Meet Mo Hagan
A global ambassador on the benefits of exercise and living well, Maureen Hagan is vice president of program innovation for GoodLife Fitness and canfitpro –Canadian Fitness Professionals—the largest fitness education and certification organization in Canada. Mo, as she is known in the fitness industry is a licensed physiotherapist, a Physical Health Educator and has been recognized for her work in fitness that spans over three decades, with numerous awards for your innovation, passion and leadership and, named as one of Canada’s 20 Most Influential Women in Sport and Physical Activity (2014), IHRSA’s “Woman Leader of the Year” in memory of Julie Main (2016) and Top 20 OPTIMYZ Health & Wellness Influencer (2017 & 2018). Mo is a multiple #1 bestselling author and a regular contributor to consumer magazines and on-line publications including the Huffington Post. The “Maureen Hagan Fit for Life Award” was created at her high school to recognize the effort and determination of a student at T.A. Blakelock in Oakville, Ontario. Mo is a Reebok sponsored fitness athlete.
Mo’s Passion for Fitness Began as a Child.
Here’s my side of the story about my relationship with my sister, and how my natural love for fitness inspired my path in life:
“Anything To Do With Fitness”
Although (hyper-) active as a child, my first structured relationship with fitness was thanks to my high school teacher, Mrs. Ellie Armstrong. She taught me that one doesn’t have to be good at sports to participate in sport and recreation. She always inspired me to work toward achieving my own goal, not the goal of the team. If I made the team – great! But, as long as I improved and personally grew as a result of the training & experience I was truly a winner. As it turned out, I was cut from most every team that I tried out for in high school (except for cheerleading and gymnastics…oh, and the ‘Bathtub Race’ team).
I graduated from high school with a passion for running, exercise of every sort (climbing, hiking, cycling, swimming…) and a career goal of doing “anything to do with fitness”.
Well, I guess I’m living my dream.
Growing Up With Pauline
I can remember from as early as when I started to walk (which was later than Pauline because I was the premature one who was a bit delayed in motor skill development, from what I’m told) I ran!
My mother always said that when my sister and I were in trouble (from climbing on countertops, climbing out of the crib, running down the street with mom chasing us to catch up) it was my influence that got us there. Apparently I would pull my sister along by the hand as I got us into one mischievous event after another. We were very close (as twins are) in terms of sharing a bedroom and being playmates, but as opposite as the ” yin and yang” could be. I like to think that we totally complement each other.
My sister is, and always has been, very domestic and loves being close to home whereas I was always adventurous and loved exploring new places. I’ve always been at my best while on the move.
My mother said she put me into organized activities (dance, skating, swimming and gymnastic lessons) to keep me from hurting myself in the basement and backyard. I would spend hours playing around the house with my brother. He’s just 15 months younger which made us great competitors (and we both have the scars to prove it). Pauline was a “good sport” and she learned how to swim and skate even though she wasn’t passionate about those activities – she always tried.
One thing Pauline and I both liked to do was ride our bikes to our friends’ house, and swim in the lake at our family’s cottage in Barrie during the summer months. That, I fondly remember.
Finding My Way
At about age 13, I got my first job as a gymnastics coach and that introduced me to teaching exercise to kids. That enjoyment, along with reoccurring injuries, introduced me to physiotherapists at our local hospital in Oakville. My passion for fitness and health formed because of this, and with career counseling in high school I soon learned that I could make a career out of my passion for physical activity. While there were not specific career in fitness, per say, aerobic dance exercise began to emerge in the early 80s at the same time I was attending the University of Western Ontario for Physical Health Education.
I was introduced to ‘fitness’ classes at university and taught my first official group fitness class in June 1983 – the day after I graduated. During that year I taught myself to teach a repertoire of fitness classes (from watching the “20 Minute Workout”, Jane Fonda and Kathy Smith videos, and by watching my peer instructors at the fitness club I worked at that year – that was the extent of training back in the 1980s). I was counting on my Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education to guide me to something greater.
One year later I returned to London where I returned to the same university for physiotherapy and took a second job at #1 Nautilus downtown, Patch’s third club (the name changed to GoodLife Fitness a number of years later). It was here that my passion for teaching fitness evolved and I spent my evenings, weekends, and vacations teaching fitness classes—eventually teaching others how to teach fitness classes. Within three years I graduated and become a licensed physiotherapist and landed my dream job at University Hospital in London, Ontario.
Trip Of A Lifetime
In 1991 I took a leave of absence from my employment as a physiotherapist to travel to the South Pacific where I explored (and taught fitness classes in exchange for a place to exercise while travelling). It was in New Zealand as a backpacker that I found Les Mills and discovered BodyPump, BodyAttack and BodyStep (taught on wooden boxes) and Newbody.
That trip changed my life forever. Travelling to that part of the world was a dream that I had since I was a little girl (to see Kangaroos in the wild and to learn how to scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef) and upon returning from this 5 month trip Patch hired me to become a director to oversee Group Fitness classes in all of his clubs. When I told my mother I was resigning from my job as a physiotherapist to take on this new position at GoodLife she said “Mo, you aren’t really going to quit your job to become an aerobics instructor for the rest of your life” to which I replied, “Oh yes I am, and I plan to take it to the top and build myself a career that allows me to teach and train instructors and share my passion for helping people become healthier through fitness.”
And, that’s how my dream job began.
My sister and I do have some very important things in common:
- A need and passion to be fit and healthy and to manage our hip ailment in order to age gracefully.
- We both have partners who support us taking care of ourselves and being active in fitness. (I actually introduced my husband to fitness after we met at GoodLife).
- We both enjoy group fitness (it just took Pauline longer to discover that she did).
- We both have learned how to listen to our body (from totally different ends of the fitness perspective).
Whether you learned to love it, or were born to love it – find something about fitness you’re passionate about, and take full advantage of the many benefits it can bring to your life!
Mo Hagan’s Books
- FIT-iology — Study of Fitness in Action (Volumes I, II, III)
- GoodLife Fitness — 6 Weeks to a NEW BODY (Published by Penguin)
- NEWBODY Workout for Women — 6 Weeks to a Fit & Fabulous New You (published by Penguin)
- Shine — Inspirational Stories of Choosing Success Over Adversity (Prominence Publishing)
- Influence — WOMEN INSPIRING CHANGE
- THINK Yourself™ SUCCESSFUL — the D.N.A. System to Preprogram Your Brain & Wire Yourself For Success
- THINK Yourself™ A RELATIONSHIP PRO — The STYLE-L.I.S.T. Personal Assessment Tool to Know Yourself and Master Communication
- 2018 Top 20 Canadian OPTIMYZ Health & Wellness
- 2017 Top 20 Canadian OPTIMYZ Health & Wellness Influencer
- 2016 IHRSA’s “Woman Leader of the Year” in memory of Julie Main
- 2014 Canada’s 20 Most Influential Women in Sport and Physical Activity
- 2009 Inductee to TA Blakelock High School Hall of Fame
- 2006 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year
- 2002 BodyWise International Personal Achievement Award
- 1998 IDEA Program Director of the Year
- 1996 BodyLife Educator of the Year
- 1996 Canadian Presenters Choice Award Winner