Mandi Rhyne (Body)
Mandi’s story is one of faith, perseverance, and athletic excellence. She shares her experience and story to inspire others to improve their wellness and connection to their bodies.
Mandi and her family have been in Roanoke for over twenty years. Shortly after settling in the area, she and her husband, Daryl, opened Pro Taekwondo, a martial arts school. Both had been competitors against top global talent in Taekwondo and even competed in Korea. After Mandi and Daryl welcomed their twin sons in 2009, she found that training was easier in the gym than it was in the dojo. She eventually transitioned into bodybuilding and did her first competitive show in 2011.
Five years later Mandi felt ready to ramp up her bodybuilding training once more to competition level. However, in the middle of training, she was diagnosed with Stage 1 colon cancer. “I was in great condition. When you are in that great of condition and something is off, you know. I thank God that my body knew,” said Mandi. It was a good thing that Mandi was hyper-aware of what was going on in her body as colon cancer is one of the deadliest cancers, as many of the symptoms go undetected.
During her treatment, the cancer progressed to Stage 3 and she underwent twelve rounds of chemotherapy over the course of a year. Amazingly, she continued to train (albeit at a lighter pace) during her cancer treatments. Inspiring everyone around her, she would regularly speak to her Camp Gladiator (CG) family about wellness, taking care of themselves, and listening to their body.
In true Mandi fashion, she successfully kicked cancer’s butt. Throughout treatment, she relied on her faith and family to get through. “I was so close to God the entire time,” Mandi said. She also attributed not just physical but mental toughness from her years practicing Taekwondo. Her body was actually in the best condition possible during cancer and this helped during treatment.
With cancer in remission, Mandi found herself in new territory. “Post cancer can give you a feeling of displacement,” Mandi shared. “I was so mentally ready to come back [to competitive level training] but my body was not. It took a couple of years. My body was just depleted of all the good stuff from the chemo.” Looking at a life post-cancer, Mandi was uncertain about the future and next steps.
She eventually made the decision to compete again. The path towards getting her body ready for competition was a rigorous one. Competition bodybuilders must pay close attention to what they eat and drink, and hours of workouts can push muscles to the limits. Mandi tackled the ramp-up to competition with friends and family by her side. She competed in the 2020 Ronnie Coleman Classic National Physique Competition and placed 3rd. This was full circle for her since she was training for this when the cancer diagnosis came five years ago. Mandi hopes her example in coming back from cancer to compete inspires others to not give up and follow their dreams.