Tag Archives: James Bellamy

Call Me ‘Gladiator’

Editor’s Note: David Adams, a University of Tampa student and U.S. Army veteran, is comparing obstacle race preparation and other endurance regimens to the training he underwent in the military. In a series of stories for EnduranceSportsFlorida.com this summer, he’ll write about his progress.

By David Adams

Grinding it out at Camp Gladiator

James Bellamy is a familiar face in the world of Tampa Bay fitness and endurance sports. Over the last two years, he’s served as an ambassador for the Mix1 protein shake and, more recently, he’s led training sessions at TNL Tampa, a CrossFit gym near Westchase.

Bellamy’s latest endeavor is Camp Gladiator, a national bootcamp program that recently came to Central Florida. I recently attended one of Bellamy’s sessions at Spa Beach in St. Petersburg, not knowing quite what to expect.

We began with a 400-meter run to warm up our legs, and then did 10 Burpees, air squats, pushups, and a few other moves. After the warm-up, we dove head first into training. Bellamy introduced to me to techniques that will produce results when added to any routine.

First we performed several partner-assisted leg drills using resistance. One person would push or pull against the leg as a partner tried to raise, extend, or contract the leg. The goal of the trainee providing resistance was to apply enough force to make the partner performing the exercise labor to complete a repetition.

The most innovative partner exercise was a bent leg push/pull drill. The partner performing the set lied down, crossing a leg over the opposite knee.  Once in place, the resistor tested the flexibility of the knee by extending the bent leg as far as it would comfortably reach without causing pain.

Once the tolerance was assessed, the person performing the exercise would push their leg out as far as they could, and then retract the leg back into their body. While doing this, their partner would apply resistance by pushing on the leg during extension, and then pulling on it during contraction. This exercise really worked my hip flexors, and by the time I was done with my sets my legs were feeling the burn.

After partner-assisted exercises, we transitioned into strength training. Sumo deadlifts and high pulls and kettle bell swings were incorporated into abdominal and leg training. All sets were done for time, and the goal was to push as hard as you can to finish the set as quickly as possible.  Bellamy stood by to provide encouragement and advice on proper form.

The CrossFit-style session wrapped up with another 400-meter run, followed up by a set of suicide sprints for time. The training routine was intense, and by the finish I was feeling the burn in my legs, abs, and shoulders. Bellamy had everyone stretch after the workout to aid with recovery.

Camp Gladiator is perfect for anyone looking to improve their current regimen by adding new exercises that will produce results. Camp Gladiator is intense, and in addition to awesome workouts, they also offer some other great things when you sign up.

Camp Gladiator was started by Ally Davidson after she appeared on the show American Gladiator. After winning the competition, she and her husband used the winnings to start Camp Gladiator, which grew into a nationwide fitness business, with camps in seven states.

“The great thing about Camp Gladiator is if you sign up with me at Spa Beach and decide you want to work out in Carrollwood or any other location, you can go there without having to re-sign,” Bellamy said. “If you enlist in our bootcamp, you gain access to every one of them nationwide.”

Camp Gladiator has 11 different locations in the Tampa Bay area, with both morning and evening classes. Spa Beach sessions like the one I attended go from 6 to 7 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Bellamy also holds morning sessions from 6 to 7 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at Sunken Gardens in St. Pete.



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Obstacle Race Training Returns to TNL Tampa

By Pete Williams

James Bellamy overhead lunging

When Eric Stratman started a Tough Mudder training program at his TNL Tampa CrossFit gym last summer, he figured he’d draw a steady crowd to his every-other-Saturday program.

That happened, of course, and we were more than prepared for Tough Mudder, which does not come back to the Tampa Bay area (Fort Meade, actually) until Dec. 1. The 75-minute routines we worked our way up to late in the program might have been tougher than the actual race.

Stratman already is drawing crowds getting ready for other races, such as next month’s Mud Crusade, and we were among the 40 or so athletes who gathered at TNL on Saturday.

Here’s what the workout looked like:

400 meter run

15 tire flips

400 meter run

25 walking lunges with a weight plate held overhead (45 pounds for men, 25 for women)

400 meter run

25 box jumps (on tires)

400 meter run

15 pull-ups

400 meter run

Side tire tosses (100 yards)

800 meter run

That’s a lot more running than the average CrossFit WOD (workout of the day) but that’s to better mimic an actual obstacle race. Most trainees on hand Saturday completed one circuit – at an average of 25 minutes – though a few kept going for an hour. The (free) program continues every other Saturday (March 31 next) at 10 a.m.

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FitPerkz: Providing Daily Fitness Bargains Via ‘Apple Deals’

By Pete Williams

FitPerkz founders James Bellamy and Whit Lasseter

James Bellamy and Whit Lasseter spend most of their time advocating a healthy lifestyle, serving as marketing ambassadors for fitness-related companies and competing in many Central Florida endurance races.

So it was a natural that the two Tampa residents, who were friends growing up in Tennessee, have teamed to create “FitPerkz.com,” Groupon-like discount offers for health and fitness-related products and services in the Tampa Bay area.

Dubbed “daily apple deals” after the famous apple-a-day doctor advice, FitPerkz showcases everything from health products stores to upcoming races to Lasseter’s Tampa CrossBoot bootcamp business.

“The idea is to provide information and opportunities for people to get healthy,” says Bellamy. “By doing the small things every day, you can make big changes in your health over time.”

The current apple deal, which runs through Tuesday, is a heavily discounted entry ($59) into next weekend’s Super Spartan Race at Oleta River State Park Miami. The offer is a discount of 52 percent from the $125 entry price for Sunday’s event; Saturday is sold out.

During the last two years, Spartan Race and Tough Mudder have become the most popular races in the booming obstacle mud run category. The Super Spartan Race is the eight-mile version of the Spartan Race, which some consider tougher than the 12-mile Tough Mudder. Unlike Tough Mudder, which does not penalize athletes for skipping or not completing obstackes, Spartan requires athletes who do not complete challenges to perform 30 Burpees.

Bellamy says the daily deal will be the centerpiece of a site that will grow in the coming months to include recipes, fitness advice, workout videos, featured athletes, and an event calendar.

“We’ve been fortunate to build a community of fitness enthusiasts in this market and develop a lot of contacts that can help people live a more active, healthy lifestyle,” Bellamy says “FitPerkz makes it as fun an inexpensive as possible to get fit and stay healthy.”

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Hitting Tough Mudder Training Camp

By Pete Williams

James Cassidy finishes the "Farmer"

TAMPA – At some point during my second round of carrying a pair of 45-pound plates 200 yards across a sun-baked parking lot this morning, Eric Stratman reminded me and two dozen new friends why we were here.

“If you can survive this,” he said, “you’ll have no problem with Tough Mudder.”

No kidding. As the owner of The Next Level Training Center, Stratman spends his days whipping people into shape via CrossFit. Many use the program to train for adventure races, triathlons and other endurance events.

With the Tough Mudder coming to Florida for the first time in December, Stratman figured it was time to offer a special program.

“Tough Mudder is not a race your average runner or athlete can show up to and hope to complete,” he said. “The obstacles will be too much.”

About 30 of us showed up this morning, split male and female and mostly under 35, which made me one of the oldest. We were supposed to start at 10 a.m. but began at 10:30 — gametime temperature 92 degrees and sticky outside in the empty parking lots of the office park where TNL is located.

We began with an 800-meter run around the complex. Easy enough. That was followed by the 200-meter “farmer” – carrying the two 45-pound plates 200 yards. (Women used 25-pound plates).

After another 800-meter run, we attacked the “Prowler,” a sled with 300 pounds of weight plates. The good news is you could have a tag-team partner or two. The bad news is you had to push the thing 400 yards.

My pal James Bellamy of Mix1 and I teamed up, each pushing the sled for 40-yard intervals. After another 800-meter run it was time to throw giant tires 100 yards and run 400-meters backward.

If you still had time left in the 45-minute session, you got to do it again. I almost made it through twice before time was called, pleased that as an old guy I outlasted a number of trainees.

The program continues every other Saturday until the race in December. Just as CrossFit is never predictable, Stratman says he’ll mix it up next time. We’ll have to compete in groups of five or six, mimicking typical Tough Mudder strategy.

Sounds like a plan. Interested? Check out TNL HERE.


Filed under Races, Running, Training