What's Her Secret: Dancer Megan Roup of the Brooklynettes

(Courtesy: Brooklyn Nets) As one of the Brooklynettes, dancer and trainer Megan Roup performs choreography ranging from Latin to hip-hop and everything in between, as well as challenging athletic tricks during Brooklyn Nets NBA games. We caught up with the 28-year-old dancer and trainer to learn about fitness, food, inspiration, and why your body is "made to move".

You're clearly both a dancer and an athlete. How did your career begin?

"I grew up doing mostly classical ballet, and in high school got into my high school dance team, which was hip-hop and jazz, and then I went to NYC, the Tisch School of the Arts, for dance. In college, I started to implement exercise with my dancing to get the results I wanted in order to audition and keep up with what was needed. Then I started hearing about Tracy Anderson, and I got really interested and bought her DVDs. She only hires dancers as trainers; I've been working with her for a little over three years in her Tribeca studio."

(Courtesy: Brooklyn Nets)So the dance as fitness combo really works for you.
"In my journey with fitness, I really struggled to find something that worked for me and my body. I would spend two hours in the gym, running on a treadmill and kind of floating around the weight machines, and I was really frustrated with the time and effort I was spending in the gym and not getting any results. So coming to someone like Tracy, where it's so specifically designed, I think people think, 'Oh, I'm moving I should be losing weight.' But, no, you need to be doing something that's a smartly-designed way of moving, in a calculated way, for it to garner the results you want.
When I started moving that way, I really saw results that were exciting. I think that's why Tracy Anderson's method has been so successful, because she really can change your body."

Right. How about benefits beyond the physical?
"I think so much about fitness is feeling good about yourself. For me, the biggest effect was my overall confidence level, and how that implements throughout my entire life, even socially and job-wise. When you feel better about yourself, everything kind of has a positive effect. As a trainer, with my clients, I get to see their personal journeys and how exercise really creates a positive internal, as well as external, experience."

(Courtesy: Brooklyn Nets) That positive energy definitely lights up when the Brooklynettes perform.
"With the Brooklynettes, it's really important to exude that. We're all athletes, and when we're performing, we want the crowd to feel that from us. We're challenged not only stylistically in what we do––we do everything from Latin to hip-hop to Caribbean––but we're also doing tricks and technical work as well, which is really a very important part of the team. We all work so hard." 

I love the pride in strength and athleticism. 
"It's not about being skinny, it's about being healthy and strong. It's about being your best self, not about being someone else. I have to be who I am."

What's your typical day like?
"On average, I teach about two [Tracy Anderson] classes a day, and I'm also a fit model, so then I go to my afternoon appointments for that, and then I usually go to Brooklynettes rehearsal for three or four hours at a time, about two days a week. On a game day, we'll get to the court around 4 pm, so it's a little bit more intense because we're there earlier and moving until it's time to leave."

How about food? Especially as an athlete, it sounds like you're moving pretty much all day. How do you make sure you refuel with the nutrients you need?
"It's really all about planning! If I don't plan my day, it's kind of disastrous. So on Sundays, I try to make a bunch of food and pack it up each day. In the morning, I'll have a bunch of eggs, and I try to eat every two or three hours, so I'll have a snack after I workout, a protein bar, and for lunch, maybe quinoa chicken salad that I brought. I'm constantly running around, so I have food in my bag. And then I'll have another snack, and I'll have dinner, and then a snack again. You have to refuel your body in the correct way for it to function at its peak!"

So, what does that mean for you?
"No gluten, no sugar, and I try to not eat dairy."

Do you eat fruit? Or is that too sugary for you?
"Everyone's different, but for me, I don't love a lot of fruit in my body, I tend to get a little bit bloated. If I'm going to have fruit, I'll have it in a smoothie with some almond milk and some raw protein. That's a great snack. I love eggs with avocado, and maybe a brown rice cake, and almond butter on a rice cake––which I love. Again, I'm a big believer in balance, so I'm going to have my frozen yogurt twice a week and I'm going to be able to go out and have a dinner––that's also very important, you can't be perfect 100 percent of the time."

Any final Brooklynette advice?
"I think sometimes people think of exercise as just a vanity thing, but our bodies were designed and want to move and sweat every day!"

(Courtesy: Brooklyn Nets)
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