The (F)Empower Project Presents: Meghan Yuri Young

I first met the lovely Meghan through NTC almost 3 years ago; I remember teaching my first media class, being uber nervous, and Meghan smiling through the whole thing. It made me feel so much more comfortable and confident. It turns out, all of my interactions with Meghan since then have been pretty similar: she is always smiling, super friendly, and seems to just radiate good vibes towards all. I was unbelievably excited when she agreed to be a part of this very special project, and am so thrilled to share her training story on today's edition of the (F)Empower Project!


My name is Meghan Young and I'm a writer. I've been dabbling in the world of social media of late (@meghanyuriyoung) and recently started my own blog (meghanyoung.ca). When I'm not writing, I'm usually running. When I'm not running, you can often find my either on the couch watching the latest on Netflix or hanging out with friends and family.

 


I've always been active, but loved chocolate too much for it to make a big difference on my physique. So at first, I started working out seriously to lose weight and tone up. But that mentality didn't support the change I really wanted. I fluctuated in weight until I fully embraced a healthier lifestyle that focused on being strong rather than skinny.

 I not only feel strong, I feel capable and that's the type of confidence that makes my day. 

It's hard not to be influenced by your parents and mine were always very active. While my dad preferred organized sports such as basketball, beach volleyball and soccer, my mom was the solo workout type. I appreciate both forms. I grew up playing for almost every team in school, but in my early 20s I started to go to the gym and do my own thing. It wasn't until I joined the Nike Run Club and Nike Training Club, however, that my passion for group fitness was reignited. I find it's this fitness family that inspires me to get out there and work as hard as I can day in, day out.

It's also the Nike family that motivated me to make my first set of training goals that moved away from being something to doing something.

By that I mean my perspective shifted and I didn't focus on losing inches and pounds but instead focused on training for my first 15k race. That led to doing my first triathlon (a sprint, or else I might have died) and most recently a half marathon. My next goal is another half marathon, this time for speed. In the meantime, I really want to strengthen my upper body and possibly be able to do one chin up by the end of the year. 

To reach these goals, I'll continue to train predominantly with my Nike family. I run at least five times a week, incorporating one speed interval session and one long run. The other two days I do cross-training to ensure I strengthen the parts of my body that running happens to weaken (i.e. my glutes!). In addition to that, I'm also looking to get back into yoga seriously because I've been very bad at stretching out my body. It's important to find a balance between strengthening and stretching, and I've been pretty neglectful over the last few months.

By keeping up this regimen for nearly a year, I've found that progress is what keeps me motivated. I'm so proud of the lengths I've made in terms of strength and speed that I keep it up to not lose what I've worked so hard for.

Yet what really keeps me motivated is twofold: how good it feels to be fit and healthy and the community that helps me along the way. First of all, I'm much more confident in everything I do -- emotionally and physically. The runner's high is real, guys. Secondly, some of my closest friends are my workout buddies -- and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Running with a pack of amazing (and let's face it, hot) girls makes fitness all the more fun. In a way, it also reinforces my own femininity.

Although there may have once been a stigma around women working out, I find that since strong is the new sexy, there's no need to balance training with being a girl. They go hand-in-hand. 

Yet it's undeniable that some women hit the gym or the pavement with the wrong mentality. Although the world is celebrating all body types with such celebrities as Kim Kardashian helping women like myself appreciate our curves more, the images out there are still incredibly unrealistic (also reference Kim Kardashian, hahaha). 

I think social media is my biggest concern right now, especially Instagram. I see girls confidence drop dangerously the more they compare themselves to these "Insta-models" and that saddens me. Then there are the girls (actual young girls!) that post such inappropriately sexy images to find validation online. This is a tough topic that I can spend 1500 words going into, so I'll just stop there.

Of course, content on social media outlets aren't all bad. Nike is a great example of using such platforms to push fitness as a tool for female empowerment. Fitness itself is a tool for empowerment in that, as I mentioned before, it makes a woman feel capable.

There's no need to rely on anyone else to open that jar if you workout, hahaha.

I read something recently that has stuck with me:

"Life isn't as serious as the mind makes it out to be." 

Whenever I ask someone to join me on a run...especially a run...I almost without fail encounter fear and uncertainty. But it's just the mind playing tricks. Yes, running is tough. But the mind makes it seem tougher than it really is until you actually get out there.

So as Nike says, just do it.


Meghan Yuri Young

Check out Meghan on Instagram: @meghanyuriyoung

For more of her wisdom, motivation, and writings, check out her website:

www.meghanyoung.ca