…there are several skills [I learned in the NFL] that have helped me thrive in all phases of life. A few of the most notable are listening skills. It’s so important to pay attention to what someone is telling you. Most people will tell you everything you need to know.
As a part of our series about the work ethic lessons we can learn from professional athletes, I had the pleasure of interviewing Marc Megna. Marc is the co-owner of Anatomy Fitness gym and a top strength and conditioning coach in Miami, helping hundreds of clients — from celebrities and professional athletes to motivated beginners — achieve their fitness goals. Adhering to the “dream big, never quit” motto he learned from his mother, it took years of hard work and unrelenting dedication for Marc to transform his life. After playing football and earning a degree in sociology at the University of Richmond, Marc was drafted by the New York Jets in 1999. During his seven-year professional football career, he played for the New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals, and Montreal Alouettes. Now an elite trainer and fitness model, Marc has written for such publications as Fitness RX and Dr. Oz and has been featured on the cover of Inside Fitness and Muscle & Fitness magazines. You can listen to his motivating Megna Method podcast and visit MegnaMethod.com.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Marc! 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 as a overweight insecure, shy boy from Fall River, Massachusetts. Because of my appearance I spent a lot of time alone. My parents split when I was 6 years old and my brother and I were raised by my mother. After years of being bullied, my grandfather stepped in and began training me to strengthen my body and protect myself. My first experience in a weight room was challenging and grueling to say the least, but I liked the feeling and something my heart told me I had to go back and since that day I have been doing it everyday of my entire life. I found myself and discovered my true self in training. I started to play youth sports and had a love for football. I ended up having a solid high school career and earning a scholarship to the University of Richmond. My college experience was incredible and I went on to get drafted by an NFL team and played professionally for several years.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career as a high level professional athlete?
Because I was so shy and timid, I looked up to all athletes. I appreciated their build, confidence and warrior like mentality. I created a collage of pictures on my wall and became obsessed with molding my body into one just like theirs.
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?
When I was a young boy, the doctor told my mother I was big boned and I would someday play for the New England Patriots. My mother didn’t even know what that meant. However, everyday of my childhood and teenage years she would tell me I was capable of anything I put my mind to. Looking back in a funny way I was brainwashed into believing in myself because she did.
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?
When I was 13 years old, there was no bigger fan of Rocky Balboa than Marc Megna. Because of my great love for Rocky, I convinced myself waking up at 4:30 in the morning was an absolute necessity for athletic success. However, I started this habit in the freezing cold of December in Massachusetts. The first day I went out to do my running on the track, I felt like I almost froze to death. The habit still continues today; however, I am now bundled up and dressed for the occasion.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. Can you tell us the story of your transition from a professional athlete to a successful business person?
It’s by no means a glamorous story. The end of my professional career was a result of an injury. I immediately fell into what most would call a depression because I was no longer able to play the sport I loved. I would construct each day as if I was still playing. Training all morning and evening. My weight went from 240 plus pounds to 188 pounds. I had to grasp the fact that the way I was treating my body was unhealthy and dangerous. I had a dramatic mental shift that helped me understand that life wasn’t over. I had to apply all the positive habits that helped me in sports and apply them to my new path.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects new you are working on now?
I am a proud co-owner of Anatomy Fitness in Miami Beach and Miami, FL. We currently have 3 locations and working on several more. We are excited about our new group fitness concept called Blackout, set to launch in November. I also just came out with my first book Dream Big, Never Quit and have a podcast called The Megna Method that focuses on hardworking overachievers. Lastly, I have a documentary about my life called Just a Kid from Fall River,produced and directed by Randy West, Monarch Productions.
Do you think your experience as a professional athlete gave you skills that make you a better entrepreneur? Can you give a story or example about what you mean?
Punctuality. When I was in the NFL, being on time and in the right place is everything. It’s so important that your team knows that they can depend on you. If that is not enough incentive to be accountable, the high monetary fines absolutely were.
Ok. Here is the main question of our interview. Entrepreneurs and professional athletes share a common “hustle culture”. Can you share your “5 Work Ethic Lessons That Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Athletes”? Please share a story or an example for each.
Yes, there are several that have helped me thrive in all phases of life. A few of the most notable are listening skills. It’s so important to pay attention to what someone is telling you. Most people will tell you everything you need to know.
Paying attention to detail is also extremely important. If you want success on a grand scale, you have to focus on caring about the smallest of steps.
Next, respect. Although there is a friendly competition in all pieces of performance, it’s imperative to demonstrate respect for your team, staff and competition.
Last but not least, consistency. Consistency has helped me excel when most people just give up. Bringing great energy and enthusiasm to any task is essential. Both attributes cover up a lot of rough spots and fuel the people around you.
What would you advise to a young person who aspires to follow your footsteps and emulate your career? What advice would you give?
It doesn’t matter what you do or what the task is, prioritize, adapt and follow through. Once you commit to something give every ounce of energy in your body to make it happen.
You are by all accounts a very successful person. How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
The greatest gift you can give to anyone is a good example. I’ve always wanted to have success but I have personal rules that I never violate. A part of that is always doing the right thing. It sounds tricky, however it’s not. I have a simple way of figuring out the difference between right and wrong. If I have to stop and think about it, it’s probably not the best thing to do. It’s been my guide for many years now.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
We all have a choice on how we approach each day. When we are our very best selves, we inspire other people to do the same. We have a choice on how we decide to live our lives. Show up with great energy and enthusiasm and it will rub off on others in the most positive way.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
“Talent and good intentions are never enough in this world; you need to be strategic and fearless.”
– Robert Greene
It doesn’t matter how talented you are, you have to have a plan and be the hardest worker in any room.
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 🙂
I’ve always been a huge fan of Richard Branson and his high level of creativity. I feel like he gives off good energy, helps others and adds great value to the world.