AIM 2 wrapup: Ready to take that challenging, life-changing next step

Two years ago, I made a life-changing decision in my group fitness career when I opted to attend my first AIM 2 for BodyPump.

I went into it thinking I was a rock star instructor, ready to become Maine’s first Les Mills trainer. While I learned a lot and met some of my closest Tribal friends, my inexperience showed and multiple mistakes were made.

It was clear I needed to grow as an instructor and a person. At the time, I was only 27. I had a lot of work to do and a lot of growing up to do. I was physically ready for the challenges of taking the road to becoming a trainer, but the mental aspect was clearly missing.

Fast-forward to October of 2014. My wife and I are approaching our fifth month of homeownership. All the credit card debt I had incurred – around $10,000 to be exact – is cleared and gone. It has been gone for over a year. Heading into my second AIM 2, I had taken my lumps on and off the stage. I had grown as a person and as an instructor. I was finally mentally ready.

A chance browsing of the Les Mills instructor portal showed an AIM 2 was heading to Boston for Columbus Day weekend. With this being only a 3 and a half hour drive from Maine, my wife and I promptly cancelled a planned trip to Notre Dame so I could sign up. After all, my career is slightly more important than my favorite college football team.

The trainers this time around were Jericho McDuffie and Kris McAlinn. I had heard from teammates who had done BodyCombat training with Jericho that she was tough. I didn’t know much about Kris save that he is a CXWorx program coach here in the U.S. But I knew what to expect, and decided to use that to my advantage going in.

I knew things were going to go well when I walked in and saw I was allocated the squat track of BodyPump 91, my second-favorite track of this release. As soon as I met Kris and Jericho, they were open, approachable and enthusiastic about this small but powerful group who presented tracks in BodyPump, BodyCombat, RPM and Sh’Bam. Yes, I had to dance, and no, there is no video showcasing how much I suck.

I was extremely fired up for my first presentation, even on two hours of sleep after watching the University of Maine hockey team lay an egg out in Alaska. With us having only two minutes to present, I tried to cram in as much information as possible, and Kris laid out that I needed to talk a little bit less. It’s hard when you only have two sets out of four to work with, but that’s where I was more mentally ready, and it showed in the second presentation.

The second day saw me getting the back track, my favorite track of this release. I really lucked out in terms of my track allocations! Like on the first day, I over-cued slightly in the first presentation, but in the second presentation, we finally got to present full tracks. And that’s where the fire unleashed. Every last bit of energy I had inside of me just poured out.

AIM 2 challenges you just as much, if not more mentally than it does physically. A lot of stuff was thrown at us in just two days of work. But I was ready to absorb it all this time. My goals were a lot clearer. I went into it in 2012 thinking it was going to be a physical challenge. I was wrong. And I learned that you have to fall on your face and fail to succeed. This weekend was absolutely a success. My coaching and connecting have clearly improved, which were the two things I clearly needed work in after 2012.

Thanks to Jericho and Kris, I’m ready to take that next step to become a trainer. They know I have the potential, and I do as well. I’ve got a year to send in a video to attain Elite, but I have a six-month deadline – or before my 30th birthday next April – to get that first one in. The long-term goal remains to become the first Maine instructor to become a trainer. Northern New England, and all of the U.S. in general, need more trainers. It’s going to take a lot of work, but this time, I’m ready for it.

A huge thank you goes out to Jericho and Kris for drilling us with information that will be vital not just to us, but to members as well. It’s clear that all of us are ready to take that next step. As the guys in “American Pie” said, cheers to the next step.

Ryan McLaughlin

About Ryan McLaughlin

BDN sports reporter Ryan McLaughlin grew up in Brewer and is a lifelong fan of the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. In "The Boston Blitz" he'll be sharing his perspective with BDN readers about what's happening on the Boston professional sports scene.