Saturday, July 21, 2012

My Favorite Gym is...Red Rocks

It turns out my favorite workout location is not a gym, but perhaps the greatest outdoor concert venue in the world, Red Rocks Amphitheatre.  I had done a few isolated workouts there before, but back in April I kicked off participating in the Health One Red Rocks Fitness Challenge, a 90-Day public fitness program with weekend workouts (usually Saturdays at 7 am).  For $150, we were put into groups with personal trainers and given regular nutrition and fitness advice while working towards winning improvement prizes.  The final workout is July 28 and prizes will be awarded after a final fitness assessment.

I was fortunate enough in this program to be paired with Jamie Atlas (Yes that is really not a stage name) as a trainer.  Rather than the buffed out Gold’s Gym tank top wearing wanna be superhero I was expecting, Jamie turned out to be a giant, goofy Australian who runs Bonza Bodies Fitness ( with a logo that invokes the Wallabies of Australian Rugby.

One reason we probably connected right away as I just love the Australian people and their attitude towards life (a “No Worries Mate” sign is in my office) since I spent a month in Adelaide on a teaching assignment.  But it goes beyond just the Aussie connection, as Jamie is one of the best at getting people fit in Denver having been named the best personal trainer by 5280 Magazine in 2011 and 2012.

So just as I was starting to look forward to sleeping again on the weekends, or more likely finding another reason to get outside in the mornings, I signed up for another 8 weeks of workouts at Red Rocks starting August 1st.  The Bonza Bodies 8 Weeks Body Transformation Challenge ( includes workouts during the week at Red Rocks and their gym, nutrition advice, weekly tips and advice, rewards and gifts to the value of $150 all in addition to the Saturday Red Rocks group workouts for just $77.

Since it is difficult to get enough Jamie Atlas workouts, I did two today.  First I went to one of my final Red Rocks Fitness Challenge classes getting in a shortened session.  Then I came back later for Jamie’s class at the free Fitness on the Rocks festival.  Fitness of the Rocks was workouts combined with a fitness festival of booths and almost 3000 people.  The picture below shows the mob for the boot camp workout.  Also to make sure that it was difficult to type this post due to workout soreness, I threw in the Naked Foot 5K ( in the middle.

Fitness on the Rocks Filled the Amphitheatre

So while I go moan and groan due to the muscle pain from my 3-a-day workout session, think about joining me for the Bonza Bodies challenge because there really is no better gym in Colorado then Red Rocks.  And the estimated 500,000 visitors each year who come for hiking, biking, running and training would agree.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Back to the Top of the World

Tomorrow I am headed out to climb my fifth 14er.  I continue to try to knock out at least one per year, so considering there are 54 across the state, I will be finished in 48 years at this pace. This year I am headed to La Plata Peak with my friends from Hiking for Hearts ( who are a wonderful charity group.  My daughter will be climbing her first 14er so I pulled out my checklist from last year ( with some updates from the feedback ( I received to include the “10 Essentials” for any outdoor adventure.  The items on this list come from several places, but when in doubt and you are looking for the right info, go to

  1. Hiking Shoes: It starts with the shoes and I think Merrell makes the best for hiking.
  2. Hiking Socks:  Cotton sweat socks won’t do and nothing worse than getting a blister on a hike.
  3. Ball Cap:  Good for the sun and the sweat when the temperature is warmer.  I wear my First Ascent hat every time I climb a mountain for the first time.
  4. Beanie: When it gets colder, which it usually does at some point in your hike.
  5. Gloves:  I like polar fleece mittens where the fingers can be exposed with Outdoor Research shells.  These serve me well skiing and they do the same climbing.
  6. Synthetic shirt:  Avoid cotton and go with one of the popular breathable shirts.
  7. Synthetic Long Underwear: Again these are good when it gets colder.
  8. Wind Block Jacket:  I love my Eddie Bauer Downlight sweater.  If you want you can pay twice the price for a similar one from Patagonia.
  9. Waterproof Shell: I am happy with my North Face Venture jacket, but several options are available.
  10. Convertible Hiking Pants:  Get the ones with the zip off legs as you may want shorts when it gets hot.  I picked up a pair at REI I like.
  11. Pack:  I like Go Lite’s packs best, but I may try my new Adventurer pack from Eddie Bauer this year.
  12. Water Bottles:  You will need a lot of water so fortunately both my Go Lite and Eddie Bauer backpacks have sleeves on the side and I can put more inside.
  13. Snacks:  Hiking for Hearts will give us lunch, but you will want munchies along the way.  I love the S’Mores Trail Mix at Target.  Also Peanut Butter, Honey and Bananas on a Bagel is my favorite pre-hike breakfast and shows I have a little of the King in me.
  14. iphone:  I have discovered that my iphone camera is about as good as any handheld and it gives me a lot more like GPS and a cell phone.
  15. Navigation (map and compass):  Of course batteries can die and technology can let us down so old fashioned navigation should be carried by someone in your group and it is at the top of the list of the 10 Essentials.
  16. Watch
  17. Knife or Multi-Tool
  18. Sunscreen and Sunglasses:  You really are a lot closer to the sun and you know it.
  19. TP (in Ziploc Bag): No one stocks this on the mountain.
  20. Space blanket and First Aid Kit:  Just in case…
  21. Fire (waterproof matches or lighter): Again just in case…
  22. Headlamp: In case you get caught on the mountain after dark.
  23. Trekking poles:  These are a huge difference maker.
  24. Ibuprofen: You will want these before and after the hike.