Meg Kruse Interview with Todd Durkin– September 2013
Meg Kruse is a fitness trainer at Fitness Quest 10 and a figure competitor who just attained her PRO CARD by the IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilders) at the North American Championships in Pittsburgh, PA, on August 31, 2013. Todd did an in-depth interview with her about her experience and career. He also wrote an article called “Over-Coming All Odds” featuring Meg.
Let’s dive into the interview:
1. How did you get into fitness competitions?
In the summer of 2008 a few months before my 50th birthday, one of the newer young female trainers approached me while I was working out at my previous place of employment and asked me if I had ever considered competing. I was doing assisted pull-ups at the time and she said that I had a great back which was news for me because I had never seen it! I had no idea what kind of competing she was referring to and so she shared her experience as a one time figure competitor in Utah. She said that she wanted to get a little group together to train for a show here in California. So, that is how my journey began. My first show was in October of 2008, the same month that I began working at Fitness Quest 10 and I have been competing ever since.
2. How many competitions have you participated in? When did you start placing in them?
I think that I just completed my 19th competition and I have been placing, if not winning, since the very start. I usually do not compete in the open (all ages) class, but I typically compete in the masters division which is 35 years and older, 45+ and 50+.
3. What are some daily habits that help you be successful?
The things that I absolutely need to do every day are NOT optional. I am very disciplined and I have adopted the motto from Brian Tracy of “Eat the Frog.” I try to do the hardest, most dreaded tasks first and get them over with. If I need to do cardio, train and prepare food…I do it…nothing gets in my way. Procrastination is my enemy – I can ruin my day putting off doing what I know I need to do. I am very organized and methodical with my food prep and prepare everything in quantity.
4. What motivates you or drives you to continue the discipline of being a fitness competitor?
I love to win! But even more, I love working towards a difficult goal, I get a lot of satisfaction out of driving myself and working hard over time especially if this requires a certain amount of suffering and sacrifice. Plus, I am a big show off and love going onstage at age 55 in a tiny little sparkly bikini and high heels (Haha)! I also LOVE the fact that my path is an inspiration to others.
5. What is the hardest part of being a fitness competitor?
The hardest part is also the most satisfying part…relentlessly training and doing cardio and preparing food and eating a strict diet and practicing posing for months on end with very little margin for “cheating” or skipping a cardio or training session. When I am dieting for a show, I have to take my own weighed and measured meal in a Tupperware container to any holiday party, birthday or event involving a meal. That is hard, but not impossible. It has been 5 years since I could actually eat birthday cake on my birthday!
6. Was there a defining moment that inspired you to get into competitions? How did you overcome your fears of going into competition?
The answers to these questions reveal the nature of the human being that I became and makes sense of my motivations and purpose in life. The tricky secret is that the woman that you see and interact with, the pretty woman with the great body…the confident, friendly, outgoing woman…is totally different than the woman that I am inside. My insides have never matched my outsides. I had a horrific childhood that left me with no self-worth, no self-confidence and no self-esteem. I effectively hid all of that behind my attractiveness and appealing, entertaining personality. The damage, however, resulted in anorexia, bulimia, alcoholism, drug addiction… and…I’m sure I forgot something. But in the years that I have been healing I have come to learn that this is a common constellation of symptoms resulting from the kind of abuses that I suffered during my developmental years.
As a result of a near death experience I found my way to recovery and have been clean and sober since September 29, 1993. Since then I have been active in recovery and had a LOT of mainstream and complimentary healing modalities to assist me on my slow and steady healing path. Now that you have some insight into the inner Meg, I will describe to you the defining moment behind my decision to compete. My immediate thoughts when my fellow trainer told me that I should compete sounded like this: “Who are you kidding?” Who do you think you are?” “You could never do that!” “You are too old!” “You have a big, ugly scar on your shoulder.” “Your knees are wrinkly.” “Your face is wrinkly.” “Your right breast is droopy.” “You would make a fool out of yourself.” This may sound extreme, but this is not unusual self-talk for me. HOWEVER, here is the key to every single achievement and accomplishment that I have ever had since I have gotten sober – I DO NOT let that voice lead my life! As a matter of fact, my very next thought (after acknowledging that toxic rant) was “Oh, shit, now I HAVE to do it!” I am compelled to take on any challenge that will help me become my highest self…and on top of that…every single accomplishment that I have ever done has required super-human effort in the face of my debilitating and sometimes paralyzing insecurity and self-doubt. My process, though agonizing is simple. I am faced with a challenge, the “bad mother” voice spews at me, I acknowledge the voice and confirm that what has been said is a feeling, not a fact, and then I proceed on and do what is needed. The biggest thing that makes all of my suffering worthwhile is that I am not alone in my experience, and if my strength and hope can inspire other women to take on challenges that they are afraid of, then, my life has been purposeful.
7. How important is nutrition in all this?
I got the expression from Todd “You can’t out train a bad diet.” This is 100% true. It is the nutritional discipline that separates the competitor material from the genetically gifted but chubby woman that works out a lot. It was the nutritional component that motivated me to initially hire my trainer, a Figure Pro, to train me and write my diet. I am a sugar addict and needed a strict meal plan to keep me on track and make sure that I was getting the proper nutrition for building muscle. In the 5 years that I have been doing this I have seen countless women forced to drop out of shows because they could not adhere to the diet.
8. What do you most love about being a trainer?
I love inspiring people, especially women, to work towards being their best self. Being a trainer puts me in a position to touch many lives every day. It is my personal quest that every single person that I interact with feels better about themselves as a result of my support, encouragement, acceptance and love. It is my goal that every person walks away from their session feeling better, physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally or all of the above.