The Camp 10 by Zeus in Kalamata, Greece is such an exceptional fitness facility with expert coaches. The format and their approach is ahead of the curve, not just in terms of paying attention to functional movement, but clearly implementing it with GROUPS, which I’ve never seen any studio or gym appropriately implement before.
I had an incredible time with my friend here, Ιωαννης Παπανικολος, discussing methodology and meeting his team. Frankly, I wish I could’ve organized the trip such that I made it here more of the days; and it’ll definitely be a centerpiece of future visits.
In 2003 I was in Greece for 3-4 months, but was so busy studying 10+ hours a day that I didn’t pay much attention to the fitness scene. At that point, gyms and training in that country were primarily for high level athletes. There were the occasional gyms in Athens, but basically no locations for the layperson. In 2006, it was still very much the same. I certainly didn’t find much worth visiting. 2009, I remember finding next-to-nothing in the guidebook. The nicest gym we visited that year was an opulent one in our palatial hotel in Cairo, Egypt. In 2014, it was apparent a lot had changed (WiFi everywhere, even in remote villages, for one). CrossFit gyms came up in searches in a lot of major cities. Now, I would argue that some places in Greece are surging ahead of the American fitness scene.
"Ahead of the US fitness scene?", you may ask. Yes. Most fitness spaces in the US are holding onto an outdated member access model (ie - pay your monthly subscription and then don't even show up) or defunct group training model (ie - pay per class, for packages, or for unlimited monthly classes, and then learn nothing about human movement) which yields no results and is just hurting people left and right. At least twice per week I get inquiries from COACHES at boutique and warehouse gyms on how they can fix their own programming or stop injuring themselves. Meanwhile, these guys in Kalamata at The Camp 10 by Zeus are creating a private studio format which takes injury-prevention incredibly serious, and places functional movement screens at the start of their programming, while posting placards on the walls with reminders of what is appropriate for each skill level of client. I can’t say enough good things about them. And I’m excited to see how they expand and influence others.
I'd also add that in the past 10 years it's become less uncommon for peers of mine to look at corrective exercise or athletic training workshops overseas. It might've been considered more of a novelty or even "weird" to attend a CEC or CEU conference in Europe 15 yers ago; but even booking a trip to Asia or Australia for continuing education nowadays might be par for the course depending on the specialty of the coach. The fitness innovation and sensible athletic education going on in other parts of the world makes most of our standard models and even novel boutique franchises look quaint. Frankly, for the enhanced competitive athlete, most countries other than the US afford them the best landscape for their training and supplementation. It's not rare to see some of the fitness influencers camp out in the United Arab Emirates for months at a time to train. Even the layperson looking to address sarcopenia has a better chance troubleshooting their condition just walking into gyms and pharmacies in Thailand than at rigorous medical appointments at highly rated clinics in the US. Keep an eye out, because some of the best ideas are coming from the international community.