Switching trainers was a difficult move, but a necessary one for all parties involved. I’m now training with Renee Byrd, the head trainer for Camp Gladiators (CG) in Waxahachie.  

Byrd is enthusiastic, passionate and an in your face type of trainer. The word quit is nowhere in her vocabulary, nor does she allow any of her clients to use the word.

As I spent my first official evening in group training on Monday night, the word quit kept going over and over in my mind, but I refused to allow it to come out of my mouth. There were times I thought, “This lady is trying to kill me. Working out with her is going to be the death of me.”

But as I was training with about 19 other people, I had flashbacks of my high school and college days. As an athlete, I was surrounded by strength training coaches who were a lot like Byrd. They never allowed anyone to quit because they knew the hard work would pay off in the end. They also knew if we were surrounded and training with other athletes, we could encourage and hold each other accountable.

In talking with Byrd about the importance of group training, she began to spell out the advantages that come from exercising with others.

“There are many awesome benefits of group exercise,” Byrd said. “You receive encouragement, motivation and there is an overall support system of having a buddy.”

As she continued, Byrd expressed that while those components were important, the most beneficial key to group exercise is accountability. She used my participation with the group Monday night as an example.

“For example at tonight’s workout, we had individuals who came out and participated in this for the very first time in their life,” she said. “They didn’t know anybody. But they came out here with individual goals, and they went home with a CG family. They are now involved in a community where everyone has the same common goal.”

Byrd said that is what group exercise does for a person. She said it gets people out of the normal exercise environment and puts them into a phenomenal setting of success.

She said the other thing you’re going to find is if you’re new to group fitness, or new to exercise in general, you might not have access to a personal trainer. She advises you to seek out the help of a personal trainer. If that’s not affordable to you, look for a group exercise program that’s run by a personal trainer. She said that way you’re getting the tools you need to be successful. Also, you’re getting the proper form, technique and the proper nutrition all at a cost that you can afford.

I’m really looking forward to training with Byrd. In addition to being the lead trainer for CG, she is also the founder of the nonprofit organization Take It Off For Life. She is a certified personal trainer, certified nutrition consultant, and a certified sports conditioning specialist.

Like I said before, training with her is going to be a grueling process, and I may feel the need to vomit during some workouts. But in the end it’s all going to be worth it because our goal is to encourage Waxahachie to get healthy, and to realize a gym setting is not always conducive to your needs.

During this column, Byrd and I are going to get you moving by talking about and demonstrating exercises that you can do anywhere. We’re also going to provide nutritional facts that will aid in your fitness training. In addition to that, you will be able to email questions to Byrd that she will answer in the column.

This column is not all about me, but it’s about seeing lives change in Waxahachie and Ellis County through the power of exercise.

About Renee Byrd

Renee Byrd has been involved in the fitness industry for nearly 10 years. She juggles her time between her family, clients, her non-profit program, her full time job, horseback riding and homeschooling her children. When asked how she handles it all, she said, “I just take it all in, it’s an absolute blessing to do what I do.” Byrd gets up at 3:15 a.m. each morning and begins wrapping up her day around 9:30 p.m. each evening. “I’m surrounded by positive energy and people that need and care about me. There’s nothing considered work about encouraging, motivating and giving back to others.”

Camp Gladiator called Byrd in her hometown, nearly two years ago requesting that she attend one of their sessions and meet Ally Davidson in Austin at the CG Academy. After leaving the academy she was invited to be a head trainer in Waxahachie. Trainers are required to try out, complete an internship and attend the three-day academy, which included 12 bootcamp sessions and a final audition in Austin with over 100 campers. While Byrd admits she had never endured something so difficult, it was all worth it. Shortly after being invited as a trainer for CG, she was contacted by the producers of the Biggest Loser where they attended her workout session in Waxahachie. At the conclusion of the session, the producers told her participants she was one of the only two trainers selected in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for interviews, which was at that time to replace Jillian Michaels. Although she felt complimented, Byrd admitted she only chose to meet with the producers because she promised her clients she would. “I love the clients in my life and I’m not sure I could leave leave for eight months out of the year not knowing what they were home doing,” Byrd said.

Byrd loves what she does and admits that her clients have to want results more than she wants it for them and that’s very difficult to do.

To reach Renee Byrd or if you have fitness questions, contact her at 972-741-1271 or renee@campgladiator.com. Her responses will be posted in next week’s Fit for Thought column, which appears in the Wednesday edition of the Daily Light.

Melissa Cade is a journalist for Waxahachie Newspapers Inc. Follow her on Facebook.com/MelissaCadeWDL. Contact her at 469-517-1450 or melissa.cade@wninews.com.