Sports & Fitness Club Executive Briefing MultiBriefs
Camp Gladiator: A community workout
Boot camp format makes fitness a group goal, not a solo mission
Published July 27, 2012

Submitted photos
Jessie Mullis (front, left corner) and Kevin Richardson (front, in red tank top), pose with Camp Gladiator members in Southlake, Texas. For personal trainers who are interested in becoming a part of Camp Gladiator, contact Jessie Mullis.

MultiBriefs Content Editor

Lack of motivation and boredom are the two common reasons why people stop exercising. Motivation and variety keep people focused on fitness. With that in mind Ally Davidson created Camp Gladiator — a boot camp-style workout that aims to be dynamic, affordable, fun and deliver results.

Kevin Richardson
For starters, Camp Gladiator calls its campers "contenders." Each workout session is designed for people of varying fitness levels. Kevin Richardson, a CG primary trainer from Keller, Texas, says everyone is able to participate in the sessions.

"We design our workouts on a time-based model so that everyone can work at their max speed for a certain amount of time," said Richardson, a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer who teaches CG sessions in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. "This way nobody is ever left behind and the all-stars at camp are never waiting on other people."

Since CG is designed for a variety of people, there is no target clientele. According to Jessie Mullis, also a primary trainer from Keller, CG clients are of all ages and lifestyles.

"We have an 18-year old girl, a triathlete and grandparents working out side-by-side," said Mullis, a Cooper's Institute personal trainer. She also notes the percentage of men and women clients varies by location.

Jacqueline Cowen
During the boot-camp, contenders are put into groups depending on their personal fitness level, which allows them to motivate each other. Jacqueline Cowen, who has attended CG for over a year, says motivation from peers and trainers keeps her coming back.

"We don't just workout, we form friendships, engage in healthy competition and cheer each other on towards success," Cowen said. "I love that it's more like a family, whereas at a gym I'm anonymous and if I miss a day no one cares. If I miss CG though, everyone knows and cares."

Ally Davidson, CG's founder, emphasizes the community focus of CG, saying that contenders have the option to go canoeing on the weekend, do community service, go skiing or even go to happy hours with CG.

Beating boredom
CG trainers create their own lesson plans, so each camp is different. Another unique twist: The last 10 minutes are devoted to a game, like clothespin tag.

"Everyone has five clothespins on the back of their shirt and the object of the game is to steal others' clothespins while keeping all your clothespins on your back," Richardson said.

CG also accommodates busy schedules by offering camps in the morning, night and even 9 a.m. for those who do not work the normal 9-to-5 job.

The trainers and business model
Unlike personal training at other gyms, CG trainers pick and run their locations, choose their lesson plans, train multiple people at once rather than one at a time and do not have a salary cap. The business model that Camp Gladiator runs is a business partnership not a franchise. The trainers do not have to pay to run their own camps.

While trainers don't have to pay to become a partner — just "sweat equity," as Mullis explains — there is a process to becoming a CG trainer.

Ally Davidson of Austin, Texas, is the founder and president of Camp Gladiator.
Davidson says trainers have the ability to make a salary that is unlimited. The amount that trainers make is completely up to their dedication to CG.

"The amount that a trainer makes depends on many things: the number of locations, the number of contenders, many factors," said Davidson when asked the average salary of CG trainers. "This is a company built by trainers for trainers."

"The potential trainer has to attend the boot camp as a contender to learn about Camp Gladiator, and then they will assist top trainers during their camps to see how you do," Mullis said. "The main thing Camp Gladiator is looking for is an uplifting, energetic person."

Trainers are attracted to CG because of personal freedom, Davidson says. The corporate office provides the backbone, giving the trainers the opportunity to be creative and have the freedom to operate their camps as they desire without having to deal with the business aspect. This allows the trainers to focus on the contenders and build that lasting relationship.

"What makes us different? Our trainers' passion for serving the contenders," Davidson said. "Passion is our strength."

Like any business, the only way to have significant growth is to promote, and Camp Gladiator's promotions are proof that it is a success.

"Approximately 60 to 70 percent of new contenders come because they are brought by a current contender," Mullis said. "We have BYOB week — bring your own buddy."

CG’s future
CG started in Dallas, and then relocated its headquarters to Austin. From there it spread to Louisiana and Oklahoma, and now it operates in 16 cities in the U.S. According to Davidson, CG has had more than $5 million in sales in 2012, and that also will increase as the company grows.

"CG has at least doubled every year since we started," Davidson said. "The future is in God's hands. But, it can easily double in the next year."

CG trainer Richardson notes that the company's vision has remained consistent as it grows.

"I see CG in every market in the South that has people," Richardson said. "Nothing needs to change, we just need to be looking and hiring the best trainers in the business. The company will only go as far as our trainers will take us."

CG is a workout community that is a force to be reckoned with. There is no end to the possibilities for this growing company of enthusiastic people who are passionate about fitness.

Danielle Wegert is a content editor for MultiBriefs, a leading publisher of association-branded email publications.
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