The first two days in Virginia certainly went by fast. Well, except for that traffic on the Beltway en route to an Orioles game Friday night!

After a solid day on Saturday, I was feeling confident heading into Sunday, and certainly felt comfortable with the other instructors after most of us had gathered for dinner on Saturday evening. A couple of us even decided to give our trainers some Lemon Drops – which Kim would refer to as Lemon Poison – to try and “throw them off.”

When we came in on Sunday morning, I was more than prepared to deliver the tricep track with precision, motivation and determination. We did some interesting but fun challenges right off the bat that took us into the true essance of the program llMi. We split up into four groups and performed various physical challenges, including a shuttle run (which my team won – thank God I can still sprint fast), and something called the “Quads of Death,” which I cannot go into any details about!!

Once all that was in the books, it was time to present. During the morning session, I nailed most of my basics with the exception of going a tad too low below the benchtop on my single presses. I didn’t think it was a big deal, since I felt it was simply another curse of having long arms.

Once again, we would ride with the RPM crew during their presentations – which rocked the house – and following some more coaching drills, it was time for lunch.

My second presentation, I felt, was the best one of the four during the weekend. I felt like it was make it or break it time, with nothing to lose at that point, and everything to gain. I was able to connect a lot more with the other instructors, since we had all become friends over the course of the weekend, and we FINALLY got to teach full tracks, which was awesome.

Let’s just say after the last RPM presentations, I had zero energy left in my legs, but it was well worth it.

I won’t know whether I get advanced or elite status for a couple of weeks at the very least, since the folks at Les Mills (not Josef and Kim) evaluate us further and send us our fates.

Regardless of what shows up in the mail, I felt like I accomplished a great deal at this module. First and foremost, going into a module a long, long way from home where I didn’t know anybody, I was super nervous. But at Les Mills, we are one tribe, so about halfway through the day Saturday, I really started to feel a connection with some of the other folks at the module, one of which said that she enjoys this blog :)

The friendships I made and the things I learn will far outweigh what my final outcome is. In those 20 short hours, we became a family. No matter how far apart we live, we will always be connected by Les Mills, and the power that is the tribe. Josef and Kim were outstanding presenters, and I learned a whole lot from them. While Kim was certainly tough on us to a certain extent, she is very easy-going and extremely approachable as to what areas we can work on, and the like. The same can be said for Josef. He is very energetic, and you can see why he is one of the best in the world, along with Kim.

This was an experience I will never forget. Aside from the friendships and the lessons I can take back to the stage at USA, representing Maine on such a high level and getting to said level after only 2 years of teaching are huge accomplishments. There is only nowhere to go but up from here, and I’m proud to say I represented my state, my gym, my team and my members with a great deal of pride. We also had three instructors in New Hampshire for CxWorx training this weekend, so Team USA got a lot accomplished!

To the friends I made in Virginia this weekend, thank you for the inspiration, and you guys ROCKED IT! Maybe if any of them find themselves in Maine one day, I’ll break down and eat a lobster!

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A group of Les Mills instructors pose for a team photo after completing their Advanced Instructor Module Part II in Sterling, Va., Sunday.
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Ryan McLaughlin

BDN sports freelancer Ryan McLaughlin grew up in Brewer and is a lifelong fan of the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins.