Monday, April 4, 2016

Camp Gladiator: Mixed Bag

This morning was my 8th visit to Camp Gladiator and marked the beginning of metabolic conditioning week, where the workouts utilize the things we've worked on for the past 3 weeks and take it up a notch as far as difficulty/intensity. But where I floundered over the last 2 weeks, today was my favorite CG workout of all.

Camp Gladiator is kind of like a boot camp setup with challenging exercises but with a positive atmosphere. The trainers are very upbeat and encouraging, quick to offer suggestions for modifications and reminding you to try your best; they let you determine what your 100% effort feels like.

I signed up because of a spring promotion where I pay $10 up front and can attend unlimited sessions for 4 weeks. If I attend fewer than 10, I get charged more money, so it’s a great incentive.

Week 1 focused on endurance exercises and included a fitness test that I finished in the allotted time but was unable to complete the last 9 of 50 consecutive push-ups. We’ll test again this Wednesday. Week 2 focused on functionality, specifically core-strengthening exercises. We use yoga mats in a parking lot, and my back, knees, and elbows have been bruised to hell because of it. Week 3 was high-intensity interval training. As an endurance athlete, I can’t really do this stuff.

Week 4 started today, its focus being metabolic conditioning. We did 3 minutes of alternating hard exercises (dumbbell squats + curl, push-ups + row, dumbbell squats, dumbbell swings, and Russian twists with a dumbbell) followed by rest and then a quick seven-tenths-mile lap for three or four rotations.

I usually lag far behind the rest of the campers except those who are injured, but I freaking killed it today, pacing and passing a few back-of-the-pack runners on every lap after the warmup except for the final lap when I bonked, in need of fuel.

And actually on Saturday, my workout partner and I dominated one of the exercises where we take turns holding one another back with a resistance band while sprinting and finished ahead of everyone else, working just as hard. A lot of this can be attributed to flow; we figured out how to quickly switch holding and wearing the band on each rotation, but that doesn't detract from the accomplishment in any way.

It's been fun and surprising to find out how my strengths translate to CG workouts, because mostly they don't.

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