(This post was written on the plane on the way home from the event.. Sorry for the delay in posting)
There are so many things that I can say about this past weekend. So many words to describe how incredible this experience has been.
Let me first take you back to a little less than 2 years ago: I was taking my regular Sunday Body Pump class, the one I had been taking for a few months and something inside of me decided that it was time – “today will be the day” – to step out of my comfort zone, walk right up the the instructor and ask “so, how do I do this… How do I do what you do?”
It all started with such an innocent and simple question. It wasn’t too long after that I found myself driving to Washington D.C. all alone, to spend a weekend learning how to deliver this group fitness class that I fell in love with.
A few years before this I had began my journey to a healthier life and spent a month taking an all women’s boot camp class. It was at 5:30 in the morning, in August, in a park that was 25 minutes from my house. This meant I had to get up at 4:30 every morning for 5 days each week, and spend an hour getting my butt kicked. It was then that I had my first thought of “boy, I’d love to do that; I’d love to teach a class where I got the opportunity to challenge people and make them work hard.”
Fast forward, if you will, to early 2015 – I had a year of teaching Body Pump under my belt, week after week my class was growing, that Sunday class that I had taken before I got my certification became my class, and I was ready to become even better. I thought that I was ready to be called an advanced instructor and headed to the first of two advanced instructor modules.
At my first AIM I felt that I was able to explore the choreography a bit deeper, figure out how to really deliver each track by blocking each part out with a focus – focus on getting them moving, then focus on getting them to move better, and then focus on motivating til the end. I went home from this training and taught the following day one of the best classes (I feel) that I have taught to date.
After AIM 1 I was hooked, I wanted more, I wanted to be the best, I wanted elite status. But after a few months I fell into a bit of a trap – I felt like I was a really great instructor and although I had signed up for AIM 2, I really didn’t think they could teach me anything more than I already knew. I knew what I needed to do, my job was to present an amazing release of body pump and make sure that my members felt amazing afterwards.
That brings me to this past weekend. I arrived in Chicago on Thursday, all alone, and pretty sure I was going to have a great time but I thought I’d go home Sunday having spent two of my three days hearing things I knew already, but I made myself a promise that I’d be open to trying new things, and taking it all in.
Something that AdvoCare has taught me, is that it’s okay to be imperfect. It’s okay to smile and talk to people, after all, I’m strong – I can take on pretty much anyone!! So I made a conscious effort to smile at strangers, talk to people, ask questions, but most of all – listen.
Day 1 was just what I had expected – we were exhausted in every else of the word, but just like my initial training, and AIM1 I could talk to my trainer and get feedback. Justin Sanchez happens to be on the poster on the wall in my group fitness room. I have seen his face at least a million times over the last few years and I was a bit nervous at how we would communicate but it was instant – I felt his energy, his confidence – and I felt immediately connected – in a “he could be my uncle” sort of way. He gave me feedback, I worked on it, he gave me more feedback and then I got real. I told him straight up – I want to do what you do. I want to be a national trainer, a presenter – I want to change the world. I asked him, are my dreams too big? I told him to be honest.
Now, a quick step backwards – if you know me. You know I’m an advocate for dreaming as big as you possibly can, but you should also know that I sometimes need that reassurance – but I also really wanted to hear from someone that I look up to – whether or not that potential was there.
He told me never to stop dreaming, and that I can do whatever I want to do. Justin freaking Sanchez (if you don’t know who he is, you’re missing out).
After AIM2 I headed to the keynote speaker and then to the reebok store where I met some wonderful women from California, a man from Canada, and a woman from Hawaii! After standing in line for two hours I headed for drinks with some of my new friends. After conversations and drinks (I had water) I headed to my room to meet my roommate for the night – a woman who needed somewhere to sleep the night before the big event and I said why not?! We talked briefly about competing (she competes and that is something I’ve always wanted to do but because of my issues with food and history of BED I’ve never gotten very serious about it) and then we headed to bed.
Day 2 started bright and early! This day was all about having fun, opening up, and experiencing ONELIVE. It was incredible to see all of these amazing national and international trainers doing what they love, and I truly tried to take it all in. The day started with BodyPump where we got to experience the new release! I saved a spot for my friend and fellow instructor, and found myself next to one of my new friends from the previous day – he was running with a selfie stick so i followed him to an area where there were smart bars and steps not too far from the stage!
My ankle started acting up as the day went on so I chose to skip GRIT cardio and RPM and made body flow my last class of the day. Then I went to my room and got ready for the after party where I spent the night dancing with some of my friends from NY!
Day 3 was my second and final day of AIM2. Back to business. We started off light hearted but quickly we were asked to dig deep – look inside and actually begin to feel vulnerable. I had been warned about this part of aim and I was really trying to stay open to whatever came my way. We listened to a song, a song that I recognized, a piano piece that I had heard many times as a child, piece that I knew represented sadness/despair/loss. I felt sad but I didn’t go “there,” I was determined to keep it together – but then we were asked to listen to it again but to think of some thing or event that made us sad in our lives, my mind went to my childhood, a few events, then traveled to the loss of my great aunt, then to the loss of Debo (my dog who we out to sleep last year who I had a connection to unlike any other) and finally to the loss of the many patients that have died especially recently and tears began to flow. I allowed myself to sit with those feelings and I was immediately humbled.
After many exercises similar to this – some fun, some a bit deeper than I’d like (I.e. Uncomfortabel) I walked away feeling like I had learned something about myself. Like I’ve learned how important group fitness can be in a persons life – how this experience continues to change me, my teaching, and ultimately my participants.
After a fourth and final presentation, we all said our goodbyes, took a group photo, and I headed to the airport!
Arriving in NY I am excited to see how my teaching grows, how I put the learnings into place, and continue to stay in contact with my new friends!