AUBURN | Jamie Swagler knows that having fun on a Friday night doesn’t need to hinge on drinking alcohol.
But to prove that to Auburn, Swagler decided it was time for a demonstration.
Inside Swagler Strength & Performance’s fitness center Friday evening, the trainer invited more than a dozen men and women to participate in an hour-long competition that showcased the power of strength training.
Before the men and women stepped onto a long, horizontal patch of green turf to test their endurance skills, Swagler gave them instructions for the first A-Town Throwdown.
“We’ve got one person doing burpees (similar to squat thrusts), the other person doing jump rope,” he said to the teams.
Then, he said, a third person would need to serve as the team’s repetition counter.
“Be critical,” Swagler told the counters. “Every rep counts.”
After stretching out and limbering up their bodies, the participants were ready to work. One team member poised themselves to jump to the floor, while the other grabbed hold of inches-thick jump ropes.
Then, with a cue from a counting machine, they snapped into action.
With fluid motions nearly in time with the bass-heavy music blasting from speakers, the teams began simultaneously jumping rope and doing squat thrusts, trying to squeeze in as many repetitions as possible before their 20 seconds were up.
With another beeping signal from the machine, they stopped, switched teams and repeated the competition again.
Taking a break from yelling words of encouragement to the A-Town Throwdown’s participants, Swagler explained that he originally envisioned holding the event in his fitness center’s parking lot.
“The original idea was to do it outside and make it a real tough event,” he said.
But due to slick roads and persistent snow, Swagler said he decided to hold the competition indoors. Despite the change in plans, he said he thought the event successfully conveyed his message.
“Something positive to do on a Friday night,” Swagler said.
Danielle Collier, an Auburn woman who enjoys strength training, said she was glad she participated in the A-Town Throwdown.
“My buddies were doing it, so I decided to come out with them,” she said.
After participating in the challenge, Collier said she looked forward to competing again at Swagler Strength & Performance.
“Good. Great,” she said of the competition. “I definitely would come back to the ones he does in the future.”
After the participants completed the jump rope and burpee challenge, they grabbed a barbell and two 25-pound weights. At the starting beep, they began to lift.
“It really is a competition against yourself,” Swagler said, watching the participants work. “It’s great to see and inspiring to see so many people willing to take care of themselves.”
Swagler said he plans to host one A-Town Throwdown each month to continue giving the community a chance to participate in a positive, productive activity.
And with luck, Swagler said that desire to test and take care of their bodies will trickle into participants’ daily lives.
“So many people go into a gym and think it’s just machines,” he said. “There’s so many ways to get creative with your workout.”