Camp Gladiator offers motivation, accountability

Camp Gladiator meets Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings in Veterans Park, rain or shine.
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It’s 5:00 pm on a January night in Mint Hill.  The sun is about to set, and there’s an 80% chance of rain.  Most people probably aren’t gearing up for an outdoor workout.  But every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, that’s exactly where you’ll find Daniel Beaupre and his dedicated campers: working out at Veterans Park.

Campers use one of the picnic shelters in inclement weather.

Year after year, resolutions revolving around health, fitness and weight loss dominate the new year.  According to a survey conducted by the online polling company YouGov, the two most popular New Year’s resolutions for 2018 were to eat better and exercise more.  Yet diverse publications estimate that upwards of 80% of people will have failed to keep these resolutions by the first week of February.  

If you are one of the many who has pledged to get in shape this year, Beaupre is sure Camp Gladiator can help you.  With over 75 locations in the Charlotte area, Camp Gladiator offers 4-week cycles of outdoor group training focusing on endurance, strength and agility and high intensity interval training.  Each cycle culminates in “peak week” where campers use the previous three weeks of training to perform at the highest level they can.

“There’s a lot of different ways to get in shape for the new year,” says Beaupre, “but I think this is the best way.”  Beaupre’s campers clearly agree with him.  “It’ll keep you motivated,” says BOLD member Kim.  “It’ll hold you accountable.”

Accountability: it’s a word you’ll here again and again if you ask campers what they like most about Camp Gladiator and a crucial ingredient for keeping those health and fitness resolutions.  “Everybody pushes everybody,” says Amanda, who has been with Camp Gladiator since September.  “You think you can’t do one more, and then we make each other do one more.”  

“Last week we were out here, and it was 23 degrees!” says Beaupre.  “With the wind chill, it was about 15.  We had a new person show up and she was like, ‘I’m not gonna recognize anyone!’ because we were all so bundled up.”  When asked what motivates her to work out in nearly record-breaking cold, Amanda simply says, “I’m addicted to it!”

Ana actually came to her first Camp Gladiator meeting in last week’s cold temperatures.  “It was freezing!” says her friend Tania, who encouraged her to come.  “She didn’t have enough clothes, so everyone was peeling off layers and handing them to her.”

Although lifting weights and running laps in single-digit temps isn’t for everyone, for many of Camp Gladiators members, the fact that it’s not a gym is one of the program’s advantages.  “The gym wasn’t working for me, so I had to find something else,” says Jermeshia, who first tried one of Camp Gladiator’s South Charlotte locations last April.  “The gym’s boring.  Here you get motivated.  Everybody is accountable.”

“It’s a better workout than I ever would have done on my own,” says Mel.  “It pushes you,” agrees her husband Brock.  “It pushes you to do something you wouldn’t normally be able to do on your own.  You’re not going to push yourself in the gym like this.”

“Family” is another word you’ll here from many Mint Hill campers.  “I love the family atmosphere, I love the friends,” says Kim, noting that the campers do more than just work out together, like sharing recipes and getting together for monthly socials.  “The whole social side of it for me is what drives it,” says Tania.  “I was hooked after day one . . . I didn’t even use the whole promotion!”

The community spirit of Camp Gladiator provides the motivation campers need to be successful.

Charlotte’s Camp Gladiator program is steadily growing.  The Charlotte area recently won “Region of the Year” from 25 different CG regions in the country.  “We’re up to 51 campers in Mint Hill in just seven months,” says Beaupre.  “It’s starting to explode!”

Camp Gladiator meets every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 5:00 pm and 6:15 pm at Veterans Park.  They also meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5:00 am as well as Saturdays at 8:00 am at Queen’s Grant Community School.  “The cool thing with Saturday class is in the Southeast we have seven trainers, so we like to debut a different trainer every Saturday,” says Beaupre.

Beaupre is hoping to launch a new location behind Mint Hill Roasting Company in February.  Beaupre hopes the 9:30 am camp will offer an option for stay-at-home parents and individuals who work from home.

Beaupre is offering a special deal to locals who want to try out his Mint Hill camp: one week on the house!  The first ten campers to call Beaupre (704-957-6390) will receive one week of training at his Mint Hill camps free of charge.

“Come out to a camp,” says Beaupre.  “You’re gonna do so many different things. It’s not just we’re here to lift weights.  We’re gonna run, we’re gonna do sprints, we’re gonna do agility work, we’re gonna flip some tires, we’re gonna carry some hoses.  All that stuff is gonna help you get into much better shape for the new year.”

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Mary Beth Foster
Mary Beth Foster works part time as an essay specialist at Charlotte Latin School and full time as a mom to her eight-year-old daughter Hannah and her six-year-old son Henry. Prior to having children, she worked as a high school English teacher for nine years. Most recently, she chaired the English department at Queen's Grant High School. She and her husband have lived in Mint Hill with their children and their cats since 2011. Email: