Looking for a different workout? Strength Camp Maryland in Hagerstown might be for you
Andre Johnson, co-owner of Strength Camp Maryland in Hagerstown, knows all too well about the struggles to be healthy.
In 2013, Johnson was tipping the scales at 300 pounds and knew he needed to make a lifestyle change.
“The hardest part was getting up consistently and getting to the gym. At that time, I was getting to the gym at 5:30, 6 o’clock,” he said. “The first time I hopped on the scale and it had been a week or two and I didn’t see the scale go down, then have to go back to the gym, (and) then go to the gym, and continue to grind. When you’re at 300 and you’ve made it to 260 you’ve made it a good distance but how do you continue to keep your eye on that goal? That was the hardest part for me because that’s when it gets tough - when you’ve made it halfway to your goal, then you have to continue to go on, and you’re not making progress and you have to continue to work and work and work. I hope that’s what the Strength Camp can provide to people, that support for when times get tough, we’re here.”
Opening its doors in 2018, Strength Camp is situated in South End Shopping Center and differs from a traditional gym.
“Strength Camp is a gym that specializes in hourlong classes. We have structured strength conditioning classes that consist of four phases,” said Johnson, who co-owns the facility with Rahsaan Powell.
The flexibility mobility phase is what is called the structure phase. The strength phase is a resistance training that uses fitness training modalities that Johnson said “makes sure the muscle is confused and continues to grow and that way you gain lean muscle.” And the fourth mode is the speed phase, which is dynamic conditioning combined with cardiovascular training.
Johnson, who moved from Baltimore to Hagerstown nearly 10 years ago, has a degree in accounting and has spent most of his career working in accounting, finance and computer coding.
But the sedentary lifestyle wasn’t helping his health, that’s when he first decided to first go to the gym, eventually he got himself down to a lean 185 pounds.
“That journey of being involved, working out on a regular basis, knowing what it takes to not only lose the weight but to maintain the weight, not just the physical things, but the mental things you have to do is one of the reasons I wanted to bring this to Hagerstown and to this service to this area,” he said.
Strength Camp offers three classes during the morning, the first at 6 a.m., then three in the evening, the first starting at 5 p.m.
The 60-minute class starts first with a dynamics workshop, which Johnson said “is related to workout that we’re going to do for the day.”
“If we’re going to do an upper body lift, we’re going to do a lot of flexibility or mobility in your upper body. Or if we’re going to do a lower body, we’re doing to a lot of flexability or mobility in your lower body,” he explained.
Next in the workout is strength training. And the last 20 minutes of the workout is a dynamic cardiovascular circuit, which Johnson said “is really going to get your heart pumping, really get the fat loss going and improve your cardiovascular health.”
Johnson said Strength Camp is for “everyone who is physically able to work out.”
From middle-schoolers to stay-at-home-moms to college-level athletes, Johnson said the camp program adapts to the person’s individual needs.
“If you’ve never worked out before and you’ve never done a squat, we’re going to show you how to squat. If you’ve squatted for years at another gym and you really want to go to take your squats to the next level, we’re here to help you take it to the next level and add that programming that you might not have been able to do on your own,” he said. “Wherever you are, we can help you.”
And for those who are still debating if they should make that first step, Johnson encourages them to try.
“I want to say you can do it, but will you do it? All you have to do is make the effort to come in and we take care of the rest,” he said.
But for Johnson who said he’s a part of the community himself as well as his family, he wants the Strength Camp to be a way to give back.
My hope is to be a gift to Hagerstown — to help people truly transform their lives,” he said.
Top photo: Strength Camp Maryland co-owners Andre Johnson, left, and Rahsaan Powell operate the gym in Hagerstown’s South End Shopping Center. (Photo by Crystal Schelle)
Strength Camp Maryland is at 1057 Maryland Ave., Hagerstown. All fitness levels welcome. Call 240-513-6385 or find Strength Camp Maryland on Facebook.