267 pounds

The blonde hipsters all refer to the class as “RPM,” but the official name “Les Mills RPM” appears on the laminated pass required to secure a bike at my new fitness center. After two weeks of staring at the pass and wondering who the hell Les Mills could be, I finally thought about him when I wasn’t spinning and sitting in a pool of sweat and thus looked him up. Now, before cranking my computer out of idle, I postulated two theories, both of which proved completely inaccurate.

First, I guessed that Mills raced bikes (a lot of thought went into that one, let me tell you) and that everyone but me knew about him. Second, I concocted a story about some tanned fitness jack of all trades with a base of operations in Newport Beach and a stratospheric net worth. My metaphoric basketball didn’t even hit the backboard, save for the pile of cash.

No svelte biker or buff pitch man, Mills, aged 75, represented New Zealand in several Olympic games  in  . . . wait for it . . . shot put and discus. In shot put, he ranked seventh in the world during the 1964 games. At 6′ 2″, Mills topped the scales at 267 pounds. While still competing at the highest levels, he opened a gym in 1968. Now, as the creator of BodyPump, BodyFlow, BodyAttack, BodyCollapse, and BodyAneurysm, in addition to RPM, Mills no doubt worries a lot about “stock portfolios,” “investment-grade art,” “tax shelters,” and other chimeras.

Here’s a picture (Les, clearly no longer 267 pounds,  is on the far right; his son, Phillip, who appears to be the company’s mastermind, stands on the left):

Mills also served as mayor of Auckland from 1990-1998

Alas, I couldn’t find any vintage Olympic  pix on flickr or google images.

Ah, listen to the lovely sound of curiosity sated. Unfortunately, the next time I’m weakly climbing a “hill” and dripping sweat on my Les Mills RPM ticket, I’ll need to look for another distraction. The history of Schwinn? The environmental footprint of water bottles? The tensile strength of exercise mats? I’ll think of something.


~ by Moldorf on March 3, 2010.

4 Responses to “267 pounds”

  1. So why is it called the Les Mills RPM? Thanks for letting us know who Les Mills is, but what is the connection between this Kiwi and RPM?

  2. Ah, his company created RPM. For those scoring the quiz at home, here’s the key sentence from the text: “Now, as the creator of BodyPump, BodyFlow, BodyAttack, BodyCollapse, and BodyAneurysm, in addition to RPM, Mills no doubt worries a lot about ‘stock portfolios,’ ‘investment-grade art,’ ‘tax shelters,’ and other chimeras.”

  3. skimming–I’m guilty of skimming.

    Another question, Mr. Bare White Walls: why are your walls black? I’ll patiently await some esoteric response. Until then, add 1 to my score.

  4. Angst-filled irony?

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