June Hike Challenge – Hike #1: Deer Creek Canyon Park

Since moving to Colorado, we’ve really developed a true love for hiking. Luckily, there are plenty of beautiful places to explore all around the state. To reinforce this new passion and work on staying in shape, I (Kirsten) decided to challenge myself to hike 50 miles in Colorado by the end of June.

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Photo Map courtesy of Jefferson County Website – Click on the Map to be brought to their site for more information.

Yesterday evening, I took off to meet a friend after work at Deer Creek Canyon Park in Jefferson County, CO. Because it was so hot (over 90 degrees F still after 6:30 pm!), the 3-mile loop we took was a great mix of sunshine and shade, winding through rocky hills with plenty of wildlife.

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Check out the amazing views along the hike! Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

Many others had the same idea to get outside yesterday – we ran into hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers along the different paths. Dogs are allowed as long as they are leashed, so of course, I brought Moguls. As usual, Moguls was a trooper regardless of the heat.

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Furry friends are allowed as long as they’re kept on a leash – make sure to pick up after them as well! Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

The hike yesterday knocked off 3 miles, so 47 miles left to go in order to complete the June Hike Challenge. This hike is an easy-to-moderate trail. At times the path narrows and more rugged terrain is present; nothing too difficult, it is just important to wear proper footwear.

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View of one of the trails at Deer Creek Canyon Park. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

 

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View of one of the trails at Deer Creek Canyon Park. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

 

Check out all of the great shots I got on our hike! I especially loved the variety of wild flowers along the trail – very nice to see that summer is in full bloom.

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Neat Rock Ridge! I wonder if anyone has Mountain Biked down THAT before? Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

 

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Beautiful wildflowers growing alongside the trails. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

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Sometimes it’s still hard to believe what a beautiful place we live in. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

 

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting hikes for the June Hike Challenge; I hope this motivates you all to get outside in our wonderful state and explore!

Have a great hike to share with us? Comment below! We would love more ideas.

You can also follow our adventures on Twitter & Instagram: @denverspeax
We also have a Facebook Page! 🙂

Crossfit DeCO – A Workout I Never Regret

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Meet Steve Mercer, part-owner of DenverSpeax LLC! Steve’s stepped out from behind the scenes to write about a new passion of his.

While living in Michigan, I stumbled on Crossfit via Youtube, and became instantly hooked / curious; it was different. Everything about it screamed “this is NOT your normal workout”.

This was about two years ago, and since then I’ve followed Crossfit fairly closely, but never actually visited or joined a Crossfit gym (aka, “box”). Since moving to Denver, I’ve been searching for a new gym in order to keep myself fit; let me tell you, this is not an easy task when in a new city. Some are too far away,…some too expensive,…some are just too much of a singles meet up, or even too boring. Crossfit came to mind as a good option.

Today I can gladly tell you I hurt…I hurt in a good way.

About two weeks ago, DenverSpeax was approached by Leslie Friedman, owner of Crossfit DeCO, to give them a try. Honestly, we’ve all heard some sort of negativity surrounding Crossfit, which caused a bit of hesitation for me at first. Crossfit has developed a reputation for being too intense and only for high-performance athletes. However, wouldn’t you want to support a locally owned business, be surrounded by other health-conscious people who support you, and become more functionally fit for a more active lifestyle?  Hopefully, you are answering “uh, YES!”.

 

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Crossfit may be hard work, but it’s also a ton of fun. Check out Crossfit DeCO’s class schedule by clicking the picture above. Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

Located at 923 W 9th Ave, Denver, Colorado 80204, I nervously walked into Crossfit DeCO, and was immediately greeted by many of the coaches and members. Looking around the gym (or “box” via Crossfit lingo), I noticed all different age groups, fitness levels, and experience were in attendance.

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Yeah, Crossfit can seem intimidating, but it’s important to try it out for yourself – create your own point of view. Click on the picture above to be brought to CrossFit DeCO’s website. Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

Each day, as a member, you are given a warm up and a “workout of the day” (aka WOD) which is designed to help improve your overall functional movement. A WOD can be anywhere from 10 to 40 mins long, involves a variety of different movements, and will whip you into shape.

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It doesn’t take a lot of fancy machinery to get in shape. Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

I am starting in the functional classes, or “Level 1”. In these classes, you learn the basic movements while still getting a good workout under the guidance of one of DeCO’s experienced coaches. An approach you will find at DeCO is that everyone is expected to try their hardest, but not everyone is expected to perform on the same level; this mentality is not always found in a Crossfit box that I really appreciate. At DeCO, workouts are easily scaled to a person’s capability. Your workout is YOURS.

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It’s amazing what you can do in an encouraging, supportive environment! Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

DeCO offers services outside of your day-to-day WOD as well, which is very cool – it’s not just the same, old Box. They offer chiropractic services, massage therapy, Olympic lifting, nutritional counseling, and personal one-on-one training. Check out the rates on their website here. Trust me- the cost is small compared to getting these services independently.

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Oh, just hanging out… Click the above picture to be brought to Crossfit DeCO’s Facebook Page. Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

We have experienced other gyms, and this is nothing like going to 24 hour fitness or your local fitness center. A new visitor to DeCO may be confused about the lack of equipment and machines, but don’t worry – you can still workout without giant weight machines or treadmills. What stood out for me, and became reasoning behind joining as a member, is the honest encouragement from classmates as well as the coaches. Understanding that it is most important to give all you can, and to do YOUR personal best each time, will prove to be rewarding in Crossfit; Crossfit DeCO encourages you to do so in the most supportive way, making each class enjoyable. I won’t sugarcoat it – it’s tough, but the experience is incredible. Sure, sometimes it’s difficult to get our of bed in the morning and show up. To put it best, one morning after the most thoroughly exhausting WOD at DeCO, I posted a picture on Instagram with the caption:

“I never regret it (after it’s done)”.

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C’mon- they’re your friends! Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

If you want to join DenverSpeax on this journey, Saturdays are free to drop in! Stop in, give it a try, and let them know DenverSpeax sent you. All fitness levels are welcome. Like I’ve mentioned – it’s a great Box with coaches that are highly knowledgable. They’re happy to help with any questions you may have about the Box, or even CrossFit in general.

For more information, visit http://crossfitdeco.com/ and like their Facebook page to see the daily workouts and upcoming events.

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Something for the Ladies – Studio 3sixT – Pole.Dance.Fitness

A few weeks ago, while perusing through Groupon one afternoon, I came across a deal for one month of unlimited pole dancing classes for $90 bucks. I considered the opportunity before me; I had never pole danced before, am always looking for challenging fitness opportunities, and $90 bucks for a month of unlimited classes is actually pretty inexpensive compared to other gym’s rates in the area.

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Credit: Studio 3sixT, OCT 2013. Out of respect and privacy, I have not taken pictures inside the studio for this feature – take my stamp of approval, and go check it out. The first class is $6, aka a total steal!

So I went for it! I bought the Groupon to Studio 3sixT, and anxiously arrived last Thursday for the Intro to Pole class, a pre-requisite to all other pole classes offered at the studio. Located at 2553 S Colorado Blvd STE 109LL, Denver, Colorado (look for the Music Skool and O’Reily’s Autoparts – head toward the corner between the two, and you’ll see the door with the sign on it!), the studio is in a great location in metro Denver. Definitely plan ahead traffic-wise – Colorado can be a bitch. Plain and simple. The studio is functionally beautiful, home to multiple rooms with mirrors lining the wall, and, of course, POLES! The anxiousness immediately vanished when I was welcomed by Xiaohui, the instructor of the class.

We started class warming up and stretching, incorporating fun and sexy cardio movement. The second half of class, we learned different tricks on the poles, how to walk, and floor work. It was nice to be surrounded by women having a great time working out, gaining confidence by the minute, and just letting loose. The environment is incredibly supportive and enjoyable, and the instruction is not only comprehensive, but also totally sweat-worthy. Needless to say, I’m hooked! It’s hard to find a fitness environment in which people aren’t constantly competing. Also, with their variety of classes including Ballet Body, Saturday Stretch, and, as mentioned, pole dancing, I don’t see myself getting bored.

Aside from being incredibly fun and supportive, the instructors at the studio have a ton of experience in multiple forms of dance. I’ve learned that there are actually Pole Dancing competitions all around the world; check out this video posted by one of the instructors from the Colorado Pole Dancing Championships:

Ladies, if you’re looking for a fun way to work out and rebuild that confidence level, check out this studio. They have a variety of classes for all skill levels. It’s also a great way to meet some new girlfriends, and learn some new moves. Check out the Studio 3sixT Facebook page, shoot them an email, stop by… give it a try! I highly doubt you’ll be disappointed in any way, shape, or form.