Sean: 00:05 – Hello everybody and welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On today’s episode, I talk with three-time CrossFit Games athlete and founder of the company Wags and Weights, Meg Reardon. First. Over the years I’ve covered dozens of fitness events all around the world and I’ve seen the best of the best work with coaches to find success. Yet many business owners don’t think coaches can help them. If you want to hit a revenue PR, visit TwoBrainbusiness.com. You can book a free call and find out how a business coach can help you. Meg Reardon made her CrossFit Games debut in 2016 and she has qualified again for the upcoming CrossFit Games this August. We talk about her competitive career so far, why she actually had to pull back on her training after her rookie year and all the great things she is doing for dogs, rescues, and shelters through Wags and Weights. Thanks for listening everybody. Meg, thanks so much for joining me today. How are you doing?
Meg: 01:06 – I’m doing pretty well. Thanks for having me.
Sean: 01:08 – You bet. First off, congratulations on officially qualifying for your third CrossFit Games. What’s it like to have that kind of monkey off your back at this point in the season?
Meg: 01:17 – Ah, it’s pretty awesome. Obviously that was the goal to qualify through the Open and it was a very stressful five weeks. I had a really great support system around me, so that was really helpful and yeah, now it’s great. Now I can kind of lay the rest of the season out and attend some sanctioned events and just get some, you know, some more experience under my belt before the Games.
Sean: 01:40 – What did your athletic background look like prior to getting involved in CrossFit?
Meg: 01:46 – So I was very athletic growing up my whole life. I participated in a lot of different sports, but I did gymnastics early on, which I think a lot of CrossFitters do. And I think it really, it’s crazy, but it really helps. I mean, I did it so young. I think I stopped when I was like nine or 10 years old, but I was pretty competitive. And even, you know, fast forwarding, I was able to kind of still do all those same things that I had learned when I was eight years old, which was really cool. So very grateful for that. And then I actually was a division one field hockey player. I played at the University of California Davis. Yeah. And that was, that was pretty much leading up until I found CrossFit in college, which was really awesome. And then used it kind of as supplemental training and then decided I want to be competitive with it.
Sean: 02:38 You moved from Virginia out to California, as you mentioned, to go to UC Davis, which was in my backyard where I grew up in Sacramento, on a field hockey scholarship. Loved that campus. What was it like traveling that far from home at that age?
Meg: 02:53 – I really had no idea what I was doing, to be honest. I mean I moved out there. I really didn’t have any friends. I really had no expectations, but it was really cool because I was able to be a part of a team that brought me in and treated me like family. So I’m so grateful for that. And I grew up quickly, I had to learn how to really survive and be on my own and I wasn’t able to really come back to visit family much. So, yeah, I mean, I grew up quickly. I became friends with people who lived in California. I was able to kind of go home with them for holidays and vacations and stuff like that. And it worked out pretty well.
Sean: 03:31 – What then led you ultimately to CrossFit?
Meg: 03:35 – So actually my coach in college was doing it, which is crazy and so awesome. And she was like, Hey, you should come out and just try this community class one day and see if you like it. Instantly fell in love, which I feel like a lot happens to most people. And then obviously the competitive side of me was like, wait, I actually want to be really good at this and try to do things that I’ve never done before. So when I first gotten into it, I was still playing field hockey in college and I couldn’t really commit all of my time. And then when I graduated, that was kind of when I realized that I wanted to be more serious and more competitive with it and try to do it professionally.
Sean: 04:16 – What was it that initially hooked you into CrossFit?
Meg: 04:23 – I actually remember watching the CrossFit Games, like on YouTube or something and seeing these women with the most chiseled bodies. Awesome physiques and just overall badasses. I was like, I want to be that. That’s really cool. And it was breaking stereotypes. I mean, this was 2013, so still pretty new. And I was, you know, a collegiate athlete and we did some strength training in college, but nothing to that extreme. And I was like, I want to look like that. So, yeah, it was awesome.
Sean: 05:00 – You mentioned that you wanted to continue to get better at it, what led you to becoming competitive?
Meg: 05:09 – Well I actually met Charlie Zamora early on, and he had the idea of putting together a Caffeine and Kilos team, kind of like a Regional Caffeine and Kilos team. This was in 2014, and so we started kind of all getting together and training and traveling, going to his gym. And then I actually crazy enough qualified that year as an individual when it was still 40 men, 40 women. And so I ended up just going individually to Regionals in 2014 in California. Had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but knew that I wanted to do it again and hopefully be better the next year.
Sean: 05:52 – How did your training change then after that experience?
Meg: 05:55 – I definitely would say I had more structure. So we were training together a lot as a team. And then when I kind of had to break off and start doing some of my own programming to work on my weaknesses was when I kinda realized like, OK, this is what I should be doing. Obviously still very new to it. I really didn’t have any idea. I didn’t really have a coach at the time. I didn’t know you could really invest in a coach and get the help to do that. So it was a lot of like, just like failing and learning from those mistakes and kind of putting it all together from there. I think.
Sean: 06:35 – You make it to the CrossFit Games as an individual for the first time in 2016 and you finish 33rd. What was that experience like for you?
Meg: 06:43 – Oh, it was incredible. Still very on in my CrossFit career. I didn’t expect it to happen, to be honest. Because the previous year I actually didn’t even qualify for Regionals, I had moved back to the East coast and handstand push-up workout, my favorite, kinda just, it put me under and I was not able to come back to even qualify for Regionals that year. So the following year, got a coach, was focusing more on skills and things that I really needed to improve on and ended up qualifying that year. So I really didn’t have any expectations going in, to be honest. I was just like, I’m going to go enjoy the moment. You know, it was in Carson, it was so cool. The stadium was incredible. You really can’t replicate that. And it was amazing. I knew that I wanted to continue doing it, especially after that.
Sean: 07:38 – I talk to a lot of athletes who they get to the Games after their first year and then they ramp things up from there. But I read that you decided to back off after 2016. Why did that happen?
Meg: 07:49 – Yeah, I had actually a crazy couple of years after 2016 because I really didn’t know if I wanted to continue being competitive, if I wanted to be in the gym all the time, if I wanted to do it professionally. And then I also was a business partner. I had a business partner at the time with my company Wags and Weights, and I ended up buying her out. So I was the sole owner of the company and I really didn’t know what I was doing. So I think I had just like a lot of stress and a lot of things I was trying to learn and do. And so I didn’t really take it, I would say as seriously from 2017 and even in 2018, I was just trying to get my life back into order and kind of create that balance. But I knew kind of in the back of my mind that I still loved it and I was still so passionate about it. I just didn’t know where I wanted to be at that time.
Sean: 08:49 – You get back to the Games then in 2019 and you finished 23rd. Why was last year the right time for you to get back into competition?
Meg: 08:58 – I think last year was probably the first year that I felt I had exactly everything that I needed in place. So what I mean by that is I had the right coach. I had the most amazing support system around me. I knew I was living in the right place and I really started to realize that my company, Wags and Weights, was becoming very successful and really starting to kind of to grow. And I knew that I wanted to pursue CrossFit competitively because I was loving it again and I was really passionate and I was in the gym and I was enjoying my training and that’s so important. And so, I, you know, started kinda competing again and putting myself out there. I went to MAC. I had really no expectations and did much better than I anticipated. So I was like, all right. I think we’re back in it.
Sean: 09:55 – What are your plans now for the rest of the season? Even though you already have qualified for the Games?
Meg: 10:01 – I definitely want to get out there and get my feet wet, go to a few events, try to get some more competition under my belt. Wodapalooza will be the first one, and then we’ll kind of lay out the schedule for the rest of the season as we go. I definitely wanted to get a few competitions in just for practice and also just a good change of environment from being in the gym all day long training. Like obviously you want to have a good training cycle leading up to the Games, but you kind of have to have those breaks and those, I guess, adrenaline rushes just to make sure that you’re in competition mode and competition ready. So that’s kinda what will happen the next few months. And I already had like a de-load, we took a de-load basically right after the Open, which was much needed. It was a very stressful five weeks for me. So I’m glad that we were able to do that. And now we’re kinda just starting to build back up.
Sean: 11:00 – Everyone is still trying to kind of figure out how to be successful under this new structure. How do you make sure you’re peaking at the right time under this new season schedule?
Meg: 11:10 – Yeah, it’s really tough. I think, you know, right now what’s really great is my coach and I have really good communication as far as what we think that I needed to improve on leading up to the Games. And two of those things were just my overall endurance, my capacity. So we’re doing a lot of monostructural type stuff. Pretty much daily, and then just skills. So we’re not pushing crazy metcons every day. We’re building up to what we need to. Obviously it’s kind of I guess in a way, weird for me because I’ve actually never done this before and so I normally always feel competition ready, but I don’t think that’s how you get the most successful. So I’m not sure what that means for all my sanctioned events, but I know that what we’re doing right now is going to prep me and make me hopefully peak right before the Games.
Sean: 12:09 – Hi everyone. I hope you’re enjoying my conversation with Meg Reardon. Two-Brain Radio is full of amazing interviews. We’ve posted more than 300 episodes and we air three shows a week. On Wednesdays, I interview top athletes, great coaches, and colorful characters to get the best stories from the fitness world. On Thursdays, Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper is on the air with actionable advice as well as business experts who can solve your problems. On Mondays we talk about marketing and share client success stories to inspire you to grow your business. So to make sure you do not miss a thing, please subscribe to Two-Brain Radio, and we’d love your feedback at email@example.com. Now, back to Meg Reardon. You’ve mentioned your company a couple of times, Wags and Weights. So let’s talk about that. First off, where did your love for dogs come from?
Meg: 13:04 – I pretty much have always loved dogs. I had dogs growing up. And then I got my first dog on my own when I was in college. Probably not the smartest decision, but it was kind of a spur of the moment type thing. And she was pretty much the inspiration behind it because a lot of gyms had gym dogs and you know, they were a big part of the community and no one had really done anything or put anything together that combined dogs and fitness. So at the time, my business partner and I were like, we should just try to do something and put something out there, create an Instagram account and see if people like it. And it actually instantly started getting traction pretty early on. So we knew that it was going to be a good thing.
Sean: 13:52 – What exactly is Wags and Weights?
Meg: 13:56 – So we are basically an active lifestyle brand for dog and fitness enthusiasts. Again we combine obviously like our big market’s CrossFit, but all fitness types and just their love of dogs and animals in general. And then also we love to partner and give back to rescue. So we do try to do a lot of rescue work throughout the year. We partner with, you know, Alex from Barbells for Bullies. They’re awesome, amazing people. And so the biggest focus that we have is just trying to raise awareness for rescue dogs and also, you know, just creating fun stuff for people to wear while they’re working out.
Sean: 14:39 – You touched on this a little bit, but what exactly motivated you to start this company?
Meg: 14:45 – So I own a pit bull and their reputation isn’t always great. But I knew that there are other people in the country and in the world that shared similar love for, I mean any breed really. It doesn’t matter who it is. And that the love of dogs would really bring people together. So when we created our first products, we just put things, words on a shirt that we knew people would, or it would attract people, you know, dogs and fitness, something so simple, but can mean so much to a single person. So, I mean, I knew I was passionate about dogs and I obviously am passionate about fitness and so I wanted to kind of share that with the rest of the world.
Sean: 15:33 – Why did you think that the CrossFit world and the world of dog people and dog rescues were a good fit?
Meg: 15:41 – I really actually wasn’t sure at the time I was like, I’m really not sure if this is even going to—I don’t think we thought it was going to grow as big as it did until I really started kind of going around and seeing how many people and how many gyms had dogs. I mean, I would be like introducing myself to people and saying, Hey, I own Wags and Weights. And they’d be like, Oh, you want to see my dog and show me pictures on their phones. So I’m the crazy dog woman and I’m totally fine with that.
Sean: 16:11 – What did your early charitable efforts through Wags and Weights look like?
Meg: 16:16 – So we pretty much started off just by finding local rescues that we could give back to, you know, whether it be just time or a money donation. And then we found Barbells for Bullies. We connected with them early on and absolutely loved their idea and what they wanted to do for the rescue community. So we have been partnering with them for the last few years and we do their T-shirts that they sell at all their competitions across the United States just to help raise awareness. You know, one of the biggest goals for me coming up in this year is to be more hands on. I think we obviously have been giving back a lot, but a lot of people don’t know that. So I think a big thing that we want to do this year is just get out more and be more hands on in the local rescue communities that we have. There are so many of them and so many different ways you can. So I’m pretty excited to try to do that this year.
Sean: 17:16 – You mentioned that it took off pretty quickly. What was the initial reaction that you got from people that led you to think that, you know what, this thing really does have some legs?
Meg: 17:26 – I mean, I would chat with people just about their dogs and how they were rescued or how they adopted them. And then, you know, I would show them the products that we created and people, I mean, the feedback that we got was normally like, Oh my God, this is awesome. I love what you guys are doing. And it really just allowed us to understand like how important it was to people, especially, you know, if they adopt a dog, a lot of them have so many stories and they want to share. And I think that’s so cool. And we were able to do that on our platforms. So, you know, fast forwarding now, we’re in year five and it’s been awesome.
Sean: 18:08 – A lot of businesses like yours sort of have this, I don’t want to say a turning point, but a spot where you can point out and you can say, yeah, that’s where we really took things to the next level. What was that point for you?
Meg: 18:20 – Alex actually told me that you asked him the same question. And he obviously is like, Oh, I don’t think we’re like, you know, at that point yet. Which I guess in a way I would say kind of the same thing. Obviously I want to continue growing and being, you know, the most successful that we can be and be able to give back even more than we have now. I think honestly what is so cool is that I’m also able to have the platform as an athlete and people really respect that and love it. And especially if they’re in the CrossFit world, you know, they see both sides. They see that I’m a competitor, but also I’m a small business owner and I can relate to them on so many things. And I think when people started realizing that, it made it even more rewarding.
Sean: 19:13 – What did being an athlete and going through a season and holding yourself accountable and having a schedule, what did that teach you about running a business?
Meg: 19:23 – Balance is key, that’s for sure. I think early on in my career in my CrossFit career, I was like, I gotta be in the gym all day long. I gotta train, I gotta do all these things. But I also realized that that quickly burns you out. And it’s not even worth it at the end of the day if you’re not enjoying it. So for me personally, having Wags and Weights as something I can do when I’m not in the gym has been so amazing for me mentally, so I can come out of the gym and maybe I didn’t have the greatest training day, but I know that I have people that are looking for new products from us or I have customers that I need to help out. And that’s so rewarding to me. And it allows me to kind of have that balance and still, you know, do what I love.
Sean: 20:12 – I did talk to Alex. It was a great interview and that’s why I wanted to have you on, because I know the two of you partner with a lot of this stuff. And I will ask you another question that I asked him, but when you give people sort of your elevator pitch as to what Wags and Weights is and what you do, what surprises them the most about the stats and the facts that you give them about not only, you know, bully breeds, but just rescue dogs in general?
Meg: 20:36 – I just don’t think people realize how many dogs actually need help and need to be adopted. I mean it’s insane. The numbers are crazy and I’m sure Alex gave you lots statistics. I don’t necessarily have all the statistics, but I do know just based upon people—I know we get so many emails from people reaching out saying, we need help. We’re trying to help these dogs that were abused or neglected and it’s definitely a problem here and in the world too. So if we can do anything to help, we’re going to do it, you know, so we definitely try to make people aware. We also have people that also don’t adopt and that’s fine as well. But if you do adopt, we want to know, we want to know your story.
Sean: 21:23 – What are the reactions that you get from, you know, local shelters or rescues when they see what you’re doing for them?
Meg: 21:33 – Oh, they love it. They are so grateful. And you know, we try to keep those relationships when we’re done donating and we try to continue to help them out in any way that we can. Yeah, I mean I would just say they’re super, super grateful.
Sean: 21:51 – You guys are always releasing new stuff. I’m amazed at the new products that you always have on your website WagsandWeights.com. How do you manage to keep things fresh on a consistent basis?
Meg: 22:01 – A lot of communication. So my partner, my fiance Katherine, is also super involved and we kind of go back and forth with each other all the time. If we think of something, I’ll shoot her a text and be like, Oh, this would be great on a T-shirt or on a mug or whatever it may be. And she’ll do the same thing for me. And it’s great now. I mean a lot of my friends will also text me and be like, Hey, this is a really funny thing. You should put this on a shirt. So it’s really cool. Like it’s fun and you know, we as specially as crazy dog parents, I feel like we’re always doing crazy things for our dogs. So it’s pretty easy to find ways to bring out new products with sayings. Cause I know people probably feel the same way.
Sean: 22:47 – What kind of initiatives now do you have coming up?
Meg: 22:52 – So right now we are kind of working with Barbells for Bullies again to do another Wags and Weightlifting event. They’ve done that. We actually weren’t able to be there last year cause competition season, stuff like that. But we’re definitely gonna go to this one this year. So their Wags and Weightlifting event I think is in May. And then we have just some random events that we’ll be attending throughout the year. Local events. We’re definitely gonna try to get out to some rescue organizations. We being in New York have quite a few up here and we’re just going to try to get out and be more hands on and do a lot of volunteer work. So that’s kind of what our plan is and our initiative is for the year and that’s how we’re going to try to do it.
Sean: 23:38 – Obviously you still have a lot of goals you want to achieve with your business, but what are you most proud about when it comes to Wags and Weights?
Meg: 23:47 – Hmm. That’s a good question. Most proud about. I would say I’m most proud just to see how many fans we’ve really been able to keep and support as we’ve been able to keep. And the relationships that we’ve been able to create with those people. I mean, there have been people that have followed us from 2014, and I actually know them on a personal level now and I have a relationship with them and they follow our journey and they really just believe in everything that we do. And I’m so grateful and so blessed that we have those kinds of supporters.
Sean: 24:27 – What is the best way, and this is another question I asked Alex, that people can get involved and help shelters or rescue organizations in their areas?
Meg: 24:40 – Best way and easiest way honestly is just to find a local—sorry, excuse me, local rescue organization near them. And actually, I mean you can go online to their website and typically they have a volunteer or donate section. And you know, a lot of times people can’t donate money, but you can donate time and sometimes that’s even more important. So being hands on in the community, helping at their adoption events, you know, any fundraising events they may have. Time is sometimes more important than money.
Sean: 25:18 – Yeah, there’s no doubt. And listen, thank you Meg so much for taking the time to do this. Thank you for everything you’re doing with Wags and Weights, and you know, if there’s ever anything I can do to help out, please let me know. As a dog person, I just love what you and Alex are doing.
Meg: 25:34 – Thank you, I really appreciate that.
Sean: 25:35 – And best of luck this season and congratulations on making the Games.
Meg: 25:37 – Thank you.
Sean: 25:38 – Big thanks to Meg Reardon for coming on the show today. You can find her on Instagram. She is @Megg_a_tron, that’s M E G G underscore A underscore Tron. You can also follow Wags and Weights on Instagram and check out their website at wagsandweights.com. I’m Sean Woodland and this is Two-Brain Radio. If you’re a gym owner and need some help growing your business, Two-Brain mentors can show you the exact steps to add $5,000 in monthly recurring revenue. Book a free call on Two-Brain business.com to find out more. Thank you so much for listening everyone. We’ll see you next time.
On Wednesdays, Sean Woodland tells the best stories in the CrossFit community on Two-Brain Radio With Sean Woodland.
Two-Brain Radio presents marketing tips and success stories every Monday, and Chris Cooper delivers the best of the business world every Thursday.
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