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
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.