Grunting and lifting weights just aren't enough anymore.
In the past few years, Pikes Peak area residents have gravitated toward exercise that feels more like playing. From running clubs and yoga classes to capoeira and meetup.com groups, people are getting fit with friends.
"The fact that I have other people out there supporting me and cheering me on keeps me motivated and focused on the goals I'm trying to achieve," says Mago Lauritzen, who teaches capoeira, the Brazilian martial art/dance/music combo, at the Colorado Academy of Music and Dance (975 Garden of the Gods Road, Suite F, springsdance.com).
If Lauritzen leaves a class feeling physically spent, that's not enough. He wants something more, and his students do, too — whether it's a chance to laugh, an almost-spiritual feeling, or something in between, like a sense of community.
Whatever this umami sensation is, here's a look at how locals are pursuing it.
Body and soul
Almost every waking hour, it's possible to find a yoga class going on somewhere around the Springs — even if you skip obvious fitness centers such as the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region (ppymca.org) and 24 Hour Fitness (24hourfitness.com). In fact, we know of more than 30 places where you can practice your downward dog.
The most prominent include perennial Best Of honoree CorePower Yoga (623 N. Nevada Ave., 1025 Garden of the Gods Road, corepoweryoga.com); the donation-based cambio. Yoga (3326 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., cambioyoga.com); and Marmalade at Smokebrush (219 W. Colorado Ave., #210, smokebrush.org), which offers a kaleidoscope of types and tempos.
Among the others (many of which are mentioned at tinyurl.com/springsyoga) are some unique options.
The Movement Arts Community Studio (525 E. Fountain Blvd. #150, movementartscs.com) packs a full schedule into an open room looking out on the city. Classes range from an energetic vinyasa to a men's "organic" (read: naked) yoga and a women's-only class.
If you didn't stay at Phantom Canyon Brewing Co. (2 E. Pikes Peak Ave., phantomcanyon.com) too late Friday night, you can head back for 8 a.m. Saturday yoga on the third floor. The relaxing class has been happening at different places for more than 10 years as a way to start the weekend with a clear mind, but teacher Lori Black considers this Phantom room, with its great views, one of her favorite places to practice.
At West Side Yoga Studio (617 N. 17th St., westsideyogastudiocos.com), Marie-Louise See has transformed what could be a sterile office space into a calming environment that focuses on pre- and post-natal yoga, plus general classes a few times a week.
And barely out of boxes, MotionX (415 W. Pikes Peak Ave., motionxstudio.com) is settling in as a new home for yoga and movement. Multiple classes a day incorporate various forms of yoga including a mix of yoga with martial arts and swimming movements. It also offers private Pilates classes.
To this point, though, the Pilates leader in town has been ReVibe Pilates and Bodywork (2150 Spectra Drive, revibepilates.com). Go there, and you'll notice streamers of silk hanging down from the ceiling: The aerial silks class stretches and builds muscles with a series of poses that will make you feel like you can run off with that famous Canadian circus.
Rhythm and self-defense
Martial arts have also continued to gain popularity, thanks in large part to the growth of ultimate fighting, Muay Thai kickboxing and mixed martial arts (MMA). Studios throughout town offer styles ranging from Tai Chi to Krav Maga, the "contact combat" system used by the Israeli military.
But if you're into martial arts without the meditation or malice, the Colorado Academy of Music and Dance hosts capoeira classes (capsprings.com) alongside ballet, belly-dancing and hip-hop.
Lauritzen sees the Brazilian practice combining martial arts, dance, music and acrobatics as a multi-tasking workout. In addition to learning self-defense, students learn to play instruments and sing songs in Portuguese, while others play the game that is capoeira. It's bound to build community, he explains: "You can't just do that by yourself watching a DVD in the basement."
Of course, capoeira's far from the only musical workout gaining popularity these days.
Zumba has the nation sweating to a salsa beat. The region has multiple places for Zumba, led by Springs Salsa & Dance Fitness (1220 Valley St. and 2506 W. Colorado Ave., springssalsa.com), which offers morning and evening classes most days of the week. And if you like that and want to learn real salsa steps, it offers those more traditional classes as well at locations on the east and west sides of town.
DanceZ (dancez.us) takes the fitness/dance model to another decibel with nightclub zumba classes and monthly zumba glo parties. Most classes are held at Avanti Ballroom (1337 N. Academy Blvd., avantiballroom.net), with others at different locations including a Thursday nightclub zumba at Cowboys (25 N. Tejon St., cowboyscs.com).
Run, drink, run
All right, then ... who wants to run to the next beer?
"Hashing" started in 1938 in Malaysia, for British expats and military officers to run. Since then it's spread around the world, to nearly 2,000 groups. In a hash, some people lead off and mark the trail, while others follow their markings. Stops along the trail refresh them with an adult beverage. The runs typically go for five to six miles. In the Springs, three main hashing clubs meet at different times running through the city; you can keep up with them at angelfire.com/mi/birdman/hareline.html.
Offering less bawdy and more populated outings, bars, restaurants and breweries organize running clubs, luring people in with the promise of camaraderie, T-shirts (after so many runs) and post-run food and drink specials. For a more complete list of running groups, with many not based at bars, check the Pikes Peak Running Club's website, pprrun.org.
The most popular, Jack Quinn's Running Club (21 S. Tejon St., jackquinnsrunners.com) takes place on Tuesdays year-round through downtown, with a 5K starting and finishing from the namesake bar. Outside of downtown, the north end has several, including the SOUL Runners at Trinity Brewing Company (1466 Garden of the Gods Road, trinitybrew.com) hosting 4- and 8-mile runs Mondays at 6 p.m.
Also on Mondays, the University Village Colorado Running Club leaves a little earlier from the UVC Shopping Center (5230 N. Nevada Ave., uvcrunningclub.com), and runners take to the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail. Times and sign-in locations can change with the seasons, so double-check the websites.
Salsa Brava's cleverly named Nacho Ordinary Running Club (rockymtnrg.com) meets at 6 p.m., Tuesdays, at the restaurant's 9420 Briar Village Point location, and at the same time Wednesdays, at 802 Village Center Drive. And the First and Main Town Center Run Club meets at Rock Bottom Brewery (3316 New Center Point, meetup.com/First-Main-Run-Club/) on Wednesdays, too. Organized by a doctor, the socializing also includes tips on health and wellness, as well as prize raffles. Lastly on Wednesdays, the Muldooniacs Running Club departs José Muldoon's east location (5710 S. Carefree Circle) at 5:30 p.m. for either a 5K or 10K jaunt.
Running isn't the only calorie-burning activity where it's easy to find like-minded friends. Clubs, online groups and certain businesses serve as hubs for various activities.
Meetup.com is one of the easiest ways to find something to do and a group to do it with. The key is to notice which ones have upcoming events planned with multiple people attending. And if you don't find what you're looking for, you can always start your own.
The Outdoor Club is one of the largest of the more than 300 Springs groups that organize themselves on Meetup. It's not the only hiking group on there, but it probably is the busiest, with as many as three hikes a week at varying degrees of difficulty. Popular hikes, especially the full moon hikes, fill up within moments of being posted. The group's leaders know area trails such as Section 16 or Paint Mines Interpretive Park, but also lead exploratory hikes to find new favorites. Hikers range in age and ability creating a diverse mix of participants.
For bicyclists on mountain or road bikes, the North Colorado Springs Cyclists have gained more members on Meetup than other cycling groups. Rides frequently go between 20 and 40 miles, and aren't meant for total newbies. But the group does have a social element, with occasional gatherings and leaders helping plan out-of-state trips.
Before Meetup.com, or basically, the Internet itself, the Colorado Springs Cycling Club (bikesprings.org) was organizing rides. It now holds rides four days a week at varying levels, from beginner and social rides on up to advanced fitness rides, mostly on road bikes but sometimes mountain bikes. The club even has a mobile app for keeping track of the rides and events.
Much of the rock climbing community, meanwhile, coalesces around the city's indoor climbing gyms, CityRock (21 N. Nevada Ave., climbcityrock.com) and Sport Climbing Center (4650 Northpark Drive, sportclimbcs.com). CityRock's offerings run well beyond technical classes and the like — it offers a number of yoga classes and even movie nights on topics of interest to its climbers. Sport is more of a traditional venue, with a student-heavy population cheering each other on.
Even with those hubs, the Rock Climbers of Colorado Springs remains an active Meetup group, with climbs on Tuesday afternoons as well as on weekends. The group also has clinics and learning opportunities for those wanting to improve their technique or tackle more difficult routes.
And if you haven't found a club you want to join yet, there are more. The Pikes Peak Whitewater Club (pikespeakwhitewaterclub.com) focuses on kayakers who like to hit the Arkansas River. The club hosts multiple practice sessions at the Cheyenne Mountain High School pool, and plans trips for beginners as well as for advanced kayakers in the wild.