On Wednesday, November 8th, 2017, I attended the Get Fit Toledo: Spartan Community Workout in Toledo, Ohio. It was here that Spartan Race CEO and founder Joe De Sena challenged over 70 men and women to abandon their Wednesday night routine of watching reruns on their couch, and to instead, come together, get sweaty and “Spartan Up”!

Members of the Toledo area community run in place between sets of burpees – photo by Emily Dammeyer

The community workout took place at the Huntington Center in downtown Toledo where participants arrived and visited with local area health and wellness vendors, before making their way towards the workout floor. Speaking of the floor, the Huntington Center is home to the Toledo Walleye hockey team, so that said, the arena is typically an ice rink. The ice was covered by a false floor, but none the less gave the arena and participants a cold chill that we were thankful for mid-workout when our heart rates were up and the sweat started pouring.

De Sena demonstrates and leads group stretches prior to the workout – photo by Coleen McManus

The workout was led by De Sena himself along with two experienced Spartan racers and delivered nonstop movements for 60 minutes. It encompassed cardio, strength and endurance skills with moves including jumping jacks, squats, bear crawls, running stadium stairs, windshield wiper abs, high knees, and continual running in place. Oh, and 100 burpees!

De Sena and his team kept participants engaged by counting reps as a group, and by using the classic AC/DC hit song “Thunderstruck” to time out sets of burpees. That is, every time the word ‘thunder’ was sung, we did a burpee. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that I felt the effects of those burpees for days following the event, and one thing I know for certain is I'll never listen to “Thunderstruck” the same again.

Participants complete burpees as a group – photo by Emily Dammeyer

Overall, De Sena and his team gave a workout experience to remember and catered well to challenge Spartans of all fitness levels.

I would like to extend a thank you to EPIC Toledo for hosting this event, as well as to Joe De Sena and Spartan Race for sharing a passion for fitness, for an amazing workout, and for ripping us off the couch that Wednesday evening! Thanks to this community workout, I was able to connect with local area Spartans and left feeling inspired and excited to incorporate some of the evenings’ body weight moves and stretches into my own training.

Following the workout, De Sena spoke at the EPIC Toledo Leadership Summit inspiring the areas emerging leaders to adopt the ‘Spartan way of life'.  De Sena's message to persist, be relentless and adopt grit inspired attendees to better their leadership abilities and personal development; a message that certainly rings true in the realm of fitness and physical health as well.

My takeaway from the event is this: interact with your community, get ‘gritty' in your mind and body, and most importantly…do your burpees!


Meeting the legend himself, Joe De Sena, following the community workout

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