If you’ve ever taken one of Jaime McFaden’s Aaptiv classes, you know she always starts with a word of the workout. If you haven’t taken one of her classes yet, you’re missing out on her inspiring mantras, infectious energy, and dynamic playlists. But her journey to fitness actually had an unexpected start—as did her beginnings with Aaptiv. Keep reading to learn more about Jaime’s looping fitness journey and how she gets herself through a bad day.
Full name: Jaime McFaden
Hometown: Redwood City, CA
Favorite snack: Greek yogurt with berries and granola
Favorite pastimes: being at a beach or on an adventure
Favorite sport as a kid: basketball (played point guard)
How did you get into fitness? Were you active as a kid?
I played sports as a kid and in high school, then I made the transition into theater and film and went to college for that. Right before college, my dad passed away, and it was really tough because I remember thinking it was just due to unhealthy lifestyle. He was a great guy. He worked hard, but he didn’t take care of his physical being. I just remember thinking that there had be some sort of a message to take away from it.
How did your dad’s death impact your views on fitness?
Well I took time for myself to really work on my own health and wellness, and I started to notice changes. For example, I used to have really bad insomnia, but it stopped once I was eating well balanced meals, exercising, and taking care of my stress level. You can make a big mental shift with fitness and really take care of yourself. There’s a big trickle effect. Looking good was my initial external motivation, but in reality, I didn’t know I could feel this good.
You always have a word of the workout in your Aaptiv classes. How do you come up with them?
I started that back when I used to teach kids dance. They were little kids, from 2 to 6 years old. So, I would always try to come up with ways that I could connect with them. Every day I’d have them focus on a word. It seemed very normal to me because, as much as you hear all the time that actions matter over words, I believe that words really do matter. What we think we say, and what we say we do. For me, it all starts with the word.
So you played sports in high school, taught kids dance—what was the path towards becoming a trainer?
Well it’s been a winding road! I got my personal training certification around the same time I was teaching kids dance. But it was a slow progression because I was also a flight attendant with Virgin at the same time—I love to travel. While I was flying, I started doing training and group exercise classes on the side. That was when I auditioned and started working with Jillian Michaels. From there it snowballed. I started doing a ton of video content and really started creating my own brand.
Then Aaptiv came along, and the funny part is that the only reason I heard about Aaptiv was Rochelle Moncourtois. She and I were competing against each other for a women’s health cover magazine feature. I decided to look up the competition, and I reached out to her because I saw we were both living in LA. Neither one of us won, but then we ended up staying in touch. She started working with Ethan in the very, very beginning stages of Aaptiv, and, because she remembered I did voice-overs—that was actually another side job of mine, I was doing cartoons and commercials. She knew that, and she also knew I was trainer, so she though Aaptiv would be a good fit.
At the time, I was a flight attendant, I was doing voice-over work, I was working for Jillian Michaels, and I had my own personal training business going on. It was crazy. But, long story short, I looked into it, talked with Ethan, talked with Rochelle, and now here we are three years later. You just don’t know where things are going to take you.
Out of all the jobs you held at the time, why did you choose to build your career in fitness?
If you would have asked me when I was 15 or something if this is what I’d be doing, I would have said absolutely not. But, I have a much deeper creative passion that somehow translates through fitness. I remember one day I was backstage with Richard Branson, who founded Virgin Group, and I was really stressed out trying to juggle being a flight attendant and being in the training world. Everything I was doing in training was really picking up, and the flight attendant job was saying the same, so I asked him for advice. He looked at me and he said you should do it because if you fail, you can get back up, but if you never tried it, you’re always going to wonder about it. That day it was monumental because then I just went full force. I made a choice, and I put my notice in and left Virgin.
What’s been the most surprising part of your Aaptiv journey?
I’m somehow resonating with people who have had a loss or someone really broke their heart or somebody betrayed them. I’m getting such a huge demographic of people experiencing a big life change, either good or bad. What’s interesting is I wasn’t comfortable enough to talk about how I got into fitness and my dad’s death until recently. So, a lot of people wouldn’t even have known about it. But now I open up about it because we’re all the same. We’re all people. It’s nice to be able to be a voice for people that may feel stuck, lost, confused, or unmotivated.
How do you get yourself through a bad day?
Every morning when I wake up, I remind myself no matter how I feel or how good or bad I slept, that today is going to be a good day because I’m alive. That, to me, is as simple as it gets. Even if the rest of the day progressively gets worse, I’ll take a minute to myself, meditate, breathe deep, and remind myself what I have to be thankful for in this moment, no matter what else is going on around me.