When you enter a Soldierfit class, you become a member of the armed forces — even if just for an hour.
The military-inspired class takes members through a circuit of exercises that may include running with a weighted pack on your shoulders, much as soldiers do in combat. Or you may be crawling across the floor, keeping as low to the ground as possible to avoid being shot in the buns by an imaginary stray bullet.
Your instructor may even shout HOOOOOAAAAH! to get you motivated.
Soldierfit is the brainchild of — you guessed it — two former military buddies and their friend.
The instructors, called Soldierfit Officers, wear black hats, just like Army Airborne trainers, as they guide participants through exercises. The soldiers, or those working out, wear black shirts with dog tags printed on them.
Co-owner Daniel Holmes said instructors aren't as tough as real drill sergeants. But he promises a challenging workout.
"We don't yell, but that doesn't mean we're easy on you," Holmes said.
The company started with just 35 members in Gaithersburg in 2010. It now has more than 2,000 members at several locations.
Soldierfit recently opened a location in Reisterstown and plans to expand in the Baltimore area, with locations scheduled to open in Canton and Columbia by the end of the year. Members who sign up for 12 months pay $59 a month for unlimited classes, plus a $99 initiation fee. For those who would rather go month to month, the initiation fee is the same but the monthly fee is $99.
At a recent class, members sweated through an hourlong session that included squats against a tire and ended with a round of push-ups.
Ray Waddell has lost 35 pounds doing Soldierfit, and he's such a fan he got the company logo tattooed on his back.
The 42-year-old farmer said the variation in the classes keeps him motivated.
"You definitely get a workout," he said after a session at the Reisterstown location. "It works."