There is an outdoor boot camp taking Austin, and the nation, by storm. You may have heard of it—Camp Gladiator. What you may not know is the gladiator heart at the heart of this story, which is changing the way people think about fitness.
Heart of a Gladiator
Camp Gladiator was co-founded by born-and-raised Austinite Ally Davidson, and her husband Jeff Davidson. The origins of the couple’s story are as unique as their fitness quest.
On the couple’s wedding day in 2007, Ally Davidson’s big sister Amanda Webster coaxed her to impromptu try out for NBC’s “American Gladiators.” Barely making it back from tryouts in time for her own wedding ceremony, Davidson later went on to win the Grand Gladiator competition.
Using Ally Davidson’s winnings, the dynamic fitness duo started a small bootcamp, Camp Gladiator, that exploded into a fitness movement. Camp Gladiator currently hosts 80,000 campers and 900 trainers nationwide.
Camp Gladiator Workouts
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Camp Gladiator defines its mission as “changing fitness and changing lives.” Part of this change reflects Camp Gladiator’s focus on community and friendly competition.
The technical workouts emphasize strength, agility, endurance, interval, and peak performance training. However, the format is grounded in fun, challenge, and support. Regardless of fitness level, you should always feel challenged, but never left behind.
Boot camper myself for nearly six years, I will never forget my first of many high-fives as I stepped foot into trainer Joel Hagaman’s Camp Gladiator camp. Complete klutz, I never considered myself an athlete by any stretch of the imagination.
However, somewhere along the way, drenched in support from trainers and fellow campers, I grew into this whole other version of myself. I saw my body as a tool I could manipulate to do all of these amazing things.
Introduction to CG Games
What followed was this not-so-little competition held here in Austin, called CG Games. CG Games Prelims will be held in 2019 on July 20 and July 27 at various locations across Austin, and the nation.
You can compete at CG Games individually or with a team. Top Prelims participants across the nation will compete in Round Rock on Nov. 10 at Dell Diamond during CG Games Finals is held. In 2018, over 3,000 guests and 13 different sponsors attended CG Games.
Why CG Games: Camper Perspectives
CG Games means something different to everyone. For many, like myself, it’s a chance to find out what your body is capable of and simply try. It’s a feeling of camaraderie and strengthened spirit. You notice your fellow campers cheer you on or even run an extra lap with you, so you never feel left behind, pushing you to finish when you want to give up.
For me, CG Games was the start of viewing fitness as an event my body can show up for. My “arrival” isn’t reflected on the floor of my bathroom as I’m staring at a scale. My strength is found outside as I pound the pavement at camp and work to tighten my time for the CG Games Prelims, or my next Spartan race.
Camper Amanda Webster, explained her Why to me. “To me, our motivations matter. As a mom, what I like most about training for CG Games is that my kids see me working out to improve performance, rather than seeing working out as something to change or enhance body image. As they grow, I hope my kids love their God-given bodies, however they look, and love working out to stretch the limits and capabilities of their bodies!”
Webster’s 2018 “sister team” placed 2nd in the 2018 CG Games. This “sister team” was comprised of Camp Gladiator co-founder Ally Davidson, plus two other sisters who had all recently given birth to babies before going straight back to Bootcamp. Fittingly, the alliterative team name was “Birthing Babies Back to Bootcamp.”
Winner of the female category in 2017, Cheryl Carrell described her passion for the CG Games competition. “I enjoy the personal challenge of trying to learn and better myself from the year before. The Prelims event is tough no doubt, but I especially love the atmosphere at Finals. So much competition, but so much love and support all day. It’s about half physical and half mental to be able to push hard all day long.”
Carrell, a humble fitness superhero herself, even placed second in the television show “Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge,” alongside CG camper Allison Brickley, and CG trainers Brandon Brickley and Joey Kelly.
What to Expect Next
Expect the 2019 CG Games to be bigger than before, with challenges including sprinting with sandbells, pulling weighted sleds, hanging on monkey bars, and more. Trainer Kevin Richardson insisted, “CG Prelims is really for everybody. It’s all about knowing your body. We want you to finish. Literally anyone ages 18 to 80 plus can participate.”
Richardson outlined many exciting changes for the 2019 CG Prelims. The event will look very different with a new obstacle course structure that combines the skill sets taught at camp into one event, as opposed to four separate events.
Participants can expect an efficient 2019 race with wave signups, a dream for those crunched for time. Of course, you can always stay the day and enjoy the vendors while cheering on your teammates and campers.
From novice to expert, Camp Gladiator honors every fitness level, while providing a vehicle for positive change. CG Games is an accumulation of all that is special about letting go of your fitness inhibitions and leaning into your inner athlete, with the heart of a gladiator.
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