Eight classes, zero sleep

Les Mills quarterly workshops are a LOT more fun when a throng of your teammates join you for the ride. Unfortunately, that had not been the case for my first couple of workshops, as it can be hard to get away in this economy.

However, in March 2011, a crew of my BBAC friends and I would be taking over a Q, this one in Haverhill, Massachusetts. The good news for me was that the workshop was on a Sunday. The bad news was state championship Saturday for high school basketball was the day before, resulting in another all-night drive for me. Ugh.

After covering three games and somehow getting six stories written and enough food in my belly by midnight, I hit the road around 12:30. Fortunately, Haverhill is just over the New Hampshire border, so we were only talking about a 3-hour drive.

I pulled into the club parking lot around 4 a.m. and decided to grab a nap. I set my alarm for 4:50 so I could be one of the first in line, and that was the case.

I checked in, got my stuff set up for PUMP, and met up with my teammates. I was joined by Wendy, Cassidy, Kelli, Julie and Cori, so it was bound to be a good time. I had to fly solo in the first PUMP class, since the girls decided to do Combat as their first class of the day, which was happening at the same time as PUMP.

In PUMP, we did Release 77, which is a challenging one featuring a tricky core track with walking hovers, a ton of bottom halves in the chest track, and the debut of the power press in the back track. The power press is a killer move in which you execute a clean and press, bring the bar down to your chin and execute two overhead presses before returning to set position. It’s a great move for the entire body and burns a TON of calories.

I was excited for the debut of Sh’bam, a dance class which Les Mills was showcasing for the first time at this workshop, under the direction of Rachel Cohen, one of the world’s best presenters. The class, which marked the halfway point of our day, was KILLER! Even though most people know I can’t dance unless I have a couple cocktails in me, I think I held my own 😛

We all stayed for the duration of the quarterly, which was awesome, and I have no idea how I completed eight classes on zero sleep, two 5-hour energy shots, a banana and a sandwich. Only for Les Mills, right?

Like I mentioned in my post about the September 2010 Super-Q in New York, it was well worth the lack of sleep, because of all the things an  instructor can take away from a workshop, the educational sessions are the most essential. As with the AIM modules, it helps you unlock the tools to fill the room each time. Since I’m averaging a tad over 20 participants per class, it must’ve helped!

After a long day (I somehow did BodyPump twice!)

Ryan McLaughlin (right) poses with Les Mills international presenter Rachel Cohen of New Zealand after trying Sh'bam, a Les Mills dance class, during a Quarterly Workshop in March 2011.

the girls decided to stay overnight, while I headed back to Maine, completely exhausted and wishing I had stayed another night as well. It should also be noted that a week after this workshop was when I started dating Alissa.

Getting to meet Rachel Cohen was certainly a treat, and trying classes I had never tried before, like Sh’bam and BodyJam. Since this workshop was also a week before St. Patty’s Day, Julie and I joked that I would buy her a glass of Guiness. To this day, I still owe you that Guiness, Jules!

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.