For the past six months I have been telling everyone that I have the best personal trainer anyone could ask for. And now Camp Gladiator has backed me up by awarding Renee Byrd the Heart of a Gladiator award this past weekend at the annual planning meeting.

As she reflected on that moment she talked about how it’s one she’ll never forget.

“That moment for me was absolutely priceless,” Byrd said. “I mean, to hear the way Ally (Davidson the owner) described the type of trainer that receives the Heart of a Gladiator award … you’re thinking, wow the person that she’s about to call up is so inspiring.”

However, Byrd said the more Davidson spoke, the more she sent chills across the room.

“She began reading off a quote that someone had given her about the recipient and I was thinking ‘Wow, how inspiring.’ But when she said, the Heart of a Gladiator award goes to Waxahachie’s Renee Byrd, my heart just literally filled with love.”

As Byrd was sitting there surrounded by what she considers 200 of the best trainers in the nation, she said the room erupted with clapping and words of encouragement. And time seemed to stand still.

“To see all of them jump to their feet cheering for what seemed like forever was one of the most amazing moments of my life,” she said.

Byrd said to know that the two most successful people in their industry believes that she has the characteristics it takes to have the heart of a gladiator goes without words.

“It’s more than an honor, it’s a moment that I will hold onto forever,” Byrd expressed.

She added that if you know the Davidsons, then you understand their desire to change lives around the world.  

“They’ve set a strong foundation of leadership, teamwork and community,” Byrd stated. “They believe that just living is not enough; we have to live with a purpose and at the end of our road, we should have the desire to not just leave this life, but leave it with a legacy.”

Byrd articulated that when she thinks about the Heart of a Gladiator award, she thinks about changing lives, being “all in” when it comes to their purpose, and working endless hours to make a positive impact on the lives of others simply because it’s the right thing to do.

“It’s about giving back to your community, helping others find their own purpose and being a mentor to other trainers,” she said. “At the end of the day it’s about commitment to our purpose and those involved in our journey.”

Receiving this award and knowing what it stands for has made a huge impact on Byrd in many ways.  

“I’ve always felt that the labor I put in each day and night is part of God’s purpose for my life,” she said. “I believe he has me exactly where he needs me. People often tell me I need to sleep and rest more, but I can’t convince myself to do it.”

“When something is truly worth doing, you can expect it to be hard,” she said. “In fact, it may feel as if it’s impossible at times. Again, that’s when you know it’s all worth it.”

From the trainer’s perspective, Byrd explained that the award makes her want to do even more, continue to grow as a person and be the absolute best she can be.

Byrd is not only a trainer, but she is a boss and mentor to several other CG trainers. She said as a region director, it is her hope that her trainers define their own “why” of their mission.

“Defining your “why” establishes your core vision in life,” she said. “I heard this past weekend that where there is no vision, people perish. If my trainers can define their “why”, they are planting their seeds to become even greater leaders in our communities and in their own lives.”

She said when it comes to their own vision and the vision of CG, she simply wants them to go into 2013, “all in.”

Several of the trainers under her leadership also commented about what it meant to them for Byrd to win this prestigious award.

“I feel so blessed to be under someone like her,” Shane Wigley, a trainer in Ennis said. “I’m in awe to be able to learn under the top trainer in our profession.”

He said that Byrd has taught him the importance of always focusing on helping others, and desiring to see people change for the better.

Brittany Martin is a trainer in Red Oak and also serves under Byrd. She said having Byrd as not only a mentor, but as her regional director is amazing.

“Her energy is contagious,” Martin said. “And with all of her motivation and inspiration 2013 is sure to be a very exciting year. Good things (are) coming.”

The passion that Byrd displays as a trainer is very rare. Her dedication and her motivation to all of her clients moves me. And I asked her to explain to me why she is so passionate about CG and training.

“When Camp Gladiator called me over two years ago and they shared their mission with me, it was confirmation that CG is where I needed to be,” Byrd said. “Since that day, God has confirmed it over and over again.”

“From a trainer standpoint, CG is built on faith, love, community, teamwork and having a positive mindset in life,” she said. “They build you up and teach you to never be afraid to fail. In fact, failure can be a good thing because that means you’re in the game, you’re trying to reach goals. You can’t make mistakes from the sidelines that’s for sure.”

She said from a community standpoint, CG is simply about changing lives in a great way.

“They have a heart of gold and a strong desire to help others,” she explained. “If you are apart of CG, whether you’re a trainer or a camper, you are a part of something great. You learn to believe in yourself, support those around you and your labor always benefits others before yourself.”

“CG is not about CG and it’s more than 60 minutes of amazing workouts. It’s about changing your life and the lives around you,” Byrd indicated. “I don’t know why any trainer would want to be anywhere else.”

After reading this column, you guys should be able to see exactly why I’m thankful to have Byrd as my trainer. And when I asked the Lord to provide me with a trainer, he not only met my request, but he gave me the best of the best.

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@waxahachietx.com.