Fitness Check-in: IronWolf Training

Posted on October 10, 2014 by


Two days ago, I walked into IronWolf Training with my head held high, ready to embrace the “pack mentality” and iron spirit at Laura Conklin‘s Charlottesville gym. From plyometric step ups, wall sits, and one leg squats to kettle bell swings, ring rows, and one arm cleans, the circuit style class was a butt-whoopin’ served with a side of badassery.

The 5:30 evening class was small, allowing for plenty of personalized feedback and assistance from Laura. It began with The Fuse, a regular warm up that awakens the body as a whole. Next, Laura walked us through the first circuit – legs – and we kicked it into gear. The circuit included six grueling stations and was repeated after a brief, but oh-so-appreciated, water break. The first circuit was followed by a core transition on mats with 50 leg lifts (no biggie!). After the core set, Laura walked us through the next circuit – upper body – of six more grueling stations repeated after a water break. The class wrapped up with an easy-does-it set of 100 bicycle split curls back on the mats. The best part of that? Being horizontal. The worst part? Screaming muscles.

ironwolfsignIronWolf Training as described by Laura, in 10 words or less, is “athletic, functional, high intensity, total body strengthening and firming.”

I couldn’t agree more. I walked out of the class with that familiar feeling of complete physical exhaustion combined with utter pride. I’d survived, and my pounding heart and fatigued muscles were reminding me of just that. Laura was supportive the entire class, offering advice, correcting form, and cheering us on. I may have walked in with my head held high, but I walked out just the same – feeling confident in my valiant effort.

From cubs to wolves, the team mentality at IronWolf Training is strong. If you’re looking for that next push in your workout, stop by to see Laura. You won’t regret it (even if your muscles are sore for days).

Be sure to check out IronWolf’s Survive the City Challenge, an outdoor course challenge and fundraiser for Annie Creasy on Friday, October 17th. Registration has passed, but donations are welcome! Check out IronWolf’s Facebook page for all the details.

ironwolfLaura Conklin

What is IronWolf Training and how is it different from other niche fitness gyms in Cville?

There is a big “pack mentality” at IWT, which causes people to feel like they are really a part of something besides just meeting their personal fitness goals. We hike together, have happy hours together, cookouts, and are beginning a tradition of a yearly fundraiser for someone in the community in need.

How did IronWolf Training get its start?

I’ve been a trainer in the Charlottesville community for about 15 years now, beginning at NGIC, followed by ACAC, and then Clay Fitness. I always knew I wanted my own gym and a few months ago, it felt like the time had come to make that happen and provide the “playground” for my clients who have followed me, as well as for new people to join us.

What is your (fitness) background? How did it lead you to opening IronWolf Training and becoming a personal trainer?

I started out as Health and Phys Ed teacher (9yrs) and coach of basketball and volleyball. Even as a teacher and coach, my focus was in delivering the importance of solid physical training and nutrition. I wanted my students to go to college or the military feeling like they knew what to do in the weight room, or that they were ready to face physical challenges. In my 9th year of teaching, I decided to go through the NSCA to get my certification (CSCS) to be a personal trainer. Shortly after that, a position opened up at NGIC and I jumped. And, I’ve been going strong ever since then fueled by my passion for a strong and healthy lifestyle.

Photo courtesy of Laura Conklin

Photo courtesy of Laura Conklin

Describe a class to a potential client. What’s it all about? What can someone expect?

ironwolf3We spend the first 10:00 of class warming up through various mobility drills. Then expect a full body workout from start to finish. It’s always different so it’s hard to say what to expect other than an incredible workout. Sometimes we do circuits as a group, sometimes we have smaller combinations with a partner, sometimes it’s individual challenges that everyone does together.

What are the benefits of this type of workout?

It’s interval training, so the benefits are weight loss, strength gains, increased endurance, increased lung capacity, faster recovery.

Three classes that showcase the variety available at IronWolf are…

Iron Cardio is the foundation class of IronWolf Training and the most frequently held class.

We also have Outdoor Course Training, which is perfect for anyone who loves to train outside or who likes to take on obstacle course races like Spartan, Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, etc.

I also give small group training classes in Boxing Strength, which provides the client cardio and core work through the boxing and also incorporates weight training.

Which class would you recommend to a newcomer?

Depending on the newcomer’s fitness level, I would either say come to Iron Cardio, or Iron Cardio Lite.

For someone who has never tried out a bootcamp style workout, is IronWolf a good place to start? Why?

Definitely! A lot of bootcamp style workouts have a complete “group” feeling and in that atmosphere, a lot times things get overlooked. However, I make sure to deliver a personal training feel into all my group classes. You will feel the ‘safety’ of people around you, but I will have my eye on each person watching form, offering alternatives to exercises that might not work for an individual, making sure you are doing what is best for you, not just delivering a hard workout.

Photo courtesy of Laura Conklin

Photo courtesy of Laura Conklin

How should someone prepare for a class? How should someone recover from a class?

Make sure to come in well hydrated. So many issues during a workout take place due to dehydration. And, depending on the time of day you take a class, make sure to have some fuel in your body to help give you the energy to take the challenge on.

Recovery…eating a meal with high quality protein and healthy carbs within a half hour to an hour after class would be great! Continue hydrating, and keep moving through the day.

What’s next?

What are you excited about for IronWolf Training this year?

Oct 17th is our fundraiser for Annie Creasy, called “Survive the City”. It will be held 9pm-midnight and 100% of proceeds go to Annie. Test your physical and mental toughness, and your ability to work as a team through this 3 hour FUNDRAISING EVENT. Run the city, face obstacles in the natural environment, and push beyond what you think your limits are. There are no winners, only survivors!

I will be working this fall/winter with Albemarle County Police in delivering advanced fitness training to a special squad in school. I can’t share a lot of info on that yet… kinda on the DL… but very excited about it!

Recently, I qualified for the Spartan Death Race by doing the 12 Hour Hurricane Heat at the Spartan race on Wintergreen. The race will be in June, location has not been announced.

Laura’s Cville Picks

When you’re not at the gym, what are your favorite things to do in and around Charlottesville?

The woods are my playground with my dog… trail running, mountain biking, and recently my dog, Scout, and I learned how to paddle board together.

What’s your favorite spot to grab a bite? A drink?

There are so many great places in Cville depending on my mood! Mono Loco and Beer Run are two of my casual go-to’s.