First annual USA Fit Fight: Workout for Warriors is a success

The sun had barely risen over Union Street Athletics on Saturday morning, but Bangor’s premier fitness facility was bustling with activity.

A flatbed trailer masquerading as a stage awaited Maine’s finest Les Mills instructors. Tables were being carried outside. Sound systems were readily checked, and dozens of bagels were set up inside the gym.

This wasn’t just any Les Mills program launch. This was a launched that showcased one of the top, if not the top, fitness facility with Les Mills programs in the state of Maine, and easily one of the best in New England.

It was a day of smiles, sweat, fight and memories, as my club hosted its first annual USA Fit Fight: Workout for Warriors, with BodyCombat, RPM, CXWorx, GRIT and BodyFlow participants experiencing new releases and raising money for the Travis Mills Project and DAV Transportation Program.

It was a day we as instructors had been anticipating for well over a month. We were excited and nervous all at the same time. Long before the outdoor BodyCombat masterclass was scheduled to start, myself, April McKinney and Juli Shaw, two of our three Combat instructors, just stood in the parking lot, soaking it all  in, looking at that empty space that would soon be filled with warriors.

We all joked around inside and outside while Scott Kahkonen and Tammy Curtis led the first of our two RPM rides. Myself, Sheila Drinkwater, April and Sue Scroggins clowned around with USA’s unofficial mascot, the “Sock Monkey.”

Mr. Sock Monkey, who will no doubt make an appearance in New Orleans next summer, found himself attached to a mop and making cameo appearances in the first RPM class thanks to the comedic genius of myself, Sue, Sheila, Emily McIntosh and April. All in all, we were trying to keep things light in loose while preparing for our classes at the same time. Later on, myself, Sheila and Emily had a “Charlie’s Angels” moment on the flatbed.

Once Combat started, with April, Scott and Juli leading us, things started to heat up. I hadn’t done BodyCombat 57 since the Orlando Mega Quarterly in August, but I remembered most of the things from the release, and knew the participants would be getting their money’s worth.

I couldn’t get a headcount of how many warriors were in the crowd, but there were at least 50. Most of them were experiencing Combat for the first time. And that’s a positive thing. The more “newbies” we can attract to our facility, the more they will get hooked on our other Les Mills programs, particularly with BodyPump 87 set to be launched this coming weekend.

If our team was nervous, it certainly didn’t show onstage. We all stayed with the fight throughout those 50 minutes, and an enthusiastic crowd was treated to an outstanding workout.

After Combat, it was on to GRIT Cardio, led by Scott, Sue and Sarah Thibeault. I hadn’t participated in GRIT for over a year, and it certainly is the challenge its billed up to be! Suicides, burpees and high-knees, oh my! But once again, the outdoor class provided people who have never tried GRIT before the opportunity to give it a shot, and again, I couldn’t get a head-count, but if I were to guess we had in the upwards of 25-30 people participating. The day was capped off with CXWorx featuring Sue, Scott and Melissa Carr, while Barb Cookson, Melissa and Sarah led us in BodyFlow and April and Emily leading the second of our two RPM rides.

A lot of people were extremely instrumental in making this event happen. Local radio personality Ric Tyler did an outstanding job of helping us promote this event through the media. Monty Rand and Anthony Delmonaco took some outstanding photos, and if it hadn’t been for Tony, we wouldn’t have had that large U.S. flag flying over our parking lot. BERG Sportswear was kind enough to donate T-shirts. Our owner, Sherry Haller, for all of her support. My aforementioned team, I could go on and on about how proud I am to be a part of this team and be one of your leaders, but that would take a whole other post. But most important of all, our members.

I know it sounds cliche, but Les Mills instructors do what we do for our club members. They’re the reason we come to work every day. They’re the reason we put in work on our off days. They’re the reason we travel long and far for quarterlies and AIMs to further our education. They’re the reason we teach hurt, sick, on little sleep.

We at USA couldn’t have asked for a better day. There’s no question this will not be the last Workout for Warriors. A lot of members asked me if this was going to be an annual event. I have a feeling it will. I also have a feeling this puts Maine on the map in the sense we have an outstanding facility here at USA, and Bangor can host a quarterly at the Cross Center in the future.

Sheila Drinkwater, Emily McIntosh and Ryan McLaughlin have a “Charlie’s Angels” moment prior to USA Fit Right: Workout for Warriors on Saturday.

Ryan McLaughlin sprints through GRIT Cardio during USA Fit Right: Workout for Warriors on Saturday in Bangor, Maine.

A throng of warriors participate in BodyCombat 57 during the USA Fit Right: Workout for Warriors in Bangor, Maine on Saturday.

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.