The Essentials With Megan Roup: Dance Cardio, Intuitive Eating and Vintner’s Daughter

“I wanted to create a class for busy women that was shorter and that simplified dance cardio in a welcoming space,” says The Sculpt Society founder.

Megan Roup.

Having spent her entire childhood in the dance studio and her early adult years as a professional dancer in New York City, Megan Roup was used to following other people’s choreography. But in 2017, she officially set out on her own, establishing The Sculpt Society.  With the TSS method, Roup introduced people to a new form of stylized cardio that centered around inclusivity and left out any talk of dieting or weight loss that was (and continues to be) prevalent in the fitness world.

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“I really struggled with body image in my early twenties, and the kind of triggering language that was in magazines or social media with things like before and after photos,” Roup tells Observer. “I didn’t want to be part of the problem that I felt was being perpetuated, and I think we’re just all getting sick of being told, over and over again, this certain narrative around our bodies and what we should look like,” she explains of making a conscious decision to forgo marketing TSS in a results-focused way.

Instead, she prioritized creating a community where anyone could join and get in a good sweat. “Even as someone with a professional dance background, I would walk into some of these fitness classes and feel intimidated,” Roup recalls of her first introduction to the boutique fitness scene while living in New York City. “I wanted to create a class for busy women that was shorter and that simplified dance cardio a little bit in a welcoming space. I wanted someone with zero dance background to be able to walk into my class and feel really successful, but I also wanted someone with a dance background to walk into my class and equally enjoy it.”

Though Roup’s dedicated following now includes It girls like model Miranda Kerr and actress Dakota Johnson, her success didn’t happen overnight. After graduating from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Roup started teaching fitness classes (and modeling) to help supplement her income as a professional dancer. “I quickly fell in love with teaching and connecting with other women, and it really opened my eyes to the next chapter for me,” she says. In the midst of a boutique fitness boom in New York City, Roup began to explore every kind of workout, from dance cardio to reformer Pilates to Vinyasa yoga, before pursuing her own method. “When I started teaching, there were some days where no one would show up, or two people would show up,” she remembers. “But I knew what I had in the class was special, how I taught it was special and the energy that was created was special—I just needed to get bodies in the room to experience it.” Word of mouth helped to turn more New Yorkers on to The Sculpt Society, and Roup developed a social media strategy that involved working with influencers and models to generate more buzz.

Less than 10 years later, Roup has amassed 500,000-plus followers on Instagram, runs an app with more than 600 on-demand classes, and continues to teach in-person classes (now on a weekly basis in Los Angeles, where she has since relocated). But she’s not done yet. 

As Roup’s own life has grown to include marriage and motherhood, she’s taken The Sculpt Society community on the journey with her. From her skincare favorites to her ultimate brunch spot, Roup shares her current essentials with Observer.

Megan Roup founded the Sculpt Society to introduce a new form of stylized cardio that centered around inclusivity.

Morning skincare routine: 

I don’t wash my face in the morning; I never have because I have dry skin, so I splash my face with water. I love products, so I definitely try a lot of different kinds of products, but I use vitamin C, an eye cream, a moisturizer, an oil and a SPF. Currently, I’m really loving YSE’s vitamin C serum, and I’m using Caudalie’s eye cream and the resveratrol moisturizer. For face oils, I always love Vintner’s Daughter even though it’s a little pricey. U Beauty has a great one, and Naturium has a really great squalane oil that’s more price-sensitive. For SPF, I love Supergoop’s Glowscreen or their Unseen Sunscreen.

The foods that fuel her workouts:

I’m a really big believer in intuitive eating, so if I’m hungry right when I get up, I’ll do something as simple as an apple and almond butter or overnight oats with Califia’s organic line of almond milk or oat milk—it really changes. I love a Good Culture cottage cheese, or sometimes my husband will make me a smoothie, and if I’m wanting something a little heartier, I’ll have Ezekiel toast, smashed avocado and some eggs. 

Her wellness routine:

Movement is such a big self-care tool for me, but as I’ve entered motherhood, it’s just small things. I love an infrared sauna, and I also just got this little lymphatic roller from Love Wellness that takes no time at all. About a year ago, I started getting up before my first child, Harlow, wakes up, and then I had my second child, so even just giving myself 45 minutes to an hour in the morning to take a walk outside, get some vitamin D and get some caffeine, and then it’s back into the thick of things.

Los Angeles coffee and brunch favorites:

I love Verve and Alfred’s, and I know there’s Blue Bottle everywhere, but I like that, too. And then for brunch, Great White. They’ve got their Great White Brekkie that’s really good, and I also really like their avocado toast and folded eggs. 

Favorite vacation spot: 

My family is from Cape Town, and it’s my favorite place to go and visit. I grew up spending the month of December there, but now it’s more like every couple of years that we try to go, because it gets harder to travel with kids.

What she’s traveling with:

I really try to do a carry-on whenever I can, because I’m the type of person who wants to land and get straight to my hotel. I just got a bunch of Calpak pieces of luggage that I really like, and are on the more affordable side. I always have headphones with me, like the Sony headphones for noise-canceling or just traditional AirPods, and then I need snacks in my bag, and a notebook and pen.

Megan Roup.

The one thing in her wardrobe she refuses to part with:

My whole workout section in my wardrobe! It’s kind of ridiculous, and if you saw it, you would be like, ‘You don’t need 100 leggings.’ But because I’m filming so much, I’m always trying to keep the outfits fresh and mix and match things. We just came out with a little capsule launch with The Sculpt Society, so I’m partial to that, but I like shopping at Bandier, Carbon 38, Alo Yoga, Vuori, Athleta, Beyond Yoga—there are so many great brands.

The Essentials With Megan Roup: Dance Cardio, Intuitive Eating and Vintner’s Daughter