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Chat with #Strongwomen and online coach Paige Mantel

Paige Mantel is an online transformation coach, a self love advocate and a boss lady. We chat to her about her journey!

Photos by Werner Buitendag.

How did you discover your passion for fitness?

Fitness saved my life!  After battling with eating disorders (anorexia & bulimia) for more than 10 years, which left me depressed, malnourished, and constantly physically/mentally exhausted, I knew that something had to change. I needed a way to take back my life, and fitness helped me do just that! I started replacing old habits with new healthier ones after I realised that in order to reach my fitness goals, I couldn’t carry on living the way that I was. I learnt what my body needed, and how good I felt when I gave my body what it deserved. Through my quest to a happier life, my passion for health and fitness was born! My journey has shown me the importance of true self-love and care. I can honestly say that improving my overall health and fitness has transformed every aspect of my life in the most amazing way. Fitness has taught me how to be BRAVE, to face my fears and to realise that I am capable of achieving incredible things! 

What has been some of your challenges and triumphs throughout your journey?

My biggest challenge was fighting to overcome my eating disorders. This took me quite some time to do as the recovery process is not linear. My recovery took years of hard work and dedication towards my happy and healthy lifestyle. 

My greatest triumph is having overcome my eating disorders (ED). The mental health side of ED’s are, however, a life-long journey and so it is something I will need to work at for the rest of my life. But, I am so very proud of how far I have come! I have turned my pain into power by using my passion for health & fitness to help women build happy, healthy and balanced lifestyles. I do this by guiding women on a journey to self-love and empowerment through my health & fitness brand BRAEVE.

What are your views on exercise and nutrition as part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle?

Being fit and healthy is about so much more than just your physique. It’s about having a well-rounded wholesome approach to life. This means taking care of your mind, body, and soul. 

As a fitness coach my core beliefs are centered around sustainable healthy habits, building self-discipline, gradual progression, consistency, self-love, and empowerment. 

The key to achieving long-lasting results is having a sustainable approach. I believe that a great way to approach training and nutrition, even if you are not working towards any specific goal, is to love the way you train and the way you eat! It is much easier to reach your goals when you are enjoying the journey! 

Health isn’t about perfection, It’s about progress. And, when it comes to fitness and nutrition it truly is about balance. We are all unique and so our health journeys will be, too! I strongly believe that every healthy choice we make should be underpinned by self-love.

How do you find motivation and the energy to pursue your passions, your business and still stay active and healthy?

I truly love what I do. That makes it easier for me to have the energy to get through my daily tasks. I am also quite a self-disciplined person by nature, and the truth is that some of this does come from my battle with EDs, but even more so from my passion for healthy living after overcoming them! I love having the ability to help others with their health & fitness journey and I am so excited to get to do so each day. 

Motivation doesn’t last forever and this is where self-discipline will come into play. This is why it is so important to work on building a strong mindset geared towards healthy living.  

With that said, some days are definitely harder than others. This is just an inevitable way of life. We all have our good and our bad days. So on the harder days where I feel less motivated and my energy levels are low, I focus on giving my mind and body exactly what they need so that I can come back even stronger the next day!

Why do you think it is important to have balance?

Balance is so important when it comes to creating a sustainable healthy lifestyle. Going to any type of extreme is not healthy, nor is it something we can keep up for a long period of time.

Understanding what your body needs and knowing when to rest or indulge and when to remain disciplined is essential to health & fitness success. You will ultimately create long-lasting adherence to a healthier lifestyle by allowing yourself treats occasionally or rest when you need it. By cutting out food that you enjoy or by overtraining for an extended period of time, you will put your mental and physical health in jeopardy. 

The trick is moderation! This rule does not only apply to training and nutrition but can apply to all aspects of life. As they say, “too much of anything is good for nothing”.

Take us through a day in your life.

The first thing I do when I wake up is have a coffee and a protein shake. Then I head to the gym for a BRAEVE workout. 

After the gym, I have my post-workout protein shake, shower and get dressed – usually back into some type of activewear as I am all about comfort. I love wearing activewear most of the time because it is the perfect balance between comfort and style! 

I then have a small breakfast and get started with work, running errands or attending meetings. I work from home most of the time as I am an online fitness trainer and graphic designer.

I usually eat lunch at about 13h30 and I do so either at my laptop if I have a very busy day or I will take a quick break.

I finish up work at about 18h30ish (sometimes a little earlier or later depending on how much I need to get done). Then, if it’s my turn to cook (my hubby and I alternate days for cooking dinner), I will start making dinner between 18h30 and 19h00.

We usually eat dinner at around 19h30 and hubby and I chat about our day and then watch TV series.

I usually get into bed at around 21h30 and read a book (I find this to be the best way to wind down my mind after a long day) until I fall asleep at around 22h30.

What does your diet look like?

I am all about balance and moderation when it comes to nutrition! I focus on eating food that I enjoy and that fit in with my health goals while allowing myself treats and not feeling guilty about them! I try to eat as healthy and balanced as possible and I usually apply the 80/20 rule to my daily diet (eat great healthy foods for 80% of your diet and then the remaining 20% can be treat foods). 

I am a creature of habit, so I usually stick to the foods that I like and am used to. I like to try new things from time to time to keep myself from getting bored with my diet. 

Here is what I typically eat in a day: 

  • Pre-workout: Coffee (black, no sugar) and a protein shake (2 scoops whey protein and half a scoop of Biogen Pure Carbs).
  • Post-workout: Protein shake (2 scoops whey protein)
  • Breakfast: Poached egg on rye and a green juice
  • Snack: Coffee Freezo (I am addicted to these) or a skinny cappuccino 
  • Lunch: Poke Bowl – quinoa, slaw mix, spicy corn, spring onion, lean chicken, dressing: teriyaki sauce + wasabi mayo. 
  • Snack: Small bowl of microwave popcorn (I don’t always have a snack between lunch and dinner. I only do so if  I am really hungry).  
  • Dinner: Thai Green Curry with chicken and bulgur wheat (instead of rice) + mixed veg 
  • Dessert: 4 blocks of Lindt Dark Chocolate (raspberry, hazelnut or mint flavour are my favourites)
What does your training look like? What kind of training do you believe in and why?

Just like my BRAEVE BODY PROGRAMS, my training routine incorporates resistance training (high-intensity weight training, bodyweight and plyometrics) and cardio (LISS, moderate intensity and HIIT).  My current goal at the moment is to continue building lean muscle.

Research has shown that the ideal exercise program for improving body composition and overall health includes both cardio and resistance training. Each training discipline has a multitude of benefits, so having a good balance between these two basic forms of exercise is essential to fitness success. 

The resistance portion of my training program uses a combination of simple yet powerful compound and isolation movements to ensure that I hit all of the major muscle groups for an overall balanced physique. 

I use progressive overload techniques for both my resistance training and cardio to ensure that I continue to gradually progress and to keep myself from getting bored with my training routine. I also like to try new fitness classes or to workout in new locations from time to time to keep things interesting and to give me an extra boost of motivation when I need it.

I am always working to expand my fitness knowledge. Even though I have already obtained my diploma in Personal Training, I still believe that there is always more to learn. I like to learn and try out new exercises and training techniques to ensure that I am always up to date and can provide the best possible service to my clients. I am currently continuing my studies so that I can provide further value to my BRAEVE BABES.

What a typical week of training would look like for me: 

  • Monday: HIIT (running sprints) 
  • Tuesday: Lower-body workout 
  • Wednesday: Running (about 4-5km) + upper-body workout
  • Thursday: HIIT (running sprints) + abs & core workout
  • Friday: LISS (walking) + full-body workout
  • Saturday: Rest 
  • Sunday: Rest or active recovery (yoga-style stretching)
How do you stay mentally healthy and strong?

I believe that mental health plays such a pivotal role when it comes to health and fitness. The truth is that the mind can in fact play a far more important role than the body when it comes to living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Mindset is everything!

I truly believe that the key to living a fulfilling life is learning how to love yourself – not only on the outside but more importantly on the inside!

I suffer from anxiety, so on top of all the above reasons, taking care of my mental health is very important to me. It has also been a vital part of my ED recovery (EDs may seem like they are very physical orientated, but they are actually a mental health disorder).

I take care of my mental health by applying techniques that I have learnt through psychology (I believe that therapy is always valuable even for people who do not suffer from any obvious mental health disorder), through my current studies (I am studying Life Coaching) and through my own research on mental health. 

I use techniques such as positive affirmations, gratitude journaling and dedicating time each week for self-care.

What message do you aim to portray to your followers? How do you try to inspire them?

The message I want to portray to my clients and followers is that health & fitness is about so much more than physical aesthetics. What it is truly about is the way it makes you feel! I want my clients and followers to feel empowered through fitness and to know that taking care of your health (mental and physical) is the greatest act of self-love. And, loving yourself is so very important! 

I also want my clients and followers to understand that the journey is different for everyone, so you should never compare yourself nor your health and fitness journey to that of others. There is no such thing as perfect! We are all unique and so our health journeys will be too! 

The health & fitness and self-love journeys are not linear ones (like most journeys in life) and so it won’t always be easy and there will be ups and downs. It is important to be patient with yourself and to trust the process. Just know that you are capable of incredible things!

I aim to inspire my followers by doing all that I can to portray and honour the above message and by truly practising what I preach.

Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by people who encourage others, by people who push themselves outside of their comfort zones, by kindness, by love, by honestly & realness, by effort and by the phenomenal women that I coach who make the BRAEVE decision to challenge themselves and to start living a healthier life.

What is your favourite #strongwomen quote?

“Being BRAEVE is having the audacity to be unhindered by failures, to walk with freedom, strength and hope in the face of things unknown” – A BRAEVE spin on Morgan Harper Nichols quote.

Who inspires you to be a strong woman?

Women who support, encourage, compliment and cheer on fellow females inspire me to be a strong woman who does the same. Plus, my incredibly supportive husband who inspires me to always be the best that I can be.

Do you have a #strongwoman moment to share with us?

A #strongwoman moment for me was learning how to love and accept myself for who I am. Self-love is not easy. It takes time and commitment. Through my health & fitness journey (mental and physical) I have become more confident in who I am, I have had the courage to let go of things (and a few people) that no longer serve me or nourish my soul, and my desire to help others has grown. This has all made me a happier, healthier, and stronger woman, which in turn allows me to be the best version of myself.

Yay or Nay what does Paige say?
  • Tabata – Yay
  • Functional workouts – Yay
  • CrossFit – Yay (my hubby does it and I recently attended a few classes with him, which I really enjoyed)
  • Vegetarian diet – Yay (although I eat meat, I do think that having a few meat-free days is great)
  • Protein bars – Yay (in moderation) 

You can find Paige on IG here, or on her webiste here

Author: Logan Leigh Rix

Logan blends her passion and profession by working as a digital and social media marketer and content creator in the fitness, health and wellness industry. She’s also a personal trainer, former Face of Fitness finalist and Fitness Magazine featured athlete.

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