Your school gym was most likely renovated or remodeled in the last few years, perhaps for the purpose of impressing high-achieving students and parents. During your campus visit, you walked its halls, marveling at the view of the mountains and standing in the sea of state-of-the-art cardio equipment. You committed to reinventing your fitness regime.
But when school starts, reality sets in. You scan your ID at the steel gym doors (which you begin to realize are keeping fresh air entirely out of the building). You take a look to your left at the girl with no resistance on her elliptical. She is bored out of her mind and flips through her Instagram feed. You look to your right at the weight training area, and watch a beefy dude lift a giant weight. He walks around for the next 10 minutes, flexing in the mirrors and talking to eerily similar beefy dudes.
At this point, you've come to realize that very few people who took that crucial first step — getting to the gym — are actually getting a workout. Meanwhile, the case for getting out of the gym is ample: engaging with the community, engaging your muscles, and engaging endorphin-release.
Here are a few worthy destinations:
You'll often see yoga classes listed as "community yoga" or "community donation yoga," but what does that actually mean? cambio. (3326 Austin Bluffs Pkwy. #100, 321-8547, cambioyoga.com), Colorado Springs' first donation-based yoga studio, has defined it for five years. In addition to offering vinyasa to yin and upward of 10 classes a day, cambio. hosts workshops, teacher trainings and continuing education for yoga teachers. Drop-in donation suggestions are $7 to $12, but any amount is accepted — and with what you save here versus other studios, you'll find some breathing room for a new pair of yoga pants.
Want a workout that tones your arms and back? Have dreams of outdoor climbing adventures? Summit fever? A portion of your college class has surely already discovered the rocks in the Colorado Springs area (cough, cough, Garden of the Gods) — but when it's raining or snowing, or it's a weekday, the climbers hit CityRock (21 N. Nevada Ave., 634-9099, climbcityrock.com). You don't necessarily need bouldering buddies to do so as well: Bring or rent a pair of climbing shoes and a harness, and spend a few hours auto-belaying, maybe attempting some overhangs on the bouldering wall. And while you're at it, converse with the friendly, Chaco-toting 20-something who's struggling with the route next to you.
Chinese Shao-Lin Center of Colorado Springs
One of the principles of tai chi is feeling "suspended by a thread": standing upright, aligning the spine, and building confidence with every controlled movement. Martial arts provide a complete program for overall wellness, and by the end of each practice you may feel a sense of mental acuity — in addition to a sense of calm toward pretty much everything. At the Chinese Shao-Lin Center (3011 N. Prospect St., #110, 377-2108, shaolinics.com), you can look like a badass during high intensity kung-fu, or take tai chi and learn what "Embrace the Tiger and Return to Mountain" looks like in one swooping movement. Or do both, for balance.
Fit Body & Pole
Dance moves such as the "sexy stand-up" may seem risqué, but the bold new fitness trend has taken root even in a conservative area of Colorado Springs. And Fit Body & Pole (5531 Powers Center Point, 323-4640, fitbodyandpole.com) is well worth the drive from any campus. The instructors are bubbly and encouraging, and if the patrons let go of self-doubt, the energy in the room becomes a female power jam-out — not because of the pop music, but because it requires incredible strength to hoist yourself up and swing around a pole upside-down without hitting your cupcake. Sign up for a series, and welcome your newfound upper-body and core control.
SkyZone Indoor Trampoline Park
Starting Wednesday, Aug. 20, SkyZone (1750 E. Woodmen Road, 207-8400, skyzone.com/coloradosprings) will be offering SkyRobics, which is described as "high intensity trampoline training." And if you haven't jumped on a trampoline since second grade, you should give it a try. Skyzone requires you to surrender your shoes and sign a waiver; in return, you get 30 minutes to multiple hours of access to the facilities. Meaning floors and walls made entirely of bounceable material. So even if you're collegiate, cool and not into kids, try grabbing a group of friends and heading to the strip mall. And melt when the kids offer you some of their birthday cake.
Memorial Skate Park
Local government calls this part of Memorial (1605 E. Pikes Peak Ave., tiny.cc/z0ulkx) a "destination skate park" because it's a 40,000-square-foot concrete area designed by Team Pain, a world-renowned firm. Don't be deterred by the name, or the sport, for that matter: BMX bikers, skate punks and inline skaters come from all across the area to try bowls and street courses; levels range from scooting back and forth on the pavement to backflips on the ramp. On a sunny day, it's the best possible way to get outside and focus your restless energy: balance, core strength, and some pretty dope moves come with time.