Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
After college, I told myself it was time to grow up, and it was time to get my health back and become the person I wanted to be. I had been a gymnast most of my life, but I got burned out on sports. I was tired of making sacrifices, missing out on the fun things. I grew tired of missing football games and parties with friends because of practices.
That attitude led me into a sedentary lifestyle, which my body wasn’t used to, so the freshman 15 turned into the freshman 30. I remember how disgusting I felt inside and out. My self-confidence was at an all-time low.
Gymnastics, cheerleading and track had been the only way I knew how to maintain my health and athletic body. Because lifting weights and using cardio machines were foreign to me, I decided to join a CrossFit gym because it seemed like having a personal trainer telling me what to do every day would be more cost-effective.
After the first couple of sessions, I fell in love with the grueling workouts, the sweat, the endurance, the teamwork, and the fact that lifting weights made me feel strong and accomplished. For the first time since high school, I felt my confidence coming back with each pound shed and each plate added on to the barbell. The powerful feeling of throwing the barbell over my head made me feel as if I could take on the world. That I, along with other women, were breaking the stereotype one weight at a time.
It was during that time that I remember not being able to find clothes that gave a girlie vibe for female weightlifters like myself. Most colors were geared toward the male population. As hardcore as I felt, I wanted to look cute and feminine, too. This is when I decided to create gym wear, using the idea of intertwining the bow (representing the girlie) into a barbell (representing the strong).
Social Media #instafitness
During my fitness journey, social media became a huge influence on my success. I remember spending late nights scrolling through health and fitness hashtags, coming across an amazing transformation story of Beachbody coach Jillian Campayno. I was immediately drawn to the drastic before and after. Campayno was looking for new challengers for one of her monthly fitness groups, so I added her on Facebook and immediately started asking her questions. How did you do it? What did you do? At first I was skeptical, as most people tend to be of weight-loss plans. My first thought was to wait before starting, but then the next day, I said, Forget it, lets do this! I jumped into one of her challenge groups and loved every minute. Within three months, I felt ready and compelled to become an online fitness coach like Campayno. I felt a strong desire to help others feel the way I now did!
“I remember trying to help her and explain what she needed to do to get started because when Megan’s ready to do something, she is going do it,” Campayno says. “Waiting was not an option. Not only did she get enough people started in her first week to make a profit, she also set a record for reaching a benchmark rank in the company in her first 63 days as a coach on my team.”
“About a year after meeting Megan, she told me she was starting her own clothing line. She was so passionate when she talked about it,” Campayno continues. “Back then, I knew it was going to be something great, but I never knew how great and that I’d be helping share the FFAB lifestyle and traveling to promote this company!”
Isn’t it amazing how social media allows us to connect with like-minded people all over the world? What a gift to find such special, relatable people who help you become the best version of yourself.
Eventually, I took my transformation a step further, taking on the bodybuilding world. I craved a change of pace and wanted to continue my health and fitness education. Even though I loved the feeling CrossFit gave me as far as strength and power, I was not getting the physical results I was after.
I was following the Paleo diet, which was not the right choice for my body. I was left with a lack of energy and an overall unwell feeling. I kept telling myself, This is part of it. Once your body adjusts, you will feel that “energy” all the health and fitness people talk about.
When I decided I wanted to compete, my coach Michael Elks retrained my metabolism to eat more, and more often, and adding balanced food groups back into my diet, which did wonders for my energy and physique. I also believe the bodybuilding style of lifting yielded better results for me because it took some of the stress off my body.
I am a strong advocate for doing what works for your body. Every person’s body, metabolism, goals and health are different. You have to find what works for you. It has taken me three years to figure that out — no quick fixes, no wraps or crash diets. As frustrating as it was, I’m so glad I did not give up. Most of my workouts took place after midnight. I could of given every excuse in the book — an unpaid internship by day, graduate school at night combined with family issues, lack of sleep and lack of funds — but I didn’t. I wanted it badly enough that I found a way to make it work. Why? Because I finally learned that my happiness was worth it, that I was worth it.
This is the message I try to spread to my followers. It may not happen overnight, but if you stay consistent (not perfect) and persistent, results will follow. Sometimes that means really tuning into your own body chemistry, taking more rest days and not depriving yourself. Moderation is everything!
People tend to be afraid of change for many reasons. It always saddens me to hear negative or unkind comments made by friends or family that seem to develop out of spite instead of genuine concern, curiosity or education. “You’re obsessed. Eat a cheeseburger,” some would say. You have to remember to not take those things to heart. Even though others may not understand your new lifestyle, that doesn’t mean they don’t care for you. Give them time, take it with a grain of salt and keep doing you. Show them grace, but never apologize for bettering yourself. You are likely inspiring and motivating those in your path, even those that would never admit it.
I decided it would be my mission to make my own transformation a source of inspiration to others on the same journey. What better way to be educated on fitness and health than to emerge yourself into it? I thought of it as a science experiment, which kept me from feeling so frustrated. Not only did I exercise, I created a lifestyle, a brand and a fashion statement. Through this lifestyle change, I met many women walking the same path, eager to make a change, eager to improve. I’m enjoying the chance to focus on others, work out for enjoyment, and have balanced nutrition while being physically and psychologically healthier along with focus on making Fit for a Belle the best it can be!
The minute I realized that body image and pre-existing stereotypes were hindering these beautiful women from maximizing their true potential, I decided to do something about it. And so from their journey and mine, Fit For A Belle was born!