Dallas/Fort Worth Camp Gladiator trainers held a fitness challenge following the Red Oak White and Blue 5K event Saturday, June 29 at Pearson Park. Renee Byrd along with about seven other trainers set up a challenging course to test the fitness and agility of those participating in the challenge.

A total of nine CG contenders competed in the challenge, five women and four men. The female and a male winner would qualify for the preliminaries of the CG Games, which are scheduled to take place from July 21-Aug. 3.

Winning the women's division was Jennifer Harisis. Harisis said she couldn't believe it, but discovered that she had more in her tank than she thought she did.

“That fitness challenge was great,” Harisis said. “I want to be in great shape, and that was a test to see how far I've come and how far I still have to go.”

She said that challenge pulled everything out of her that she had, and pushed her to the limits.

“I truly had to push myself,” she said. “It wasn't about winning, although that was great, but about competing and placing was truly amazing.”

Looking ahead to the CG Games preliminaries, Harisis said she will take the same approach that she did in preparing for the recent challenge.

“I'm going to continue to go to my workouts at CG and rely very heavily on Byrd to get me ready for the preliminaries,” she said.

Since beginning CG, Harisis said she feels better all the way around. She said having a competitive nature causes her to really give everything she has at every workout, and it has truly paid off.

Byrd said hearing that Harisis had won was totally awesome

“Watching the contenders compete makes me so proud,” Byrd expressed. “But when they place, I get stoked. The inspiration itself came from watching all of the contenders endure the challenge.”

She said the only way to prepare for the preliminaries of the CG Games is CG itself.

As a whole, Byrd said all of the participants in the challenge responded the way she knew they would. “All of the contenders responded with an 'All In' positive mindset,” she said. “As I watched each person compete I kept thinking go big,” Byrd said. “I didn't want to see anyone quit, but I wanted them to sacrifice everything. I just wanted them to be proud of themselves regardless of the outcome.”

She added that the challenge wasn't about her, but it was 100 percent about the contenders.

She said fitness challenges are about reminding her contenders to never settle, never get complacent, and always live outside of their comfort zone, because that's when change happens. Byrd said without a challenge, we as people can never find our weaknesses. If we focus on our strengths, we can't improve.

The fitness course was divided into four grueling and timed stations. The first one was designed by Kevin Dotie the new head trainer in Red Oak. He came up with about 15 exercises that consisted of no more than 80 reps and no less than 10. The station also included burpees and a sprint at the end.

With the sun beaming down, each competitor had to dig deep just to make it through the first round. As soon as they finished he first station, it was time to move directly to the next station. Each contender had to carry three weighted objects, one at a time, to in a duffel bag. They had to place each item in the bag, zip the bag and drag the bag back across the finish line.

Next was the tire flipping contest. Each contestant had to flip the tire, step or jump inside of it, in order for it to count as one rep. They were each given 30 seconds to see how many they could get.

The fourth and final station consisted of tossing sand bells the length of a field, running with a sand bag on their backs around a track and going back to toss the sand bell across the finish line.

To close out the day and end on a fun note, trainers and contenders alike took part in a four way tug of war competition.

A new CG camp began this week, but it's not too late to get signed up. To register online go to www.campgladiator.com. New or previous campers...receive 1/2 off with the Christmas in July Special!

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.