Quarterly Workshop Baptism

Ever since I took the plunge and became a BodyPump instructor, all I kept hearing about were Quarterly Workshops, and how inspirational they are. My trainer, Julie, even grilled this into our heads at initial training.

Quarterly Workshops are generally offered four to five times a year, and feature top-notch instructors from across the country coming together to present the latest releases in all the Les Mills programs.

My first big-time workshop was a mere week after I had earned my teaching certification in September 2010, and it was quite the adventure. The workshop was in Poughkeepsie, New York, on a Saturday, and since it’s nearly impossible to get Fridays off covering sports for this newspaper, I knew I was facing an all-night drive.

Thankfully, this newspaper allowed me to go to Farmington to watch a soccer game before heading to the Empire State, and I was too wound up and excited to think about how tired I was, even while slogging between Albany and Poughkeepsie at 3:00 in the morning.

After dodging deer on the Taconic Parkway, I pulled into the club at about 4:15, giving me enough time to find my bearings and grab a catnap in the car before jumping in line. I was beyond excited, since one of the presenters for Pump was Sheldon McBee, one of the best instructors in the U.S., and someone whom I inspire to be. We were doing release 75, for which he was one of the video presenters, so it was only fitting that he was there.

The atmosphere in the club was electric. I walked in at 5:00 in the morning and people were fired up, there were HUNDREDS of benchtops waiting to be secured, and music was cranking. I’m NEVER awake at such an ungodly hour, so I must love Les Mills, right?

Once the Masterclass for Pump started (Pump is always first), the energy in the room was even more amplified. Sheldon and the other presenters were outstanding and inspirational, and teaching at quarterlies is one of my long-term goals for group fitness. They even wore cowboy hats during the Biceps track, which was Carrie Underwood’s “Cowboy Casanova,” which gave me a fantastic idea for our launch later that fall 😉

I even got to take some classes I had never tried, which was a fantastic experience, but since I had plans to visit friends in New York City and spend the night there, I had to head out after half a day and five classes, which included BodyPump, BodyStep, RPM Cycling, BodyAttack and BodyJam.

Exhausted after a handful of classes, I headed to a nearby diner to grab something to eat, and it wasn’t until I was leaving that I wished I hadn’t left my camera in the car.

As I headed toward the door after paying my bill, who else walks through the door but Poughkeepsie resident and “Jersey Shore” star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi. Even though I’m sure she’s never taken BodyPump, or any group fitness class for that matter, she had a solid idea the workshop was in town for the weekend, saw I had a Les Mills sweatshirt on, welcomed me to Poughkeepsie and gave me a hug! No, she wasn’t hung over and worse, she wasn’t wearing heels, so she barely came up to my stomach!! Two of my best friends are big Jersey Shore fans, so needless to say, they were jealous.

Les Mills workshops are an amazing way to mingle with fellow instructors/group fitness fanatics, get a plethora of kickbutt workouts and enjoy some new experiences! My first big workshop was certainly unforgettable, and was absolutely worth missing out on one day of sleep. We truly are one tribe!

Myself with Les Mills Video Presenter Sheldon McBee at the Northeast Super Quarterly, September 2010

Ryan McLaughlin

About Ryan McLaughlin

BDN sports reporter Ryan McLaughlin grew up in Brewer and is a lifelong fan of the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. In "The Boston Blitz" he'll be sharing his perspective with BDN readers about what's happening on the Boston professional sports scene.