|B.C. Angels' Stephanie Manou. (Supplied) |
Stephanie Manou is under no illusions.
She knows sex sells — especially in the sexploitive Lingerie Football League.
But the running back with LFL Canada’s B.C. Angels wants to be appreciated for her athletic prowess on the gridiron and not her … ahem … tight end.
“We’re athletes. We’re not just coming off the couch and thought we’d pick up football,” Manou, a former rugby player at the University of British Columbia, tells Sun Media.
“I’ve always been active and used my body as my means of expression, so to speak. It definitely comes natural to me to be active and healthy.”
“I make money based on my appearance and how I present myself,” explains the 26-year-old Toronto native who lives in downtown Vancouver.
“We don’t have control over how it (the LFL) is marketed. But we do have control over how we play and what we represent as players.”
Manou, a fit 135 pounds at five-foot-eight, seems to have the best of both worlds: an enviable blend of beauty and brawn.
The registered kinesiologist, fitness model and personal trainer has scored five touchdowns through her first three games and leads the Canadian LFL in rushing yards.
“That’s very much attributed to my power and balance,” she notes. “As a running back, when you take the ball, you hit contact almost instantly, and it’s a matter of powering through past the player or powering through past the defensive line to gain those extra yards.”
During this year’s four-game season, Manou is lifting weights once a week. That’s in addition to two-hour team practices three times a week. She also does an intense power-and agility session once a week.
“I’ll usually go out to a field and will do agility drills. I’ve got my own hurdles and cones,” says the former B.C. Lions cheerleader. “My boyfriend (also a personal trainer) does the drills with me and we go over things like straight-arming and cutbacks, which I don’t always get a chance to do in practice.”
After the season winds down, Manou will return to weight training on a more regular basis.
“My philosophy as a trainer is to do functional training on top of just lifting weights and doing isolation exercises. It’s about keeping the variety and that’s what keeps it interesting,” she explains, noting variety helps spur further physical improvements.
“That’s when everybody plateaus is by doing the same routine over and over again. And you hit that mental and physical block. By incorporating the athletics and going out to a field and training and doing different exercises than you’re normally used to, it keeps your body guessing.”
The inaugural LFL Canada season began Aug. 25 and wraps up Nov. 18 with the Lingerie Bowl in Abbotsford, B.C.
Manou has been playing with a face shield since breaking her nose in preseason practice.
“It hasn’t slowed me down,” she says, noting her nose remains tender. “It’s one of those things. I’ve got a nice scar now as a reminder of my first year in the LFL.”
Stephanie’s fitness advice:
• Get out there, learn a new sport and meet new people. You’ll be changing up your routine and making it exciting. You’ll meet likeminded people and it’ll only fuel your success. You’ll be happier and healthier overall.
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