Despite having only $8 to her name, a passion for fitness and movement propelled Ami McMullen to a fitness conference that would lead to a fulfilling career.
Nearly 15 years ago, Ami McMullen was in college studying to be a dance major. After suffering “a billion overuse injuries” and a growing apathy toward dance, she decided to switch gears and dabble in the world of fitness. What was intended to be a trial semester transformed into a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science - not to mention a newfound passion for fitness and movement that would accompany her into the present day.
Several months following graduation, Ami started working as an unpaid intern at San Diego State University’s Aztec Recreation Center. It was here that she heard about the upcoming IDEA® World Convention to be held in Las Vegas. Despite having $88 in the bank—$80 of which would go towards lodging—she headed to Sin City for the big event.
“You better believe I hit up every free sample on the trade show floor multiple times per day,” she laughs. “And I piled food onto my plate at the IDEA party that night. To this day, I abhor protein bars of any kind and only have them when absolutely necessary.”
In between sample-nabbing pit stops, she stumbled upon the TRX booth.
She explains, “When I first saw the Suspension Trainers hanging from a squat rack on the trade show floor, I have to admit that I was doubtful as to what they could accomplish. After I’d met Fraser*, I asked him, ‘What do these things even do?’ To which he replied, ‘Well, let me show you,’ and proceeded to kick my ass for about 30 minutes straight, leading me from exercise to exercise with barely any rest at all.”
[*Fraser Quelch, is one of the co-founders of TRX and the Director of Training and Development. He’s also Ami’s husband.]
The session opened her eyes to the potential of this then new modality, and Ami knew she’d found something special. It became a no-brainer that she would incorporate TRX Suspension Training into her classes.
“[TRX] felt natural and full-bodied. I liked the multi-planar, multi-level movement that was absent from other workouts. I guess my body just missed these types of big movements [similar to dance] and I felt like I got that back when I started using the straps.”
A year later, Ami completed the Suspension Training Course—the only TRX course available at the time—led by veteran course instructor Neil Mallinson, which, she says, expanded her repertoire significantly.
“After I took the STC, I realized how much I was underutilizing the straps that first year,” she says.
From there, she became more involved with the company. Ami attended as many conference sessions as possible and continued to get to know and learn from Fraser, Randy and the rest of the TRX crew. Eventually, she completed the requirements necessary to join the small but mighty team of course instructors.
While things were going well in San Diego, Ami decided to head back to her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, where she joined forces with a local boot camp company.
“When the owner of the bootcamp decided to move on to pursue another career opportunity, I took that as a chance to start my own TRX-based bootcamp company,” she remembers. “It was small, but grew quickly. I was soon able to live off what I made from only five TRX classes per week.”
That, combined with a growing course instructor schedule, provided Ami a nice living doing work she thoroughly enjoyed with a tool she believed in. It was a win-win.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Ami continued to expand her education and become more involved in the fitness industry.
“Over the years I started teaching more and more, presenting more and more, and just kept meeting fitness pros and working my way into the fitness industry in a serious way,” she explains. “I also managed to make a pretty good living for myself teaching TRX to fitness pros and consumers alike. And it felt really good to be doing work that I loved. Even more I was proud of myself for carving out this niche and rocking it in my hometown.”
Ami has since completed TRX’s full education lineup and though she sold her bootcamp and left Louisville to live with her husband, Fraser, she continues to lead pro and consumer courses both in-person and via the Internet.
“In the last decade, I’ve taught almost 300 courses for the company (Suspension Training Course, Group Training Course, Functional Training Course, Rip Training Course, Advanced Group Training Course, Group Rip Training Course and now the new TRX MAPS course).
I’ve trained thousands of course participants in the U.S. and Canada, and spoken at conferences and TRX Summits in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Italy, Thailand and Hong Kong. It’s been a wild ride and one that I’ve been the most proud to be a part of.”
Ami is grateful for the experiences TRX has offered her and knows that she wouldn’t be where she is today without happening upon that TRX booth at IDEA World so many years ago.
“Getting involved with TRX was the biggest thing that propelled my career forward. From the moment I started with TRX education, my work has only gotten better year after year. From allowing me to run my own business, to helping my clients stay injury-free, it’s been a great thing for me. My network has grown immensely and I continue to learn and make connections with smart and amazing people every time I attend an event or Summit.”
Her final words on TRX?
“TRX rocks and everybody would do well to get themselves educated by the company at a course or summit event. There are no negatives, only opportunities to get better at what you do. If you want to be better, you’ve got to earn it. And the first way to do that is through education. I encourage everyone to step up to the plate and make their move.”
Learn more about TRX Education here.