MIDWEST MARY PAGANO! STUNNING NEW BIKINI PRO!
Interview By Ben Yosef // Michael Brooks Photography
Mary Pagano was a KNOCKOUT at the 2016 IPL Midwest Metro in Madison, WI on Saturday July 30th! She just looked incredible. And every time she struck her signature pose (ß seen here) you just could not take your eyes off of her.
Wonderfully well-balanced and proportionate, spot-on conditioning and posing and presentation that was the epitome of IPL Bikini. Needless to say, Pagano landed the points she needed for the IPL PQ, and then some. With the look that Mary Pagano is bringing, she is more than ready to face off with the best of the IPL’s Bikini Pros. >>>
Ben Yosef: Hi, Mary! Congrats on your awesome showing at the IPL Midwest Metro! You looked incredible! That contest took place over six months ago now. Has it all settled in yet? [laughs]
“THAT MADE ME SMILE AND FEEL KINDA LIKE A CELEBRITY.” [LAUGHS]
Mary Pagano: Hey! Thanks! Yes, it has. [laughs] It took a couple months after to get back too “normal” life. I remember about a month after, when I went to Walgreens, the pharmacist said “I don’t mean to sound like a stalker but congratulations on your win!” That made me smile and feel kinda like a celebrity. [laughs]
There is one topic that I really want to talk about and that is what happens after a show. But I don’t want people to get the impression that Bodybuilding is horrible. I want people to know that this is one of the most mentally challenging sports. Not just during prep, but post as well.
BY: Well, let’s get right into that! But first, how did the pharmacist know about your win?
MP: The pharmacist knew who I was from Facebook. She said we had a lot of mutual friends.
BY: So, let’s talk about what happens after a show. Are you referring to the body’s rebound?
“I FOUND MYSELF BINGE EATING WHEN I WOULD HAVE A CHEAT MEAL AND STRESSING OUT ABOUT IT.”
MP: Yes. Doing the reverse diet, getting use to gaining weight, knowing you can eat without restrictions and feeling depressed. Going into this my friends (IPL PROS Nina & Nate Olsen) explained all of this to me and made it clear to always let them know if I started to feel a certain way.
I remember after the show Nate would always ask me, “How’s is it going?, and “How is your head?” I thought “I got this. It won’t happen to me.” But, it did.
I found myself binge eating when I would have a cheat meal and stressing out about it. If someone didn’t tell me that these things would happen, I know I would have slipped down the path of having an eating disorder. That’s why I think this sport is the hardest, mentally. With this being said, you would think I wouldn’t want to ever compete again. But nope, I do because I want the challenge again and I want to do even better.
BY: Oh, wow. Well yes many, if not most, competitors have similar experiences. Both men and women. When I was a competitor I also went through this, personally. Was this your first show? And what do you think you can do differently to next time around so this phenomenon does not hit you as hard?
“I LOVE THAT STAGE HIGH. [LAUGHS] RIGHT NOW MY MAIN FOCUS IS GETTING STRONGER AND PUTTING ON MUSCLE.”
MP: Yes, this was my first show. The one thing I’m going to do next time is while during prep is I’m not going to go ham on the cheat meals. Instead choose “cheat” meals that are going to benefit me. Also, I’m not going put so much pressure on myself and have more fun with it! It’s amazing seeing your body transform. I love that stage high. [laughs] Right now my main focus is getting stronger and putting on muscle.
BY: Well, it is great to hear that you have such a good perspective on all this and a game plan! I am sure things will be a lot smoother next time around. So, let’s talk training. Is it true that you trained primarily with CrossFit for this show?
MP: I did both. I used CrossFit for my “cardio” and then I would lift after. When it was about two weeks out, I cut back on the heavy lifts during CrossFit and would just do the WOD. I also ran a half marathon and ran 22miles in 24hrs. That was called Ragnar. Not sure if you ever heard of that. Twelve of us ran from Madison to Chicago, taking turns.
“OH YEAH! RIGHT NOW MY PLANS ARE TO BUILD UP MUSCLE AND FOCUS ON GETTING STRONGER. I GOT MY EYES ON THE IPL SOUTHWEST GRAND PRIX IN ARIZONA IN OCTOBER.”
BY: Oh, wow. No, I have not heard of that. Sounds pretty intense! It seems that more and more competitors are prepping and training using more of these unique, non-traditional “Bodybuilding” methods. Do you have a background in running?
MP: Yeah, seems like the new trend now. No, I was a tennis player and basketball player in high school/college. I started running about six years ago. My friend offered me to run with her one day and she got me hooked on it. As for CrossFit, I love everything about it.
BY: Why such a love for CrossFit? So many people feel the same way. Why is that?
MP: It’s awesome! CrossFit is like family. #fitfam. The energy is nothing but positive and it’s such a selfless sport. Everyone wants and pushes each other to do their best. It doesn’t matter what level you’re at, you always feel like a winner. For me, CrossFit not only has made me a better athlete but a better person as well. It’s the one place where I have the most positive people in my life. Once you step into a box, you’re hooked. [laughs]
BY: I think it is safe to say that with what you brought to the IPL stage at the Metro and then with this Natural Bikini cover story, we are all excited to see you back on stage! Especially with all the other amazing IPL PROS. What are your plans, and when can we expect to see you back on stage?
MP: Oh yeah! Right now my plans are to build up muscle and focus on getting stronger. I got my eyes on 2nd Annual IPL Southwest Grand Prix in Arizona in October. And, if that goes well, IPL APEX in Los Angeles!
BY: The IPL Southwest Grand Prix will be a very competitive show! It will be awesome to see you there! And, with the best of the IPL at APEX!
MP: Yep, I figure since I have my PRO CARD I might as well take advantage of it! NATURAL BIKINI