Better together

About three years ago, a client of mine emailed me about this group fitness class she went to called Camp Gladiator (CG). They were having some kind of special offer for the month. There was no commitment beyond the first four weeks.

Honestly, it didn’t feel like my kind of thing. I have never found a gym that I like (that wasn’t solely focused on rock climbing) and group exercise classes have always rubbed me the wrong way. In my experience the instructors either kept encouraging competition between participants or they were relentlessly cheerful. In either case, I found that the commentary often veered in talk about weight loss or outright fat shaming, which I vocally oppose.

With great trepidation, I signed up. My first class (called “camp”) was not the disaster I expected it to be. I could not do a burpee, but that didn’t seem to matter to anyone around me. The goal was to do what my body was available for.

There were people who were younger than me and a few much older, both men and women. Unlike other group classes I’d tried, the attendees were diverse and participants ran the gamut from the very fit to those just starting out. Surprising myself, I stuck around. Tomorrow, I’ll check into my 450th camp. I feel strong.

Exercise has long been a key part of my mental wellness strategy and being able to keep it up during quarantine without having to purchase equipment has been a blessing.

At the end of every camp, the trainers bring everyone together for a cheer. It reminds me a bit of playing sports in high school. In the beginning, I thought it was hokey and felt awkward. Over time, my view has changed. It’s the kind of moment that I get so rarely as an adult. Having just accomplished something difficult, I get a chance to celebrate with others who’ve been through the same experience. Right now, with all this <gestures around vaguely> going on, being able to savor moments of satisfaction and joy is important.

Whoever needs to hear this today: I’m cheering for you.


If you’re interested, you can give CG a try this month for $9 with no strings attached. If you let me know when you’re planning on logging in, I’ll try to come work out with you online. 😀

The classes are tough, but it’s always go-at-your-own pace. I’ve never had anyone be anything other than encouraging. With COVID, the normally outdoor camps have gone online. But, Monday through Saturday from very early morning (think 4am) until late (around 8pm) you can find camps starting every 15 to 30 minutes. They are all taught by certified personal trainers.

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