103. Meagan Burns | Per Ignem CrossFit

103. Meagan Burns | Per Ignem CrossFit

On today episode Fern sits down with Meagan Burns. Meagan is pretty cool she’s one of the youngest females to have made it on to seminar staff at just 21, she now on her 8th year of being part of staff. Her Crossfit journey all start when she got a job at the front desk of a Crossfit box, after a few months of being that working out Meagan’s says she feel in love with it all; not coming from a fitness background in her youth. Meagan has a long list of Credentials, CrossFit Level 3 – Certified CrossFit Trainer, CrossFit Kids, CrossFit Goal Setting, and CrossFit Aerobic Capacity. Recently Meagan started coaching at Crossfit Per Ignem which is as amazing. Meagan is a cool person and an amazing coach.

“I knew right away that helping people and coaching were two things I wanted to do! I started coaching at a gym in North Carolina and eventually ended up getting a job working for CrossFit Headquarters on the training team for the Level 1 and 2 seminars—an absolute dream job! I love being able to help people reach their goals and achieve things they never thought were possible! I am so grateful to get to do what I love every day and I am excited to be a part of/build the community here at Per Ignem” – Meagan 

Social media: 

@meagburns224

http://perignemcrossfit.org/

Recommendation:

Netflix: Final Table and Sherlock
Podcast: The Keto Answers – Dr Anthony Gustin

Time Stamps:

(3:46) Being a female coach
(10:45) High programme/ strength and conditioning 
(27:54) Coaching past
(30:33) Feedback 
(36:20) Per Ignem Crossfit 
(47:24) Advice new Coaches

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Meagan Burns.mp4 transcript powered by Sonix—the best audio to text transcription service

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Fern :
Alright everybody, welcome back to the best hour of their day podcasts, Jason – Fern here with my good friend Meagan Burns. We were just chatting before we went record and I was like, wait wait this is good. We’ll save it for the podcast. But I’ll give Megan a brief intro and then we will go from there.

Fern :
So Meagan, level 2, level 3 and your not a level 4? and level 3? Yeah, level 3.

Fern :
Crossfit, trainer trained a lot of really good gyms under a lot of really good trainers, so started at Crossfit, invoke back in the day than was at Crossfit, Reebok one working with Denise Thomas and Austin and James was at Crossfit, One Nation again with Spencer Hendel., Austin Crossfit, Moorestown with Bill, who is also gonna be on the podcast that just went down.

Yeah. That’s the other one that hasn’t been released yet. And then and now is at Crossfit,Per Ignem , which is a really cool thing that we’re going to talk about. And also is your assistant strength coach at Noble and Green Off Academy. Is that correct?

Meagan:
Yeah.

Fern :
Very Cool. So you’ve coached in a lot of gyms?

Meagan:
Yeah. Yeah, I’ve been around, moved around a lot.

Fern :
What one did you actually start coaching?

Meagan:
So I started coaching when I was 20. I’m 28 right now. And that was down at Crossfit Invoke And really, just like Christmas, Abbott took me under her wing and there. Realized she was going to the internship process for seminar staff, so that’s kind of how I got into thinking about seminar Staff and then just kind of went on from there. But she. She definitely was the one that gave me the most. I would say like mentorship back in the day.

Fern :
I don’t I don’t know if you. Or the youngest ever. But I know for sure you were one of the youngest people ever to make it on seminar staff.

Meagan:
I think it was me and Joey dill we were like just freshly 21.

Fern :
And I think the only person who might have started younger than than you might have been Pat Barber.

Meagan:
Oh, yeah. How does he.

Fern :
He was like he was on just the other day. But I think he was like 18 or 19 maybe. But I think he was he was in that he was in that the the nest that point with Tony and Greg and all that, so. But yeah, I think he might be the only other one that was that was younger, which I think is significant because. Working on seminar staff is is what I would consider an adult job.

Meagan:
I remember being around for my internship. It was. Joe and Courtney and Sarah and Kristin and all these people that I was like, I don’t know what I’m doing here, but this is awesome. And yeah,.

Fern :
I don’t. I did, actually. I. I know for a fact I would have not have had the poise at the age of twenty to twenty one to do that job, to stand up in front of a group of people. Do public speaking have good. I might have been able to do the presence and attitude piece just because a lot of sports, but definitely not the public speaking. But I’ve seen you coach a lot and that’s always something I’ve been super impressed with is like I always like watching trainers who when they coach you’re like that person fucking knows what they’re talking about.

Meagan:
Thank you.

Fern :
It’s just, you know, when you watch somebody coach, you’re like, that person is sharp. Like what they’re doing is correct. They’re competent at work. Like, what was that always the case? Or like, you had to be pretty. You obviously had to be pretty good to get on seminar stuff.

Meagan:
Yeah, I actually I don’t I don’t even know if I was really that good. I just maybe I was just sight friendly. And then Joe was like, OK, we’re just going to give this girl a chance. I don’t know. I remember being like, there’s no way I’m going to make it. But I do remember there was like a point that I felt like people were telling me, if you want to gain more respect, you need to be more serious. I kind of went from this. Always joking around. Kind of like little baby, and then I went to full serious mode, like I remember one point Denise watch my lecture and she was like, I don’t I don’t think you went from like out of robotic mode with a completely straight face and like you looked angry out there one time. So then I was like, OK. That shifted too far the other way because it was like, I just want everybody to respect me. And now I’m kind of like finding the groove. The past couple years. But it was definitely a weird shift of like the baby and then way too serious. And then, you know, even like I remember Bobby telling me, like, you need to stand up straight or you need to be like, there’s simply a lot of growth that’s happened over seven, eight years of being on seminar s that has shaped me into the person I am now with. A lot of you know, like we have so many good mentors on seminar. So I don’t know where I would be without having those people kind of guide me through that that point in my life.

Fern :
That’s always been a fine balance to have. Is that. Being the authority while being engaging like that can be a very difficult. Kind of task, you know, particularly in front of the group. I know I struggle with it over the years,.

Meagan:
Like as a small female, it’s hard sometimes to gain. That respects like being a small female, not like it. You know, one of the elite athletes working with like a James Austin Spencer and then like Little Meg. `So is definitely like a, you know, kind of hard to find my place in my voice, a little bit like around a lot of those strong personalities and athletes, too.

Fern :
Well, it’s definitely not right, but it’s a thing, right. So it’s like one of these things. We just have to acknowledge how the world works. But like Carleen Matthews talked about this, so she’s also a small female, but she’s got that stigma of games, athletes. So people automatically give her respect, whether that’s justified or not, as a different topic, which she actually acknowledged that it’s not justified just being a good athlete. But for somebody who’s a small athlete, who a small female athlete who is not, you know, physically imposing, who’s not a games athlete. There’s which probably is the majority of female coaches in the Crossfit,. community. Yeah. How do you go about establishing that type of rapport and that type of authority from a coaching standpoint?

Meagan:
Yeah, yeah. And I get that question all the time at seminars. People like how do you deal with tough clients as a female? And like, what happens if you don’t have the skills that you’re coaching and all that stuff which I went through, not having a lot of the skills that I had to coach at first and now having them. But I think it just took the moment that I realize that I needed to stop hiding, that I didn’t have a certain skill and just embrace like where I was at and. My ability level and be open to working on it with people in front of members and things like that, gave me that confidence to be in front of a group and not be nervous about that stuff. And then, you know, it kind of worked in my favor because we even this happened last year, like last year didn’t have handsand walks. So I started working on it in class or after class with members. And all of sudden, like all these members start joining in. Now we have like every Wednesday night, we’re all doing handsand walks together. I got handsand walks Jimmie’s get Hanso. So Kelly’s knit, you know, everybody’s getting home.

Meagan:
And so it’s like if you just hide the fact that you’re like, one embarrassed that I don’t have the skill and now I’m not going to work on it. And now I feel really insecure. And so now they’re like, hey, guys, like, I’m working on this stuff, too. It makes you more relatable. And that’s kind of my strength that I embrace as like my relatability and the fact that I can scale people maybe a little bit better. Sometimes it’s someone that just like popped up on the ranks and got their muscle for the first time.

Fern :
I think that’s the worst coach.

Meagan:
Yeah. And then when it comes to like an advanced athletes and I will learn from other coaches things that I can say, you know, when I’m watching like a Spencer Austen, like teach them how to cycle muscle ups or things like that. Before I had that skill that I’m having to learn from them and kind of know where I’m at, where I can give feedback, but that I can still coach the movement and, you know, learn from other coaches that maybe have more experience with advanced athletes or advanced skills.

Fern :
I think that’s one of the biggest hurdles. Probably more so at the level two new coaches or less experienced coaches who are trying to figure out or they have that stigma about themselves, that they don’t have a skill and therefore feel that they because they don’t have a skill that they can’t teach it.

Meagan:
Yeah, yeah. And so it’s just like embracing that and working your ass off to get it and doing it in front of other people, you know, and not being like, oh, I’m going to do this privately by myself and be really embarrassed, like putting it out there to others, getting help from others, you know, embracing, scaling options like can can really be something that helps bring you down to the members level almost. But also, you know, show them that like you’re trying to work your ass off to get the skill and you’re not just like having an so awesome. I don’t care to work on them. Right. You’re like, I don’t have them. I care to work on them. And I want you guys to work with me. So I’ll go and do it together.

Meagan:
I think that’s important, too, from just from a leadership standpoint of, you know, you have to be willing to do yourself what you’re going to ask of your athletes. So if you’re not going to work on that stuff, then you can’t tell people, hey, you can’t do handstand push ups because you don’t fucking know to walk on your hands. So, you know,.

Meagan:
And I love it. I mean, we do it like I’ve gotten some of the kids at the high school to practice with me and stuff. And it’s cool that their coach can work on stuff with them instead of like the typical high school setting where it’s like all the football coaches really never gonna play football with. I mean, they might, but like they’re off to the side and the players are playing, whereas like for me, I’m working with some of these kids doing Hand stand walks failing. They’re doing it with me. They’re family. We’re all getting better together. So it kind of promotes this sense of like nobody’s better than anybody we’re all doing. Which is exactly Crossfit,. We’re all doing the same thing together. We’re working on our like on our own level.

Fern :
What what sports do you coach at the high school?

Meagan:
So it’s a strength and conditioning program. So what they have is an after school program where they split a group of kids that sign up for this after noon program into three different groups or two different groups. So like in that fall and winter, we have big groups. Maybe there’ll be groups of like 20 or 30. We take them through always a lift and accessory work. And then one day a week, we have a team competition, which is usually Crossfit,. So that’s where I get to program the strength coach programs, although it’s kind of more like linear strength work that they go through. And then in addition to that program, we’ll have teams come in. So it’s any team that wants to go through strength and conditioning on the off season or even in the in-season. But I don’t teach like a specific sport. It’s just history. So my title is Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach.

Fern :
My brings up two questions, the first. So that’s actually really cool. So this is not the program that you are coaching is not sports specific, obviously, or just for sports. It’s for any kid that just wants to get in the weight room.

Meagan:
Yeah. Yeah. So I think they originally brought me in because they were having more girls sign up for the program. The strength coach is kind of like typical. You know what you would think a strength coaches like big guy. He can probably bench press like 300 pounds plus whatever. And then the girls were a little timid and they like didn’t really have anybody to relate to. And so and then my experience with like Olympic lifting things that they don’t really do. So we kind of are a good pair together because he has his strengths and my strengths. Then we put them together.

Fern :
That was actually my follow up question was how does that relationship work? Because typically in my experience, traditional strength conditioning coaches are extremely resistant to any mention of Crossfit,.

Meagan:
Yeah, yeah. Kevin, the strength and conditioning coach is really awesome and open minded to pretty much anything. I mean, we we follow his program like he has a set, you know, like what they’re gonna do for their lift and their accessory work, which is a lot of stuff that I’ve learned that is different than what we do in the Crossfit, world, like single life stuff. Also for injury prevention, which is good for me to know because it may not be the best for in-season football players to do Crossfit, right. Or to, you know, like they need to get their injury prevention stuff and all that in their programming. But he’s super open and also the athletic director is he’s really into Crossfit,. I met him through One Nation and he is Heather Bertrand’s ex-husband. So he’s kind of like in the world of Crossfit,. And Kevin knows Ben and all that stuff. So I think it’s kind of a unique situation with him. But the kids are definitely a little resistant, meaning like they don’t understand the squat below parallel and lock out your arms on Pull-Ups and things like that. So it’s a little weird trying to get them to understand that, especially again from a small female, you know, that’s taken like two years for them to now start to listen, like, oh, she knows what she’s like, come out kind of thing,.

Fern :
Do you ever just have to step up and grab a barbell and snatch it overhead and just to embarrass, embarrass teenage boys?

Yeah. I mean there will be sometimes that will work out before the strength class and they’ll see me and then start kind of asking questions like what do you do or like you have to almost like gain your respect there. And because they have they have some amazing athletes, like a lot of them are already signed at top schools and they’re sophomores, but they’re just not used to that world. And they think it’s really unsafe because Crossfit, gets us, you know, like, oh, it’s super unsafe. I will say one thing I’ve. The amount of things I’ve seen in a high school weight room, I’m like, there’s no way people can say Crossfit, unsafe because like the things that kids decide to do on their own and like no.

Fern :
I know that that is a whole podcast by itself. I mean, again, I think Crossfit, gets a lot of bashing, probably just because we’re a very large, easy target. I was very fortunate to always have really, really knowledgeable strength conditioning coaches like my the guy who programmed for us in high school was a world class powerlifter as the first guy to ever break twenty five hundred pounds like multiple states. So I squatting and deadlifting and all the stuff I learned from a very young age. Then when I was in college, one of our strength condition coaches was Kurt Woolfolk, who is his daughter, was an Olympian weightlifter and is married to. Coach Burgner think he’s married? I think she’s married to Casey Burgner. So, you know, and then I. And then I stumbled into Crossfit,. So I’ve always I’ve always had and will and then in high school to spend some time with Gail Hatch, who’s a world renowned weightlifting coach, too. So like, I was always just very fortunate to get that. But the point of that weird tangent was. I’ve seen some crazy shit in high school weight rooms like this stuff that people think Crossfit, dumb like I’ve seen some people posting videos of what they’re doing in the weight room and it makes me want to throw up in my mouth.

Meagan:
Yeah. So like I never knew this could happen. Maybe because I never have to 45’s on each side of my bar when I’m squatting. But you know that when you have to 45’s on one side, you 45’s on the other side and you take the two 45’s off one side, you know that the bar falls over on the other side. The flying spear of death. Yeah, that happens on a regular basis. I’m like, I’ve never seen that happen before until I was in that setting. I don’t know. It’s weird.

Fern :
Well, I don’t know that that only happens in the high school room.

Meagan:
Yeah.

Fern :
So Phil, who like so Phil Sabattini runs our weightlifting program at our gym. He’s a phenomenal weightlifter, a former national champion, 96 kilo. But he and I regularly joke that probably once every 10 days somebody dumps a weight off of the squat rack because they unloaded on properly. And these are people who fucking know what they’re doing. And I’m just like, what were you thinking just now?

Meagan:
Yeah, it’s crazy.

Fern :
So we’re going back to the strength conditioning stuff.

Fern :
I’m curious, so I went the other direction, so I went from sports specific training to Crossfit,. You’re kind of going from Crossfit, to sports specific training for people who are. Because I’m a lot of people are trying to get into that now. So I’m trying to get into training sport specific athletes. But I think there is a massive mistake that people make is trying to lay a very GPP program on to sports specific athletes. What are some of the things that that you kind of previously thought about training that you don’t say backtrack. But like you kind of understand a little bit better. Now, that may not be the best approach for a sport of gap.

Meagan:
Yeah, I think, you know, even know my background is Crossfit,. I try to kind of go in and now I didn’t want to step on anybody’s toes and just follow along with what you know. Kevin was programming and then tried to implement some stuff with some athletes and just talking with him about how in season is different than offseason and the fact that, you know, it seems so many of these kids get injured in their sport, you know, gives me a little worry if I were to have them do some like super technical lifts and that injury risk there for them if they’re not under my eye or, you know, even if something just kind of off happens, that that can take them out for the season, that could then, you know, be damaging to their career, which like I said, a lot of them are like legitimate athletes that are going to go on to top schools. So I had to pull back and be a little bit cautious just because I was nervous about the injury risk for them doing like mostly doing more. So Olympic lifts like at speed or with high intensity. But, you know, a lot of the stuff that we do for team competitions, it’s high intensity, but a little bit more of a body weight movements. So I 100 percent think everybody should be doing high intensity work. I think it would make the athletes a lot better.

Meagan:
A lot of them are still like they’re not into it. They don’t like to work really hard. They like to lift and not breathe hard. But I think it would make a lot of them better. And in the full range of motion concept, that’s like the one thing I’m just trying to hammer home to them is like, let’s take the weight down, let’s get full range of motion. This is why and having to explain it to them and I was talking to Matt Tobruk and he was saying that, you know, these kids that if they don’t train for range motion, what happens when they fall or get pushed and they land in this weird position that they never experience because they don’t go full range motion, they’re spun. And that’s the biggest thing that I’m like. I I feel like they don’t understand that. But if they did, they would be like, oh, if I actually train full range mission, my Squat, then I land in this weird position. Well, I’ve already been there before an area of strength there. I’m not going to blow my knee out because Jay and the amount of injuries like with these high school kids, it’s like insane. And I’m sure this obviously isn’t the only school that is like that. But, you know, there’s injuries left and right just from sport.

Fern :
It’s interesting you bring that up, because I think oddly enough, I think this is where like a really season Crossfit, coach probably has a massive advantage over most people just because obviously Crossfit, is very a lot of it is very repetitive movement. So if you think about just the volume of movement that you’re going to stock up on your eyeballs, that you’re going to get to see if you’re coaching i don’t know, call it 20 classes a week or 40 classes a month or something like that puts you at a major advantage to see movement. And then when you walk into a weight room and you understand that pelvic shift in a squat, Vargus knees and stuff like that are prime predictors for ACL injury. And it and it doesn’t take you any time to see those things. You’re like, we have to fix that squat. We have to fix that squat. And injury prevention will we’ll injury rates will just plummet.

Meagan:
Yeah. Yeah. And I really think that like it, you know, in the spring thing and I’m sure like when you were in high school, like they don’t really have like we do. Coach when we’re in the strength and conditioning like class. But outside of that, kids just come in by themselves and they’re lifting they’re not getting this specific coaching. And that’s what I feel like the strength and conditioning world sometimes can take from Crossfit, is that like nothing is being done if you’re at a good gym without being coached. And you know, you’re not going to lift that weight because that’s that this is what you look like right now. This is what we need you to look like right now. This is how you’re going to hurt yourself if you live this way, you know? So on and so forth. But that’s the one thing that I’m like trying to get a little bit more coaching on a regular basis for the kids that just come in their selves.

Fern :
I think that. The coaching because like even even though I had good coaches, a lot of it was just like, do this. And a lot of people were just kind of hang your hat on the fact that like kids are just resilient, like it’s really hard to break. youth Athletes, however, in general, it doesn’t happen in the weight room. It happens on the playing field because of or because of poor mechanics. But the way I tried to explain it to kids and parents, more importantly, is we’re actually trying to teach us like physical competence. Right. And the difference between, you know, you know, unknown and known environments is like the weight room is known. Like, I know you’re gonna do this and I know you’re gonna move in this movement pattern. Like everything there is understood. And I can demonstrate when we leave the weight room. Everything at that point we step onto the court or the playing field is an unknown environment. You have to deal with different planes of motion moving directions without prompt. If a deal with another athlete who’s going to mess up or impede your movement patterns, and if athletes can’t move well in a controlled known environment, there should be zero expectation that they can do that in an uncontrolled environment.

Meagan:
Exactly. Yeah, totally. That’s a great way to put.

Fern :
How long have you been there?

Meagan:
Two years.

Fern :
And then have you seen me.

Meagan:
I’ll be Working there again in the fall?

Fern :
OK. And then have you seen a little bit more buying a little bit with kind of. I want to see the Crossfit, side, but with like just the addition of that style of training. Since you’ve been there.

Meagan:
Yeah. I mean, I think people now are starting to. But are the kids now are starting to buy in a little bit more, too? You know why we do it for version SWAT? Why are we looking at our pull ups, things like that? But especially the high school boys that are maybe the more like elite athletes would never come up to me and be like, hey, can you help me with this or that? And so now I think just from me working out there and me coaching and, you know, seeing results with the program, that now kids will come up and be like, hey, coach burns, they have to call me coach burns, which is so weird. Hey, coach burns, can you help me with this or what do you think about this? Can you give me some accessory work? And I’m used to them always going to Kevin. And I think it would just like they know Kevin. He’s like the guy that’s, you know, obviously like looks like he loves a lot of weight. You can lift a lot of weight. So why would they come to me? So it’s been cool this year, especially seeing them open up just a little bit more and be receptive.

Meagan:
They all like I don’t think I’ve had anybody really buy into Crossfit,. I have a couple of kids that like I’ll I’ll give workouts to. But anytime we do team competitions and we have to run like two laps around the track, they’re like, no, you know, my strength and conditioning program, like, what do you think you sign up for? And they like you don’t like to get out of breath and that’s that like. Yeah,.

Fern :
Ya I me either.

Meagan:
The only Thing like I would implement more is like we need to like have them conditioned. We’re in Alex, who is the one that I said has experienced Crossfit,. He said his basketball girls to us and like want them to be conditioned because he’s like last year we were really deconditioned and like we could play well, but we can last for a long time. So all that stuff, you know, getting people to see like there’s carryover and it’s not just like Crossfit, is in it’s own bubble. Like how does Crossfit, style training carry over into a sport can be really helpful. People just understand and keep their minds open to it.

Fern :
I want to call you Coach Burns from now on.

Meagan:
It’s so weird. I you know, like my coach Burns, the head of the school. Like you’re not supposed to say the first names.

Fern :
First thing I just saw weird video of like some kid walking through the halls is calling all the teachers by their first names and they’re all freaking out. So on the. On us, different. A different topic, but just different question. What have you taken from that traditional strength conditioning side or have you taken anything from there into their Crossfit, gym?

Meagan:
Yeah, I would say definitely. It’s given me a lot. I would say it’s given me a lot of knowledge on the injury prevention and accessory work that they do there. All the lifts at the same like we do, cleans it at the school and backs what deadlift but single legs step up, Band-Aid work like all that stuff to specifically prevent ACL and, you know, get you downs from one side to the other. A lot of hamstring work, things like that. But sometimes we miss in the Crossfit, gym. I’ve started to implement that a little bit more just, you know, here and there, like after taxes, because I’ve learned that from from the school.

Fern :
That’s what I thought you were going to say. And that’s something we started implementing, like. At Crossfit,, right? Like a year ago, maybe it is what those two things a kind of subtly and subconsciously gives people some of those pieces that they’re missing in their movement either. Whether it’s, you know, whether it’s unilateral movement that they suck at and have imbalances or they have an injury or something like that. They’ve been compensating for that. They’re not aware of. But it also has helped us really stretch the edge of people wanting to do more.

Meagan:
Yeah. Yeah.

Fern :
And it helps us kind of eliminate that. Like, I want to do multiple workouts and it’s like, well, are doing all the accessory work because I mean, I would tell you, like virtually nobody does all of the accessory work.

Meagan:
Right. Right. Yeah. And that stuff is hard if do. Right. So it’s like you’re getting the injury prevention and it’s tough.

Fern :
Well, I think it’s also a different type of training that most people aren’t used to, which is generally you’re dealing with like localized muscle fatigue, which is not generally what we deal with in Crossfit,. It’s like full metabolic conditioning or like the system just wants to shut down versus when you’re doing accessory work. It’s like my triceps can’t press anymore or my hamstrings are about to blow up from these banded hamstring curls. So it’s different. And I think that allows them just to really kind of take a step back and say, OK, this is a lot of work, actually.

Meagan:
Yeah.

Fern :
So I want to back up and talk a little bit about kind of how you got there and then kind of that journey, because I don’t I don’t think people kind of picked up on this when I gave the intro. But the gyms that you’ve been at are all good gyms under good coaches and. But I’m curious, kind of like what if you look back on it now, like. What does that evolution kind of look like? Was there something you picked up at each location or there are certain skills that when you when you went from Jim to Jim, you realized you were deficient or or what kind of. How does that look when you look back at it now?

Meagan:
Yeah. I mean, each each one was definitely hard to leave because I was with such good people of such great mentors and they’re all seminar staff at each gym that I worked out, which was awesome. So they all I never had to deal with, you know, when people ask a question at the level one will, what if the owner of the gym wants to do five workouts and you know, that’s not the way or whatever, how do you deal with that matter? It was always like we are always on the same page, which was really cool. You know, when I when I was at invoke, that was when I was really just kind of like learning how to coach and being mentored by Christmas and then going up to Reebok. Crossfit, one, I was so really young and like so kind of learning and I ended up leaving Reebok Crossfit, one probably before I should of just from making decisions in my life. It ended up leading me back to Crossfit, One Nation, but I probably would’ve never left there in the first place. Looking back on it, but I did really enjoy my time at more astronomy. A lot of good friends there. I love chorionic and Bill their amazing gym hours and then going back to One Nation, that was probably where I really like not had uncomfortable moments but was surrounded by all these amazing athletes and I wasn’t like in that group. So figuring out how to hold my own, how to, you know, scale my own workouts, be OK with skills that I didn’t have work on, those skills be around a lot of amazing coaches that were giving me feedback a lot of times and learning from them, but also not being so nervous to coach in front of them. So that that was probably when I got to One Nation like the most challenging. I mean, I was with Greg, who was a similar staff member, and he would just like sit on the side of my classes and like write down all this feedback and, you know, so that that’s where I probably. Developed most, I would say, as a coach with my confidence maybe.

Fern :
How did you deal with feedback when at the beginning? I’ve always been open to feedback. I mean, I don’t.

Meagan:
That that’s never really been hard for me. It was more like the the nervousness of having an Austin or a James or Greg or somebody just like watching my class. And that took a while to really, like just be myself in front of other people watching my class. And I think that’s a base thing now that I’m in a role where I’m giving feedback to other people. I can tell that they give that. Get that same nervousness when I’m watching them. So I almost like Stempel wait like out of sight instead of just sit there and watch like, you know, Greg was like an asshole and like, sat there just like staring at me with his whiteboard and my greg really, you know, so like like trying to remember how I felt when I was getting that feedback. And I think going through that process helps me to get feedback. But that was the hardest. Not getting the feedback, just like getting watched and not getting nervous and like blowing my whole class.

Fern :
What do you think allowed you? So that’s so that’s kind of an abstract concept. It’s it’s very it’s very valuable, but it’s it can be hard to wrap your brain around as a new coach, which is like, just be yourself. And you’re like, yeah. But I’m about to piss my pants because you’re over there jotting notes. And this class is huge and it’s the snatch and the muscle up. So. Like, how do you how do you go about getting to the point of, like, I’m uncomfortable being myself at this point?

Meagan:
Yeah, I think, you know, one one thing that I definitely have learned from working with Austin is like, you really need to practice what you preach. And I I think once I, you know, started like dialing in my nutrition and working on skills I need to work out and actually taking class and scaling myself appropriately and all that kind of stuff and not just like working out by myself and doing my own thing or like, you know, being kind of bought in with the nutrition, but kind of not like that’s when I felt like I not had a leg up on other members, but like they respect to me because I was, you know, eating the way that I was telling them to eat and like working out myself and my workouts the way I was telling them to do. So it kind of came a little bit more naturally once I started to do that.

Fern :
Yeah. I think one of the biggest things and you can speak to this, too, but like one of the things that I really try to harp on and the level too particularly is people just are not putting in the work. They’re not they’re not putting in the work to do this stuff that’s not sexy. Like learn the points, performance, learn the faults, practice giving cues, do dry runs on your lesson plan. And that’s what I try to really. Explain to people’s like that is how you become comfortable in your own skin from a coaching standpoint is when you can start to develop that kind of unconscious competence where I’m not thinking about what I’m doing. This is just how I do things, right?

Meagan:
Right. And like, you know, getting uncomfortable, like it is uncomfortable to go to a team training at One Nation with all these games athletes and have to like drastically scaled down what you’re doing in front of everybody, you know. And it’s uncomfortable to put yourself in a center where you’re getting this tough feedback. Like I remember, you know, I would walk around the PVC pipe and Christmas would like interrupt my whole class and take the PVC. And like, it was embarrassing, but I was OK with being uncomfortable and just like learning from that situation. I think that at the level, too. And like when I’m giving feedback here, it’s the ones that are just are open to the feedback or being uncomfortable that really struggle with it. And if they could just like. No. This is going to kind of suck can be a little embarrassing and like not stuff that I would generally want to do that’s gonna make me better. When you can start being okay with that, then it really becomes a lot easier.

Fern :
Yeah. It’s just such a hard thing to break through on because it’s painful in the process. But you know, Chuck brought this up on the on that previous episode, which was, you know, that feedback piece and that uncomfortable piece like. Is that critical piece that allows you to grow like there’s no other way other than constantly being in that kind of cycle of like this is your feedback. This is where we can get better. This is things you do well with. This are the things that you do like, OK? And then at some point, like, you just suck less and then you spend you probably spend a lot of time in the suck less category before you before you’re pretty good. And the things that you’re talking about are largely abstract in nature. They don’t stand that way like fucking smile occasionally. You know, I like that.

Meagan:
Yeah. And so now it’s kind of it’s interesting now that I’m in a role where I’m giving feedback and realizing like how challenging of a job that is to give feedback because not everyone responds to feedback in the same way. And I respond to feedback like I want you to just tell me, hey, like this podcast sucks. Like next time we do it, do it this way. Got it. Like we’ll do another podcast, you know, or versus like, OK. It was all right, you know, like kind of beating around the bush. And I’m realizing that not everybody can take it like that. And I can’t be so like, hey, that wasn’t good. Like, do it better this time, do it this way or whatever with everybody, because that just does not work with everybody.

Fern :
I think that’s actually like a perfect segue way into the next piece, which is I kind of wanted you to talk about your time and the things you guys are doing at Per Ignem Crossfit, now.

Meagan:
Yeah.

Fern :
So for those people that don’t know what pugna what program is and what that program is all about, kind of give them the rundown.

Meagan:
So Per Ignem Crossfit, supports a non-profit which is the Phoenix, which supports folks in recovery. So it’s a free, active, sober community. And so any membership for a Per Ignem that’s paid for just like any Crossfit, gym goes directly to support the Phoenix, which is a non-profit. So anytime someone signs up, it paves the way for four people to come on the Phoenix side for free. So it’s a really cool concept because the for profit side is completely supporting the non-profit side. And then there are multiple locations. So there’s one here in Boston, there’s one in Colorado. There’s one in California. Phoenix has been around and it is all over the US. But the Crossfit, gym that are attached are in those three locations.

Fern :
And those are all Per Ignem locations, correct?

Meagan:
Yeah.

Fern :
So Mike Brady runs the one in Colorado, right?

Fern :
Yeah. He runs the one in California.

Meagan:
Caitlin Honeycutt is the head coach over there.

Fern :
Cool. So what is that? I would imagine there’s some people to be freaked out just by the thought of trying to deal with addicts of any substance. But what? Kind of what is one of those classes like?

Meagan:
Yeah. So we have one consistent class a day that’s free for people to come in that are either recovery or supporters of recovery. And we have a team member agreement that they have to abide by like 48 hours sobriety. You’re not going to see anybody like take their shirts off. We’re gonna have clean language on the music and just be respectful and all that kind of stuff. And they always have the Phoenix works as they always have a peer in recovery coach those classes. So I’m never the one to coach unless they need some coverage in there. There always needs to be someone else like a staff member that’s there to assist me if I’m coaching the class. The Per Ignem classes are only for the paid for clientele and they do not have to abide by the team member agreement. So that’s like the five thirty six thirty AM Newton Class 5 and 6 p.m. but it definitely is. And we were just talking about it this morning. It is a little bit of a different culture than you’ll see maybe at a regular Crossfit, gym because we’re all under one roof. So the Denver location has a Per Ignem and one building in the Phoenix and the other building. So they don’t really mesh all time. We’re all under one roof. So there is some overlap. So, you know, when we had our Memorial Day workout, we’re not having light beers after and you won’t see people with their shirts off and things like that. So, you know, we try to be pretty upfront with with people coming in on what we’re about and what we support. And we have a pretty small community now because we just open in the end of September. But everybody’s been super supportive and respectful. And so definitely a little bit different than what I was used to. One nation where like people are taking their shirts off in the warm up and like there’s always beers after Friday night classes and things like that at all. The other Crossfit, gyms I’ve I’ve worked to. So it’s just a little bit different.

Fern :
Have you ever had to turn somebody away from class because they violated some of the agreements?

Meagan:
Yeah, usually. You know, there are some awesome staff members that are here that are, you know, experience with dealing with people that may not be completely sober and abiding by the team member agreement. So I that is not my experience that I had to watch them deal with some of those scenarios, especially like where we are in town. We’re kind of in a rough area in Boston where people are like, you know. Doing drugs right around the corner. But they’ve handled it really well. I’m I’m learning a lot from how they handle these tough situations, how they talk to people, what people look like when they’re not 48 hours sober. And that’s not something I’ve dealt with a lot because I don’t have anybody in my family that has had experience with that. I’m not in recovery. So it’s a new it’s just a different. After doing Crossfit, coaching for so many years, it it brings a new perspective. And it’s cool for me because it’s something new that I’m learning and having to, like, get feedback on, like how I had to deal with that person and tell them they can be in class or whatever.

Fern :
Has that helped you give feedback? Like in a normal scenario?

Meagan:
Yeah, I mean, we have now that I’m giving feedback to there’s. Six different people that are giving feedback to you on a regular basis and some are in recovery, some are not. And it just kind of depends on like where they’re out with their coaching career, where they’re out with their personal lives and their recovery and how they’re used to taking feedback. And it’s, you know, they are not used to that or get defensive or are completely open to it or a little bit more sensitive or not. There’s definitely a lot of different personalities, which has been challenging for me. And and also good because this is again, it’s like new to me to be able to give feedback as I’ve never been in a head coach role before. But just having to realize like pretty quickly on this is not mine feedback. Styles is not going to work for some people that are giving feedback to.

Fern :
Chuck brought something really cool that I had started doing just coincidentally myself, which is just leave with a question rather than lead with your feedback, which is just like how do you think it went?

Meagan:
You know, and I like the guy. One of the guys that are the program manager, he oversees everything. We are on a leadership call. And he was like, I usually believe with that. Like, how do you think you went? I do that. I’m like, does it? Best piece of advice I’ve gotten is just like ask first and then it usually leads to versus I was giving it more of like just what I saw right away because sometimes people will tell you all those things.

Fern :
They’re like, I had a shitty night last night and you’re like, OK, we’re cool that I’m going to basically chop the bottom half of this feedback because we’re not it’s not relevant at this point. Totally. Yeah, but that’s been one of the biggest things that I’ve learned is like just lead with the question first. Most of the time they’re right on the feedback anyway. They already know what they did wrong. Like, you can just now give them the corrective actions in order to do that. But they acknowledges that if you say you fucked it up. What are some of the biggest things? So like a couple of things like a.. What are some of the biggest things that you’ve learned with dealing with? People in recovery and then kind of some dos and don’ts. And then if people want to get involved with that because at all. I don’t know a whole lot of people who are not affected by, you know, by that either, whether it’s, you know, one or two degrees of separation.

Fern :
But like, I think virtually everybody knows somebody who’s in recovery. So first thing is, what are some things that you’ve learned in dealing with folks in recovery? And then if people want to get involved, how do they go about doing it?

Meagan:
Yeah, well, you know, the the staff and the coaches here are awesome. And they’re really open about their stories and where they’re at and their journey with recovery. And when we’re talking about it this morning and how to like how do we intertwine the two groups like, you know, where we don’t want to tell a paid member that’s not in recovery, that like, hey, you can’t talk about what you did this weekend and like go out and drink. And then we also want to be respected, the people that are new to their recovery. And how do we like message you and Mike? One of the coaches here was like, you know, I don’t like to be put in this, like, separate category. And he’s like, I don’t like that. We’re like it’s like the normal people and the addicts. So really trying to find a way to, like mesh the two. And that’s what I think is probably a strength of mine, is not really thinking about like where this person came from or what’s their background or whatever and just treating everybody the same like everybody comes my Crossfit, class going to get coach the same. You know, we’re not going to put like people that are maybe a little bit more sensitive to it. I know some DNC bosses at the lawsuit. Well, what if I hurt their feelings? You know, like you’re obviously not trying to coach and like Yella, everybody, but everybody should be getting coached and corrected regardless if they’re to then just like reduce that stigma around, like, hey, there’s two separate groups and people in recovery still are out in the world. And and and living around people that are drinking or whatever it is and just being respect it or respecting them. But also like not treating them any different as a base thing that like Mike was saying today is like, I don’t want to be treated any different.

Fern :
Yeah, I think and I think that’s hard to like. It makes sense when you say it. But like sometimes we just kind of unconsciously, like, act differently towards people like I was just thinking before. Is it even OK to call people addicts like I should? You know this like my mom is a recovering alcoholic and alcoholism runs in my family. But I’m like, do you say they’re in recovery? Is. Are they an addict? Does that offend people? Like, what’s the P.C. way to get.

Meagan:
Ya, that we do are really cool. So before any of the Phoenix classes, they do a circle up, which is like you say your name and you say whether you’re in. The terminology is whether you’re in recovery or you’re a supporter of recovery. And so each person can go around and say what they want to say. And that was another thing that I kind of had a question of, like, what if people don’t want to say or do they like to say or, you know, and sometimes people come in there, you know, like, I’m an addict. Like it usually we use the term recovery, but we’re not going to like shut somebody down for what they want to say. But, you know, Mike was saying to this guy, it was like it was really empowering to me to be able to stand in front of a group and be like, I’m in recovery and fit in with a community of people and workout in the same spaces. Maybe a supporter, someone that’s not a recovery and be proud of that versus like. Outside the gym walls, sometimes it’s like this weird thing where, you know, you have to kind of keep it private or people don’t understand or, you know, he was like, I feel really comfortable in this gym to be able to say that. And I think that’s a cool thing about Crossfitters like it again, like it just promotes that nobody’s better than somebody else for all working out, doing the same thing. So that’s typically what we’ll say when we go around the circle.

Fern :
That’s cool. I’m like looking at your resumé right here, which it’s probably safe to say that very few people in the Crossfit, world will hop will have a resume that looks like that, right? I like meeting a coach at these gyms. Coached under these people, like the coaches that you’ve coached under like big names and there’s no shortage of them for people that don’t have access to that. What do you what would be your advice in order to start developing yourself as a coach? Meaning like a. I don’t have access to either a seminar staff member or somebody who’s really good or B, I can’t just pick up and move to Boston.

Meagan:
Right. Yeah. I mean, I would say the first step. The thing that helped me the most is that the whole practice, what you preach like that is that should be like that the platform that anybody does anything from, because then you’re practicing what you preach. But you’re also. Getting to learn from, you know, your members as well as like you’re not just only learning from other coaches, you’re learning from members because you’re in class with them or you’re working on your weaknesses with them and learning from maybe somebody that has something that you don’t. So doing that at the at the base and then, gosh, like. It the more you can just watch other people, I just remember when I was out in vogue, like I would just try to wash every coaches class and get as much experience watching because you learn what you like and what you don’t like. And even when I wash here like new coaches, I’m picking up new cues all the time. And that’s not from anybody. That’s a seminar staff member. That’s from someone that just started coaching that thinks differently than I do. That’s explaining something different that I’m like. Until you steal that. And I don’t see people a lot of times watch just washing other classes. And I remember when I was out and vote, Christmas had to be like, hey, like, you need to go home. Like you’ve been here too long, like, go. And because I just wanted to wash people’s glasses. So if you don’t have experience that you can still learn from other coaches and if anything, you’re like, this is definitely what I don’t want to do by just washing away somebody else. Coaches.

Fern :
It’s funny you bring that up because people have asked me in the past, they’re like use. If you look at somebody’s career there, there’s like a pretty specific period of time where they may have like big jumps in their development. And I remember specifically when mine was in. It was when I started. Giving people feedback because I would sit down and I was watching two to three classes a day of other people coaching, and from a practical standpoint, if you’re not the person that’s going to be giving feedback, you can still sit down and jot two to three pages of notes of the class, the things that you’re going to learn in one week. If you do three classes a day, that is going to be so much information that you probably couldn’t take action on, although those things in a six month period.

Meagan:
Yeah. And I think like from, you know, being at One Nation and then being here, what we require here is like doing the whole lesson plan and preparing for your class. I definitely did not do that until I came to One Nation, and I honestly do not know how I ever coached a successful class without doing that. Like, I have no idea. Did I just like, look at the board? And I was like, wow. Today we’re going to run for our meters and as our warm up and then just get right into it. Like, I don’t know how I ever ran a time like anything like that. So, you know, making a lesson plan and really like preparing for your class, just like you would go into work and meet with your boss, like you wouldn’t be unprepared for this really important meeting. It’s the same thing with this. And so even if you’re not watching somebody else that’s super successful when they’re coaching is like preparing for your class, like you would prepare for Ellen. Like, you know, the business world is something that I think people forget to do because so easily just look at the board like I’m just gonna do this today and wing it.

Fern :
Yeah. I mean, I’ll just tell you my story. It’s like I I did not coach any good classes for years because I wasn’t prepared. It wasn’t like, how did I ever do that?

Fern :
And it’s like the class went down, but it was just a goat rope, you know, like but nobody died. And we everybody did some fitness. But like, at no point did it resemble an effective. You know, kind of impression of what coaching should look like.

Meagan:
Yeah, yeah.

Fern :
Cool. If people want to find any information about the about the Phoenix project or Per Ignem, like where where’s the best place for them to search for that stuff?

Meagan:
So the best place is probably on the Web site, the Phoenix site or or they can just go to Per Ignem Crossfit, dot com and then they’ll see information from those. There’s an explanation on their program, Crossfit, of what we support and what our mission is. And then there’s more details with the Phoenix sign that you know, the phoenixes. It is also at locations like we have a guy named Ben who’s on the Cape and he has one Phoenix class a week that he holds at his gym. So he’s not a pregnant location or a Phoenix location, but he’s still holding that class. He’s in recovery himself. For people to just come in for free. So, you know, you can have that your gym. Right. And like have one class on a Saturday at 10:00. That’s a Phoenix class where people can come in that are in recovery or supporters of recovery. So that’s a pretty cool thing that they’re doing, too.

Fern :
Yeah, that was kind of my question. Is it like an affiliation process or you just kind of try to put it together? Because Carleen Matthews, she was saying she does something very similar because she’s in recovery as well. But I don’t I. To my knowledge, she’s not involved in that project.

Meagan:
Yeah. So that’s a different side of it. That’s a Phoenix rising side. And it’s not through an affiliation, but that I don’t know exactly how it works. But they would just open that class up. But I do believe it needs to be someone that’s in recovery running that class or someone that’s trained on that because they do like the peer to peer model there. So Ben can do it at his gym because he’s in recovery and then he can also lead that class.

Fern :
Got it. OK, cool. Last thing. What podcast or documented your series are you watching currently you’re watching TV?

Meagan:
Yeah. So I just got done watching the final table on Netflix. Have you seen that.

Fern :
Cooking show? Right.

Meagan:
It’s really good. And then I just got into that Sherlock Holmes show on Netflix called Sherlock.

Fern :
Oh, I know you’re talking about. But I haven’t watched it. I don’t watch a ton of TV, but I know you’re talking about.

Meagan:
That’s really good. And then the podcast. I’ve been liking it. Do you know who Dr. Anthony Guston is? He’s got a Keto podcasts.

Fern :
OK.

Meagan:
Let me see you. The name of it is. And I’m not a big like. This is not because I’m Keto or anything, but he’s a really knowledgeable guy. He’s got some great. Oh, the Kito Answers podcast with Dr. Anthony Gulson. And you know, he’s a big Keto guy, but he’s got a lot of other like great nutrition information and he’s into Crossfit,. He was on a brute strength podcast. And so so he’s got a lot of good information that kind of breaks it down into a non sciencey. Way of talking.

Fern :
I like it. Cool. Last thing, anything Ackerman likes this question and I like it, too. Is there is there something a belief or idea that you’ve had in the past that you no longer believe?

Meagan:
Oh. I think probably. I mean, I guess this is just like fitness related, but that although I work for Crossfit, and I’m all about Crossfit,, all of the Crossfit, lifestyle is not something that’s how the only way. And so my idea has shifted because those very you know, when I start working at a hospital, it’s only Crossfit, like you only do it this way. It’s not that. And while that is my belief, a lot more open minded to other areas, fitness, because at this point I really just care that people workout and that they eat healthy. So it’s less about like this is the only way and I think Crossfit, is the best way. But more that they just workout me, right?

Fern :
I like that and I’ve kind of come to that same realization over the last couple of years that like if you’re going to ask me, like, what is the best possible program to get people to peak health Crossfit, bar none. However, there is a tens of millions, if not billions of people that are never going to do Crossfit,. So maybe I just have them do something else.

Meagan:
Yeah, and we had like a we had a bootcamp class at One Nation that the guys would come in. They could care less about fitness. They’re you know, a lot of them are overweight and like in the middle of the workout they start doing push ups and there no push ups written in the workout. And it’s like, what are you doing man. They like to stretch your arm pump and you’re like, you know, go ahead. Like, Randy, you may not be here.

Fern :
That’s a good idea. I’m going to join you back in the day.

Meagan:
I would be like, no. Like, you’re doing it, you know. And it’s not that we let everybody do whatever they want, but it’s like those guys. They just, like, come in and like, they want to get their pump on, like they’re working out rather than be there than not be there.

Fern :
I think Pat Sherwood said this a while back when I started. He’s like, listen, goes. If people want to be gym rats, just let them be gym rat like it’s clearly making them happy, so don’t try to impose your will on them, like just trying to like gracefully guide them to good decisions.

Meagan:
Yeah, that’s a good question.

Fern :
Yeah. Cool. All right. Well,.

Meagan:
Hey, I’m going to ask you a question. OK. All right. So we all it because we always do icebreakers in the eleven class. And so you use like every possible icebreaker on the planet. We have one icebreaker question. That’s your go to. That’s just like, what’s your favorite food?

Fern :
Whoo! Yeah. So this one has to do with the zombie apocalypse. You just. Yeah. You have to look around the class and you just say, hey, you get to pick one person in the group to take with you. OK. On the zombie apocalypse. Who’s it going to be? But you have to say why.

Meagan:
Ok. I love that we’re going to use it.

Fern :
We were doing this at like New Trainer Summit years ago with. It was like me, Tosh, who actually we need to get calls from. Suppose. Yeah. And I was like Andrew Charles Werth and a bunch of like Nicole Carroll was there. And Tosh basically said he would kill Nicole. He cuts. He would rather her die by his hand than by like that by the zombies and stuff like that. It was so funny because she was she was so offended and like it was. It was incredible, though. But Andrew Charles, with all it also didn’t choose talk. And I like immediately went to Tosh. I was like, I’m taking Tosh like Tosh. He’s going with you on this one. And Charles Orth was like, I don’t really know you. I don’t know if you’re good in pressure situations.

Fern :
And I was like, hey, man, you use the Google machine and you might find out some information. Yeah, but anyway, I like the old zombie apocalypse like you’re gonna take with you. OK, cool.

Fern :
Hey, listen, thanks for your time. This was awesome. There’s a ton of good stuff on here and I hope to work with you soon.

Yeah. You too. All right. Yep.

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