Smiley who??

 

Here's a 'little' story of me, my passion for sports and OCR, how I became Spartan SMILEY :D and how GABE finally came to be.

Starting my sporty life off with baton twirling at the age of 6, and competitions from the age of 10, I can barely imagine my life without competing. Having parted with twirling and teaching it after 20 odd years, it was time for something new. Having tried some other sports over the years, like volleyball, streetdance and soccer, Bootcamp and B-kick (pretty much the exact opposite of being dressed up and fancy for 3 minutes of twirling) was what I landed on and what led me to finding my ultimate passion; OCR (Obstacle Course Racing)...


When someone first told me about Obstacle Racing in 2013, I thought it would be way out of my league. Even though I knew I was fit, back then it was still a very unfamiliar sport and as far as I knew, it was only military soldiers participating. So, me, signing up for that seemed... kinda crazy. BUT, as I hadn't competed in a while it wasn't hard for them to persuade me to 'just try it', being promised that I wouldn't regret it. And, well... Weren't they right about that!

 

Tasting the OCR vibes made me fall flat on my face in love with it! Not only challenging yourself in so many ways, physically and mentally, but also because of the community. It's just the best out there! <3

From then on, the passion only grew stronger. When OCR introduced their first 'overall' World Championships in 2014 (in the USA), and I got a chance to qualify, of course I went for it 100%! To this day, it's one of the most amazing races I have taken part in. 

I have managed to qualify every year since then, and participated in 2016 in Canada and 2018 in the UK.

My favorite race is still Spartan Race, and the past years I have traveled all over Europe for them. It's a more 'classic' type of race, where it's less technical, it is more about a human's primal strength and long carries over amazing and heavy surroundings. (talk about mental challenge!)
I will never get enough of that!

Also why I am proud to be an official Spartan Race Global Brand Ambassador :)

My latest craze has to be the Spartan Endurance events. Events lasting 4, 12 or 24 hours, being challenged as teams or solo, with all kinds of tasks and time hacks.

One of these is also where I got my nickname 'Smiley' :)

People have often asked me how the h*ll it is possible to be smiling in ALL those muddy, tough, and mad circumstances at those races?!

Smile after smile carrying heavy sandbags, chains, swinging from rigs, crawling through mud or rolling through snow...
H3X in Sparta was the ultimate 24 hour Smiley event!

It was by far the HARDEST thing I have done, but I enjoyed every single second of it!!

Something the Krypteia (leaders) noticed from the moment I got there (04.30AM), so I was called 'Smiley' throughout the entire 24 hours!

GABRIEL 
      'SMILEY'
              BARTELS

​Loving the sport that is OCR, I am now experiencing life in a different way. It is such a complete and challenging way of putting yourself to the test.
Pushing limits, being in a more positive mindset, evolving (no matter what age you are), living all the experiences, the good ones AND the bad ones. It has opened my eyes, my mind and my heart.

Having doubted my path when I was younger, I was starting to realize that this was what I needed to be doing, but as a job. 

It still took me a couple of years before that realisation became a reality.

After teaching both Bootcamp and Bkick at my gym, organizing a succesful Obstacle Race (Battle of Maestricht) in my hometown twice, and meeting the right people at the right time, I took up fitness courses to expand my knowledge, and now I am ready to spread that feeling and fitness amongst you all!

Looking for a name for my business was easy.

Obviously you want it to represent you, what you do, and how you do it. 
I decided on one of many of my nicknames, representing the focus and motivation of my company, my training and well... LIFE!

GRIT; having passion, courage and perseverance to get to what you want to achieve.
AGILITY; the ability to move quick and easily, but also in the literal sense to learn to  think on your feet.

BALANCE; a strong core to keep you from falling over, but also the state of balance between body and mind.

ENDURANCE; the capacity to endure certain unpleasant or tough circumstances (or exersizes) for an unknown period of time.

I cannot wait to show people that we humans can do so, SO much more than we think!

And to make GABE a reflection of all that it stands for; 

Hope to see you soon! 

#sufferwithasmile

Starstruck after H3X Sparta '18 with Spartan (endurance) legends Mark, David, en David and Spartan CEO Joe De Sena