A quiet and quaint city in northwestern Poland on the Baltic Sea, Kosazlin has a storied history and past all it’s own.
While most outside of Poland are more likely to be familiar with larger cities such as Gdansk, Warsaw, Krakow and Torun, Koszalin’s history—which stretches back to the 11th century—is littered with being a part of the German Empire, occupied by the Nazis and Red Army.
With a population of 108,000, Kosazlin may not be considered by many a top tourist destination, but it is a city with a special place in both Polish and European history.
While not known as the birthplace of fitness models, perhaps Morristown, New Jersey-based fitness and glamour/pin-up model, Dagmara Izabela Mara could put it on the map.
Mara, who left her native Kosazlin for the United States nine years because she loves a challenge and wanted to challenge herself, is a certified personal trainer that holds accreditations through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and Certified Weight Loss (WLS), is currently working towards her Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) certification.
Holder of a master’s degree in Economics from Koszalin University of Technology and a post-graduate degree in Psychology/Management from the University of Szczecin in her native country.
The 36-year-old blonde bombshell and New Jersey transplant has been a certified fitness trainer for seven years and a model off and on for five years, taking time off to raise her now 13-year-old son.
Polish born and Jersey-bred, Mara is an example of following one’s dreams and making it in America if there ever was one.
Below is my Q and A with Mrs. Dagmara Izabela Mara as we discuss modeling, working out, how to get fit and in shape this spring, coming to America and how to stay and get motivated.
Name: Dagmara Izabela Luka
Birthplace: Koszalin, Poland
Hometown: Morristown, New Jersey
Robert D. Cobb: What kind of model do you consider yourself?
Dagmara Izabela Mara: “I consider myself a pin-up/glamour model, a petite model, a swimsuit/lingerie model, a fitness model, a fashion model, a commercial model and a mature model.”
Robert D. Cobb: What brands have you modeled for? Which one do you enjoy modeling for the most?
Dagmara Izabela Mara: “I have not been fortunate enough to have modeled for any brands. I am hoping for a better chance to do so in the near future.”
Robert D. Cobb: Where has been your favorite place to shoot?
Dagmara Izabela Mara: “One of my most memorable experiences has been in New York City, around the World Trade Center. I love shooting outside with natural light, and it was pleasurable to be around very optimistic and a professional group of people.”
Robert D. Cobb: What is the most exciting aspect of modeling?
Dagmara Izabela Mara: “The most exhilarating aspect about modeling is the transformation that takes place mentally and physically. Doing photography, for me, is something eternal. In the image, you can mirror someone’s soul, and feelings.
Modeling is more than posing; moreover, it’s a form of creative art.”
Robert D. Cobb: Within the industry, who is your inspiration?
Dagmara Izabela Mara: “My inspiration is Cindy Crawford and Claudia Schiffer. Cindy Crawford and I think alike. She said, “It’s not about looking younger, but about loving yourself”. I completely agree in terms of when you are content with your accomplishments in life, how it “brings true youthful energy to your life”.
I like to take good care of myself by eating healthy and working out, but most importantly being passionate and happy about what I do is what truly keeps me feeling great, which then brings more confidence into my life.
Cindy Crawford and Claudia Schiffer inspire me because they achieve success through hard work and commitment. That’s commendable.”
Robert D. Cobb: Any spring fashion and style tips for women that you wish to pass on?
Dagmara Izabela Mara: “You could have on the trendiest, most expensive outfit in the world—but if it doesn’t fit you properly, you’re not going to look stylish, and all your effort and money would have been wasted.
The biggest mistake women make is wearing clothes that don’t fit because they don’t accept the body they have right now. You have to do that in order to figure out what looks good on you.
And besides, confidence is the best accessory. It can make or break an outfit.”
Robert D. Cobb: What is your secret to staying in shape?
Dagmara Izabela Mara: “There is no secret to staying in shape. As a personal trainer, I know what it takes to achieve your fitness goals. It is hard work and dedication. I work out five days a week and I eat as healthy as I can to maintain myself in good shape.
All it takes is self-motivation, and dedication to get where you want to be, and you’ll get there.”
Robert D. Cobb: Fashion or fitness fad, what is your opinion of athleisure?
Dagmara Izabela Mara: “Why are people increasingly interested in athleisure wear?
I think part of it is certainly connected to the rise of fitness-conscious people who look at athletics not only as a hobby but also as an all-around lifestyle. Another part of it is simply the desire for clothing to be comfortable, even when it’s supposed to be functional, like formal wear in professional situations.”
Robert D. Cobb: Describe your workout routine?
Dagmara Izabela Mara: “First, I want to say that I’ve been consistently training for over five years now. I have always been a fan of weight and strength training. My work schedule is constantly changing, therefore; I don’t always follow any specific training days.
The same applies to my rest days, I take them as they come.We all have those lagging body parts that just take longer to respond to our workouts, personally it’s my legs.
When training, I like to use heavier weights, with a moderate rep range. I usually do 4-5 sets of each exercise with a rep range of 8-12. If for any reason I’d only have 3 days during the week to workout then one day I would train my whole upper body, the next day would be all legs/calves and on the 3rd non-consecutive day I would do a whole body workout, focusing on a couple of exercises for each body part with a higher rep range.
I like to stick to the same routine for no more than six weeks.
Our muscles are very adaptive, and after a while they stop responding to whatever workouts we are doing. Therefore; it is important to change your routine from time to time. To change things up, I might just change the order of exercises, rep range, weights and/or change my routine completely.
I also may add a light weight day with an increased in reps and then a heavy weight day with lower reps for the same muscle groups.”
Robert D. Cobb: What’s the best way to stay motivated?
Dagmara Izabela Mara: “Fortunately, economists and psychologists have been studying how to crack the code of what compels us to repeatedly do something we don’t always want to do.
Start thinking of yourself as an athlete, and not a spectator. Set a goal, enlist a friend, mark it on your calendar, and have some fun.
You’ll be setting yourself up for a lifetime of better health, more happiness, and more energy for everything else in your life.”
Robert D. Cobb: With spring now here, what workout tips do you suggest?
Dagmara Izabela Mara: “Weight training for a better body.
Many women worry that weight training will somehow transform them into Hulk-ettes, so they spend hours doing cardio in order to maintain their “feminine” figure. The truth is, women just don’t have the hormonal support to gain muscle mass like men.
The hormone testosterone is responsible for large increases in muscle mass. Women’s testosterone levels are a fraction of men’s. That means you can bench press without concern that you will look bulky.
You’re right about one thing, though: training with weights will increase your lean muscle mass.
That’s a good thing! The more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn. The more calories you burn, the leaner you’ll get. Increased muscle mass will also add shape to your arms, take inches from your tummy, and even add some roundness to your booty!
When women’s magazines talk about “tone,” they’re really talking about strong muscles.”
Robert D. Cobb: Outside of modeling, what are your hobbies?
Dagmara Izabela Mara: “My hobbies are working out, reading books on psychology, neuroscience, human body and food, and art.”
Robert D. Cobb: Sports question: Who are your favorite teams and clubs?
Dagmara Izabela Mara: “I like to watch soccer and tennis games, but I have no particular favorite team.”
Robert D. Cobb: What are your favorite cities to travel to?
Dagmara Izabela Mara: “There are too many nice cities all around the world; therefore, I would have a lot of favorite cities if I had traveled them all. I think all of them are special in some kind. All of them have some beauty. Krakow in Poland or Prague has majesty. Jaco in Costa Rica has amazing tropical wind.”
Robert D. Cobb: What advice would you give to women aspiring to get into modeling?
Dagmara Izabela Mara: “My advice to women aspiring to get into modeling would be to love yourself and be confident. It is your patience, listening skills and general attitude that will get you far. You don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. Beauty is within you.”
Special thanks to Mrs. Dagmara Izabela Mara for her time and assistance during the Q and A interview process. Images used are the property of their respective owners and are used with permission.