Maureen Hagan is a licensed physiotherapist (BSc PT) and Physical Health Educator (BA PE) and international award winning fitness instructor and program director holding certifications with ACE (American Council on Exercise), canfitpro (Canadian Fitness Professionals), Les Mills and CALA (Canadian Aqua Leaders Alliance). Maureen, best known in the fitness industry as "Mo", has been teaching, training and traveling the world since 1991, sharing her passion and knowledge of fitness and health and inspiring leaders in her path. Mo is the Vice President of Operations for the GoodLife Fitness Clubs and the Education and Events Director for canfitpro. Mo is a Reebok sponsored fitness athlete and the author of "6 Weeks to a New Body" and "Newbody Workout for Women—6 Weeks to a Fit & Fabulous New You" (Penguin, Canada) and "FIT-iology—the study of fitness in action" volumes I-III. Maureen was recently named to the “Top 20 Most Influential Women of 2014” by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
Click HERE to read Pauline's side of the story - Sisters In Fitness - Learned To Love It.
Canadian Aerobic Instructor Network (1992-1994)
Canadian Aqua Leaders Alliance (1997-200)
FIT PRO conference United Kingdom(1993-2011)
Network conference New Zealand (2003)
FILEX conference Australia (2007, 2008, 2010)
International Council Active Aging conference (2005, 2009)
IDEA Health & Fitness conference (1993-2006)
American Fitness Professionals Association United States conference (2000-2006)
Sara City Workout conferences (2006-2010),
Manz conference, Portugal (2010)
AFEEX, Beijing/China conference (2011)
2009 and 2011, 2012 Presenter for Les Mills International BodyFlow/Balance, and BodyVive
2001 to present: Freelance fitness writer and columnist for MORE Magazine for Women Over 40, Canadian Living,
Chatelaine, Homemakers, Oxygen, SHAPE magazine
Author - FIT-iology - Study of Fitness In Action (Volumes I, II, III)
Author - GoodLife Fitness - 6 Weeks to a New Body (Published by Penguin)
Author - Newbody Workout for Women - 6 Weeks to a Fit and Fabulous New You (Published by Penguin)
1996 Canadian Presenters Choice Award Winner
1996 BodyLife Educator of the Year
1998 IDEA Program Director of the Year
2002 BodyWise International Personal Achievement Award
2006 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year
2009 Inductee to TA Blakelock High School Hall of Fame