PLAYING to a packed room, consider this Dallas Blacklaw’s evolution of revolutions.
Rapid-fire spin classes have become ‘the new black’ in the fitness industry, and Dallas has played a pivotal role in its development both locally and throughout Australia.
The 41-year-old from Yaroomba is the head program coach for Les Mills Asia Pacific’s Sprint classes – a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) spin bike workout condensed into 30 minutes.
“It’s going gangbusters. It is designed to make you fitter for everything else you do,” Dallas said.
“The classes enable them to get that HIIT training effect without the impact on their bodies.
“We have a fair few triathletes doing a bit of cross training and strengthening. It is designed to get you fitter and it is super time efficient.
“It can be really good for shorter stuff in tris. Because its on a bike you are developing that same muscle strength and that high cadence and bigger gears you would use on the road.
“We focus on strength, power and sprints. Rather than a virtual training ride you would do on the road.”
Hosting seven sessions a week at Maroochydore’s Suncoast Fitness, Dallas regularly travels interstate to train the trainers. Every quarter there are new songs and choreography.
Acknowledging his fortunate position of being able to stay fit and get paid in the process, Dallas’s rise in the fitness world came from humble beginnings.
Originally playing soccer (including a stint with the Redcliffe Peninsula Dolphins), rugby league and rugby union, it wasn’t until the late 1990s he became involved in triathlon.
After seeing a television ad for Noosa he undertook the run leg as part of a team, from where he progressed to the bike and run, followed by all three legs in 2003 when he finished the Olympic distance event in 2:15:54 (1.5km swim 25:11, 40km cycle 1:09:01, 10km run 40:41).
That led to more triathlons and he moved to Hervey Bay where he undertook a two-year diploma in sport and recreation. It was also during this time that he competed in Ironman Australia at Forster in 2005, where he reach the finish after 11:58:28 (3.8km swim 1:15:33, 180km cycle 6:03:04, 42.2km run 4:39:51).
Returning to the Coast in 2006, he began training and working as an RPM instructor.
Throughout 2008-2009 he focused on running and mountain biking, which included age group wins in the Noosa Epic and at the Noosa half marathon in 2009.
“I ran a 1:21.29. I think the year after I would have got about seventh... it was a good year to run,” Dallas laughed.
Over the years he has plied his trade at the Beachhouse at Noosa and Fitness Plus in Coolum, worked at Allez Sport, and opened his own spin studio, although it wasn’t until 2010 when the Les Mills door opened through a training role.
“Two years ago I was invited to present on a DVD in New Zealand. They are released quarterly, and the DVD is for instructors around the world to learn off and teach in their clubs,” he said.
“That has led to Les Mills Virtual, and they use that footage for people to do sessions without an instructor.
“You get people in New Zealand saying I saw you in my club the other day, which is pretty cool.”
While spin classes have been traditionally strong, the HIIT sessions have been the biggest mover and shaker.
Participants are put through their paces, with Dallas leading the way, accompanied by a motivating soundtrack.
“The group training and the time efficiency is the biggest drawcard,” Dallas said.
“Being in a dark room, and where they don’t need to be co-ordinated (compared to aerobics or other classes) is appealing to a lot of people.
“It’s a good introduction into group fitness and exercise.”
For Dallas it is the realisation of many years of hard work in an industry where he is passionate.
“I love it. It enables me to do something I love and keep fit at the same time,” he said.
“It is something I have been doing for 11 years. I can honestly say I have never gone in and felt like ‘I don’t want to do this today’.
“The fact I enjoy teaching so much is because I really dig it. The biggest thing for me is I get paid to ride a bike and help people get fitter.”
Dallas has reduced his teaching commitments, and has plans to return to sprint distance and Olympic-distance triathlon in the coming years.
Dallas Blacklaw of Yaroomba hosts a spin class at Suncoast Fitness.