Spin King

Multisport Mecca - - Front Page -

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.

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