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There have been many silver linings during the past 6 months and discovering Megan Roup was definitely one of them. Megan’s unique exercise method, The Sculpt Society, came into our lives at the beginning of quarantine and has been a constant in our collective lives. We love working out with her on the daily and find that her workouts are beyond effective, fun, and honestly, positive. She leads with kindness and grace, motivates us to try harder, and always has us dripping with sweat no matter if we spend 15 or 50 minutes with her. Her hustle and dedication come through in everything she does which is why we were so excited to chat with her live on Zoom and learn more about her journey as a businesswoman, entrepreneur, and community builder.
MELISSA: How have you and your business shifted into this new normal? What have you been doing differently that differs from before?
MEGAN: Pre-COVID, I was teaching six days a week in the studio and teaching private sessions with my clients in New York. I had launched my app The Sculpt Society in November of 2019, and so I feel incredibly fortunate that I already had the structure going. In fact, leading up to COVID, I was working with developers to have live programming for my app. So the minute New York announced lockdown, I was able to shift to digital completely. That first Sunday, I canceled that studio class and I went live from my apartment. I felt incredibly lucky being able to continue with my ‘normal schedule’ while giving some sense of normalcy to my NYC clients and for everyone who was a part of Sculpt Society around the world. I wanted it to be a place for people to go to get the normal fitness fix that they were used to, but digitally. I quickly shifted everything to digital and in the beginning, I was live streaming seven days a week for the first couple of months. Around June, I started to scale back, and now I am live streaming 5-6 times a week. I started off doing a lot of longer live classes, like a 50-minute full-body, but as COVID has progressed, many people’s attention spans have regressed. I found that people want quick, efficient, fun workouts, which I started tailoring my live classes towards. My goal is to ensure my clients and community members are involved and engaged and are not getting burnt out especially with workouts being primarily indoors and/or at home.
MELISSA: That is amazing. Kudos to you! You started your career as a professional dancer, and then pivoted into fitness and created your own method. How did you navigate all those steps? What was your transition from dancer to fitness instructor and to what you created today?
MEGAN: The timing of all of this has been over the course of ten years. It has taken a long time to get to this place—a lot of time, work, and dedication. I graduated from NYU’s Tisch dance program and was trying to figure out how to audition and support myself while living in New York. I started teaching fitness at a local studio while also working in fashion as a fit model. I was juggling these three careers—trying to make it work and have a life for myself in NYC. When I started teaching fitness, I quickly realized that I fell in love with it a little more than while I was dancing. I was dancing for quite a while, and I checked off those boxes and hopes and dreams. Teaching fitness allowed me to connect with other women, and this career development was super exciting for me. I could see a longer career path teaching fitness than I did with myself as a professional dancer. I had to make a tough decision—I was dancing with the Brooklyn Nets for two years, I taught fitness and was fit modeling, and I found myself getting burnt out, and said to myself, “I have to pick.” I decided to teach fitness at the studio for six-and-a-half years, even while most of my income was coming through fit modeling. I left this career three-and-a-half years ago to launch The Sculpt Society. My biggest takeaway for any entrepreneur is to have a side hustle when it comes to doing anything creative. It allowed me to not to have to depend on this new business for my sole income. I was able to support myself and give the time and dedication The Sculpt Society needed to flourish.
MELISSA: That is incredible. It is always essential to have something on the side that keeps you busy! Pre-quarantine, I would imagine you were traveling a lot for work, doing collaborations and partnerships, and sharing The Sculpt Society live. Do you miss that piece of the job? Do you feel like it was a major growth period for you? Or has this downtime taught you that you can still be just as successful even with physical and travel limitations?
MEGAN: Yeah, it has been interesting. I feel like I am almost experiencing COVID right now, the feeling everyone had in the beginning. I was so busy at the start, doing lives on IG and my app. that I almost missed those onset feelings of COVID that I am having now. I am missing the connections, my friends. But at the same time, it has been a weird silver lining as it has shown me that I have this fantastic online community and can connect with my members and community every day. I think things that were never possible on a digital front, COVID actually allowed me to have, which has been part of this positive silver lining! I have connected with a lot of thought leaders that I would never have done before and have, in fact, chatted with a lot of them virtually. The other eye-opening experience that this situation has brought forth is the flexibility to work wherever. Having a digital business allows me to be mobile, and I could potentially move closer to family or not be in the city if I did not want to be. That is the great thing that being digitally forward and connected has offered.
MELISSA: Yeah, I think so many people are having that same thought…moving, taking a year off, doing something entirely different than what they thought they would be doing. Since everyone is exercising at home right now, what are some particulars or specific items that you think everyone should have to make their at-home workout the best it possibly can be?
MEGAN: With The Sculpt Society, we are really intentional that all of the workouts can be done without equipment, we don’t want people to feel like they need this fancy equipment to have a really effective workout. I think it is more important to designate an area in your home or apartment and create your own space. Even just adding a yoga mat. I think that you can make do without equipment and having your own small setup is really helpful.
MELISSA: What are some of your favorite accessories and jewelry that you like to wear during your workouts? Do you have any necessities?
MEGAN: When it comes to jewelry, I wear a really special gold necklace that my mom got in Italy when she was 22, I never take it off. I also wear my grandma’s gold wedding band, which is very sentimental to me. I also have my engagement ring. With my jewelry, I keep it really simple, and I never take these three pieces off because it is nice always to see them. As far as workout gear goes, I am someone who buys into the fact that a cute workout set will change your mood. If you can feel confident in whatever workout clothes you are wearing it can make you feel a little more motivated to workout.
MELISSA: When you are not in your cute workout sets and outside of working out? What are some of your favorite ‘go-to’ brands that you are gravitating towards now?
MEGAN: I love AYR. I think they are a really classic company, I have a ton of their jeans and shirts. They really are my style, which is simple and classic. I am also living in my new 501 Levis Jeans!!
MELISSA: With summer almost over and New York kind of returning back to normal, what is next for you and The Sculpt Society? Do you feel things are going a little back to normal? What is in the future?
MEGAN: Honestly, I feel like, at this point, I do not really feel like going to an indoor studio. As regulations stand with 33% capacity, wearing a mask, and teaching like that, it does not seem fun for me, and I am all about having a fun experience. As the weather permits, I am doing more outdoor pop-up classes. We hosted our first in the Hamptons last weekend, and it was a huge success! However, the real focus for me at the moment is how to continue to foster the community that has shown up, has grown with The Sculpt Society, and how to efficiently reach more people. I want to continue to innovate online, and I am just so excited about the community and the amazing group of women who are a part of it!
MELISSA: That is incredible. I loved chatting with you, Megan! Thank you so much for your time.