Meghan Hayden is a soccer player turned trainer, who founded Take off With Meg to help make a positive impact on her clients’ lives
Meghan Hayden is a Division 1 soccer player turned strength and conditioning coach based in New York City. A competitive athlete from a young age, Hayden’s early experiences with training were performance-based. She brings this results-driven approach to her training company, “Take Off With Meg.” Not only does Hayden focus on building strength and endurance, but she also has a passion for helping her clients rehabilitate and heal. Athletech News spoke with Hayden about her approach to training.
ATN: How did you get into the space?
Meghan Hayden: I grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, and spent some of my childhood in Hawaii, which was amazing because I really got a great foundation of love and of respect for the simple things like nature, family, and community. When I was eight, my family moved back to Connecticut, and my back yard was New York City, where I felt like the complete opposite. Here, everyone grinds and works all day. I’ve always loved my background because I feel like I had a great balance of both and was able to pull from both experiences. And that has really made me who I am. My dad is 91 years old, my mom is 70, and I’m 29. So, I grew up with parents who are the age of a lot of my peers’ grandparents. My dad was an athlete his whole life. He was a fighter pilot who became a commercial pilot for the rest of his career. He’s always really inspired me, because he lived a very healthy lifestyle and was very active later into his later years. He’s fully able to walk, has full function, and is very independent. A lot of the behaviors and habits that he’s had throughout his life have led him to be able to do what he can do. I built up this huge passion for sports and studied physiology in college. I always love learning from other coaches and other methodologies. My main focus now is for everyone to feel good.
ATN: What’s a typical training session for you?
Meghan Hayden: I incorporate a little bit from everything that I’ve learned into my current training sessions. I love really just being dynamic, strong and resilient. I love grounded movements that are like yoga breakdancing. I like to load with kettlebells, as they’re so dynamic. I get a lot of my heavy strength work in through free weights and barbell work. I really try to stay away from machines.
ATN: How do you integrate nutrition into all of that?
Meghan Hayden: I really focus on the quality of nutrition. I try to have a sustainable whole food diet to get as much nutrition through food as possible. Obviously, I like to play within the numbers to help my clients reach their results. But overall, my methodology is really just nutrition as the earth produced it. I’ve been researching the supplement field a lot more recently, but I still try to practice whole foods and unprocessed foods as much as possible.
ATN: Do you have a client story you’re most proud of?
Meghan Hayden: My proudest story is always my dad. He had an infection and was bedridden in the hospital. I stepped in and used the medicine of movement on him and was able to get him out of the hospital way faster than his doctor’s care would have. I had another client who was in a car accident, and had whiplash and was limited in her movement capabilities. She couldn’t raise her arms without hysterically crying. We were able to get her to full movement capacity. My company is called Take Off so when you see your clients take off in multiple aspects of their life, that has the biggest impact on me.
ATN: What do you do for recovery?
Meghan Hayden: I do a lot of soft tissue work, and a lot of mobility. I have a certification in FRC, Functional Range Conditioning, and try to strengthen the end range of motion, which is what leads to the most injury. Sleep is obviously number one, and mental health, skincare, and contrast therapy (sauna, steam, and ice bath or localized ice recovery) are all great for well-rounded recovery.
ATN: What technology do you use to support your business?
Meghan Hayden: It takes a village to run a really high operating system or machine. My graphic designer uses Canva a lot, I use Sunsama as my productivity aid. I also love journaling and staying really organized with scheduling. Social media is also like a business card. In real life, NYC is a place to connect with people, so building a community and getting out there are very important.
ATN: Do you have a trainer?
Meghan Hayden: I have a boxing coach and a dance coach. Hiring a coach is the best way to learn something. But apart from that, I do think that scheduling workouts with other coaches keeps me accountable, and is a great way to network.