For the Love of Health
A local personal trainer combines passion with fitness.
Meghann Lawson, personal trainer at All Inclusive Health, grew up in Ventura, California. After high school, she moved to Boston where she lived for more than a decade. However, she couldn’t take the cold. So, last year, she and her husband (who is from New Orleans) decided to return to the Crescent City.
“We love it here,” Lawson says. “I [also] love working with my clients – getting to know them, helping them work toward their goals and hearing about how exercising regularly is improving their lives from everything to being able to play with their kids without getting winded, to noticing that their back pain is going away, to setting a new personal record at a race. If you had asked me 10 years ago if I’d be doing something like this, I would have thought you were nuts — but I love every minute of it.”
Lawson first started working in the fitness industry with group classes. She earned her first group instructor certification in 2012. “I enjoy teaching group exercise, but one-on-one training gives you a chance connect with your clients and help them work toward their goals and through any specific challenges they’re facing,” Lawson says. “Since moving to New Orleans, I’ve been able to make personal training a career, and I absolutely love it.”
She started working at All Inclusive Health in Sept. 2015, just one month after she and her husband moved to New Orleans. Her primary role is as a personal trainer (she’s certified through NASM), but she’s also a RRCA Certified Running Coach, a Precision Nutrition Level 1 Coach and an ACE Health Coach. “We offer primarily one-on-one training (with some doubles or small groups) tailored to the individual,” Lawson explains. “Some clients are brand new to exercise and need help getting started, while others are seasoned exercisers who are looking for someone to hold them accountable and make exercising fun. My clients range from early 20s to well into their 60s.”
The best part, according to Lawson, is that All Inclusive Health has a very comfortable environment. The studio has two rooms, and there are never more than two trainers with clients — so it allows for privacy. That means you never have to feel self-conscious about how others may view you. “We’re also very well equipped – we have TRX, a leg press, water rower, Smith machine, bench press, balance equipment (BOSU, discs, etc), treadmills, a StairMaster, exercise bike, kettlebells, dumbbells, etc.”
ON STAYING MOTIVATED
“The biggest motivating factor that helps me to stay on track with my own personal fitness goals is remembering how it makes me feel afterwards,” Lawson says. “There are days when even trainers don’t want to work out, but that feeling of accomplishment when you’re done while the endorphins are going is enough to make me want to get my workouts in. Working out, and running in particular, also help to keep me sane. Running is my me time – that’s when I sort through my problems, plan my day, think through routines, etc.”
“I eat a little of everything – I believe moderation is key and try to abide by the 90/10 rule,” Lawson says. “So, 90 percent of the time my diet consists of good foods – lean proteins, lots of vegetables, fruit, etc. – and 10 percent of the time I indulge. I try to pay attention to how food makes me feel, and avoid foods that make me feel ill or sluggish. For me, no food is worth feeling sick. I have a shake almost every morning, and a salad most days for lunch. I don’t really have favorite foods, but I do love peanut butter (there’s always a backup jar in my house), chocolate, strawberries, kale, beets, bananas, quinoa, avocado, fish and sweet potatoes to name a few. My guilty pleasures are Vietnamese takeout, cheeseburgers, french fries, tacos and Ben & Jerry’s – though lately my slightly less guilty pleasure has been Arctic Zero. It’s better for you than Ben & Jerry’s but still satisfies the craving for something sweet and cold.”
“I have a client who started earlier this year who was new to exercise,” Lawson says. “Over the last several months, we’ve consistently worked toward bringing their body fat percentage down and building muscle mass. We do assessments periodically to assess progress, and, since this client had expressed concern regarding weight (although clothes that hadn’t fit in years were fitting), we decided to assess how the program was working. Since starting the program, this client had lost 5 percent body fat and gained 9 pounds of lean muscle mass! It just goes to show that the number on the scale isn’t always the most important.”
“Get there; go at your own pace; and have fun,” Lawson says. “Getting there is the hardest part, and, if you make exercise fun, you’re more likely to want to keep doing it. No one is judging you, and everyone there knows what it feels like to be a beginner.”