CrossFit Sanitas.
Bria Lee at CrossFit Sanitas. Courtesy photo

Spice Up Your Workout With CrossFit in Boulder


If you want to move heavy things around, Boulder’s got your back. And your bis. And your chest, glutes, shoulders. Yeah, Boulder’s got something for all your muscles.

CrossFit is one way to awaken the sweat, and it is huge in Boulder County.

“I do believe that CrossFit itself is still growing strong. I have seen more and more ‘everyday Janes and Joes’ coming into our gym ready to sign up,” says Gary Berg, owner of Boulder CrossFit.

He says when he started CrossFit in 2008, it was considered more of an extreme workout for elite athletes and “well, ‘crazies.’” Today, the same people who used to consider CrossFit extreme do it themselves. With their moms, Berg says.

“I think that anyone can do CrossFit, but CrossFit is certainly not for everyone,” he says.

Boulder has a number of CrossFit studios, and while they all adhere to tough “WODs” (workouts of the day), each space is a little different based on the trainers and their application of the CrossFit principles. CrossFit itself is not a franchise, so the studios get a lot of flexibility in how to design their workouts.

Among the area gyms, there’s CrossFit Lefthand, CrossFit Longmont and KJ CrossFit in Longmont. In Erie, there is CrossFit Erie and Centripetal CrossFit.

If you’re looking to join a local CrossFit gym, here’s a closer look at some other options and what makes each one stand out. This is not the complete list of all CrossFits in Boulder County.

CrossFit Sanitas.
CrossFit Sanitas. Courtesy photo

CrossFit Sanitas

2525 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder,

According to Tom Baker, CrossFit Sanitas manager:

Why do you think CrossFit is a good workout to add to your fitness resolutions? The scalability is everything. We modify workouts so that regardless of an individual’s needs or goals, each time they’re getting exactly what they need. Personally, I hate running. But I do it a two to three times a week because it shows up in the Workout of the Day. I hate running so much that I signed up for a 50k race in Zion, and CrossFit will continue to be my primary training up until race day. It really can prepare you for anything and most importantly, you’re going to have a ton of fun doing it. What’s the point of resolutions/challenges if there’s no fun involved? Sure, it’s hard, but finding comfort in that discomfort is what makes you do great things. The more you do this inside the gym, the more you’ll notice it trickling into all other aspects of your life.

What do you think makes your CrossFit studio unique? Our emphasis on corrective exercises and self-care is something we’re really proud of. In our travels, many gyms don’t perform adequate warm-ups or mobility during class or use generic programming that may not be consistent with the needs of their members.

Not only do we incorporate mobility and workout-specific warm-ups into all of our classes, but we also focus heavily on proper neuromuscular activation and corrective exercises to ensure every athlete is recruiting all of the necessary muscles in the appropriate way to guarantee safe and effective movement patterns. And by writing our own programming, it allows our coaches to accommodate the varying needs of our own athletes walking through the door and their goals: the ones that live in Boulder, play in Boulder and do the things that folks in Boulder love to do.

We also have mobility classes, massage therapists, a physical therapist, an acupuncturist, nutritionists and a functional medicine doctor all in-house so that our athletes have all the resources they need to remain injury-free.

Do you have any tips for people on how to get the most out of your studio? Ask questions. We’re here for you and that’s it. The more questions you ask, the more you’ll get out of your time here. But we understand some people don’t know the right questions to ask, so that’s why we’ve developed a great program for all new athletes that come to CrossFit Sanitas (plus plenty of reminders if they forget).

All new athletes start with a two-week introductory program led by one of our coaches, followed by a body composition test to get a baseline, a functional movement screen to assess any imbalances or risks of injury, a goal-setting meeting to plan out the coming months based on their individual needs and a nutrition consult so get them on the right track to ensure proper fueling for their new workout regimen. This is all just the first month. We want everyone to get the most out of their time here so from day one, we’re supporting all athletes in every way we can.

Any tips for newbies? Just start. Don’t worry about where you are or where you want to be. It’s all about taking that first step and getting started. Whether that’s getting a brochure, trying a free class or just biting the bullet and signing up, just know that we are here for you and will support you every step of the way. Don’t be fooled. It will be hard. Many good things for us are hard. Stay consistent. Eat real food. And ask for help. This is your journey, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone.

CrossFit Roots. Courtesy photo

CrossFit Roots

2406 30th St, Boulder,

According to Nicole Christensen, owner of CrossFit Roots:

Why do you think CrossFit is a good workout to add to your fitness resolutions? Put simply, we’re a good add because it works. If you’re looking to make lasting change and are willing to simply commit to consistency and trust the process, CrossFit is a fantastic addition to your fitness resolutions. People are naturally drawn to promises of fitness instant gratification and that’s just not us — no “we’ll get you in the best shape of your life” sales pitches here. We’re grounded in the stuff that works and pride ourselves on creating an environment where someone of any fitness level can make leaps and bounds with the simple commitment to hard work.

What do you think makes your CrossFit studio unique? CrossFit Roots is unique in so many ways.

  • We’ve been open almost nine years (longer than any other CrossFit in Boulder). We opened in a one-car garage and are now housed in a 10,000-square-foot training facility.
  • We’re the only female-owned and operated CrossFit gym in Boulder — whose owner also teaches group classes.
  • We have the highest collection of CrossFit Level-3 and Level-4 certified CrossFit coaches of any affiliate in the world with seven Certified CrossFit Trainers (CF-L3) and two Certified CrossFit Coaches (CF-L4).There are roughly 55 CrossFit Level-4 coaches in the world; we have two.
  • We cap our classes at 12 athletes per class to enable us to deliver on our belief that above all else, our athletes deserve world-class coaching. You just can’t deliver on a high level of coaching interaction with a 24-person class, not even with two coaches.
  • We are a professionally-run operation. Sure we’re a small business, but we’re professional.
  • Our gym is very clean. Floors so clean you would lick them. Well, almost.

Any tips for newbies? Most folks are intimidated by CrossFit. It’s one of the ongoing struggles we have in regard to barriers to entry. What folks forget to remember is that the athletes doing pull-ups and squatting lots of weight that they see in front of them during their first session started in the exact same place they are.

My tip for a newbie is to think about the fitness avenues you have tried, evaluate if they have worked to get you toward your goals. If not, then CrossFit is the next step, and you have to take a chance, trust the process and know that you’re going to have fun. Commit to it three days per week for three months and you will understand the difference in this approach to fitness and long-term health.

Boulder CrossFit.
Boulder CrossFit. Courtesy photo

Boulder CrossFit

2480 49th St., Boulder,

According to Gary Berg, owner of CrossFit Boulder:

Why do you think CrossFit is a good workout to add to your fitness resolutions? Because it works. This is not a quick-fix pill or some other late night infomercial gimmick. This is roll up your sleeves, get ready to work hard and get sweaty. It works because there is a group of like-minded people who know your name and help to hold you accountable. It works because you get to make new friends who are going through — surviving — the same tough workouts that you are. Many of our athletes call the gym their happy place. It’s every bit as much of a mental release as it is physical. With so many different things to do at our gym, you are virtually learning something new every day. It stimulates the mind as well as the body.

What do you think makes your CrossFit studio unique? What makes us different is that we care if you are there or not. We know who you are and are looking forward to seeing you. When we don’t, you’ll get a text from any one of us — coaches or even other members asking where are you.

What makes us different is that we help every ability level realize their fitness goals. Whether you are an elite athlete or in your 70s with physical and/or mental disabilities, you have a home here. Every workout we do can be modified or scaled to fit your ability level. The programming is smart, hard and fun, mixing gymnastics and bodyweight movements with barbell, kettlebell, medicine ball, running, jumping, climbing and so much more.

A great example of who we are is last year one of our coaches was doing a CrossFit competition in south Boulder. Well, he really never told anyone, but word got out around the gym. Anyway, the day of the competition came and 30 members from Boulder CrossFit came out on their own time just to cheer him on. Many of who brought their significant others and even children.

Another great story is Carol the gardener. Carol is now 74 and came to us three years ago because her son convinced her to give CrossFit a try. Up until Boulder CrossFit, Carol had never done an organized fitness class in her life, but she liked to garden (hence the name) and was in pretty good shape when she started. One day shortly after she began, Carol said, “Wow, you have ropes for rope climbs. I always wanted to learn how to do that.” So we started with the first progressions, just holding the rope and leaning back to get a feel for some of her body weight on the ropes. Day by day, week by week, month by month of progressions and strength building exercises and six months in, Carol made it to the top of a 15-foot rope.

There was about eight or nine of us there to witness that moment and it’s something I will never forget. When Carol got to the top she yelled down, “Now what? How do I get down?” We all got a quick laugh, but there was no need to worry, as Carol thought about the progressions we had rehearsed and made it down safely on her own. When she hit the floor, she started to cry and hugged every one of us.

Carol is a great example of why I opened up a CrossFit gym and what our community is all about. We have no type As, no meatheads or jerks. Just good people who enjoy working out and spending time together.

Another aspect that makes us unique is that I do all of the programming, combining smart, fun and hard workouts of all durations, working on all aspects of strength, conditioning, mobility, agility, balance, coordination and so much more. And I and all of the coaches follow this programming. We don’t have “special programming” for the coaches or “cliques” in our gym. Our entire gym is the clique.

Any tips for newbies? I fully understand how intimidating CrossFit can be when you don’t know what’s through those doors and you see people in the CrossFit games who are in elite condition, but once you make that first step and come to Boulder CrossFit you quickly realize that it is a group of every-day, hard-working, fun people who are just like you.

We do have a few of those elite athletes as well, but even when you meet them, they are the nicest people you could imagine and are quick to offer help or answer questions because they weren’t always that way, and they, too, made that first step by walking in the door.

We also have many ambassador athletes who also were intimidated on their first days who can help “hold the hand” and walk people through their first few classes.

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