Meghan Callaway is dominating the women's fitness scene from Vancouver, Canada. With over 13 years experience as a strength coach and 26 years as a competitive athlete, Meghan strives to make women feel confident, empowered, and powerful as society continues to tell them they should look and act a certain way.
When Meghan isn't writing or training, you can find her doing insane pull up variations.
What were you like as a little girl?
I was a huge tomboy. I still am. I spent most of my time playing sports (soccer, hockey, baseball), doing crazy tricks on my rollerblades and bike, building tree houses (and an amazing go-cart), and playing outside with my friends. I was quite shy, but was totally in my element when I was playing sports.
Who were your idols?
Michael Jordan was my sports idol. I use to watch all of the Chicago Bulls games. I had several of his posters on my wall, and when I was younger, I wore #23 in soccer.
My mom was also my idol. She basically raised my brother and I on her own. She worked full time as a teacher, yet somehow managed to take us to all of our sports (we both played soccer, hockey, and baseball). She was/is extremely selfless, and made sure that we had a great childhood.
Why did you want to play sports?
When I first moved to Vancouver in grade 3, my mom signed me up for synchronized swimming, and I absolutely hated it. I lasted for all of a few months.
Soon after, she signed me up for soccer, baseball and ice hockey (both on boys teams), and I never looked back . I wanted to play sports because they were fun and gave me a lot of confidence. I loved to compete, and I also loved the social aspect.
When I was young, many of my friends were boys, so it was nice that I got to hang out with my female friends when I played soccer, and I got to spend time with my male friends when I played hockey and baseball.
Were you a natural or did you have to work for it?
I am lucky as I have always been very athletic. I was able to use my athleticism to excel while I mastered the many different sports specific skills. I always had/have to work extremely hard, but being athletic definitely helped me acquire the different skills, and helped with my confidence.
One skill in soccer that has always come very naturally to me is heading the ball. Even when I was a young girl, I was very passionate about being good at heading the ball, and loved doing it. Whether it was a defensive clearance, a punt, going up for a corner, or a diving header, absolutely anything, I always thrived at heading the ball, and do to this day.
Were there any limiting factors that held you back?
When I first started playing soccer, ice hockey, and baseball, I was pretty shy. It took me a while to open up. Once I did, the sports came quite naturally to me, and with hard work and experience, I continued to improve.
I am lucky as while I played hockey and baseball with guys, they were extremely kind and respectful, and I fit in really well. Also, when I was in grade 5, I was kicked extremely hard in the knee and a piece of bone broke off and was floating around in my knee. For a year, I ran with the worst limp, and my coach didn’t want to play me as he was worried I’d make the injury worse, but I insisted on playing as I loved the game and was doing well, and I overcame the injury.
What was your dream as an athlete?
While this might seem weird, I just lived in the moment and enjoyed every practice and game, especially when I was young.
When I was being scouted by the National Team in my later high school years, I did dream about playing soccer for Canada, but I mainly focused on having fun and also playing to my full potential. Wherever I was playing, I just wanted to play my very best, and I let my work ethic, intensity, and performance do the talking.
What practices/beliefs had to be put into place to work toward your goals?
- Hard work
- A positive attitude
- Focusing on what I could control
- Being coachable
- Being a good teammate
- Playing to my strengths
- Working on my weaknesses
- Never giving up (I had moments when I wanted to).
What was your proudest moment as an athlete?
My proudest moments by far have been just being part of amazing teams, and working with my teammates to achieve our goals, even if we didn't win.
We won Nationals two years ago which felt amazing. Unfortunately we came second last year, but just qualified for Nationals again and will hopefully win it all.
Also, I’ve talked about it before, but I was in a bad car accident when I was 28 years old. For 5 years, nobody could tell me what was causing my many full body symptoms. I continued to play soccer for 3 seasons when I was in this bad way, and eventually had to stop playing as the physical, mental, and financial stress became too much.
I didn’t think I’d ever be able to play again, but after 3 years away from the game, I was able to make a comeback, and I just finished my third season back. I’m proud that I was able to return to playing, and have been able to play the game they way I like. Otherwise I would have never returned.
What was it like transitioning from playing sports to working in fitness?
It was a very easy and seamless transition. I have been passionate about fitness for years, and am kicking myself that I was not as fit or passionate about fitness back in my prime soccer years as I am now.
Playing many different sports, and for so many years, has provided me with many mental and physical tools that I apply to my job as a fitness professional.
Being an athlete taught me to be adaptable and able to modify on the fly. This is imperative if you want to be a good coach.
Playing sports taught me how to work with different personalities. I learned how to keep improving myself on a daily basis. Being an athlete also gave me a very strong work ethic.
What values do you bring from playing sports into your fitness practice?
- Hard work
- Constant learning/bettering myself
- Being multi-dimensional
- Being kind and accepting
- Never settling.
As an athlete, my focus was always on performance, not aesthetics. In a society where women are constantly being told that they must look a certain way, and often, make themselves less, I truly believe that my sports background has really allowed me to reach and empower my clients, and help them focus on becoming more and feeling good, versus fixating solely on how they look.
How has your hard work helped you serve others?
The more I learn and continue to learn (the learning will never stop), and the more I push myself to be my very best, I believe it will positively impact the lives of my clients.
Hopefully it will educate, empower, and inspire them to achieve the life that they want to live. I have also spent a great deal of time and energy working to live my life authentically in all areas, including professionally, and I think this has also helped many of my clients do the same in their lives. I think that I am very approachable and relatable. I bring an authenticity and passion to my work, both in terms of who I am, and how I deliver my coaching.
If you could give your 16 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Live your life totally authentically and stop worrying what others think. The people who care about you will be there for you.
Where can people find you?
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