Thoughts about Les Mills Sprint

Three mornings a week I’m roused from deep, beautiful slumber at 5:30am by my alarm. I groggily roll over and hit ‘snooze’ because 5:30am is not a friendly time. At about 5:39am I drag myself out of bed to get ready for the gym. I don’t really know what happens between then and 5:44am except somehow I go to the loo, squeeze some activewear on over my white pasty flesh, poke some contact lenses onto my corneas and stumble to the car.

At approximately 5:54am, I join the daily pre-6am migration of humans who, for whatever reason, choose to forego sleep instead of going to the gym at any other time of the day. As I walk through the doors of the cycling studio, the pungent aroma emanating from within reminds me that this is a very enclosed space with very little to no ventilation. The air con is buggered; we rely on five fans to waft the sweaty air between us. I usually pick the same bike: a bright orange one that’s in the front row so I don’t have to look at other people’s butts but positioned as close to the exit as possible in the hope that I might feel a slither of fresh air waft under the door.

Les Mills describes Sprint like this: “LES MILLS SPRINT® is not your usual cycle class. It’s a quick and hard style of training – short bursts of intensity followed by short periods of active recovery – that will give you fast results with minimal impact on your joints. The payoff is that you will keep burning calories for hours after a good workout.”

I describe Les Mills Sprint like this: “30 minutes of sheer hell that make me wonder what kind of demon has taken up residence in my mind and persuaded me that it’s actually good for me.”

The weird thing is, though, I actually love Sprint. I know my review hasn’t been exactly glowing so far, but I really do love it. Getting up before the birds isn’t fun, particularly when Snapchat tells me it’s only two degrees outside, but if I’m serious about getting skinny 6am is the only time that works for me. 30 minutes is half as much as 60 which means I don’t have to be at the gym for as long as normal people. The music really gets me grooving, and I don’t know why but it’s oddly satisfying to leave a class literally dripping in sweat.

A few weekends ago was the launch of Sprint 12. Launch Day classes are fun; there’s always a sense of anticipation about what they’re going to make us do this time around, and sometimes the instructors dress up in theme. Sprint 11 is my all-time favourite so far so I had high expectations about 12. But my instructors didn’t dress up which I should have taken as a warning.

I’m just going to say that I seriously considered dying halfway through the first Sprint 12 session because simply stopping and walking out of the class would have been much too embarrassing.

The problem with Les Mills is that they’re running out of ideas because they’re so incredible. I seriously think that when the Sprint 12 planning team sat down together on their yoga mats wearing their Lululemons and feeding each other from their smoothie bowls, they actually came up short. “What the hell are we going to make them do?” they asked themselves incredulously. “We can’t do any better than Sprint 11.” But of course they had to come up with something because if Les himself was in a grave, he would turn in it.

So they decided on Sprint 12. The songs are fast – really fast. The first track is by Six60 but sounds like it’s been sped up 12 times and I’m expected to keep up with that pace? Are you serious? There’s lots of jumping up and down from the bike seat. Sprint 11 has a lot of this too, but in 12 it’s just taking the piss. I’m pretty sure there aren’t any breaks at all. Like, there must be because this isn’t a concentration camp, but it definitely doesn’t feel like it. At the end of the longest 30 minutes of my life I seriously considered cancelling my gym membership.

Still, when it’s not sub-zero outside, I keep turning up. It helps that two weeks after Launch they shelve the newest release and play all the classics again so we’re back to Sprints 2, 6 and 11 (everyone’s favourites). And you never know: maybe on my mission to skinnydom I’ll decide that actually I quite like tormenting myself. I’ll see you at the launch of Sprint 13.

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