After 15 months of butt-kicking workouts, I’m no longer an Orange Theory member. I loved Orange Theory and give that place half the credit for my performance on my first half marathon earlier this year. The consistent training got me to increase my flat road pace a full mile per hour and then the coaches pushed me to maintain that speed on inclines. So, my membership was well worth it and I’m sure I’ll be back some day.
But I’m now training for my second half marathon and there are running clubs Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday that I can go to. I don’t need the treadmill component of Orange Theory any more. And besides all the epic hiking I’m doing, Boulder is the capital of free summer workouts. I have a free Sunday bootcamp in the park, F45 is holding seven free community classes in July and August, Alchemy 365 is running a bunch of free community classes (in Denver), my friend gave me a $30 referral credit to ClassPass so I did a few barre classes and boxing classes, and of course, there are free yoga classes everywhere.
If you live in Boulder, it’s practically mandatory to do yoga. I started doing it as a social event, as I wrote about a while back. I don’t go enough to gain any sort of flexibility or be able to hold the wheel longer than one second, but still, it’s good to work my muscles in different ways. If yoga isn’t part of your fitness routine, here are a few of the free yoga options in Boulder that I’ve checked out the last few months that you might want to try.
- Yoga on the Tarmac. This event is run by Core Power, which, as the name implies, provides a yoga workout that requires a bit more effort than a normal yoga routine. But I go for the views. The Rocky Mountains stretch across the horizon as far as you can look to the left or the right, the setting sun illuminating them from behind. With that as the backdrop, all seems right with the world. Core Power does a number of other free classes throughout the summer as well at multiple locations.
- Yoga on the Pool Deck. This event is run by Yoga Pod and the instructor is different every time. I’ve only gone once so far and the yoga itself wasn’t that great. The instructor seemed to be making up random moves that she was describing through puns, which, while clever, didn’t help us figure out what to do. And she wasn’t demonstrating either. Everyone was kind of doing their own thing. And then she sang to us at the end. Yes, sang. Some sort of meditative chant thing. Yeah…ok. Getting all spiritual about yoga is not my thing. But you get to use the hotel pool afterward and you get free bottomless mimosas if you buy brunch there. So, yoga, mimosas, and use of the pool all for the cost of a tasty egg and avocado croissant? Yes, please!
- Outlaw Yoga. Get ready to yell. Outlaw Yoga instructors encourage you to shout and curse with the movements. The music is pumping and there’s a powerful vibe during these sessions. There’s no phony spirituality, although they still have the mandatory commentary during the cool down about being grateful for what we have. That’s OK. It’s a good reminder. What I like about this class, besides the cursing, is the intensity. These yoga sessions are a brutal arm and back workout. They are tough! It’s free, but bring a few dollars to donate to whichever cause they are supporting at the moment.
- Hot Yoga at the Boulder Athletic Club. Most people can only get a free three day trial, but my company participated in a Healthy Boulder event that got me two free weeks here. I had two free sessions with a personal trainer and tried a bunch of different classes, including hot yoga. I’d never done it before but heard a lot about it. My assessment? Gross, gross, gross. It was an hour and 15 minutes of slime and dripping sweat and just ewww. This is not for me. Also, the instructor was unwelcoming. Compared to the highly personable, friendly, and encouraging coaches at Orange Theory, I wasn’t too impressed by any of the coaches at BAC and decided not to join, even with the allure of the pool and all the fancy amenities.
- Bulldog Yoga. When this new studio hosted a free class for one of my ladies-only running groups, it escaped my attention that this was also hot yoga. But it wasn’t as hot in the studio as my previous experience, and for good reason. Bulldog Yoga, at least the class I did, has some cardio and band components to it. I enjoyed this class because I generally walk out of a yoga session feeling only warmed up and ready for a real workout. But these extra components made the hour feel complete and effective. I have to roll my eyes a bit when the yoga instructor congratulates you on the “brave journey” you’re on in their hour-long class and “how far you’ve come” at the end of class and “what an accomplishment you’ve made.” If a yoga class is bravery, our collective standards are really low. Still, I won’t hold this against her. She was upbeat and a good teacher and had wicked arm and back muscles I’m envious of. I haven’t made it back yet, but they have a $29 for 5 classes offer for new clients, so I’ll probably pick that deal up soon and see what some of their other classes are like.