If you are walking around Downtown Raleigh you might notice a group of energetic people engaging in fun, fit community, boot camp type workouts called fit camps. What you might not realize at the time is these workouts are free to the public. Wait, so how are workouts free? “There are no contracts, and there are no fees. They can come and go as they want, there’s definitely no pressure,” noted Nourish Raleigh Owner, Chuck Belden.
Along with his wife Brook, and their friends Lauren Strohofer, and Jason Long they opened the Nourish Raleigh Nutrition Club in the heart of Seaboard Station on the north end of Downtown Raleigh with the vision to promote healthy living in downtown Raleigh. Two years ago, they started their very first fit camp in April, 2013. What started out with just 20 people grew to nearly 200 over time. After a short hiatus, their fit camps will be back in full gear on Tuesdays, September 15th at 5:45 PM.
Now there has been a lot of community workouts usually boot camps tied in with gyms, there’s Camp Gladiator, but what’s unique about this is it is open to the entire community, and it’s free. Where in this day and age can you go for a free workout? Look no further than the folks at Nourish Raleigh for the answer. “The fit camp is about a free community workout that brings people together, but so much more takes place in that workout. We talk about nutrition, we give education on nutrition, we workout in the community, we do a piece on personal development, to help all of us become better community members,” noted Chuck Belden. What I found unique about Nourish Raleigh was immediately when you walk in the club, on the wall painted is the true definition of nourish, which ties into their goal. That is to supply what is necessary for life, health, and growth. To strengthen, build up, & promote.
Surprisingly these are go at your own pace, your own level and type of workouts without the strenuous pressure you might have with a personal trainer at the gym. “What we want to offer is a free service to the community that’s moving and adding to our downtown area. It’s not about a workout, or having a personal trainer in town. It’s more about getting healthy and working together. There’s something here for everybody. From someone that is just starting a fitness journey, to very advanced high level athletes; children are welcome with their parents, and we got a spot for everybody,” Belden stated on the whole emphasis and uniqueness of Nourish Fit Camps.
If you happen to have relocated, and are brand new to the Triangle, then this is the place for you to meet others, and stay healthy and active. Belden also mentioned the benefits that come with that. “A lot of people new to the Triangle join fit camp as a networking opportunity to meet new people, and get to know the area. We often will have our fit camps to show off the areas downtown that a lot of people might not normally get the opportunity to see. Workouts will sometimes take place at Seaboard Station, as well as in the different community areas, and parks downtown. Sometimes we’ll go for a run, and walk depending on the different campuses downtown.”
The workouts vary from one time to the next. While no one is obligated to return, they just might be missing out, not knowing what’s in store next time around. “Our workouts range from full metabolic training, activities to get your heart rate up, burning body fat, adding lean muscle, high intensity workouts, sometimes relay races, and sometimes we’ll play a game of dodge ball. We’ve also done different things like adult blob tag, boot camp style workout, team events, and scavenger hunts. I mean really so many different types of workouts while you are having a good time, you’re sweating, you may not even realize it because you are out there just having a blast!” emphasized Chuck Belden on what these fit camps signify.
The variety of these workouts is vital because they give participants a sense of belonging and being a part of something much bigger than just themselves. “The workout is a small piece of it. It’s a community of high fives and hugs. When people come in they feel a part of something, and they are encouraged. They’ll promote it, and it’s not somebody coming in and yelling at you to do two more repetitions. Every fit camp ends with a group cheer, and then personal development. For things to change, we have to change as people, and we have to get better our own selves. When we work together, there is something special and magical about the fit camp,” exclaimed Chuck Belden on the joys of the business.
Owner Chuck Belden currently holds a degree in Exercise Science from Ithaca College, and lettered all 4 years of varsity lacrosse. After being a personal trainer for many years, he now focuses on the nutrition aspect. “We are called wellness coaches. We help educate and coach people on nutrition and healthy living in general. Really, what it comes down to for results is 80% nutrition, and 20% exercise. You might be surprised on where the inspiration and motivation comes from.“ With over 70% of the population overweight, and over 60% of adult males obese, there’s room to grow. Chuck lost 50 pounds himself, and now wants to help other people in the same way. “I want to help others, and impact the community in the same way. I want to be around a long time to change my family tree, so the people that come along after me have an opportunity to live a long, healthy, and active lifestyle right here in our backyard. I also want to help Raleigh be one of the fittest cities in America”, he stated on the type of legacy he wants to leave.
When asked about the growth of these fit camps throughout Downtown Raleigh and Wake County he mentioned, “Our plan for growth is a big one. It’s great to be downtown, in the center of it all, but we hope to see fit camps open throughout the triangle, and in the surrounding counties. There is definitely a demand for it, and there’s no better time than right now.”