I am from the Head Quarters of Les Mills Asia Pacific (LMAP) in Canberra and was behind the sound desk doing sound-desky activities such as pointing at a screen and consuming too much liquid for someone that had limited opportunity to go to the bathroom.
22 March 2019: FRIDAY NIGHT CYCLE powered by BODY BIKE
You know those BODY BIKES didn’t move themselves.
The set-up of an event is sometimes as epic (for different, less fun reasons) than the event itself. 150 brand new BODY BIKE SMART + were lovingly unloaded off three colossal crates. Three people to lower the bike from the 5ft drop, one to wheel them backstage, one to direct them to the workout floor ensuring that they remained in colour and numerical order, and one idiot* to pretend the bike was a shopping trolley.
So fresh were the bikes from the factory floor in Denmark the protective labels needed to be removed.
And we’re off: the first of six Cycle classes scheduled for FRIDAY NIGHT CYCLE is RPM. You know the bass is en pointe (more on LES MILLS BARRE later) when the floor is rumbling and the devout-non-cyclist is considering a cycle conversion of sorts. Three sessions of sold-out RPM later and it was like witnessing three different releases such was the variety of Presenters and interpretations.
THE TRIP featured for the first time at FRIDAY NIGHT CYCLE, the twists and turns reminding me of the time I thought the streamers cascading from the end of the handle-bars as a (dumb) kid were brakes. SPOILER ALERT: they are not brakes. I learned that lesson after mincing myself in mum’s prized shrubs at the end of a steep hill.
I digress. THE TRIP. While there are steep hills, there are no mum’s plants. And that’s where the awesomeness of THE TRIP lies: it feels real. It feels better than real because I’ve never gone upside down on a suspended corkscrew footpath and lived to tell the tale. In THE TRIP you not only ride it, you survive it. The two TRIP sessions were fully booked out – and if you had to be satisfied with simply watching THE TRIP from the sidelines, like I was from the sound desk, well you would have found yourself quite motion sick. Moral of the story: book early so you can ride THE TRIP.
“SPRINT is the most challenging indoor cycling workout since you last did SPRINT” – Glen Ostergaard.
The SPRINT session was presented by the man himself and by the looks of the puddles of sweat framing bikes at the end of class – it indeed was the most challenging indoor cycling workout (and for my own sanity, refuse to believe that the puddles were anything but sweat). Shout-out to the LMAP and BODY BIKE crew who had the pleasure of wiping down said bikes and navigating said unidentified puddles post 6 x FRIDAY NIGHT CYCLE sessions.
23 March 2019: Everything else that wasn’t a cycle program
That funny time we moved 800 sets of equipment, then had to move them again
Oh we laughed.
Narrator: No-one actually laughed.
So here’s the thing. Setting up 800 BODYPUMP sets is no small task. It took a cast of thousands (well, at least 50) to unpack the brand new SMART TECH equipment from boxes, load the SMARTBARs with weights, put the SMARTSTEPs together then walk them to their allocated spot on the giant workout space at Marina Bay Sands; all 800 spots having been so lovingly marked out with tape. Thousands (50) of us diligently started setting up the BARS/WEIGHTS/STEPS from the back of the room (a good 50 metres from the front) and worked our way forward. One step, four risers, 1 bar, 2 x 5kg plates, 2 x 2.5kg plates, 2 x 1kg plates multiplied by 800.
This was about the moment we (didn’t) laughed:
Unbeknownst to us there were not 800 spots marked out on the floor, by my guesstimation it was closer to 1000. No big deal right? But as we looked proudly at the feat of team-work, sweat, some tears, a tonne of weight, hundreds of steps and thousands of risers: the entire front quarter of the room was EMPTY.
There was a time-lapse of us setting up the room that day (it’s actually pretty cool) – I can pin-point the 0.1 of a second in the video it dawned on one of us that we had to move all the equipment forward:
I’m sure they said.
Something beautiful did come from the treachery of moving 800 sets of BODYPUMP equipment twice: it was a full-TR1BE-effort in the true-est sense of the term. The entire LMAP head office crews (CEO included) worked alongside the REEBOK LES MILLS LIVE Presenter team (yes the very team that would be presenting the next day) who worked alongside Diana Archer Mills, Gandalf Archer Mills and Caley Jack.
It was a beautiful thing.
The time BODYBALANCE 84 inspired a race-horse name: Shadow Balance
The tranquil BODYBALANCE followed the glorious energy that was BODYPUMP – and look there was still energy – just a low key different BODYBALANCE kind of energy; there was definitely something in the air (and it wasn’t the LMAP crew who were wearing their uniform a second day in a row). Diana Archer Mills and Caley Jack were striking figures as they lead 417 people through the beautiful BODYBALANCE 84 and there were plenty of Aussie rep Shadow-Balancers.
SH’BAM makes me reallllly want to dance
But I never will. As a certified-absolute-non-dancer and I’m not even saying that to fish for compliments, I enjoy watching others dance in a voyeuristic kind of way. SH’BAM at REEBOK LES MILLS LIVE looked like So Much Fun that I don’t think it should even be classified exercise. I know that’s a weird thing to say but this particular release of the program “went back to basics” with just a couple of moves per track. And boy did IT LAND. How could I tell from the sound desk?
I could see it.
The live camera feed panned across face after smiling, joyous face and my cold dead heart couldn’t help but smile too. And I just knew in that moment they were loving life through the expression of the “I just gotta snap & drizzle” move. And you know – that’s why I love this stuff: for that one moment in time – absolutely nothing else matters.
For someone not doing any physical activity I sure am consuming A LOT of liquid. Current count: 2 x coffees, 3 x bottles of water, 1 x Pepsi Max.
A beautiful burn – LES MILLS BARRE
As the ladies in black took the stage for LES MILLS BARRE I could feel the beautiful burn from behind the sound desk. This could also be due the fact I have not yet been to the bathroom after consuming 17 million litres of liquid.
*BTW: people are already lining up for BODYCOMBAT in 2 hours time (1,047 booked in)*
Speaking of beautiful – and I do hate to say this but I will for the purpose of this anecdote – the impossibly flawless Caley Jack. Spoiler alert: no Photoshop or filters are required here. Even more impossible is this: she is one of the kindest, caring and engaging people I have ever met. She introduced herself to every single staff member with “hi I’m Caley Jack, I’m from Cape town in South Africa. What is your name? What do you do” and-holy-moly-we-all-know-who-you-are-and-why-do-you-care-what-I-do-and-I-can’t-even-talk-quick-say-something-witty.
And this is the thing. She did care.
And no, I didn’t think of anything witty.
BODYJAM and the quote of the event
Many-a-words were uttered during the course of the 2-day, nine program event. But the quote of the event comes from Gandalf Archer Mills (‘G’) right before the start of the class:
“Breathe in. It’s going to be over too fast”.
Inhale: as the MC gees-up the crowd for G, I am starting to get a complex at how many people can actually dance. A guy hobbles in on crutches and so-lord-help-me if this guy can dance better than I while incapacitated I’m leaving with my still extremely full bladder. You can’t deny G is a showman. A consummate professional. From my vantage point I can see him running laps backstage to warm-up. Just prior he hands us a specific playlist he created to get the crowd in the mood prior to class starting. And honestly – even if people left after the 8 minute playlist, they would be happy. G created an atmosphere even before the first Slow Chest Pop F/B and honestly – it just got better. Literally three seconds in to the class itself, I’m completely lost, I have no idea how people are following along, but I’m in love with the feeling of dance.
It’s been a roller coaster, because now I’m just offended: G is pretending to dance poorly. And it’s not really working. Frankly it’s offensive to those of us who really can’t dance, because legit, he still looks amazing.
I actually wish there were words in the English language to aptly describe BODYCOMBAT
We have 10 minutes now to get 1000+ people on the workout floor for the biggest class of the event, BODYCOMBAT (1047 to be precise). According to my Casio calculator watch that’s 100/minute. Do-able, but I’m glad I’m perched in relative safety of an elevated sound desk.
I desperately want to communicate with you the atmosphere in the room. I want to share the stirring words of Dan Cohen said at the start of the class – I could – but putting them on paper wouldn’t do them justice. I wish I could verbalise every sweaty, rousing, thrilling minute of BODYCOMBAT at REEBOK LES MILLS LIVE Singapore to give you a sense of what it was like to be in that room.
But I can’t.
We’ve peaked. And it’s dreamlike. And if I could share in words with you what it was actually like – you would have already booked your tickets for 2020**.
*that was me
**you can’t actually book tickets for 2020 – but you know what I mean.