With three different twenty-four hour gyms, two yoga studios, a kickboxing studio, and three different CrossFit boxes in close proximity, it may seem like the last thing Mint Hill residents need is another way to work out.
But Dani Flasterstein thinks a new way to work out is exactly what Mint Hill needs. “When you go to other gyms, they don’t really have anything that’s like Camp Gladiator,” says Flasterstein.
CEO and Founder of Camp Gladiator Ally Davidson started Camp Gladiator in a Texas parking lot in 2007 because she knew the fitness industry was missing something. With a stack of cones and a group of campers, the American Gladiator Grand Champion set out not just to design a fun and challenging workout but to change lives.
Twelve years down the line, what began with forty campers in a Dallas parking lot has multiplied to over 4000 locations in more than a dozen regions spread across the United States. Camp Gladiator entered the Charlotte fitness scene about two years ago and has steadily grown since then. With six trainers and close to two dozen locations in Southeast Charlotte alone, Camp Gladiator’s real estate in and around Mint Hill is growing fast.
Camp Gladiator is a four-week outdoor group fitness program. The first week in the month-long cycle focuses on endurance, building the foundation that will keep your body moving and your heart rate constant for the challenging 60-minute workouts. During week two, camps revolve around building strength and agility. Week three incorporates high intensity interval training to improve metabolism and train your body to burn more calories. Week four is “Peak Week,” a time when campers use the improved stamina, enhanced speed and increased strength gained in the prior three weeks to test and push themselves past their limits.
Flasterstein himself started with Camp Gladiator as a camper in Mint Hill a little over a year ago. At first, he was skeptical, but the energy and spirit of the partner trainers and campers quickly won him over. “I didn’t expect to actually like it as much as I did!” says Flasterstein. “I just fell in love with it. Literally the first day I came to camp, I signed up right then and there.”
Part of what made Flasterstein fall in love with Camp Gladiator was how different it was from his previous athletic experiences. “It didn’t feel like a gym,” he says. “When you go to a gym, you walk in and it’s a bunch of people doing their own thing. You don’t have any guidance, you don’t have any direction. This is a community. It’s interactive. I made friends while I was out at camp. I would look forward to coming to camp to see people.”
When one of Flasterstein’s trainers asked if he would consider becoming a CG trainer, Flasterstein didn’t hesitate. In CG, he saw everything he was passionate about in the fitness world, a welcome contrast to the serious and harsh world of military training and the often cost-prohibitive nature of one-on-one personal training. “It’s a completely different dynamic, a completely different atmosphere,” he says.
One of the things that impressed Flasterstein from the get-go was how well CG’s partner trainers were able to orchestrate group instruction so people of widely varying fitness levels could team up or go head to head and all get a great workout. “Camp Gladiator is truly a fitness program for all levels,” says Area Director and Partner Trainer Kate Wheeler. “No matter where you are at we come alongside you to help make you a better version of yourself!”
“I believe CG is a place where all different walks of life come together to ultimately reach the same goal, staying healthy. Whether you’re a collegiate athlete or brand new to fitness, CG is for All Fitness Levels,” adds Partner Trainer Jeff. “I love CG because it brings out the best in people, not just their fitness. Campers find new friends, even soul mates, out at camp. Camp Gladiator is not a gym, we are a community!”
Another thing that sets Camp Gladiator apart from more traditional, brick and mortar gyms is accessibility. Campers have unlimited access to workouts at any location nationwide. CG even has an app that helps members find camps happening near them. The abundance of locations and times available across the Charlotte area was a bonus for Flasterstein when he was working as an independent contractor. With a varied schedule that took him all over the greater Charlotte area, it was hard to make it to the same place every day for a workout, but the CG app made it easy to find a workout happening near him.
“If you look at our mission statement – to positively impact the physical fitness and ultimately the lives of as many people as possible – that’s just what all the trainers live and breathe and eat,” says Flasterstein. For him, it’s the second half of that mission statement that strikes a chord. The constant high fives, the goofy “I love CG!” jumping jacks, the shared goals and stories and memories: that’s what CG is all about. “This is much more than fitness,” says Flasterstein.
Camp Gladiator meets at Mint Hill Veteran’s Park Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 5:00 am and Monday and Wednesday evenings at 5:30 pm and 6:45 pm. Sign up by Saturday, March 30, to take advantage of the spring promotion already underway and get two weeks of camp (ending on April 13) for just $29.00.
You can reach Dani at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone, (915) 216-0438. Visit their Facebook group: CLT CG Matthews/Mint Hill/Monroe and their Facebook page: Camp Gladiator Southeast Charlotte.