We are so excited to share with you the interview we had with one of our amazing writers, Megan Johnson McCullough, who generously revealed to us her life story and how she motivates other people through fitness training.
Megan McCullough is a professional natural bodybuilder and the owner of Every BODY’s Fit, a fitness studio located in Oceanside, CA. Once devastated by the death of her mom due to alcohol addiction, she now devotes herself to educating the society about this chronic disorder. Megan is one who strongly advocates health and wellness and aims to work with people suffering from alcohol and substance dependence.
In this interview, you’ll also learn how she managed her business during lockdown and quarantine, what she did to stay busy during this challenging time, and her exciting plans for the future, which include promoting changes to the way the health industry treats individuals with addictions.
Now, let’s get to know her better!
Tell us about yourself, your work, and what made you to become a Fitness Trainer?
My name is Megan Johnson McCullough and I own Every BODY’s Fit, a fitness studio in Oceanside CA. For 8 years now I have been helping people become the best versions of themselves. I offer small group and private one on one training. I originally earned my M.A. in Physical Education & Health Science with the intention of becoming a P.E. teacher. However, education cuts left me the low lady on the totem poll and in instability was not fairing well with me. One day, while literally working out a corporate gym, the manager complimented my “know-how” with exercise, and then and there said he was hiring and would I consider working for him. Little did he know I would pass the certification test in 2 weeks (I mean I went to school for it), and then I started the corporate route. Six years later I took the small business risk and here I am today. Although I practically live at the studio, I go home to my wonderful husband and two pugs every day. My boys are my greatest supporters.
Describe your experience as an NASM Master Trainer and professional natural bodybuilder?
Earning the NASM Master Trainer title was a rigorous process that help me elevate my standards and professionalism as a trainer. It put me in a category of trainers at the top. It certainly establishes my credibility. My natural bodybuilding has taken me all over the world, and competing as a professional world-wide is challenging and rewarding all at once. I’m currently ranked second and third in the world, so in no way do I take the getting up on the stage lightly. I love the drive to get there and I have the mental toughness to keep pushing even when the tank is empty.
As a personal training and coach since 2007, share how do you handle conflict or work with challenging clients?
Owning my own business an incredible accomplishment, but being a small business owner doesn’t mean you get to set your own hours and go to the beach in between clients. No, it’s a 24-7 hussle, especially if you want to be reliable and successful. Dealing with the public has its challenges, and I had to swallow the fact that you can’t please everyone. I love taking on clients with limitations and disabilities they have let hold them back for so long, and realize that they can do so much more than they think they can. One of my favorite tasks is helping someone get off their blood pressure medication. I wake up with a purpose to help others, and I know that God brings the right people at the right time for me to help.
Was the pandemic period fruitful to you? How did you manage your clients?
As a small business owner, it was terrible. I had to close for 3 months. Going online was not what I or my clients ever wanted. We did Zooms and online plans, and I’m certainly thankful for all those who stuck with me. I did lose about 40% of my business and I’m on the up and up recovering and rebuilding. It felt like everything I had worked so hard for was swept right out from under me. I do now feel that my small gym is a more attractive option to people who are looking for a small, clean environment. My hands are bleached, but I keep my head up hoping we can all stay safe and this storm passes.
List a few productive things you did in quarantine
Well, I wrote my heart out. I actually wrote 3 books and submitted them for publication during the shutdown. It was my outlet. I wrote and wrote daily. When I finished one book, I prayed for direction, and God gave me the idea for the next one. I also am in school for my Doctorate so I had all my coursework to keep busy with as well. The relationship my husband and I have is stronger than ever spending more time together in our home.
Tell us about all four books- Biceps & Butterflies, An Addict’s Flight, Working Out of my Cocoon, Weighted Wings
Because of a traumatic experience in my life, losing my mother to alcohol addiction, and being the one to find her, I feel my story is one of triumph. Exercise has been my saviour, although it is also an addiction for me. Butterflies represent my mother’s spirit. My books carry this theme. There are so many stigmatisms about addiction, and I want society to understand that this is a chronic disease, not a choice or lack of morality or will power. Sharing experiences creates an open, real, connection to seeking help. My books can be found here.
What change do you want in the health community?
I’m working on my Doctorate in Health & Human Performance and I want to bring the fitness and health care industry together to help persons recovering from alcohol and substance abuse addictions. The American College of Sports Medicine’s Exercise Is Medicine initiative inspired this for me. I think with the right prescription, or dose of exercise, a person seeking abstinence can benefit from using physical activity as a compliment to their existing treatment modalities such as counseling or mutual help groups.
Share your experience working with Health Web Magazine
I love writing for this magazine because all the material is fresh and fact checked. Many of the topics are relatable and common, but not always talked about. Writing is a great way to reach a wider audience and to help more people become their best selves. I enjoy the challenge and I enjoy the comments from my fans.
What’s next for you?
I’m in my last class for my Doctorate become the exam and dissertation portion, so that is the very top “next” thing in my life. From there, I hope to design a certification program for trainers who want to work with persons suffering from addiction as part of their treatment. Oh yeah, and if a professional sports team or player hires me to be their trainer, well, then I’m ready for that next chapter too.