With our sparkling new arena, can we bring a Les Mills workshop to Maine?

Every day when I peer out the rear windows of my office, all I can see is a brick wall.

But this isn’t any ordinary brick wall. It’s part of Bangor’s brand-new Cross Insurance Center, which is rapidly approaching its grand opening in September.

I finally had a chance to take a tour of the arena myself Friday. Immediately, visions started dancing in my head. And they had nothing to do with basketball, concerts or the fact that the Bangor Daily News has a perch on the arena’s suite level.

I thought of the fact that Les Mills instructors like myself from Maine who want to attend quarterly workshops have to do traveling. And lots of it. I’ve gone as far south as New Jersey for such events and will travel to Orlando for another this summer.

When our tour headed to the Grand Ballroom, thoughts didn’t turn to the hundreds of senior proms and executive dinners that will likely fill this space. Thoughts turned to up to 500 Les Mills diehards, sweating to new releases, forging new relationships and rekindling old ones. Thoughts turned to Maine’s finest instructors getting a chance to take the stage in front of hundreds of their fellow tribe members on their home soil.

Where am I going with this? The fact that this beautiful, sparkling building rising around Paul Bunyan could no doubt host a Les Mills quarterly if they chose to bring one up here.

Of course, with every dream, there are obstacles. And that’s what this vision is at this point, a mere pipe dream. But with every obstacle comes a possible solution.

What about an international airport so people coming from outside New England can get here? Got it. Plenty of hotels to review choreography notes and get the jet lag out of our legs? Yup, got plenty of those. Dining and entertainment options for those who want to make a weekend out of it? Those are only a short RPM ride down Main Street.

The main question is: Would folks from the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states want to journey to such a remote locale for a weekend? It’s a long way to travel and its expensive to travel.

In New England, especially this part of New England, we’re used to it. Between plane tickets, module tickets, food, lodging and a rental car, I dropped nearly $800 to attend AIM II in Virginia last April. Don’t let those figures scare you, though, because its not nearly as pricey to sign up for a Quarterly as it is for a training module.

Having such an event in Maine would no doubt put us on the map and showcase the fact that we do have strong, talented instructors capable of teaching at the next level. It would give those of us who have attended AIM II’s a chance to take the stage next to the likes of Renata, McBee, Murphy, and so on. And all these tribe members coming from the South would be spending money in our hotels, bars and restaurants. You can’t argue with that, can you?

Who knows if a Les Mills quarterly in Maine will ever happen. In March 2010, I was fortunate enough to start my BodyPump teaching career on home soil as a rare initial training came to Lewiston. My biggest dream is to take the stage at a Quarterly and bring elite-level instructing to Maine. What better place to make that dream a reality in the shadow of Paul Bunyan, in the city I’ve called home for 28 years?

From Division I basketball to concerts, the Cross Insurance Center will host its share of events that will draw huge crowds to Bangor. But nothing would be more awesome than 500 crazy fitness fanatics sharing a ballroom for 8 hours, and toasting beers at Geaghan’s after the final cooldown track wraps up.

Let’s make this dream happen, Les Mills.

This ballroom at the Cross Insurance Center is certainly big enough to fit hundreds of Les Mills instructors, benchtops and smartbars.

Ryan McLaughlin

About Ryan McLaughlin

Ryan McLaughlin is a top-notch BodyPump instructor, who teaches at Union Street Athletics in Bangor. A fitness freak and longtime competitive runner before he got into group fitness, Ryan enjoys helping his participants reach their fitness goals, and motivating them with every class.