Courtesy of Discover Strength

Boulder Is Getting a New Gym: Discover Strength




A new fitness studio is slated to open this spring in Boulder: Discover Strength.


Starting in May, the gym will offer 30-minute strength workouts twice per week led by expert trainers. The goal? To help Boulderites get in effective and efficient workouts.


“Busy people don’t have time to waste on exercise that doesn’t work,” says Luke Carlson, the chief executive officer of Discover Strength. “We will help you look and feel your best, in a fraction of the time.”


I chatted with Carlson to learn more about the new studio, located at 3000 Pearl Parkway.


Courtesy of Discover Strength

What’s the story behind Discover Strength? How did it come to be?


I was in graduate school studying exercise physiology and was working as an assistant strength and conditioning coach in the NFL. As I sat in a classroom at the University of Minnesota, I thought to myself, I love studying all of this—muscle fibers, motor units, exercise physiology, biomechanics, all of it. But, I also understood, in that moment, that we weren’t (or shouldn’t) study exercise science in a vacuum. If what we were studying didn’t trickle down and impact how people actually exercised, then all of this research and all of this study of the science was for naught.


And at that time, we had a lot of great exercise science research. And, a lot of people were engaged in exercise. Yet, a massive disconnect existed between all of this academic scientific research and what people were actually doing in their workouts. I decided to commit the rest of my professional life to connecting the scientific research to how people actually work out—to close the gap that existed between science and practice. This became the impetus for Discover Strength and, today, serves as our core purpose: To lead the movement in evidence-based exercise. If we utilize exercise science research to guide decisions, we produce better results, have safer training experiences and unlock the real potential of our workouts. We choose to do this by focusing on strength training. Discover Strength was launched in 2006 with our first studio with this purpose driving us.


Courtesy of Discover Strength

What can people expect when they visit for the first time?


A client works 1-on-1 or 3-on-1 with an exercise physiologist, who guides them through 10-12 exercises that cover every muscle group; we’ll work the legs, midsection and upper body. Our staff all have degrees in exercise science and have advanced certifications as exercise physiologists—a client is truly working with an expert in the field.


Courtesy of Discover Strength


The majority of the exercises are performed on medical-grade exercise equipment but we’ll incorporate free-weight, manual resistance and bodyweight exercises as well. The magic of the workout is that a client will perform each rep of each exercise with intention and control; we focus on lifting and lowering the weight without momentum and this forces the brain to recruit more muscle fibers (and simultaneously makes the exercise much safer because forces on the joints are minimized). We continue each set to the point of momentary muscle failure—the point where a client simply can’t perform another rep with perfect form. At this point, the exercise physiologist will often guide the client through an “advanced overload technique.”


The end result? We push the client very hard but do it in a very safe manner. This is the foundation of smart strength training. And, when you work with this level of intensity and focus, your muscles and physiology need a few days to recover (thus, you only need to strength-train twice per week). The results are increased muscle strength and endurance; improved muscle mass; fat loss; enhanced cognitive function; reduced risk of cardiovascular disease; and a reduction of all-cause mortality risk.  The expert trainer provides detailed feedback and coaching throughout each rep of each set.


Courtesy of Discover Strength

Why Boulder? What did you see in this market that made you want to open a location here?


As an avid marathon runner myself, I’ve had a fascination with Boulder and the wonderful long-distance running community in Boulder for many years. The Boulder market has so many similarities to the other markets we’ve operated in—so both my passion for Boulder and the market research supported expansion in this market.


Why are you so passionate about strength training?


Strength training is the ultimate saw-sharpening activity. There is no fountain of youth, but there is strength training. If strength training came in a pill form, it would represent the most profoundly powerful pharmaceutical on the planet. I don’t think there is any weekly habit that we could engage in that can positively change a person’s life like strength training can. This is the foundation of my passion for intelligent strength training.



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