Eliminate all gossip and negativity from conversation when someone is not around. When you’re in a group setting and the people you’re surrounded by start unapologetically bashing another person for whatever reason they might have, don’t jump in. Start a proactively eliminating negative talk about others, including yourself. Drama, gossip, rumors — these are all extremely negative concepts that impair one’s personal wellbeing.
As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Marc Megna. Marc is a former NFL player and current Co-Owner & Chief Body Architect at Anatomy, Miami’s premier wellness center. Marc Megna began his collegiate football career at the University of Richmond, where he became a two-time All-American athlete and was drafted by the New York Jets in 1999. His gridiron career spanned several seasons in the NFL and CFL for the New York Jets, New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals and Montreal Alouettes. Following, Megna decided he wanted to utilize the knowledge and skills he learned in the NFL and settled in Miami where he worked tirelessly to make a name for himself as a fitness trainer, and concepted his own fitness center coined: Anatomy (in Miami Beach). Megna currently serves as co-owner and chief Body Architect at the health and wellness sanctuary, Anatomy, that now has outpost locations in Miami Beach, Midtown Miami AND 1 Hotel South Beach.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?
I first got involved in fitness and wellness at the age of 13. I was an out-of-shape, obese 13-year-old kid who was very harshly picked on and bullied for it. My grandfather finally said he wasn’t going to have it anymore and was going to help me change my life around. I’ll never forget, the very first time he took me to the local Boys Club I got sick immediately afterwards. I was so out-of-shape and it was so hard for me to work out for the first time, but all he said was “Ok, same time tomorrow.” I didn’t believe for a second that I could actually withstand another workout the very next day, but I pushed through it genuinely surprised myself. From there on out, I went to the local Boys Club with my grandfather every day to work out. I’m not going to lie, it was very, very hard, but I fell in love with the whole process. The euphoria of endorphins that rushed through me during each workout, I just loved it. The most rewarding feeling was seeing my body actually start to change and that’s how I got involved in fitness.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
So, this story starts back when I was in high school, in my hometown in Massachusetts. One of my high school coaches was truly amazing. He was a real inspiration to me, always pushing me to exceed my goals and taught me a lot of what I know and utilize in training today. He’s someone I’ll never forget. 25 years later, here I stand, owning my very own fitness center with the opportunity to help and train others. A 12-year-old kid walked into my gym one day in search of a personal trainer to condition and train him in football. This 12-year old kid is my old high school coach’s son. Coming full circle, I can now proudly say that I train the son of one of the most impactful people from my childhood.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
I went from playing in front of over 80,000 people as a professional football player in the NFL, to then switching paths and becoming a ramping trainer at a corporate wellness facility. It was all very humbling to be, to start off at the beginning all over again as a trainer with no built reputation. I had to swallow my pride and ego and I told myself “It doesn’t matter to anyone if I’m a professional football player, we all have to start at the bottom at multiple points in our lives.” The mistake I made was thinking that I was special, coming into the corporate fitness training world with years of professional NFL playing experience under my belt. I learned, we all start at the bottom and that was very humbling for me and a quick lesson that I learned.
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
To be frank, I wouldn’t necessarily call myself an “authority” in the fitness world. I would call myself a person who’s progressed as an athlete at every level and then transitioned into a trainer, followed by a training manager, and then an owner and visionary of their own fitness facility. And in my honest opinion, the value that I contribute comes from constantly growing and learning from my mistakes, year after year, that in turn has developed into my eagerness to help others learn and grow just the same. There’s always more to learn. I will never be the type of person to think I know everything, and that’s an important mindset to keep.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
– One particular person that I am grateful for helping me get to where I am today is my mother. My mother has such a huge heart, and she taught me that the most important person isn’t yourself, it’s the person in front of you. We all go through challenges and must face some extremely tough obstacles throughout our lives. The mindset of putting others first that my mother instilled in me, has helped me through tremendous personal doubts and insecurities that I had. It taught me to help other people. And in doing so, I learned that when you help others good things make their way back to you.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
1. Believing that you have the capability of achieving what you set your mind to
a. People intuitively don’t believe they can achieve great things. They don’t think their goals are possibly to achieve. They’ll end up cheating their diet plans or skipping a workout because the pressure of following through can sometimes be too great, causing one to self-sabotage their own success. You need to focus on what you want to have, where you want to be. Create a vision. Set a goal. One’s capability to succeed is dependent on their will-power to believe in themselves.
2. Understanding the importance of following through with your end-goal
a. This goes hand in hand with my first point but is just as important as many people fail to understand the importance of the act of following through. It’s one thing to believe in yourself and your own capabilities of achieving something, and it’s another thing to actually follow through with what you set your mind to. Envision your own personal finish line and strive to get there.
3. Being comfortable with the uncomfortable
a. Many people don’t make any sort of progressive effort to change their personal wellbeing/lifestyle because they’re comfortable as is. Some people are too comfortable living the way they’ve learned to live, even if it promotes an extremely unhealthy lifestyle, because that’s their own personal source of stability. The unknown is scary. Taking on a new way of life by incorporating things like eating more vegetables, eating less sugar, exercising more, getting better sleep, etc., invokes a whole new identity in oneself. Some people are too comfortable to change, even if it’s for the better.
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
1. Plan more fun activities in your life.
a. As simplistic as this might sound, people need to have more fun. Schedule an activity that makes you genuinely happy as if you were to schedule a workout or a meeting. Once a week my wife and I will watch a comedy show and we’ll just sit together and laugh uncontrollably. It’s kind of like our own personal re-set button on any hardships we’ve endured throughout the week. It’s really important to make time in our busy schedules for things that bring sincere joy.
2. Treat yourself to a ‘special’ meal every now and then.
a. No, I don’t mean cheat meal when I say ‘special’ meal. I’m talking about a time during the day or night where you completely dis-connect and spend at least an hour engaging with someone special to you over a meal. No TV. No phones. No iPads. Instead, actually converse. Talk about your day. Have stimulating conversation. Look each other in the eye and listen to what they have to say.
3. Complement more.
a. We really can be so critical of our loved ones without even knowing it. Make a conscious effort to be more positive. Spend time thinking about the positive impact someone has in your life and let them know just what that is. If you’re in a relationship, spend time letting that person know what you appreciate most about them. And do it often. We don’t complement each other enough. Life is hard not just for you, and we don’t spend enough time vocalizing the positive. A small compliment goes a long way in someone else’s day even if you don’t realize it.
4. Eliminate all gossip and negativity from conversation when someone is not around.
a. When you’re in a group setting and the people you’re surrounded by start unapologetically bashing another person for whatever reason they might have, don’t jump in. Start a proactively eliminating negative talk about others, including yourself. Drama, gossip, rumors — these are all extremely negative concepts that impair one’s personal wellbeing.
5. Spend time in thoughts.
a. Draw the shades. Turn your phone off. Take whatever steps need to be made for you to actually dis-connect and spend some alone time in your own head. Think about where you are in life and how grateful you are to be there. Think about where you want to be in life and what steps you need to make to get there. Some people refer to this as meditation. I call it ‘time in thoughts.’ Every morning I wake up, I get ready, I gather my things, I drive to my gym and I sit on a plyometric box in complete and utter silence before anyone else arrives. I don’t turn on any music. I keep my phone in my gym bag. And I think. I think about my day to come, my goals, my personal wellbeing, and that’s something I’ve been doing for the last 5 years that sets the tone for the rest of my day.
As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?
1. Exercise promotes movement, both miniscule and large. Movement is considered medicine for your joints. Accessing different movements and motions is truly beneficial for your body’s general wellbeing.
2. Exercise stimulates endorphins. This stimulation has the proactive capability to leave your mind and body in a happy state for the rest of your day.
3. Moderately elevating your heart rate through exercise is essential in developing a solid base of conditioning. The heart is a muscle too. Therefore, working the heart is an absolute must in maintaining a great quality of life.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
1. Any form of a dead lift
a. The act of hinging mimics so many movements in life and is an absolute critical exercise to incorporate into one’s daily routine.
a. Squatting works so many different muscle groups and is a wonderful strengthening movement for the posterior chain. Examples of these muscles include the hamstrings, the gluteus maximus, erector spinae muscle group, trapezius, and posterior deltoids.
a. A push-up is a very basic, yet awesome form of movement for the upper body and shoulder girdle.
In my experience, many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterwards. What ideas would you recommend to someone who plays sports or does heavy exercise to shorten the recovery time, and to prevent short term or long-term injury?
Progress slowly and make micro-progressions with increasing your workload. People go too heavy too early when they haven’t built up their base of strength. What they need to do is consciously make those jumps slowly with micro-progressions.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
A particular book that has made a genuine significant impact on me is a book I read called ‘The Warrior Elite.’ This book is about what it takes to become a Navy Seal. Personally, I really appreciated the drive and persistence that the characters in the book had while enduring training. One of the main things I really took from reading this book was that the guys who made it through their rigorous training were not the strongest. They weren’t even the fastest or smartest. The one’s who made it were the ones who told themselves that they were going to make it before they even showed up to training, or they’d die trying. That, I never forgot.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start 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. 🙂
-The movement I would start would be a simple mantra I wish more people would live by and that’s simply…be kind. Be empathetic. Be kind to strangers. Be more understanding. We are all so hard on each other. I’m not intending to save the world with this one, but I do think if we were all just a little bit kinder to the person next to us, the world would be a better place overall.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
As a kid growing up, I was very awkward and shy and extremely over-weight. Everyone told me I was different. I took that very negatively, like they were making fun of me because I wasn’t fit and didn’t look the way other boys in my grade looked. Time passed and I learned to change the way my body looked and turned my lifestyle around. I developed confidence in myself, yet, people still called me different. That then became the best compliment I’ve ever received. No matter what you do or who you are, people are going to say what they want about you, and at the end of the day it’s entirely up to you how you take it. That’s the life lesson quote I now consider my favorite.
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 if we tag them 🙂
If I could have a private breakfast or lunch with anyone in the world, I’d have to choose Arnold Schwarzenegger. Coincidentally, we share the same birthday, but more importantly, he was really a huge influence on me growing up. People told him he’d never be successful and constantly made fun of him for the way he spoke. Now look at him. He became a mega movie star and well-known political leader. He overcame the odds that everyone put in his head and surpassed everyone’s expectations.
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Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!