Can’t find a gym or training center that feels right? Keep looking, it’s out there.

Despite Colorado’s 300 days of sunshine, January’s shorter and colder days can still bring on the winter blues. It’s tougher to get outdoors and receive the mood-boosting, stress-relieving natural high that comes with staying active. Fitness gyms and studios are the obvious outlets at this time of year for keeping up on physical, mental and emotional health. But they can be intimidating. You’re rarely off on your own, the way you can be for an outdoor workout. Indoor fitness is almost always a quasi-communal activity, with other people all around. If that makes you tense up, it can defeat the whole purpose. “Fitness and pursuing a healthy lifestyle are much deeper than hitting the gym,” says Megan Abernathy, a Denver-based certified wellness coach and personal trainer.

“It’s an inside job, too. It starts with the mindset. The mindset is the lens on how you view your life and ultimately determines your motivation and discipline to follow through.”

It’s easier to achieve and maintain a positive mindset when you’re in an environment that makes you feel comfortable. Fortunately, Northern Colorado has an incredible array of fitness centers that cater to all types of people. Each facility is a community unto itself, with its own distinctive feel. Choose one that feels compatible rather than intimidating, and you’re far more likely to get into a mindset that keeps you committed to healthy habits all winter. Herewith, a guide to NoCo gyms for all comers.


You’re super busy, with way more demands on your time than hours in the day. You’re looking for a facility that’s quick, efficient and low-hassle. You also want an easy learning curve (no exotic equipment or exercises) and a high ratio of health benefits earned to hours invested.

“I tried lots of gyms locally, and I really wanted fitness that many gyms don’t offer, such as quick results doing movements that are natural to the body,” says Gabbie Ackerman, a member at Foco Da Vinci Body ( “The classes are 45 minutes long and are really structured. You get what you need done in a really succinct time, three to four times a week, and you’re actually done.”

Foco Da Vinci Body offers a wide range of classes that focus on strength training, cardio and stretching. Classes are open to all levels, with instructors trained to provide modifications for each individual based on overall fitness, ability level and injuries. “Teresa, the owner, has really created a family environment,” Ackerman adds. “It’s unjudgmental, it’s friendly and men and women of all ages and all sizes are and will feel welcome.”

The same applies to Amp Pilates (, which offers onsite child care services for busy moms. All classes last 55 minutes and are limited to a maximum of 10 persons. You can choose between group, private and semi-private workouts. The schedule lists 42 classes a week, so you can fit it in whenever convenient.

“I’ve been active my whole life with running, walking, lots of hiking,” says Amp Pilates patron Barbra Buchanan, “but this fits a different niche. You feel a community here. As an older woman, I feel that I’ve really lost weight and become more flexible and improved my balance, which is so important at my age. Megan and her staff have been terrific.”


You’re more into collaboration than competition, more focused on the journey than the destination. Hard-charging workout warriors make you feel self-conscious, and sometimes even keep you out of the gym altogether. You’re looking for a relaxed, low-key environment where people root for each other—or just mind their own business.

“This is not a 24-hour Fitness-type meat market or goals gym,” says Patrick Searock of The Body (, where he’s been a member for years.

“The personable staff, the accessibility and the sense of community are top of the line here,” Searock says. “The starting process is the hardest part, but there’s a staff and supportive environment in here that allow you to start the fitness process and you don’t feel intimidated.”

The Body’s mission is to apply the principles of honor and respect while leading members toward holistic health. Staff work to understand each member’s needs and provide appropriate guidance. “It’s a kind and friendly place that will help you set goals and obtain those goals,” Searock says.

Another great place to find that more calming workout vibe is The Other Club Fitness Center (, which promotes health and wellness in a relaxed, non-intimidating environment. The Other Club offers Fitter Fort Collins, a lifestyle program that’s committed to educating the community about proactive self-care, good nutrition and overall health.


Avoidance is not your problem. You like going to the gym; it’s kind of your clubhouse. You’re looking for first-rate equipment, enthusiastic people who share your passions, and maybe a few extras that make you feel special.

You might be talking about the Loveland Athletic Club (, which gives you 24/7 access to a vast cardio facility outfitted with treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bikes. There’s also a huge free-weight area with Paramount, Hammer Strength, and Life Fitness equipment. And you can try your hand at Zumba, high-intensity interval training, indoor obstacle courses, yoga, boxing and other unconventional regimens. After your workout you can refresh yourself with an onsite massage, soak in the hot tub or sweat in the sauna, or hang out in the member lounge and order a drink from the smoothie bar. Daycare is also provided.

You can test your limits (and maybe push past them) at NorCo CrossFit ( A high-intensity fitness trend that’s caught fire in the last 10 years or so, CrossFit has a strong workout ethic with the potential to transform anybody, and any body. The workouts are based on a rotating suite of functional movements performed at relatively high tempo. It’s basically a mashup of gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing and other heavy-duty disciplines. There’s a strong, committed community of CrossFitters here to provide support and enforce accountability.


Here’s your main problem with winter workouts: they bore you. There’s no way you’ll get through a whole winter doing nothing but barbells and treadmills. It’s just too monotonous. You need something new and novel that will sweeten your fitness with a little fun.

“Exercising here is never a chore,” says Jessica Brown. “It’s a reward I look forward to every day.”

She’s describing Lime Light Fitness (, where pole-dancing and conditioning go hand in hand. “Aerial strength conditioning in Fly Gym instantly became my favorite class,” Brown says, “since it felt so much like playing. Pole Fit took a quick second with its combination of functional power. From the first visit, I knew I’d found the outlet I was looking for.”

Here’s another outside-the-box fitness experience that you probably never associated with staying healthy: the circus. There’s no cotton candy involved at the Fort Collins Circus Center ( Instead you’ll be getting your workout via acro yoga, handstand classes, aerial silks and other hijinks. Another off-the-ground option is Ascent Studio & Climbing Gym (, providing year-round access to a spectacularly colorful and spacious climbing realm.

“They offer a unique experience with a variety of classes and workshops, in addition to having the best indoor climbing routes in the area,” says longtime climber Cat Mercier.

If dancing is how you like to get your heart pumping and body moving, Impulse Dance & Fitness ( is a great option. One of Fort Collins’ newest studios, Impulse has fun classes for all levels, from master ballerina on down. Impulse provides accessible adult dance opportunities that cultivate community, self-expression and happiness. And there’s always Jazzercise (, the original dance-party workout. Jazzercise combines Pilates, yoga, kickboxing and strength training into one 55-minute session that can burn up to 800 calories.

When you hear it from people throughout NoCo, winter fitness and exercise has never sounded more attainable. Whatever type of person you are, there’s an indoor fitness resource that fits you.