On some level, a gym is a gym.
There’s the clank of heavy weights, the pumping overhead music, the panting breaths of physical exertion. But at Wolfpack Fitness in Auburn, the weights are bricks and cinder blocks and buckets of rocks. There are no treadmills or mirror-covered walls here. Instead, you’ll see trees, tractor tires and a pond.
Wolfpack Fitness is a distinctively cool outdoor gym. The workouts run year-round — even when it’s snowing and 11 degrees out — and include a men’s lifting night on Mondays, women’s lifting night on Thursdays, and co-ed primal fitness on Sundays. Cost is $5 per class.
Owner Luke Robinson has led classes here for several years. Along the way, he’s created a welcoming and energized community of people who turn up each week to sweat, lift heavy and cheer each other on.
And since Robinson is also an enthusiastic appreciator of Halloween, the workouts get a spookier tilt this time of year. Costumes are encouraged throughout the month, but the good-humored creepiness culminates at 9 a.m. on Sunday, October 30 with the “Blood Splatter Party Primal Playout,” an outdoor workout. Everyone shows up in a white shirt and gets some fake blood splashed onto their persons before class begins, giving the workout a hilariously zombie-esque feel. Robinson sprinkles plenty of Halloween decor around the property, too — skeletons and spiderwebs and disembodied limbs.
The hour-long workouts are run as a circuit. They vary week to week, but Robinson says he makes a point to include movements that incorporate upper body, lower body and core, as well as some stations that’ll get the heart rate up. You’ll squat with cinder blocks, work your back and shoulder with buckets filled with rocks, slam chains into the dirt, and sledgehammer a tire.
And because Wolfpack Fitness is aimed at being accessible to everyone (all ages, all levels) each movement has modifications to suit your level. Robinson moves around the entire time, offering tips on form and accommodations where needed. All the while, there’s the water and the evergreens and the breeze. And a pretty fantastic soundtrack, too.
If your workout routine has felt a little dead lately, a Blood Splatter Party might be just the way to liven it up (the blood might be fake, but the sweat is authentic). And if the crime-scene aesthetic isn’t your style, that’s okay, too. Wolfpack Fitness would love to have you any other week of the year — even when it’s snowing at 11 degrees outside. (Don’t worry, those cinder block squats will warm you up in no time.)
Shannon Bryan is a writer and outdoor enthusiast who lives in South Portland. Find her at shannonkbryan.com.