Like a lot of new mothers, Megghan Shroyer put on a few pounds with the birth of her first child. She had been a regular gym-goer prior to her daughter's birth—even ran track and played volleyball in high school—but all that fell by the wayside.
Megghan was in this same frame of mind when she and her husband decided to have another child a couple of years later. She may have continued that way had she not gotten a medical diagnosis that would soon force her into surgical menopause. The prospect of not being fit enough to play with her children was the spark she needed to get back into the gym.
This is Megghan's story.
What kept you from focusing more on your fitness after the birth of your first child?
I told my husband that it didn't matter if I got back in shape because we were just going to have another kid. It made sense to me to just wait until after our second child was born to change my lifestyle.
Then, when my second baby came, I noticed that I was asking my older daughter to do things for me so I wouldn't have to get up. I'd ask her to grab me things throughout the house, like a diaper, pacifier, or a blanket. I probably would've been out of breath if I'd done all those things myself.
Then, my younger sister came and stayed with me for about a week. She looked around my kitchen and saw boxes and boxes of cereal, whole milk, super-sugary yogurts, and bag after bag of chips. She looked at me and said, "What are you doing? Do you realize what you're putting into your body?" At first, I resented her judging me, but then I started thinking about how I was setting a bad example for my kids.
Is that what made you decide to start a transformation?
Nope. When my kids were still young I found out I carried the BRCA1 genetic mutation, which increases your risk for certain forms of cancer. My grandma died of ovarian cancer, and I had an aunt who was diagnosed with breast cancer at 37, so I started getting tons of MRIs and ultrasounds. It turned out that I did have a suspicious spot on one of my breasts. I decided that I was going to do a preventative bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction, to be followed by a hysterectomy.
It was bad enough that the surgeries would change my body, but having my ovaries removed also meant I would be in surgical menopause. Hopefully I would avoid ovarian cancer, but in exchange, my whole lifestyle would change.
I read numerous negative stories about women going into surgical menopause. I grew so fed up that I decided to change everything about my life and focus only on the positive. I realized that I needed to be there for my children.
How did you start on your journey to fitness?
I learned about nutrition and training while I was recovering from my breast surgery. I was browsing the Internet and stumbled across Bodybuilding.com. I don't even know what I searched for, but Jamie Eason's LiveFit Trainer came up. I made up my mind that day that I was going to finish the program, that I wasn't going to quit. I knew I wouldn't be happy if I gave up, so I promised myself to see it all the way through.
Halfway through the program, I decided I needed something to focus on besides a fitness program, so I signed up to compete in an NPC bikini fitness competition. I wanted to do one fitness competition just to check it off my bucket list, and I am so proud of myself for accomplishing that goal.
I trained in the gym until right before, then immediately after, the hysterectomy, once my doctor said it was safe to do so. I hired trainers at my gym and followed their 16-week competition-prep program to the letter.
I worked hard, lost 30 pounds, and rocked the stage like I dreamed of doing. I had enough muscle to blend in, and that meant the world to me.
What was the hardest part about getting started?
The diet aspect challenged me the most. My kids always had yummy food around, and sometimes it was hard not to sneak a bite. These days, I follow a flexible diet and make room in it for what I want. That includes convenient fast foods from chains like Subway, Chipotle, and Panera. Those are my little treats to myself. I guess the bottom line is that I believe in moderation. I wouldn't be able to maintain 100-percent clean-eating for life. Flexible dieting works best for me.
It was also hard when I first started trying to lift weights. Most of the people working out in my gym were men, and a lot of them felt the need to lecture me about my form and exercise choices. That made me uncomfortable, but I kept at it.
What meal plan did you follow?
What supplements helped you transform?
- Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy
- Dymatize BCAA Complex 2200
- Optimum Nutrition Opti-Women
- Fish oil
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
What kind of training plan do you follow now?
I don't have the upper- or lower-body strength I once did, and I have weak chest muscles and a weak pelvic floor. Those things keep me from doing hanging exercises, such as pull-ups, and heavy squats. Other than those exercises, I certainly do what I can! Now, I'm doing Kris Gethin's 12-week Hardcore Trainer. It's one of the most challenging programs I've done to date! I also plan to continue doing the Transform for Life challenges. I currently have no plans to compete onstage again, but it's not out of the question!
How has Bodybuilding.com helped you on your fitness journey?
Honestly, I'd be lost without Bodybuilding.com. I've used the website off and on over the years to learn about exercises and diets, find motivation, foster friendships, track goals and workouts and, of course, to buy supplements and support my favorite fitness clothing brand: Bodybuilding.com!
Where is your focus on fitness taking you now?
I'm a busy mom. I work two jobs, volunteer at church, and still have one kid in preschool, but I always make time to go to the gym.
To this day, I still view my workouts as problem solvers—it's gym therapy. Working out helps me deal with depression, and not only because physical activity produces "feel good" brain chemicals. Following a routine is also about overcoming physical and mental challenges. It's about feeling a sense of pride for accomplishing what you set out to do.
I no longer strive to be skinny. Instead, I strive to be strong in every way possible: physically, emotionally, and, especially, mentally. Today, I am so happy with my body. I know it's beautiful—not because I think I look like a model, but because it has been through the ringer and come out on top, thanks to my decisions.
Any advice for people thinking about transforming?
Have faith in yourself. There's a piece of you that knows you're capable of doing anything you set out to do! Make the decision today to transform your life, and you'll never regret it! It'll be a hard journey, so just take it one day at a time! Take breaks if you must. Grab a snack. Ask others for advice. Slow down. Speed up. Do whatever you need to do. Just keep going!