“Discover how powerful breathing can be” with Meghan Trainor

I have discovered how powerful breathing can be in both my golf career and in reaching peak performance training. I have worked with a breathing coach and I’ve thrown myself into kickboxing where breathing produces power, control and focus. As a part of our series about “How Athletes Optimize Their Mind & Body For Peak […]

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I have discovered how powerful breathing can be in both my golf career and in reaching peak performance training. I have worked with a breathing coach and I’ve thrown myself into kickboxing where breathing produces power, control and focus.

As a part of our series about “How Athletes Optimize Their Mind & Body For Peak Performance”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Meghan Trainor.

Meghan Trainor is former Professional Golfer, two-time NPC Bikini Competitor, Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Coach. She is an Elon University alumni and collegiate golfer. Meghan’s passion for fitness goes far beyond exercise. She is driven to serve and help others discover their strengths and true potential through Body By Trainor diverse workouts and successful programs. Meghan’s large, influential community and engaged followers get real results that benefit them both mentally and physically.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! It is a great honor. Our readers would love to learn more about your personal background. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in Johns Creek, GA just north of Atlanta, however prior to 6th grade I moved four times throughout PA, NJ and NC. I attribute my adaptability to those moves and having to make new friends each time. I was a passionate, avid dancer throughout my childhood. From the age of two, I learned what it felt like to be on stage and under the lights! Throughout many dance academies I trained in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz and hip hop (which is definitely my favorite). It wasn’t until I was 14 years old that I picked up a golf club and realized I had a natural ability to make contact with the ball. So, I created the girl’s golf team in high school (they only had a boys team) where I went on to win many junior tournaments. Accepting a golf scholarship to Elon University, I went on to be a collegiate athlete while getting my BA in Corporate Communications. Post college, I continued my golf journey and qualified for the LPGA Future’s Tour and the Suncoast Women’s Tour. I played in Morocco for a Ladies European Tour event and many other mini tour series. After 3.5 years slugging it out on the road, I retired and got my amateur status back. I have since played in many USGA events including qualifying for the USGA US Women’s Mid-Amateur.

Fitness has been the common denominator throughout it all and truly my constant passion. During my tour days I became a certified personal trainer to supplement my income and help others become healthier. I have competed and placed in NPC Fitness competitions and have been a group fitness instructor and personal trainer in Florida and North Carolina. Now, I virtually train thousands of people all over the world through my Instagram platform, @bodybytrainor and have changed lives through an abundance of joy, energy and constant creativity.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career as a high level professional athlete? We’d love to hear the story.

My biggest inspiration comes from my dad, Gary who is also an avid, passionate golfer. I am a big time family girl and grew up around my family who played golf together every Sunday (well, I drove the golf cart because I didn’t play until later in life). My dad was my caddy while on tour and is still very much my best friend. My older brother, Chris is a scratch golfer and another inspiration to me. We are both quite competitive and have a never ending match between the two of us. I attribute my passion for fitness to my mother, Jayme who has made her health a priority and has been an amazing example. I feel incredibly lucky to have such an active and supportive family.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

Without a doubt, my dad has been my #1 fan through all the failures and successes. He has encouraged me to go for my dreams and to never doubt myself. I admit, I have come up with some pretty wild ideas and never once has my dad discouraged me not to GO FOR IT! Failure has taught me a lot in life and I am grateful to have a support system that encourages me to try and is there for me if I fail.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your sports career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I am REALLY embarrassed to share this story but if it can help someone who is reading this, it’s worth the embarrassment. In the beginning of my professional golf career, I competed in Q-School to get my tour card. My friend was caddying for me. The second day of the tournament I showed up to the tee box and saw my group in the middle of the fairway. The starter then told me that I was 5 minutes and 1 second late to my tee time and was disqualified! Turns out someone had withdrawn from the tournament the day before which shifted tee times up 10 minutes. I checked the tee sheet the night before and assumed my caddy had double checked it the morning of. I learned to never assume, to double check everything and to be EARLY! I have also learned that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. It was a tough lesson to learn but you better believe I never missed a tee time since!

What advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your career?

To throw yourself into the mix! To put yourself in the arena as often as possible and to surround yourself with great people who are doing that which you want to do! Nothing takes the place of what it feels like to be in a tournament, on stage or on live TV. The more you put yourself in that position and the more familiar become with your nerves and emotions, the better you can control them.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

The BodyByTrainor Experience is by far the most exciting project I am working on and has been every single day since March 17th, 2020. Six days a week, I show up for a LIVE workout on Instagram or my website. I have saved every single workout since day one and have yet to repeat a class. I attribute my creativity to my dance background and effectiveness to my golf career. I strive to bring my community content that adds value far beyond the 45 minute workout. My workouts are a vibe and a mood that boosts spirits and squashes funks! I have received countless messages from followers all over the world expressing how much I helped them this year and how grateful they are to have found these workouts. I get rather emotional when I talk about these messages as I am truly humbled by the kindness and love my community has expressed.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. As an athlete, you often face high stakes situations that involve a lot of pressure. Most of us tend to wither in the face of such pressure and stress. Can you share with our readers 3 or 4 strategies that you use to optimize your mind for peak performance before high pressure, high stress situations?

BREATHE! Your breath is a direct correlation to your heartbeat. Control your breathing and you can slow down your heart rate. Recall times in the past that you have felt similar nerves and have continued on to smash the challenge at hand. Also, prepare! Put yourself in as many similar scenarios as you can to simulate the nerves you may experience. Understand what nerves actually are. When your whole body gets cold, when you feel like you need to go to the bathroom even though you just went, when your palms get sweaty. Recognize that your body is reacting to your desire to win or succeed. That means you care, that means you really want it. Find joy in those feelings and embrace them!

Do you use any special or particular breathing techniques to help optimize yourself?

I have discovered how powerful breathing can be in both my golf career and in reaching peak performance training. I have worked with a breathing coach and I’ve thrown myself into kickboxing where breathing produces power, control and focus.

Do you have a special technique to develop a strong focus, and clear away distractions?

Understanding my WHY has given me an unwavering focus and strength I didn’t realize I had. I encourage everyone with a specific goal in mind to dissect their why and to really hone in on what is driving them. Sometimes the things we are going after aren’t REALLY what we want, making the process less enjoyable and dissatisfying.

How about your body? Can you share a few strategies that you use to optimize your body for peak performance?

I have been moving my body my whole life in a very deliberate way, whether it was a jazz routine, a 30 yard pitch shot or a lunge clean to press. I am highly aware of my body movement in order to produce the best results.

These ideas are excellent, but for most of us in order for them to become integrated into our lives and really put them to use, we have to turn them into habits and make them become ‘second nature’. Has this been true in your life? How have habits played a role in your success?

Practice doesn’t always produce “perfect” because perfect looks different for everyone, but repeating the RIGHT way produces GOOD habits. I believe in repetition, repletion, repetition! Like Bruce Lee once said, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” Focused practice produces high level performance. I encourage my clients to discover the most effective way, whatever you are doing, and do it over and over and over again.

Can you share some of the strategies you have used to turn the ideas above into habits? What is the best way to develop great habits for optimal performance? How can one stop bad habits?

I have experienced a lot of change in my life and it doesn’t always get easier, but understanding the benefits of change has helped me move forward. To break a bad habit it’s just as important to understand the consequences if you don’t change. My method is straight forward, break down the pros and cons of your bad habit, understand the pros of changing them and then make the decision to just DO IT.

As a high performance athlete, you likely experience times when things are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a mind state of Flow more often in our lives?

I’ll say, if someone can explain how I can do this, that would be great! Ha! I believe that is a never ending process and something we continue to learn with every challenging experience. I had many out of body experiences in golf, but can’t quite explain how, when or why these moments happen. What I DO understand is repetition and practice. When everything you have worked towards for so long comes together, that is some kind of special FLOW!

Do you have any meditation practices that you use to help you in your life? We’d love to hear about it.

I don’t have a specific meditation practice other than my focused breathing techniques performed during high pressure situations.

Many of us are limited by our self talk, or by negative mind chatter, such as regrets, and feelings of inferiority. Do you have any suggestions about how to “change the channel” of our thoughts? What is the best way to change our thoughts?

I wholeheartedly believe in the power of positive self-talk. Ultimately we are in control of our thoughts which directly correlate to our actions. Imagine your mind as a gum ball machine. Green gum balls are positive thoughts, red gum balls are negative thoughts. If you fill your gum ball machine with nothing but green gum balls, is there any room for a red one? I am not saying negative thoughts don’t creep into my mind from time to time, but I rather flush them out and replace it with a constructive thought instead.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are by all accounts a very successful person. How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I continue to be blown away by the magnitude and reach my community has. Through my workouts and social media content, I have been able to share my positivity and joy for life through my phone. Never underestimate the power of ONE human. Through each person that I reach, a little more goodness is added to the world. Hopefully the message of kindness, empathy, empowerment and encouragement exudes with every life I have the privilege to come into contact with.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

Simple, my life motto is the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If we all lived our life that way, the world would be a much more joyous place. I truly believe my clients are changing the world by implementing this motto into their everyday lives.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

Tiger Woods has been my golf role model since 1997 when he won the Masters for the first time. He has changed the game and I feel blessed to grow up around the game when the Tiger POUNCED.

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