14 Denver workouts that will get you out of a fitness rut — from boxing to barre
We’ve all been there. After hitting the gym regularly for a couple months (thank you, New Year’s resolution!), your dedication starts to wane.
You skip a few days here and there. You start making up reasons for why it’s OK to miss just this one day and go to happy hour instead.
Eventually, you get so busy or you find yourself dreading your workout so much that you stop going altogether. But just because you’re stuck in a fitness rut doesn’t mean you have throw in the (sweat) towel and give up on your exercise goals completely.
“It’s important to realize that getting in a rut is a common experience,” says Brian Gearity, director of the sport coaching program in the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology. “If you find yourself snacking more or eating foods you’d rather not be, or skipping your workouts, or it takes awhile to get yourself up and moving, you might be in a bit of a rut … . If you’re moving, you’re probably going through the motions, rather than being into or dialed into your exercise.”
Start by refocusing your efforts, Gearity suggests. With work, school and family obligations, it can be super challenging to make fitness a priority. Remove any barriers that might be preventing you from exercising (for example, have a packed gym bag ready to go so you’re not struggling with logistics). Plan ahead and identify a block of time you’re going to dedicate to working out.
Gearity’s fitness mantra? Do something you love, or try to love what you do. Find a new workout that gets you jazzed each and every time. Better yet, workout with a friend or find a group to hold you accountable.
“Seek support by reaching out to others — that might be from a group fitness class, asking friends to go for a run, hike or bike ride, or using a meet-up group,” Gearity says.
As far as group fitness goes, there are plenty of options to choose from across Colorado. For inspiration, here are 13 popular workouts to try the next time you find yourself in a fitness rut. While the list is certainly not exhaustive, it can provide some ideas for your next workout slump.
Interval and Strength Training
Jennifer Haney works out at F45 Training in Boulder on Jan. 24, 2018. (Matthew Jonas, Boulder Daily Camera)
F45 launched in Australia in 2012 and has since exploded in popularity, expanding to more than 1,150 locations in 36 countries. The “F” stands for “functional training” and the “45” refers to its 45-minute, high-intensity interval training workouts. No two sessions are the same — F45 uses a database of more than 4,000 exercises to develop its unique strength-training and cardio circuits. “Variety is a core element of a sustainable fitness program,” says Bill Moltner, owner of F45 Central Boulder, who believes you should feel more positive when you walk out of a workout than when you walked in. “When this stops happening consistently, it’s time to switch things up.” F45 displays real-time heart rate data during each workout, so if you’re competitive, you can try to be the hardest-working person in your class. Various Colorado locations, f45training.com
Michelle Fitzgerald (left) Scott Roberts (middle) and D’Arla Mezzacapo (right) use straps as part of their group workout at Orangetheory Fitness in Broomfield in 2013. (Mark Leffingwell, Boulder Daily Camera)
You’ve probably noticed the bright orange Orangetheory logo popping up all over the Denver metro area (and in Fort Collins). Each workout lasts for 60 minutes and incorporates three different elements: strength training, rowing and treadmill work. You’ll exercise in a class-like setting, with coaches moving throughout the room to provide encouragement and help with your form. You can set your own pace, though the workouts are designed to help you reach different heart rate zones (which you’ll track with a heart rate monitor) so you continue to burn calories after you leave. Various Colorado locations, orangetheoryfitness.com.
People workout during a surf inspired fitness class at City Surf on April 3, 2018 in Denver. (RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post)
City Surf Fitness
Yes, we live in a landlocked state. But that doesn’t mean we can’t dream about the open ocean and waves crashing on the beach. Enter City Surf fitness, a surf-inspired high-intensity strength and conditioning workout. If you decide to give one of their classes a try, you’ll complete a majority of the workout on a special stability surfboard, which will test your balance and work all those little muscles you didn’t know existed. Each class is either 30 or 50 minutes long and uses body weight, kettlebells, dumbbells and resistance bands. In addition to giving you a toned body, City Surf’s workouts promise to help you stay injury-free while you’re out doing all the Colorado activities you love, like trail running or skiing. 595 E 19th Ave., Denver, citysurffitness.com.
Here’s another great workout to check out if you’re short on time — and this one got its start in Denver, too. As the name suggests, Fit36 workouts are all just 36 minutes long, but don’t let the short duration fool you into thinking they’re easy. Each workout is a blend of high-intensity interval and resistance training, with 60 seconds of work followed by 30 seconds of rest at 12 different exercise stations. “Lifelong health is a marathon, not magic,” says Fit36 co-rounder Brad Cooley, who recommends setting short-term, attainable goals to get out of a fitness rut. Various Colorado locations, fit36.com.
Cynthia Cottle trains at CrossFit Loop gym on Sept. 28, 2016, in Castle Rock. (Denver Post file)
Though CrossFit has vowed to never become a franchise, there are more than 180 CrossFit gyms in Colorado that are officially recognized by the parent organization. Though each gym is different, the general gist of CrossFit is that you perform a variety of high-intensity, functional movements during each workout. If you’ve ever heard someone say “WOD,” that’s a CrossFit acronym that stands for “workout of the day.” CrossFit also prides itself on creating a friendly, positive environment among its members. “The secret sauce is becoming a part of a community that pushes you to keep getting better,” says Angelo Gala, owner of EDX CrossFit in Lafayette. Various Colorado locations, crossfit.com.
Mackenzie Holm leads a spin class at CycleBar. (Scott Takushi, Pioneer Press)
This indoor cycling studio feels more like a party than a workout class. With the lights turned down low and the music blaring, you almost won’t notice how much your muscles are burning. CycleBar studios offer several different types of classes depending on your goals. The classic 45-minute rides incorporate hill climbs, sprints and even some strength training for your arms, with an instructor guiding your pace and resistance along the way. And cycling isn’t just a leg workout — you’ll also notice your core and your arms getting stronger, too. Worried about needing expensive gear to participate? Cyclebar provides complimentary clip-in cycling shoes. Various Colorado locations, cyclebar.com.
SoulCycle (seen here in Austin) is headed to Denver. (Alli Harvey, Getty Images for Spotify)
Want to workout like Oprah? Of course you do. If you’re curious about spin, another option is SoulCycle, which offers 45-minute indoor cycling workouts choreographed to upbeat playlists. Since launching in New York City in 2006, SoulCycle has since expanded to 82 studios across North America (including one opening soon in Denver) Each workout, which SoulCycle calls “a cardio party,” takes place in a dark, candle-lit room and typically includes a warm-up, hill climbs, sprints, an arm workout and a cool-down. Opening soon at 255 St. Paul St., Denver, soul-cycle.com.
Pure Barre Platform class at Pure Barre in Boulder. (David R. Jennings, Boulder Daily Camera)
Drawing inspiration from ballet, the Pure Barre chain offers total body workouts that promise to give you long, lean muscles and a sculpted, dancer’s physique. Pure Barre started as a local studio in Michigan in 2001 and began expanding in 2009. Now, there are more than 460 locations across the United States and Canada. Fans of Pure Barre swear by the workouts, saying they’ve also noticed improvements in their posture, flexibility and confidence since they joined a studio. Classes are generally 55 minutes and consist of many low-impact movements using a barre, hand weights, resistance bands, balls and more. Pure Barre also offers a higher-intensity class with more jumping and cardio called “Pure Empower.” Various Colorado locations, purebarre.com.
Jane Werle works through a plank exercise at the Bar Move class at The Bar Method in Boulder. (Paul Aiken, Boulder Daily Camera)
The Bar Method
Another dance-inspired fitness chain is The Bar Method, which first launched in San Francisco in 2001. You can visit one of the 118 studios in North America, including three in Colorado. Each workout consists of a warm-up, upper body exercises, core work and a barre sequence designed to tone your legs and glutes. The workout mostly relies on body weight, though instructors sometimes use free weights and balls. There are different classes depending on your experience level and how much cardio you want to do; you’ll sweat for either 45 or 60 minutes. “The ideal workout stimulates the entire body, including the brain,” says Sarah Stabio, owner and instructor at The Bar Method Denver-Stapleton. “During Bar Method barre classes, clients are required to be present in order to push themselves through the discomfort to bring change.” 2425 Canyon Blvd., Suite M, Boulder; 311 Steele St., Suite 200, Denver; 8370 Northfield Blvd., Suite 1760, Denver. barmethod.com
Boxing and Kickboxing
Tyler Bell leads a boxing class at Title Boxing Club in 2015 in Aurora. (Denver Post file)
TITLE Boxing Club
If kicking and punching a 100-pound bag sounds like a fun way to work up a sweat (and burn off some steam after a long work day), the boxing-inspired classes at TITLE Boxing Club might be for you. These are high-intensity interval training workouts featuring traditional boxing moves — kicks, jabs, uppercuts, crosses and hooks. The gym also offers a mixed martial arts class with the bag on the ground. Though there are a number of different workout lengths (30, 45, 60 and 75 minutes), the structure is the same: you’ll workout for three minutes, then rest for one minute. 4360 S College Ave., Fort Collins; 9650 E Arapahoe Rd., Greenwood Village, titleboxingclub.com.
If you’re short on time, consider checking out 9Round, which offers efficient 30-minute kickboxing workouts that promise to get your heart racing. Plus, you can stop by whenever you have time for a workout — there are no set class times. When you arrive, a trainer will wrap your hands for punching and show you how to perform the movements at each of the nine workout stations. You’ll spend three minutes at each station before moving on to the next. The workouts change daily, too, so if you get bored easily, 9Round has you covered. Various Colorado locations, 9round.com.
Of course, there are too many locally owned yoga studios to count, so if you’re looking for a studio that isn’t a chain, there are plenty of options. If the studio vibe is not for you, you’ll also find plenty of Colorado instructors teaching yoga on standup paddleboards, in the park and at breweries.
Kenzie Woods works out with others during a podFIT workout class at the Yoga Pod in Boulder. (Jeremy Papasso, Boulder Daily Camera)
The YogaPod franchise started right here in Colorado, launching its first location on Boulder’s Twenty Ninth Street mall. It has since expanded to more than a dozen locations in Colorado, California, Texas, Nevada and Florida. YogaPod offers a number of different classes, including a basic class, two vinyasa flow options and hot yoga. They also offer a class that incorporates strength training and cardio, and one that emphasizes mobility and flexibility. Classes range from 60 to 75 minutes, with a few longer sessions on the schedule. If you find that you love yoga so much that you want to become an instructor, YogaPod also offers a 200-hour teacher training course. “What we regularly witness is that when people step outside of what is routine, they invite themselves out of boredom,” says Kristal Boska, chief culture and experience officer at Yoga Pod. “We love the quote ‘do one thing a day that scares you’ — for many people that one scary thing is breaking the regular routine and stepping outside of what is familiar and comfortable.” Various Colorado locations, yogapod.com.
Kelly Mazanti works a plow move during a CorePower Yoga 2 class at the CorePower studio in LoHi in 2014. (Andy Cross, The Denver Post)
Here’s another yoga franchise that started right here in Colorado. CorePower Yoga was born in Denver after its founder suffered a serious climbing accident. While recovering, he turned to yoga and opened the very first CorePower studio in downtown Denver in 2002. Now, CorePower has more than 170 studios across the country, including more than a dozen in Colorado. They offer sessions for various skill levels, including classes to help you advance in your practice. CorePower also offers hot yoga, a cardio class and one that incorporates strength-training exercises. “All classes include intention-setting to have students find a deeper meaning in their workout, and feel grateful every time they make it to the mat,” says Kathryn Smith, a Colorado executive for CorePower Yoga. “Our classes will not only strengthen your physical muscles, but if you are in a rut they will help unlock the mental muscles of kindness, patience, acceptance and connection.” Various Colorado locations, corepoweryoga.com.
Like yoga, there are dozens of locally owned pilates studios across Colorado. You can likely take pilates classes at your local recreation center, too.
Owner Kelly Hendricks uses the TRX suspension training system during the TRX/Reformer Fusion class at Club Pilates in Longmont. (Autumn Parry)
Since launching in San Diego in 2007, Club Pilates has hosted more than 2.2 million workouts across the country. The workouts are based on founder Joseph Pilates’ reformer method, which means they use a specialized machine (and other equipment) to make the workouts more challenging. If you’re new to pilates, the studios offer an entry-level course, as well as transitional courses to help you progress in difficulty. They also offer a variety of other courses, including a cardio pilates class, an interval training class and one focused on stretching and balance. Various Colorado locations, clubpilates.com.