early morning bad-ass by Peter Gailunas
I am not a morning person. I like to have a cup of coffee and watch the news headlines before starting the day. But sometimes when the day’s schedule is full, with no room for the gym, I set the alarm and head to Peter Welch’s Gym for the 5:30am class with Nick Nelson.
I expected to see a few early birds that actually like getting up and working out at that God-awful hour. Instead there were a ton of early birds eager to box – the place was packed. Apparently, there is a whole population of people who enjoy beginning their day punching a heavy bag. Maybe it’s the new coffee?
So as I wiped the sleep from my eyes and imagined that Nick would ease into the workout, he began his class full-force with jumping rope, skipping, side shuffles and high knees all while throwing punches with weights in your hands. Suddenly I was fully awake.
The thing that’s great about Nick’s class is that he switches it up. It’s never the same from class to class. He mixes heavy bag punching, shadow boxing, and sparring with a partner, with sprints, star jumps, push-ups, lunges and good old fashioned squat thrusts. Then he’ll add in a medicine ball for good measure.
My new favorite is the rubber band. This is where you and a partner get inside this big rubber band and place it around your waist. Then your partner leans back with his end of the rubber band while you try your hardest to run to the other side of the gym. I don’t know which is worse, running or trying to keep the other guy from running. This is all going on while a majority of the population is asleep.
The great thing about the 5:30 class is that you are done for the day and in your car by 6:30 and ready for your first cup of coffee – which I can’t drink because I’m ready to throw-up.
The scoop on Nick Nelson
- Age: 28
- Single (hey, ladies!)
- He is the General Manager at Peter’ Welch’s Gym
- He rises every morning at 4:30 to open the club and teach
- Grew up in Sioux City, Iowa
- Currently lives on O Street
- Graduated from Iowa State University
- Nick is a two time College Boxing All American in ’06 and ’07
- He is also a two time New England Golden Glove Finalist ’09 and ’11
- Favorite bar/restaurant in Southie – Stats
- Favorite place for take-out – Alfredo’s
- Favorite junk food – Cheeseburgers
- Favorite music – Hip Hop
- Best way to motivate – “A little ball-busting.”
- 3 words to describe your class – “Sweaty. Painful and rewarding.”
- Best way to get six pack abs – “A combination of diet, cardio and
- core work.”
- Biggest success stories at Peter Welch’s – “We had someone lose over 70 pounds and numerous clients lose over 30 pounds. We also had a marathoner take 45 seconds per mile off of their time.”
Peter Welch’s Gym
371 Dorchester Avenue
Photography by Deborah McCarthy