Aina Williams ’96

Aina WilliamsDEGREE: B.A. in philosophy, minor in cognitive science

JOB TITLE: Founder of The Ride, a boutique fitness studio, and founder of Coach Aina, empowerment coaching and personal training

FAVORITE TRINITY MEMORY: My favorite memory would have to be Senior Week. I have too many memories that are amazing and wonderful and stupendous, and Senior Week was that time to reconnect to old loves and friends, and try, in vain, to hold on to the last time we would be able to share in this phenomenal journey we had been on for four years. I loved my time at Trinity. I feel so blessed to have been there, during that time, with those people. My best friend was one of my residents my sophomore year (I was an RA). We now live a mile from each other, and I am the third parent of her four kids. She and her husband are family to me. Trinity facilitated that … and so much more. Gratitude is what I have. 

How did you get started in the fitness field? I started as a rowing coach and personal trainer right after graduation. Rowing at Trinity was the beginning of my fitness career. After coaching collegiately for 15 years, I began creating the blueprint for what is now The Ride.  

Why is meditation important in addition to physical fitness? Meditation is an actual lifesaver. In this fast-paced world, we are quickly overwhelmed. When we are overwhelmed, we turn to many unhealthy things to cope. Meditation can bring you back to your own center and allow you to make decisions for yourself that support your highest ideals.

What do you enjoy most about your work? Helping people. I am given the honor of assisting people on the journey of life. There is nothing more rewarding than helping people choose their joy.

What advice would you give someone who needs to start a fitness routine? Start small … and with something that is fun. If you like dancing, dance; if you like circus arts, try that. Maybe you have always wanted to box; that is a great workout. Whatever you do, have fun with it and start slowly. Lastly, having a workout buddy who is motivated is a great way to be held accountable. Personally, I love group fitness because you have to make a commitment and sign up, and once a class is paid for, you are more likely to attend. If all else fails, you may need to hire a personal trainer.

How did your time at Trinity prepare you for what you do now? My time at Trinity was filled with mentoring, rowing, connecting, and growing. It was where I saw what communities could do. As an RA, I was allowed into my charges’ lives, and as a rower, I was pushed to be more than what was known to me, daily. Trinity gave me more than an academic education; I was learning people, and people are my work, my passion.

What did you enjoy most about rowing for Trinity? Being pushed past my own perceived limitations. Also, the road trips to regattas. I was one of the drivers, so hanging with my team on the road was the best. Last, being on the water; the Connecticut River is still one of my favorite bodies of water. I fell in love with birds and boats and the sound of nature along the way.

What was the most memorable course you took at Trinity? I took a senior seminar on intelligence. I took it my junior year and loved every single class. I am a philosopher at heart and love turning an idea, which is just taken as a given, on its head. We always think intelligence is about academia when it is so much more.

What was your favorite spot on campus? The quad without a doubt. It is surrounded by the beautiful buildings of Trinity, and it is where everyone crosses paths. I can recall hearing my name from far off as I skipped around the campus. The quad is the heart of the campus.

Was there a professor at Trinity who was particularly influential? Drew Hyland and Dan Lloyd (I know, that’s two, but these were my faves). Professor Hyland was so conversational in his teaching. He never treated his students as anything but people. I appreciated that confidence. Professor Lloyd opened my eyes a bit more to a passion of mine, critical thinking … looking critically at things that we are being fed, in the media specifically.

For more about Williams’s studio, please visit and for more about her coaching and training, please visit