Megan Joann is an IIN health coach, influencer, and soon-to-be author of my very first book, ‘Beyond the Sport: A Basic Guide to Conquer Self-Doubt, Awaken Your Inner Athlete, and Optimise Performance.’ Megan also currently moonlights as a gymnastics coach as she continues to build up my entrepreneurial presence. As a holistic, nutritional health coach her focus is to mentor and empower others to optimise their daily performance by taking basic, manageable steps to improve self-love, find movement they’ll love and actually stick to, and boost performance with whole, real foods.
Her mission is to be able to spend her free time teaching young athletes how to optimise their sports performance with proper fuel and lay a foundation of health so they have the tools to achieve a greater purpose, beyond the sport. The overall goal is to support the non-athletic community in shifting what it means to be an athlete because Megan thoroughly believes anyone can embody an athletic lifestyle by channeling their inner athlete and becoming a better version of themselves physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.
Hey Meg, can you introduce yourself to us?
I’m Megan, a certified integrative health coach with a focus on nutrition and wellness for the athletic community of all types! I’m born and raised, 30 short years on Long Island, New York. I consider myself an everyday athlete, as well as a handstand addict, Matcha lover, essential oil junkie, cat mama, spiritual soul, and unique influencer. I’m super multi-passionate and love sharing about all the awesome things I find and learn about that contribute to helping me be my absolute best so I can empower others to be their best, as well! I believe self-love is a must-have, finding movement you love is essential, and performing your best in every area of your life isn’t unreachable or difficult.
Can you take us through your journey to where are now with The Meg Thing?
As a former athlete/gymnast, I know the struggle of trying to fill the void after letting go of my sport, trying to find my purpose and place in the real world, and not knowing where to start in making healthier/better choices for myself to live my best life and feel good in my body.
In April of 2015, I found myself violently crying out loud in total disbelief of how I came to be so lost, broken, and confused realising everything I thought I had known about myself – athletic, energetic, fun, playful, happy, content – was completely gone. I was physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted while battling an unhealthy relationship that was going on 4.5 years too long. I was drowning in self-doubt, had a terrible relationship with food, and I had little to no motivation to get out and move my body which caused more physical pain due to the years I spent in gymnastics. At the time, I had also received the last set of rejection letters from 6 more schools for Doctor of Physical Therapy programs I’d been applying to 3 years in a row. I was nearly at the end of my rope with almost no hope in sight.
Four months later I finally took my life back in my hands, reaffirmed my faith, and walked away from 4.5 years of shame and guilt. Three months later I found my soul mate and in April of 2016, still not knowing where my life or career was headed, I came across an ad on Instagram that read, “BECOME A HEALTH COACH” It was for the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. After making the phone call to find out more, four days later I was enrolled in the Health Coach training program at IIN and that was the birth of The Meg Thing.
IIN deserves all the credit in giving me the opportunity to truly transform my life and laying the foundation to create a career path that I’m insanely passionate about and can’t get enough of. My life’s mission has always been to just be of service and I get to do that on a whole other level thanks to the largest and most amazing nutrition school in the world!
It’s because of IIN that made my dream of writing a book become a reality. A month following graduation from the program in May of 2017, I enrolled into their advanced course called the Launch your Dream Book program, which took me through all the steps in taking my story to the next level to help even more people who are in a similar position to where I was only 3 years ago. I’m now able to use my experiences as an athlete/gymnast, from an athletic family, as well as my knowledge and experience as a Health Coach to dedicate my time to inspire and influence the athletic and non-athletic communities via blogging and social media, and I’m also in the process of creating fun retreats and online programs to continue to support my fellow athletes and athletic communities of all types!
What is a day in the life of you like?
This is fun! A typical day in the life of me usually goes something like this: Wake up between 6-7am (depending what time I get to bed, make the bed! Oil pull for about 10-20 min (if time allows), followed by brushing my teeth. Drink 1 full glass of water with a drop of lemon essential oil to start up my metabolism, then I drink 1 more glass of water mixed with Amazing Grass greens (right now I’m into the sweet berry, antioxidant blend..so yum!)
Meditation/Prayer/Card pulling, I’m currently using Gabrielle Bernstein’s ‘The Universe Has Your Back’ card deck and it’s ah-mazing (I do whichever I’m feeling that day, but I always ask for guidance from God/the Universe/source, whichever floats your boat)
Movement, I love, love, love moving my body in the mornings to get the momentum started and my creative juices flowing, not to mention sticking to that commitment builds my confidence.
Finally eat breakfast, or brunch depending on the time and now that the weather is cooling down here I’m back to drinking a yummy hot latte (right now I’m really into an Almond Chai Maca Latte, it’s so bomb!) I’ve been experimenting with intermittent fasting, so I fast for about 12 hours, typically through the night to improve my digestion. I love fuelling up after my workouts!
Get down to business, either writing/editing my book, writing a blog, showing up for my mastermind group, putting together an email or a social post, doing Skype coffees with potential clients or getting real coffee/going to meetings or local events to network, or brainstorming new, fun ideas I can add to my business to optimise my brand! Either way, I can, I always show up for work in one way or another.
Generally, I always share at least one thing a day through social media, whether it’s a post or through IG stories, I like to stay connected as much as I can to my audience so they continue to see me showing up for them, I think that is super important. Although, I try to detox every Sunday so I can reset and recharge before the week ahead with some self-care and much needed time unplugged.
Another thing I do ritually every day (I slightly mentioned this before) is to use dōTERRA essential oils. These oils are a non-negotiable for me, especially since they are the purest oils on the market (that’s a fact, not just because I use them), they consistently up level my health and wellness every single day, physically and emotionally. They are literally my go-to medicinal buddies and kick-ass workout companions. I LOVE them so much and couldn’t imagine my life without them.
Then, I usually end my days having a delicious homemade dinner and deep conversation with my incredible boyfriend, this is my favourite part out of my entire day, and the time I look forward to the most.
From having no energy, always feeling bloated, fluctuating in weight and struggling to keep it consistent, what was the turning point of change for you?
So, what really gave me a wake-up call was when I had two, nearly back to back, car accidents that were a result of me falling asleep behind the wheel. I was in college full-time, working two part-time jobs – one as a bartender and the other as a Physical Therapist’s aide – and doing what any young 23-year-old does, going out with friends whenever I had the chance, all the while continuing to entertain an unhealthy relationship. Naturally, I was constantly getting burnt out. This was the time of my life
I’ve ever been the sickest, and physically, the most unstable and awkward! I won’t get into too much detail so, let’s just say, the first time I was in complete shock after finding myself between two small trees, two blocks from my home, at a dead stop with just some car damage, I waited for a few minutes to collect myself from what had just happened and then drove home, but it was after the second accident when someone else was involved, again no serious damage or injuries, I finally said to myself, “something has to change, it can’t be normal for me to be this tired all the time and feeling the way I do.”
It wasn’t an easy change, and definitely didn’t happen overnight (it’s hard to make healthier choices when the person you’re with the most doesn’t have any urge to do the same), but I started trying to make healthier food choices, tried exercising as often as I could bring myself to, and tried doing more things that made me feel good like seeing close friends once a week for some trash, reality TV.
The real turning point for me was when I discovered a new found faith system that completely made me feel like I belonged. I reconnected to source and felt an overwhelming feeling reassurance. Connecting to this church, for me, helped me realize that my past experiences and this relationship I felt stuck in all that time (that I thought I deserved, by the way) didn’t define who I truly was as a person, just like my sport wasn’t my only purpose.
When I started to learn how truly valuable I was to God, to the Universe, to the source, I was able to value myself more and I started taking action to put myself first. It wasn’t until I found IIN that completed the circle for me, helping me realise the root cause to all of the issues I was having physically was because of the emotional and mental state I’d been putting myself through for so long and was the true game-changer in making my health and well-being a priority. Once that happened, my physical symptoms just evaporated, almost instantly!
What methods are you using to encourage your clients to incorporate small, manageable action steps into their schedule to bust through goals and projects?
What I love so much about coaching people is that there is no right or wrong way, but it’s important to me that I always meet my clients where they are and, even more so, that I listen. Every person is unique and has individualistic needs and goals, so it’s my job to mentor and provides guidance for my clients as they are the ones that ultimately decide what is right for them. Although, one of the biggest methods I love to use with clients/my audience ( the first process in my book) is something I call The Freedom Technique. It’s a basic 3-step approach to releasing expectation in order to find freedom in so many areas of life, begin breaking down the walls of self-doubt, and ultimately build confidence in order to take action towards big goals and smaller projects, as well as create foundational steps to achieve big goals.
When it comes to food or nutrition, and optimising performance, the main point of focus is on the “crowding out” method, which is based on adding in more whole, real, nourishing foods rather than trying to eliminate all the bad foods from the start. This is a great way to help reduce feelings of anxiousness, stress, or overwhelm so they don’t feel like there’s nothing to eat (trust me, that’s the biggest concern when people think about eating “healthy,” aside from worrying that the food tastes like cardboard :P). And the last method would be getting my clients to understand their “why.” I think this is probably the most important for anyone in life, in business, in relationships, in physical activity, because it’s not just about the thing you want to happen, it’s much much more than that. Encouraging people to go deeper puts an intention behind the goal which makes it more meaningful and more approachable when taking action.
Explain to us the importance of generating sustainable performance for our everyday life…
Imagine having an iPhone or another smartphone without the proper tools to charge it, it would be running on 20% battery or less or imagine a computer with no security system or backup method to inhibit viruses from doing damage or too many apps, cookies, photos, files, or stuff downloaded onto the hard drive causing it to be slow or imagine not being able to connect to WiFi! Basically, without all of these things, our phones would lose battery and our computers would be so slow and sluggish, unable to function or connect to the internet. In other words, our bodies work extremely similar to computers.
You can think of it as a bio-computer. Without the proper fuel, we simply won’t be able to function or perform simple, daily tasks without completely crashing down. When we don’t give our bodies the fuel it needs to sustain enough energy to make it through each day doing a million different things, taking in loads of information on a daily basis, we become burnt out, sick, unhappy, unfocused, unmotivated, tired, unsatisfied, frustrated, angry, depressed, sleep deprived, anxious, confused, and eventually these can lead to even more devastating damage like adrenal fatigue, autoimmune disease, inflammation, or cancer. Generating sustainable performance is crucial to our health in all aspects, and it begins with understanding how to fuel your body properly in order to function optimally and perform its best!
Can you give 3 tips on how to overcome being in an unhealthy, toxic relationship with yourself?
- The first would be gratitude. Challenge yourself to name 3 things you’re grateful in your life every single day, whether it’s saying it out loud to yourself in the morning or at night, with a partner or friend to hold each other accountable, or in a journal. Starting a gratitude practice is super powerful in changing how you value yourself and your life.
- The second tip would be to start creating a daily and weekly self-care practice, start small and grow as you go. It can be as simple as taking a nap, spending a few extra minutes in the shower every day, to writing positive love notes to yourself and sticking them on the mirror for you to see every day, cook for yourself even if it’s super basic, or getting a weekly massage. Self-care and self-love go hand in hand. As you build a strong self-care practice, you continue to fill up your cup so the overflow can be given out to others instead of trying to give and show up with an empty cup.
- The third tip for overcoming an unhealthy relationship with yourself would be to write a list of all the beliefs, all the short stories you say about yourself, all the expectations you put on yourself, all the fears and doubts you have lingering around you on a sheet of paper. Once you’ve finished, go through each one, and as you read it back to yourself take a red sharpie marker and cross it out! There is something magical in taking the physical act of letting go of these limiting beliefs, but it will only be worth it if you’re fully ready to let them go and give them up to your source or the universe! Once they’re gone that’s it, no turning back 😉 You can also do them all in one shot by drawing a huge “X” across the page, OR, for my woo-woo friends, throw it in a fire and say, “Bye, Felicia!”
Where can you see yourself in 3-5 years?
In three years I see myself:
- Leaving my gymnastics coaching behind to become a full-time health coach, blogger, writer, and influencer.
- I’ll officially be an author and I’ll be working on my second book!
- Speaking to young athletes and athletic communities.
- Running mini-retreats and online programs for anyone who wants to embody an athletic lifestyle (keep an eye out)
In five years I see myself:
- Running a conscious business.
- Making enough passive, sustainable income to continue supporting my community in ways that lights my soul on fire.
- Running full weekend retreats.
- Living my absolute best life doing what I truly love for others.
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally?
I think the question is, where haven’t I struggled?! I think the struggle is part of the game, after all, you can’t have success without failure. Coming from a gymnastics background, I tend to be pretty hard on myself, so I have to constantly remind myself that for every time I take two steps backward, I get another step ahead and I’ve given myself permission to get frustrated, that it’s OK to feel like this shit is tough, because it is.
Otherwise, I’ll literally make myself crazy! But, having to come to terms with the fact that failure is necessary and it isn’t the enemy, was quite a challenge at first. Although it’s another key tool I discuss in my book, that failure gives us the opportunity to continue to grow and develop, not only as a person but, in this case, as a brand.
Have you ever had another mentor? If so, how has this benefitted you to grow?
I like to think I have many mentors. My very first mentors were my parents. They ultimately helped me and continue to help me shape my life since birth, with morals, discipline, love, the support they’ve taught me everything I’ve needed to know to sustain myself and support myself. My next mentors were my coaches. They helped me become the woman I am today, which is strong, determined, focused, driven and then some. It was because of them I learned how to fail, but also how to pick myself back up. And little did they know, little did I know or realise at first, they were setting me up for success in life after sports.
Unfortunately, I just didn’t see it, and most of us former athletes don’t either, because we were too used to having them be there for us to tell us how to take every next move and we were too focused on thinking our purpose was only the sport that we didn’t know how to actually fit in when it ended. My last set of mentors involves IIN, my closest friends, and my industry friends, as well as the leaders of the industry that I look up to. I continue to grow because of all the people in my life that have and still give me all the tools I need to be successful.
What outlets do you use to market The Meg Thing?
I regularly use Instagram, but I also use facebook and email. Email hasn’t died yet, it’s definitely a staple that I consistently have to nurture a lot. I love Instagram, I think it is an incredible platform for growing and connecting to my community.
Which methods are you using to build your own support network?
I’d have to say just being authentic, vulnerable, and supportive to others in my network. The world goes round, and what comes around goes around. The more you can give to others the more they will give to you (just don’t give on an empty cup.) Support goes both ways, especially if you want to be sustainable and generate a solid support network.
What do you believe are the common misconceptions about the health and fitness industry and how are you using your platform and voice to educate people more?
This is such a good question! I honestly believe the biggest misconceptions have to do with money and time. People are generally looking for the quick fix or what’s going to give them the best results faster without costing the most money because they tend to think being healthy and exercising takes a lot of money out of their pockets and time out of their day. On the other hand, it’s intimidating. It constantly challenges a person’s entire belief system, and some people just aren’t ready to be challenged,unfortunately, not until it’s an emergency.
I try to use my platforms and voice to educate people on the basics. I like to stick with the basics and go from there. In athletics, it’s a huge concept we always have to be mindful of but once you can remind people about the basics, their guard comes down a little and they can feel a little less intimidated. For instance, instead of using the words “workout” or “exercise” or “fitness” (because I was intimidated by these words myself) I like to remind people that it’s movement. Movement sounds way less intimidating and the basics of movement are a little more understandable and manageable. I also make sure that people understand that only 30 minutes a day is way more than enough time to spend in their movement, and it can be in the comfort of their own home or outdoors if the gym is scary to them. Meeting people where they are is super important in this industry if we want to be successful and truly influence peoples lives.
What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?
LOVE this one! Ready? “If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.” I don’t even think I need to explain this, because it’s just so good and I love to let that sink in a bit.
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned in your career so far?
Always show up. As best you can, in your most vulnerable state, as authentically as possible, always show up for your people, and they will show up for you.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
My personal life is just as important as my work life. It’s yin and yang energy, so without that balance, something will definitely be off. Like I said earlier, I have to fill my cup up first in order to give back to others, otherwise, I’d be giving from an empty cup and eventually I’ll burn out. That goes for every area of my life and every platform I use. If it’s all work and no play, I’d be completely out of balance and it would show up in frustration, fear, physical pain from neglecting my body, and poor emotional health due to the deprivation of human connection. So, most simply put, the best way I create an evenly balanced work and personal life is by scheduling in daily self-care practices, and making a conscious decision to keep my weekends off and, especially, Sunday’s for volunteering, worship, connecting with friends or family or just spending time exploring, going into NYC with my man and enjoying some delicious foods and yummy lattes.
The highlight of your career so far…
This! This is so exciting and I’m so honoured to be recognised in the BEYOUROWN community, this is a serious bonus to everything I’m currently doing, thank you! And, of course, the fact that I’m on the brink of becoming an author.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
The fact that I chose to do what I truly love instead of settling for something unfulfilling because I knew I was meant for something greater. Also the idea that every single day I’m planting seeds everywhere and if I continue to nurture them, they’ll grow into something powerful.
What challenges have you seen to have been presented during the growth of your career?
The biggest one yet is financial. Transitioning into the entrepreneurial space is so tough, and the finances have definitely taken a hit, but when you have such a supportive team incredible humans behind you it makes it all worth it.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
- Melissa Ambrosini, an Australian health and self-love guru, also my dōTERRA mentor and leader, has written two amazing books (the first book was literally my bible and helped inspire me to write my book), runs a conscious, loving online business and podcast to help women with health, wealth, and love. I had the pleasure to meet her in person at dōTERRA global convention this year and she is just the most beautiful, selfless, incredible person. She has definitely paved the way for women leaders in the industry.
- Candice Kumai, ‘the golden girl of wellness,’ bomb Japanese wellness expert, chef, and founder of the Wabi Sabi podcast, she is as authentic as it gets and she hustles hard. I admire her so much for her grit, always being real AF, and everything she does as a women leader in the industry.
- Marie Forleo, my go-to for all things business! She is definitely a pioneer in helping people like me create a conscious business and being an abundant resource for entrepreneurs.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
So many! I’m currently reading Melissa Ambrosini’s second book, ‘Open Wide: A Radically Real Guide to Deep Love, Rocking Relationships’, and ‘Soulful Sex,’because what woman doesn’t need more of that! Another book I read recently was ‘Judgement Detox’ by Gabrielle Bernstein, and it is so good, and I have so many more books on my list to read. As you can see I’m really into the self-help and development stuff.
Your top 3 go-to Podcast channels?
- Wabi Sabi Podcast by Candice Kumai. Its a podcast for the perfectly imperfect; so real, so raw, so awesome.
- The Melissa Ambrosini Show that interviews with top, amazing leaders in the industry around the world.
- Highest Self Podcast by Sahara Rose. This is another amazing beauty, Ayurveda expert and teacher. This podcast is all things spiritual, ‘woo-woo’, and just awesome.
How do you measure your own terms of success?
Success to me would mean so many things, but I think ultimately, the way I measure success is not by the things I have or not even what I’ve accomplished, it’s more about the journey, not the destination. This goes along with my Freedom Technique, in releasing expectation, not expecting success, and one of the pillars in cultivating an expectation-free life is focusing on the process, and making progress every single day, always striving to be better than yesterday.
This quote that I love so much by Michal Phelps says, “you can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream the further you get.” I really take this to heart because I believe I can be successful every step of the way, but what truly determines my success is in how I serve my community and serve others, how I leave my imprint on the world.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
#BEYOUROWN to me means being unapologetically, authentically you in life, in business and speaking your truth. It means never letting anyone tell you that you can’t do something just because it’s not what they believe is the right way, and understanding that you’re allowed to make your own rules and set your own standards in your own unique way that works for you.
Lastly, what is next for you?
My next step involves stepping out into local communities to support and educate young athletes, holding more in-person workshops and fun atmospheres to build a stronger community, and possibly a book tour. I also have an online master course in the works that will go along with my first book, which is pretty exciting. I’m hoping in the future I will continue having the opportunity to connect with even more incredible brands and families like this one, so we can all work together in creating a powerful ripple effect of a change in the world.