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Ever since she graduated from Loyola Marymount University, Meagan Kong has lived her dream of being a professional dancer in Los Angeles and around the world. She has danced along some of the biggest stars in the world—including JLo, Beyonce, Rihanna, Pitbull, and more. On top of that, she even busted out her acting chops and starred as Devil Girl Maggie on BET’s scripted series “Hit the Floor” and is a regular on CW’s Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning comedy series, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”—one of my personal faves.
Kong spent years constantly yo-yo dieting for photo shoots, auditions, and big performances. After she got tired of crash diets and workouts, she learned to adopt a new and sustainable way of living. When you get a chance, you can read more about her efforts on her blog, You Kong Do It.
She's also the owner of the uber-popular LA fitness facility, Kong Fit Club, where she encourages everyone around her that it’s all being proactive and consistent when it comes to your overall health and wellness. We sat down with Meagan to get to know a little bit more about her mission and what wellness means to her.
I originally started Kong Fit Club as a pop-up events-based club to help my virtual community navigate the IRL fitness and wellness space here in LA. I find that it’s easier to try new things together and even easier when you have a guide to help weed out the stuff that is just noise. After 80+ free events, I decided it was time to have a space of our own which is now Kong Fit Clubhouse in Hollywood. I curate the Clubhouse schedule based on how I train and who I train with as a professional dancer of 15 years which is a little of everything—weights, HIIT, Pilates, yoga, recovery, dance. I am always throwing special workshops, new modalities, and events onto the schedule to keep it dynamic and exciting to come in.
I went through so many years of crash dieting and boot camp challenges, it was really exhausting and defeating. I became sick of killing myself while “getting myself ready” for a shoot, event, audition, etc., so I vowed to just create a lifestyle to stay (mostly) ready. I’m motivated by this feeling of freedom! Not tied to a specific diet or workout regimen, just the idea of keeping it moving and doing the best I can most of the time. I feel strong, proud, and the happiest in this state.
Since my background is in dance, to me, wellness is movement. Movement doesn’t always mean physically or even with your body—it can be energetic, internal, emotional. With movement comes growth which is the ultimate form of wellness.
To say the last year and a half was tough would be an understatement. In fact, it will probably go down as one of the most difficult times for our modern generation. In one of the many social polls we conducted during the pandemic, some of you described this time as a sheer “dumpster fire” or “like stepping on a Lego.” And to be honest, I couldn’t agree more.
Luckily, we’ve been able to get back to some form of normalcy in our lives and wellness routines over the last several months. As vaccines became available to the public, wellness businesses welcomed fitness fanatics, haircut seekers, and massage lovers back to in-person wellness experiences. And thank goodness for that—my roots and horrible posture from working from my bed were both getting wildly out of control. This girl needed a good massage and cupping session stat.
If there’s one thing we learned from the pandemic, it’s that our wellness routines are as personal as they are important. During shelter-at-home, those routines looked a bit different. For many, it meant taking a new approach to the “typical” wellness services we count on—I’m looking at you DIY haircuts, at-home waxing sessions (ouch!), and virtual swerking classes.
Now that we can leave our humble abodes to take advantage of in-person experiences again, the word “wellness” has seemingly taken on a new meaning.
Recently, we conducted another one of our famous social polls to see what wellness means to you, our Mindbody community, now that we're slowly but surely getting back to our regularly scheduled programming. We also tapped some of our most influential Mindbody business owners about the ever-evolving wellness landscape.
Here’s what you all had to say.
According to our annual Mindbody Wellness Index, 60% of Americans say they’re more focused on their health and wellness since COVID. Consumers are now realizing they need to take greater care of themselves to optimize and preserve their health. When we asked you on Instagram how important wellness is, a whopping 98% said it was more important than ever. When it comes to how you’re practicing wellness, though, the answers were all over the board. Many of you pointed to journaling, practicing breathwork, and daily workout routines (cycling and yoga topped the list) as being the activities that help you keep your chill throughout the week.
I’m also happy to report that over 50% said you tend to feel more blessed than stressed on a daily basis—which is more than likely a big improvement. Let’s be honest, a year ago I would’ve bet a billion dollars that 99.9% of us knew no other feeling than anxiety—am I right? But even with the stress in our lives dwindling, many of you are still experiencing burnout at the end of a long work week (guilty!). But instead of succumbing to a bottle of wine for relief (please, that was so 2020), you’re unwinding by going to your favorite workout classes—with hot yoga, barre, and Pilates as your faves.
Let’s be honest, we should credit the business owners in this space for helping us reignite our spark when it comes to our wellness routines, right? Thanks to them, we’ve been inspired to prioritize the activities that help us feel our best. In turn, we thought it’d be interesting to learn what wellness means to them—and how that definition has changed over the past eighteen months.
Here’s what they had to say.
“Wellness is living in balance—mind, body, spirit. Highs and lows. It all ebbs and flows and we can navigate it a bit better when we take time to move, breath and remember who we are, and how we are connected to this big, beautiful world.” - Jess Pierno, Founder, Owner, and Chief Inspiration Officer of Yoga Heights
“Wellness is a true balancing of the mental, physical, and spiritual. It has definitely evolved over the years for me—from something that I just thought was about exercising and eating a healthy diet—to also incorporating balancing and healing internally and spiritually.” - Stefanie Patterson, Owner, Indianapolis Salt Cave and Halotherapy Center
“My sense of wellness has evolved from staying healthy and motivated, mind/body/spirit... to being more gentle with myself, less demanding. Accepting my limitations, taking time for resting, and gaining real clarity about what's important. I care less about what people think of me—difficult as a performer and as a business owner with so many demands on me—and more about getting quiet and tapping into the divine source inside of me that helps me discern my next move. In this way, I know my motives are as pure as possible and I'm not getting distracted—not that I don't make mistakes! Those are necessary, that's how we learn!” - Johanna Krynytzky, Owner, Hip Expressions Belly Dance Studio
“My studio name reminds us that we are constantly evolving. The past 18 months have certainly shown us that! Wellness to me means doing your best on any given day to make sure that you are taking care of yourself as best you can. It leads to resilience. Diet, exercise, sleep, a sense of community, and some form of faith. It all matters. Setbacks happen all the time, and every day is a chance to start again. We strive to be 'cheerleaders' for our clients when we sense that things are coming out of balance in their lives. So many have been with us for 18 years and are friends—they are our community and we all watch out for each other.” - Mo Wolfe, Owner and Founder, Evolution Pilates
I think we can all agree that there isn’t one true definition of wellness anymore. To some of us, it means getting that hot yoga sesh in daily, and to others, it means carving out time to treat ourselves to a massage or manicure. As long as you’re actively pursuing wellness—whatever that means to you—you're on the right track.
Our MO has always been about connecting the world to wellness—a term that's seen a lot of change lately. Whether you’re fully embracing the in-person experience or still delighted by the convenience of practicing at-home wellness, the Mindbody app makes it easy for you to book experiences that help you feel like YOU again.