Aaron McCullagh knows the importance of finding balance whether he is suspended by silk fabric 10 metres in the air or presenting wellness seminars safely on the ground.
“I do aerial silks,” said McCullagh. “It is circus art where I tie myself up with fabric 30 feet in the air. I like to joke that I’m an athletic jack of all trades.”
He is a brown belt in karate and among other things, has been a waiter, a lifeguard, a national-level competitive figure skater, a varsity figure-skating coach and a strength and conditioning trainer for competitive athletes.
“It’s a weird smorgasbord when it comes to exercise and training,” he said. “That’s where I get my ability to work with so many interesting and weird groups of people. It has really created who I am today as a professional and coach.”
McCullagh channels his training and experience to present wellness seminars through his newly established business Balanced Life.
“I have been thinking about doing something like this for a couple years,” he said. “Back in September I finally decided I wanted to go for it and start building towards it. Essentially, what Balanced Life is, it’s a launch pad in people’s wellness journey.”
McCullagh’s own life journey began in 1989 in Orangeville where he lived with his mother and sister.
“I am an Orangevillian as some people like to say but my family has a big connection to Guelph,” he said. “My mom did her undergrad here in the late 60s and early 70s. My sister did her PhD here and I did my undergrad in human kinetics here. I moved here to come to school about 10 years ago and I have stuck around ever since.”
While at the University of Guelph he helped coach the varsity figure skating team to an Ontario University Athletics’ championship and worked with some of the country’s top university athletes as an intern with head strength and conditioning coach Josh Ford.
“I got to see the full picture of how you build an athlete that can perform really well and all the different aspects within that,” said McCullagh. “That has always been the thread that connected me to where I was going next.”
That next two locations in his journey were Humber College where he earned a post-grad degree in human kinetics followed by a job with private healthcare company MedAssist as a corporate wellness and occupational health consultant.
“The idea of being a great coach just continued through into my work in the corporate world to help people be a little more awesome,” he said. “In a nutshell I work with some of Canada’s largest companies to keep their employees happy, healthy and performing at their best.”
He emphasizes that Balanced Life is an independent business and not connected to his work with MedAssist.
The first of his monthly Balanced Life seminars is Saturday, Jan. 26 at 10 Carden.
“Our first seminar is on goal setting,” he said. “It’s about building a goal and setting a plan that will actually work for you. The next one is exercise - building an exercise plan that works for you that is simple and measurable. That will be Feb. 23. We do regular blog posts generally related to the seminars to give people a deeper knowledge of where we are coming from and we’re also looking at doing weekly emails.”
McCullagh believes people can benefit from the same goal setting and training concepts used by competitive athletes to win and improve their lives.“That’s the idea of being a coach, taking people where they want to go next wherever that may be,” he said. “I’ve been very lucky over the last 10 years to work with so many excellent people. It has helped shape me into an excellent person who can help someone else.”