Inspired Personal Training and Group Fitness: Body Balance 2020 Spartan Team

three group fitness friends and their personal trainer after a Spartan race

The Body Balance Spartan team (L-R, Jason, John, Joel, Dee)

Body Balance has, for over 20 years, been a hub of group fitness, personal training, community building, and overall wellness. And now, we’re getting out of gym and becoming Spartans!

For many years now, Body Balance has inspired clients and friends to use their fitness to participate in local running and obstacle course events, like the Tough Mudder.

Last year, four brave souls decided to up the commitment: Body Balance co-owner and head personal trainer John Perez, and clients-turned-teammates Dee Dannelly, Joel Traurig, and Jason Weinstein. This quartet set their sights on three Spartan races.

Spartan, What?

Spartan races are events that feature a variety of challenging obstacles—laid out along a course—that require strength, endurance, balance, technique, and oftentimes, teamwork. Participants climb ropes, throw javelins, crawl under barbed wire, and traverse monkey bars, among other strenuous activities.

What if you miss an obstacle? Not to worry: you can skip any obstacle and instead do 30 burpees, those not-so-beloved “get down and do a push up, then stand up and jump for the sky” full-body burners.

The course itself is several miles long—the distance varies from race to race—and the aim is to finish as fast as possible: that means a lot of running, too. Some events are over 10 miles long!

The thrill of reaching the finish!

2019: A Year of Success and Discovery

Each of the team members came to these Spartans fueled by different motivations: Joel had been looking to gain fitness after some injuries, and, now in his 60s, he recognized the importance of pursuing physical challenges as he gets older.

In 2017, he tried a short Rugged Maniac—another obstacle course event—“just for fun.” And when Jason enthusiastically chimed up afterward with “Let’s do something harder,” John immediately reacted with, “Sure!”

John had also been dabbling in other obstacle course events, but hadn’t been doing any of them consistently. He was inspired to have a group to be accountable to so that he would be more consistent in his training and racing. For Dee, she wanted something more than a gym routine; she wanted a reason to be doing all those reps. John concurs: “This gives me purpose.”

The team completed their three Spartan events last year, starting and finishing together, and bonded through their shared experiences. So in addition to their fulfilling their individual goals, they all experienced the power of working with others. Or as John says, a big part of the experience that they value is the strengthening the “Three Cs”: “Camaraderie, community, and self-confidence.”

Dee says she didn’t anticipate how important the team aspect of this adventure would be to her, and this is now a prime motivator behind her commitments to these events. And this is after she experienced third-degree rope burns on her hands at the beginning of one of the 2019 events: her team helped her bandage up her wounds, and they all finished together, as always.

“Never underestimate the power of a team,” she says. “That’s one thing I’ve learned.”

Dee sums up the team experience: “This team is like family.” The rest of the members agrees. “I do it because I love these guys,” adds John.

In addition to experiencing the power of a unified team and an empowered commitment to physical fitness, these Spartans have found other meaningful benefits in this journey:

  • Better leadership skills
  • More interest in an overall healthier lifestyle
  • Desire for a more nutritious diet
  • Learning how to push limits and overcome fears
  • Greater emotional and psychological strength
  • Ability to overcome physical challenges
  • Greater mental acuity
  • Learning what it means to be a good teammate

Fresh off their rewarding three-race 2019 season, this united team has committed to five races in 2020.

Are You Motivated to Be a Spartan?

Does this have you thinking, Maybe I want to give this a try? The Body Balance team says, “Go for it!”

Dee advises to “take your training seriously” if you’re planning on participating in a Spartan race. The more prepared you are, the more fun you’re going to have . . . and the fewer burpees you’ll have to do!

Being prepared is solid advise. But, too, there’s no need to overthink things. “Just try it!” says Joel. “Make it your own and have fun.” Yes, he admits that doing all those burpees is not awesome, but you’ll learn your limits. And then you’ll have something to work toward.

You’ll also find help on the course. If there was one resounding message that all of these team members emphasized, it’s this: Spartan racers help their fellow competitors. Yes, it’s a race, but the overall community support is very strong.

The Body Balance Spartan team always welcomes questions and is happy to help motivate all-comers to join in the obstacle race fun. Ramp up the inspiration for your commitment to personal training and group fitness by overcoming your obstacles.

Cherie Turner

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