As a brown belt in the mixed martial arts, Meagan Miller would have loved to proceed to black belt.
But juggling gymnastics, cheerleading, dance team, modeling and softball practice, the junior high go-getter only had so many free hours in the day.
At 22, Miller is still juggling, and loving life as owner and personal trainer with Divine Faith and Fitness; group trainer at Conquer Sports Pro (under former pro football players Marlon Favorite and Skyler Green); and founder of the homeless outreach program, Be the Light, which offers hot food and conversation for local people on the streets. And she is always working toward her ultimate goal: securing a job as an NFL speed and conditioning coach.
“I know it’s really random,” she says. “You don’t hear about women wanting to become a strength and conditioning coach in the NFL … they just got a female referee for the first time ever. But I have faith that with dedication, I can achieve my dream.”
Miller’s work with Favorite and Green is teaching her volumes as she spends a lot of time shadowing them through workouts with promising young football athletes. She typically hosts boxing classes and group workouts for parents, while their sons are training with the pros.
Miller then uses many of the same concepts with her own personal training and adds a unique twist: planks and praise. She likes to encourage her clients to give thanks for their successes and encourage them through inspiration.
“It’s so different, it keeps them interested,” Miller says. “I didn’t want to be like every other trainer. I like to build relationships, even friendships with my clients so they’re not like, ‘Oh my God, I have to go the gym,’ but instead it’s, ‘Let’s go the gym!’”
As an accountability partner, she even emails recipes, menus and tips for success. “Abs are made in the kitchen,” she says. “You have to eat right. You can’t eat Burger King all the time; you have to eat baked chicken or fish, focus on clean eating.” She keeps it realistic though. Her clients get two cheat days or two soft drinks per week when they start. “I don’t force it down their throat so they back off,” she says. “I like to ease them in to it.”
When people learn about Miller’s boxing skills or her MMA past, they usually can’t believe it. “I have a tomboyish side,” she says. “I like to go mudding, four-wheeling and fishing. My Dad is a cop and he taught me to take a gun apart, clean it and put it back together. Not everyone can see that side of me, they just see the girly, prissy side.” firstname.lastname@example.org, @divinefaithandfitness_
Favorite subject at East Jefferson High: Social studies and history. “I like to learn about the past because history repeats itself, so the more you learn about it the more you know what to expect,” Miller says.
Favorite thing to do in New Orleans: Sit by the river, listen to jazz music and eat beignets from Café du Monde.
Top bucket list item after becoming an NFL trainer: Ride a street car. “I’ve lived here my whole life and never ridden before,” she says.
On parental inspiration: “My dad graduated from Loyola in 2013, while working as a police officer,” Miller says. “He got his criminal justice degree and graduated magna cum laude. He’s so intelligent and smart; he pushes me to read more and observe what people do; he pushes me on the athletic side too. He got me in to boxing and fighting. I really, really admire him for doing all that and working all day every day. My mom is the sweetest person ever. She has a heart of pure gold. She’s so genuine and positive; she’s come to every game I’ve ever had, every tournament, she’s been there for everything.”
Ten years from now: “As the Lord leads me, I pray I am an NFL strength and conditioning coach and that I’m moving along with Be the Light,” she says. “I also want to be a motivational speaker. I have so much to say and it’s based on biblical principles that inspire. You’ve got to be the light in this dark world; people need someone to be genuine and full of joy. And I really want to dance again. I used to dance for NOLA Voodoo. I made the finals for the Saintsations and the Pelicans’ dance team… dancing is a soft spot in my heart.”