, the Jacksons (Latoya and Janet), to Rihanna and Beyonce.  Many celebrities do it so they can be more acceptable to White America, therefore having more marketability, resulting in an increase in income. 

During the pre-Olympics campaign, US hurdler Lolo Jones was front and center as the face of the US Track and Field team, even though Dawn Harper, the reigning world champion in that discipline, is also an American.  But why was Harper commercially neglected in favor of a less accomplished athlete?  Was it for Ms. Jones’ closer to European features and olive skin color?  We can blame the media for favoring the lighter over the dark all we want, but the ugly truth is; it is not just White America who like it “light”.  The Black community is more than culpable.  Not long ago, HBO released a documentary about the Ali-Frazier saga.  Some of the people interviewed have admitted that one of the reasons Black America was on Ali’s side was the fact that he was the lighter complexioned fighter.  “He was prettier,” they said, and Ali himself, kept re-enforcing that notion by referring to Frazier as a “gorilla”, a “big ugly bear”, and saying things such as; “we can’t let the Asians think that brothers look like that”, even though Frazier’s physical attributes had no merit nor bearing on the sport of boxing.  I do not have to go as far back as the 1970’s to cement this fact.  In the recent history of Hollywood, Pop, and Hip-Hop cultures, the lack of women of darker complexion has been noticeable in those arenas and we would only see them in roles such  as slaves, overweight maids, prison inmates, “crack-whores”, and so on.  None of the women of darker complexion are given a chance at the glamorous roles which portray beauty.  Many rappers for example, including Kanye West, have declared that they prefer women of mixed races, hence lighter complexion as models in their videos.  Since the targeted demographic for Hip-Hop music is predominately African American, it leaves us with one conclusion; we like it “diluted”. 

Last year, a close relative of mine was gazing through my modelling portfolio and said, and I quote verbatim, “why don’t you use some lightening creams like ‘Fair and Lovely’?  Your pictures would look so much better and that would help your career.  You know magazines don’t like dark women.”  So hearing that I was wondering, were the likes of Rihanna right in choosing magazine covers and higher record sales over their own skin color?  Is bleaching the route to follow in one’s journey toward success?  Or am I being too self-righteous for thinking that what they did cannot be justified?  Should the Black youth listen to the lyrics of Vybz Kartel urging them to use the “Cake Soap”?  Is “fair” really “lovely” and should my sisters shed their skin to be considered attractive and marketable?  My answer to all of these question is a resounding N-O!.  It is time we faced this problem head on, shed the self-hatred, and say enough is enough.  I will stand up and may my sisters and brothers help me shout it to the heavens, “I’m black, I’m dark, and I’m beautiful”!


Maggie Mangiel, Fitness Model & Personal Trainer, for War Room Sports

Fight Breaks Out At Philadelphia Passion Lingerie Football Game

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Subconscious Prejudice Part II: True North Strong and Racist?

Monday, November 14th, 2011

By Maggie Mangiel

Truth hurts.  People cannot speak their minds nowadays without others over-analyzing what they have said and “go off on different tangents”.  I’m talking about the response I have received from my latest blog entry, the “Subconscious Prejudice”.  Most have missed my point to put it lightly.  Moreover, some said I was “ignorant”.  What?  Really?  I attended university, speak three languages, and have a near genius IQ; I extend my middle finger to those people; yes that is so lady-like.  My concern here is for those who have been eluded by my point and purpose of the article.  I could care less about those who did not realize that what they referred to as “ignorance” was my writing style.  I tend to use cynicism and humor, and nothing is funnier than generalization and stereotyping people (I watch too much of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart).  However, some people even went as far as calling me racist, and some leapt “as high as the ceiling” and said that there is no such a thing as racism in Canada.  Try telling that to the black hockey players.  Do you not remember the banana peel at the Flyers/Red Wings game at the Labatt Centre in Ontario, or the minority kids’ struggle to “fit-in” in hockey that was just aired on CBC not long ago?  We do not have to go as far as Ontario; let’s stay right here with our own former Oilers player, George Laraque, and his new tell-all autobiography, “The Unluckiest Tough Guy” and how he chronicled growing up as a victim of racism.  He wrote about how his elementary school bus driver called him the “N-word”.  Yes that happened…HERE…in Canada.  I do not understand why people become angry and deny its existence.  Pretending it is not there will not obliterate it.  We need to face and address it.  There is racism, discrimination, prejudice, and whatever you like to call it, right here in the True North Strong and Free, and it seems to be more prominent in my line of work.  We need to stop burying our heads in the sand and wish it gone.

Nonetheless, my topic was not racism.  I was talking about prejudice in physique competitions and modeling; there is a big difference between the two.  But now, you leave me no choice.  I am just gonna have to talk about racism; there is no turning back.  Like Chris Rock said, “racism will never stop; it’ll only multiply”.  I want to know why is it that white women go to great lengths and spend as much money as possible to acquire “booty” and full lips but this society still considers a black woman who has them naturally, less attractive?  Why do I not see women like me in the sport or the beauty magazines that I read?  Why do magazine editors choose not to put models, especially women of color, on their covers?  Some editors have been reported to go as far as saying, “black doesn’t sell”.  Are they saying that whoever is buying the magazine is interested in the color of the person on the cover and not the contents of the magazine?  What are the implications of the answer to that question?  Walk into a newsstand, randomly pick 3 Canadian sport magazines and tell me how many Asians, African Canadians, Hispanics, or even East Indians are on the covers, or even featured in them.  One of the leading fitness magazines in Canada has this annual issue of the hottest Canadian fitness models.  In their first issue, published in 2010, they included less than 10% of women of visible minority (one black model, yes the token).  Yet, Statistics Canada states that in 2006, 4 years earlier, (stats are taken every 5 years and the results for 2011 will be out in Feb 2012) visible minority women made up 16.4% of the female population.  Is this not a diverse country and do we not pride ourselves in our multiculturalism and shove it in peoples’ faces every chance we get?  Where is the diversity in the Canadian fitness industry?

Even when I look at the American magazines, I can count on one hand the number of black models and athletes that I have seen on the covers or inside their pages this year; despite the countless number of hard-working, attractive African American models in the industry.  In the beginning of his modeling career, one of the top fitness models in the world was told by an editor that the magazine would be happy to give him a spread but cannot put him on the cover because he is black.  Yes, that happened in this day and age when the leader of the free world and the president of the United States of America is a black man.

This was my point, and that was what I wanted everyone to consider.  I am not one to run around blaming the color of my skin for my shortcomings.  When I decide to do something, I give it my best, and when I fail I am always clear on the cause, and my race, so far, has never been one of the reasons.  Being a dark-skinned female does not define who I am; it is only a part of what I am.  I am a proud Canadian and very fortunate to live here.  I pay my taxes; therefore I refuse to travel and compete in the U.S.  Sometimes I feel that I do not enjoy all the privileges this country has promised me, and I do not want my children to feel the same, so I had to say something.  If I do not speak up, who is going to do so on my behalf?

Maggie Mangiel, Fitness Model & Personal Trainer, for War Room Sports

The Subconscious Prejudice

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

By Maggie Mangiel

A physique competition is a different ball game altogether, aside from the non-existence of the ball of course.  I stepped on stage and basked in that limelight for the fourth time on October 15.  It was my second time as a bikini competitor.  My first two times were in the fitness model category.  But I chose to change to bikini model because I prefer the softer, more feminine look as opposed to being more muscular.  First time competing in bikini, I placed top 10 and second time top 5.  So, it seems to be the perfect category for me since I did not find much success in the fitness model category previously.  I’m happy with my results and I’m looking forward to my next competition, and to more improvement in my physique.  For some of you who are not familiar with physique sports, the bikini category is the division in which the female competitor is judged on her beauty traits, facial and physical, stage presence, and marketability.  Each time, I was the only black woman in a sea of bleached-blonde, super-enhanced barbies.  I have no problem with “purchased” beauty.  God created plastic surgeons, and we sure as hell do not want them to starve.  Thanks to Baby Jesus, I will not be spending my hard-eared money on them, so power to the barbies.  Back to what I was saying, I know I’m not the only black woman with good looks, beautiful physique, and enough courage to flaunt what she’s got.  So the question arises, where are the rest?  Why aren’t there more Black Canadian females competing in the bikini division?  I thought I would share my feelings and opinion on the subject with you and let us consider them for a second.

First of all, the weather sucks up here and black people prefer to live in warmer climates.  The population of black women is very slim in comparison to the other races.  Well, there’s nothing we can do about the Canadian cold, so I’m going to leave that alone while sighing deeply with disappointment.  I basically think many black women would like to compete and have what it takes to step on the stage, but the truth of the matter is the bikini division is not “black woman friendly”.  This is a beauty contest, plain and simple.  With people like Satoshi Kanazawa on this planet, black women have some hurdles to clear.  In case you have not heard of him, he is an English psychologist of Asian descent who has written one of the most hurtful pieces of work toward black women, and some people have considered his paper to be the worst thing since slavery.  Good thing someone locked his lips and threw away the key (muahahahaha!).  I think the judging panel has to be diverse.  In my opinion, you cannot put a black woman against 30 white women to be judged by 3 white women, 2 white males, and 2 Asians (well sometimes there’s one black guy or a racially ambiguous “black” woman), and expect a fair judgment.  I’m not calling them racist but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and people tend to identify with people who are similar and closer to their likeness.  So for the improvement of the sport and the advancement of the black woman, I would like to see a panel that resembles the UN and hopefully North Korea does not join (jk…hahahahahaha, nothing against the Asian but Kanazawa just made it so hard for a black woman to look at Asian men without contempt).  This way I feel that my beauty is being assessed fairly, and would not second guess the judges’ integrity and ethics.

In addition, we as black women always think we are better looking than everyone else.  We overestimate our beauty.  Hell, I think I have the nicest “tush” and legs in the whole world, but I’m sure some of you reading this beg to differ.  So, before stepping on stage, we need to logically asses our physique and beauty and compare it to the judging criteria.  We need to be honest with the person looking back at us from behind the looking glass.  Once you truly know your worth, nobody can knock you back, and you can deal positively with people’s opinions and views of you.  Competing once and quitting because you think you “got robbed” or switching to a category such as figure or bodybuilding in which your facial beauty is not considered, or even going as far as traveling to compete in the United States or the Caribbean is not the solution.  The solution is for us to come out with our best, be humble about our looks, and  showcasing them in front of a diverse panel of judges while saying, as Sojourner Truth has neatly put it, “Ain’t I a woman”.

Maggie Mangiel, Fitness Model & Personal Trainer, for War Room Sports