Megan Williamson BA, CPT
Megan’s love and interest in human movement began young. She grew up on Vancouver Island as a classically trained competitive dancer, which eventually led to her teaching her own classes by the age of 14. Aiming to pursue a career as a choreographer, she enrolled at the University of California at Irvine and completed her BA in Dance.
Pursuing a Career in Fitness
After graduating from UC Irvine, she leveraged her professional dance training to transition into the extremely competitive fitness industry in Los Angeles, where she quickly became a personal trainer at Equinox. During her time there, she continued her education, focusing on Kinesiology, Anatomy, Physiology, and certifications for Functional Movement Screening (FMS), becoming a Post Rehab Fitness Specialist, Special Population Training, and Precision Nutrition. It was during this time that she started to recognize her passion for rehab and adaptive exercise coaching.
Discovering Her Passion for Rehabilitation & Adaptive Fitness
Megan left Equinox as a Tier 3+ trainer with seven years of experience, having worked with clients from 13 to 82 years old, although she was primarily focused on those who were middle aged or post-surgery/injury. Arthritis, osteoarthritis and Cerebral Palsy were some common challenges for the clients she was working with on a weekly basis. In addition to this, she also left Los Angeles with over 150 hours of hands-on work as a physical therapist’s aid at their clinic.
Why Do I Do What I Do?I am grateful that every day I get be a part of people’s success stories: helping educate and show them that disabilities have no boundaries when it comes to fitness.
When she moved to Vancouver in 2014 to study Kinesiology at UBC, she ended up connecting with ICORD’s Physical Activity Research Center (PARC) through one of her professors. This was one of the most pivotal moments in her career because it led her to where she is now! Through volunteering at PARC, she was able to assist participants with their fitness programs and educate herself further on adaptive exercise.
She has since completed a number of courses, including Spinal Cord Injury and Training, hosted by Spinalis from Sweden and held at ICORD, and attended many specialized conferences, including the Functional Anatomy for Movement & Injuries Workshop at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Megan’s recently completed her Pilates for Neurological Conditions course which is recognized through Pilates Alliance.
Building an Adaptive Fitness Community
It has also been over these past few years during which she has been grateful for the opportunity to create Ocean Rehab and Fitness. Its mission statement, “Bridging the gap between rehab and fitness”, is what she strives to achieve on a daily basis, connecting and working with people living with neurological disabilities through their post-rehab or fitness journey. Now she primarily coaches and facilitates sessions for those that are living with a variety of neuromuscular dysfunctions, including MS and spinal cord injuries.
She’s very proud to be an active member of the adaptive fitness community, and can be found running adapted boot camps, training events for Spinal Cord Injury BC and dance classes through BC Wheelchair Basketball. She also creates one-on-one customized sport programs for adaptive athletes who are training in sports like wheelchair rugby, floorball, and wheelchair basketball. Megan loves putting her energy towards creating more fitness accessibility, such as teaming up with the cities of Greater Vancouver to help teach Inclusive Fitness Training to their parks and recreation staff.
Qualifications & Experience
- 10 years of experience with:
- Multiple sclerosis
- spina bifida
- post surgery rehabilitation
- Cerebral palsy
- Qualified Pilates for Neurological Conditions (the Neurostudio)
- Qualified Functional Movement Screening (FMS)
- Qualified Post Rehab Specialist
- Qualified Rehab specialist
- Qualified Functional Anatomy of Movement and Injuries
- Qualified Special populations training
- Qualified Exercising with SCI (Spinalis)
- Certified Precision Nutrition Level 1 Coach
Sierra is a fourth-year Kinesiology student attending the University of Alberta who just recently completed her Personal Training certification with the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. Her passion for movement has continuously been explored in her entire life. Growing up she played soccer, participated in cross country running, competed in track and field, played volleyball, and raced motocross competitively.
After sustaining a spinal cord at the T6 level during a motocross race at 16 years old, she was forced to rediscover her love for movement. While attending university, she began participating in wheelchair track and has recently transitioned to para-rowing. She has also been involved in research projects looking into inclusive sport and recreation opportunities in Alberta. She has held countless recreational summer jobs getting children and youth with and without disabilities more active.
Throughout her degree, she also proudly volunteered her time at The Steadward Centre where she trained other people experiencing disability 1-1 and with the Rick Hansen Foundation as an ambassador speaking about accessibility and inclusion. She is now finishing off her degree with Ocean Rehab and Fitness, The Rehabilitation Robotics Lab at the University of Alberta, and holds a part-time position at The Steadward Centre coaching the Athlete’s in Training program in the evenings.
Her passion for movement in all forms stems from her own challenges with rediscovering movement in a wheelchair. She wasn’t properly taught how to workout from her wheelchair and was forced to find a way that worked for her in the small town she grew up in. Her biggest struggle was finding ways to get her heart pumping and enjoy the “new” ways to be active.
From exploration and a solid knowledge base in Kinesiology, she hopes to pass this knowledge and passion on to others so they can live a happy and healthy life, just like everyone else. She is excited to be working and learning with Megan during her practicum and can’t wait to meet some new faces!
Working with Megan over the past three years has reminded me and my body that there are ways to move that make me feel better and that I need to keep moving.
I was active before a diagnosis of Primary Progressive MS thirteen years ago. As the progression limited my mobility I have avoided certain activities. Megan has introduced ways of continuing to do things I enjoy such as boxing. She has such a thorough knowledge of the body that she challenges me to do more, to remember a sequence of instructions to do a task differently or for longer- things I might not challenge myself to do. I always walk better and do more after a workout with Megan.