Heart Health & the Story of Megan Washington
For many of us, the reason behind why we never go after our goals is simply due to fear. It's a hard pill to swallow but there comes a time when you have to embrace your fears and not allow them to cripple you. If all we were to do was succumb to our fears, zero progress would be made in this life. Everything takes GUTS! From going into a job interview or flying in an airplane, to walking into a gym or swimming in the ocean. Our entire days are surrounded by making decisions that will either cause us to move backward or move forward on something. It's impossible to stay stagnant.
That is why I'm so incredibly excited to have my good friend and Miss Florida USA, Megan Washington, as my latest "Transformation Tuesday" guest. Megan and I have known each other now for well over a decade! We first met while we were both training to become Professional Wrestlers in Orlando, Florida and thankfully, we stayed in touch with one another.
Her story is one I've always admired and one that I'm excited to share with you. In what feels like decades ago (but probably not to her), I remember randomly hearing about Megan being in the hospital and having to have a procedure done on her heart. I'll let her go into details regarding that but needless to say, I was shocked and obviously concerned. Through the grace of God, everything overall has turned out pretty marvelous I would say for Megan. I commend Megan on her bravery and strength during this time because she could've very easily adopted a very sedentary or "careful" lifestyle after what she experienced. But, she chose another option. She didn't go the safe route and yet, she managed what she was in control of and made small tangible steps in the forward direction. What we can take away from her story is not only that reaching our goals takes guts, but achieving small goals over time lead to big goals being accomplished.
So, without further ado, here is the interview that I had with Miss Florida USA-Megan Washington...
When did you start your health journey?
I thought that I had always led a pretty healthy lifestyle since I was always involved with some type of sport. Boy, was I wrong! My journey for a healthier lifestyle started in 2006 when I was diagnosed with a rare heart condition. I had an extra electrical pathway that prevented me from working out until I had an ablation to get rid of the troublesome tissue. After that, it was a wake up call that I had no idea that I needed. Bad habits didn’t create the problem, but bad habits lead to other heart problems like heart disease and stroke and that lit a fire in me to work for a better way of living because I don’t want to be faced with hearing there’s something wrong like that again.
What motivated you to start?
When you hear a doctor tell you that you have something wrong with your heart, it’s traumatic. I can’t imagine ever hearing those words again so I have been motivated by that. 1 in 3 people die of heart disease or stroke and I don’t want to be part of that statistic. One heart problem was enough.
What were some of your goals when you started (post surgery)?
I didn’t work out for seven years post surgery because I tried to go to working out a week later and had really sharp and burning pains in my chest. It scared me so much that I stopped. My goal at that point was to just see what I could do, to concentrate on just moving. It took me awhile to get comfortable working out again after those seven years because I needed to trust that I was going to be okay. My goals were very minor such as...let’s just go further than yesterday.
What are your goals now compared to a few years ago?
Now I have long term goals for myself unlike before which were very short term. I’ve set goals to run in 5K races and then I did that and I continue to want to better my times. It would be awesome one day to maybe even do a 10K.
What have been your greatest achievements?
Taking the first step was my biggest achievement for sure because that takes so much courage both physically and mentally. I think everything else is just icing on the cake.
What were/are your biggest struggles?
Learning to trust that I was going to be okay was definitely my biggest struggle. I was terrified that I was going to relive the heart situation again because it originally happened while I was working out so there was definitely pieces of PTSD there. Sometimes I still struggle with it and I’ll start to feel a panic attack coming on so I’ll stop mid workout. I think we are all always going to be a work in progress and facing challenges is what builds us into stronger people. It’s cool knowing I can keep bettering myself, and that facing the struggles will also continually make me a stronger person.
What advice would you give to people new to following a health program?
Listen to your body! If you don’t feel well, stop. If something hurts, stop. Always talk with your physician and fitness professionals because they are going to be your best source of information (don’t believe everything you read on the internet). Just know that results aren’t immediate too but if you’re diligently working towards your goals, you’re improving your health and that’s something that’s priceless.
What is your favorite thing about your workouts/health?
Working out makes you feel good but I think the thing I appreciate the most about working out is that it helps to fight against heart disease and stroke. There’s also research that says working out decreases one's chances of Alzheimer’s because of the positive stimulation in the brain. It also helps to lower blood pressure. There are so many great things about working out and you can only cash in on the benefits when you’re working for it.
Health advice for those just starting.
Don’t compare yourself to other people. We all progress at different times and each body is so unique. Concentrate on yourself and working on your own progress and being proud of those achievements. When you don’t see results right away, don’t give up. Overtime you’re going to see a huge transformation and it’s worth it to keep going.
How can people connect with you?
Any other tips for new or advanced individuals?
The Rock says, “You can’t beat someone that doesn’t give up.” Keep going, no matter what your goals are. You can do it!
"Coach Taz" aka Taylor Rodriguez is owner and head coach of Taz Fitness & Nutrition. He is a Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach located in Deltona, FL that coaches individuals online and in person. Taylor was a former partying pro wrestler turned fitness enthusiast after the economic downturn of 2008-2010. After losing almost 70 lbs, his new passion is to help struggling individuals find a new confidence within themselves to achieve any goal that they see possible. To begin coaching with Taylor or to request a free consultation, contact us today.
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