To celebrate Women’s Month I made it my mission to find extraordinary women who, just by being themselves, inspire those around them. One such a woman is 27-year old Meg Otto who hails from Cape Town and is also one third of the dynamic Sleekgeek Team. Meg is not a pin-up fitness model preaching far-fetched ideologies. She is a beautiful, strong and inspiring ordinary woman achieving extraordinary things through hard work and dedication.
I had the privilege of chatting to this stunning lady about her fitness journey, her strong will to succeed and what the Sleekgeek community means to her.
Welcome to Meg’s World!
You are the resident superchick at the Sleekgeek Head Office. How has joining the team in this capacity altered your life? Has your outlook on exercise and nutrition changed at all?
It’s changed my life in the sense that my passion has now become something I can eat, sleep and breathe. My life is consumed (in a good way) by health and fitness, which makes my life a lot richer – I don’t think there are many people in the world who can say they get to be consumed by something that makes them happy, every single day. Not sure my outlook on exercise and nutrition has changed at all, I guess I am just more committed to it since I joined Sleekgeek. I used to proclaim to be a wealth of knowledge when it came to all things health, and joining the team has humbled me and taught me there is no one “correct” way to be healthy, and that there is always more to learn.
Please run us through a typical day in the life of Meg. How do you find time to balance a career, work out and be a newly-wed wife to your husband? Do you ever battle to find time to fit everything into a single day?
Oof! My life changes so much from day to day, but in general, I’m up between 5am and 7am, depending on whether I work from home or at HQ. Breakfast is between 6 and 8, followed by a few hours of focused work. Lunch is generally around 1pm, followed by some time in the Facebook groups to catch up with the community, then off to gym by 3pm. I usually get home by 5 at the latest, eat an early dinner, hang out with my animals, do some chores, listen to a podcast or three and catch up with my husband when he gets home from jiu jitsu around 9pm. I aim to be asleep by 9.30pm or 10pm, and then the whole adventure starts again! I don’t always fit everything into the day, but there’s always tomorrow 🙂
You always wear your heart on your sleeve and you have shown the Sleekgeek community both your fearless and vulnerable sides. How important do you think it is to remain true to yourself, to ‘keep it real’ if you want to succeed in changing your lifestyle for the better?
I have always been one to be completely open with my life and my experiences. I am not sure how else to live my life, other than to share. Being a teacher was something I often wondered about doing, and I believe that the best way to teach and lead is about sharing your experience. I’m only 27, but I’ve lived through a lot, and feel that keeping that hidden away is only a disservice to those who may feel alone in their struggle or who may feel at a loss for help. Being honest with yourself and keeping it real is vital to living a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle – it’s very easy to convince ourselves that our nightly choccies aren’t going to have any impact in the long run, but when you’re able to have that honest moment with yourself – the clarity makes it easier to make those decisions to be healthy and the best you.
If the Meg you are today could give advice to the Meg of 5 years ago what would it be?
Stop taking life and yourself so damn seriously! Life is going to happen, and sometimes it’s going to suck – but life goes on. There are good days to come and you need to get over the idea that you’re not going to be a success if you’re not always the best. You can take leave from time to time and you can be last in some of the races – those moments will teach you far more than the ones where you’re the best.
You have become a role model to thousands of women (and men) who form part of the Sleekgeek community. Did you ever think you would become such an inspiration to so many people? Do you have any words of encouragement for those still battling their demons on a daily basis?
Oh my word – never in a million years did I imagine anyone would be inspired by me – let alone in relation to health & fitness! It’s very exciting and makes me feel like I may be genuinely helping people. Words of encouragement – be patient. The demons are a battle, every day. Some day, you defeat them and sometimes they make you feel like running away and hiding in the pantry. But the more you fight back and the harder you work to overcome them, the weaker they become. The time will pass and you will succeed – just let it happen. Be gentle with yourself, don’t bully yourself when you slip up – those moments when you’re slightly off course remind you that you’re human and are important on the journey.
You recently sustained a shoulder injury, sorry about that. How are you coping both physically and emotionally with the injury? Has it set you back in term of reaching your goals?
Physically, it changes from day to day. Some days I am superwoman and the pain is manageable and I somehow convince myself that my body has repaired itself overnight. Other days, I rely almost solely on pain meds and want to cry into my pillow. Emotionally, it’s been massively challenging. I’ve never experienced any sports-related injuries, so it knocked the wind out of my sails in a big way. I had just started with my coach at the time, so it didn’t stagnate me for a few weeks. But I’ve managed to keep up with my training and eating and it hasn’t had a huge impact on my goals, thank goodness!
If you had to think back to the darkest time in your life, what would you say got you through it? How has leading a healthy lifestyle benefited you on an emotional level?
A healthy lifestyle makes it easier to tackle the dark days. From a completely scientific level, 30 minutes of exercise, 5 times a week has been shown to be as effective as a mood stabilizer as anti-depressants. My exercise is an escape, it’s me time where I am allowed to silence the world and my mind for a few moments and it’s an incredible stress release. Being healthy means it’s easier to tackle the challenges life throws my way – getting enough sleep & enough nutrients mean I am able to be energized and focused on my day and whatever gets thrown at me. I can’t say that there aren’t days where I am not energised or focused and spend my time in bed, half asleep, eating Rolo’s – but I have the peace of mind that I know I can be healthy and I know that when I am ready, I can get back to that.
What would your dream job be in an alternate universe, if Sleekgeek wasn’t an option?
Funny you ask this, I actually had a dream about my dream job last night! I would love LOVE to be a chef, specifically a pastry chef or baker. My stepdad used to own a bakery and it was heaven for 10 year old me and I reckon that’s where the desire comes from.
Author: Justine Bishop
Untamed, outspoken and just a little bit crazy.