By Cheril Vernon

Messenger Copy Editor

PALESTINE – Are you interested in getting in shape but need someone to help motivate you to keep going?

Camp Gladiator, a national outdoor group fitness organization dedicated to providing dynamic, fun and challenging workouts led by a certified personal trainer, is now offering workouts all over the East Texas area, including Palestine.

“It’s outdoor group fitness for all fitness levels in a fun atmosphere that is encouraging, with major accountability, and it’s for everybody,” Camp Gladiator certified personal trainer Katie Carter said following a recent Palestine workout.

Carter said her campers have ranged in age from 14 to in their late 70s.

“I have had people who have never worked out a day in their life to people who are college athletes,” Carter said. “I have had all ages, shapes, sizes, male, female, grandma, grandpa, brothers, sisters, everybody.”

In Palestine, morning and evening camps are offered currently.

Morning CG camps are held from 5 to 6 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the Southside Baptist Church parking lot.

Evening camps also are offered from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Court Drive Church of God’s parking lot in the Westwood area of Palestine.

CG follows a four-week cycle with a new camp starting over every fifth week.

“Starting this month, at the end of week 1 and week 3, we will have a camp open to the public from 7 to 8 a.m. on those specific Saturdays at Southside Baptist Church parking lot.

In case of inclement weather, the camps are held inside the church’s fellowship hall.

Even those who have never done a push-up or the dreaded burpee are encouraged to participate.

“We have options for success for every single move that we do so if you aren’t jumping, if you aren’t running, that’s okay, there are options,” Carter said. “No two people are are always doing the same exact thing, so you are never singled out. There is a level for everybody to start out.”

Palestine resident Tammy Patton started Camp Gladiator last summer.

“I like it because it’s a complete body workout. We are a family, and we encourage each other and hold each other accountable,” Patton said. “The hardest part is getting out of bed and getting here to do it. After that, it’s okay. You’ll make it. The hardest part is that first step.”

Patton encouraged those who don’t think they are in good enough physical shape to participate to try it out.

“It doesn’t matter if you are in shape or out of shape, you can do Camp Gladiator because it can be modified to your level. Everybody will be loving it and helping you through it,” Patton said.

Palestine resident Casey Atchley likes how each Camp Gladiator workout is fresh and new.

“I’m excited to come because we are doing something different every day. I can do something fun versus my own routine that had gotten boring,” Atchley said.

She has seen many people who participate improve in their fitness milestones.

“We have some people who started that couldn’t run a lap and now they are running. Or maybe their goal is to run half of it,” Atchley said.

For Carter, she enjoys helping people see their true potential.

“You are able to help people see their true potential in what they are actually capable of in gaining a more healthy lifestyle,” Carter said.

Carter also said it helps get people more active.

“It’s good for getting people off the couch and get people moving. Our society is a sedentary world. Lots of people are sitting all day long, and we weren’t meant to sit around all day long. We were meant to be active. Because CG is for all fitness levels, anybody can do it,” Carter said.

Through a special Camp Gladiator program called CG Fit offered in January to members, CG campers had the opportunity to make major transformations.

“We had 32 people who signed up for four-week program where we measured body fat percentage, muscle mass increase, weight loss, inches lost and rep count increase,” Carter said. “Accumulatively, we lost 150 pounds, but every single person made progress in their goals, every single one! We will do this again this summer. We focus on nutrition and see where progress is happening rather than just relying on the scale. The scale doesn’t show the body fat or the muscle mass and that is what we are really after.”

Carter stressed that those who become involved in Camp Gladiator become like family to each other.

“We get together and hang out, do socials and community service type things. We are always trying to give back to the community,” Carter said. “It’s hard for adults to meet people and make friends nowadays because everything is on social media. This is a great way to make a connection with another human being rather than just hiding behind a screen.”

Camp Gladiator is nationwide with camps in the East Texas area including in the cities of Palestine, Frankston, Athens, the Tyler area and all over.

“Once you are signed up at one location, you can attend one anywhere,” Carter said.

Next on Carter’s radar is to expand to Elkhart and eventually to Houston County.

“Our goal is to bridge the gap between the Houston area and the East Texas area,” Carter said. “As we get more trainers we will have even more locations and hope to have one every single morning, mid-morning and evening.”

Camp Gladiator started more than 10 years ago in Texas, with its headquarters located in Austin.

“Justin and Ally Davidson are the founders. She won American Gladiators (in 2008) and from that she formed Camp Gladiator,” Carter said.

Camp Gladiator also has a non-profit kids Christian camp.

It’s not uncommon for Camp Gladiator campers to pray at the end of each workout.

“From headquarters down, our number one company value is honor God and serve others. We try to do that constantly. Our mission is what drives us – to impact physical fitness and ultimately the lives of as many people as possible,” Carter said.

For more information about Camp Gladiator camps or if you are a certified personal trainer interested in a career, call Carter at 903-316-5375 or visit campgladiator.com.

Southside Baptist Church is located at 1500 Crockett Road in Palestine. Court Drive Church of Christ is located at 1434 Court Dr. in Palestine.