The visibility beneath the waters of Aurora Reservoir is between 5 and 12 feet in front of your face. The murkiness is less frustrating than it is suspenseful—you don't know exactly when the twin engines of an airplane will appear, allowing you to trace the rest of the sunken craft and greet its finned inhabitants. The remote, shadowy world of the downed plane is just one of many rendered accessible to students of Rocky Mountain Diving Center, where instructors can train their protégés up from first-time divers to certified teachers through a combination of classroom, pool, and outdoor sessions.
The center's educational programs include swimming and snorkeling classes in addition to open-water-diving-certification courses. These lessons enable graduated pupils to delve into several local lakes. The curriculum also covers specialty training on topics such as deep diving, night diving, and underwater photography—a career passion of the school's owner, Mark. With equipment for sale and rental as well as a dedicated service team, the center prepares its students for safe and comfortable excursions. Its tropical retreats afford rare opportunities to explore the reefs off of Fiji or swim alongside whale sharks or shark whales—extremely intimidating belugas.
CrossFit Lakewood has been in the business of transforming lives since 2009. A Level 2 owner leads a committed crew of coaches who operate out of a 8,000-square-foot facility in the heart of Lakewood. The staff strives for a common goal: to help others realize their fitness potential. To that end, coaches train clients using CrossFit methodology, which involves functional movements at a high intensity performed in a fun, dynamic group setting. The Workout of the Day?the ever-changing regimen around which CrossFit's program revolves?employs cardio exercises, body weighted movements, and resistance training. Equipment ranges from kettle bells, medicine balls, and dumbbells to ropes, rowers, barbells, and more.
Visitors to Blue Moon Yoga might imagine that they've stumbled into a piece of history. With a location at the Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design Rotunda Building, a historic rotunda building, Carrie Sonneborn uses the cozy environs reflect her overall mission to foster a peaceful, welcoming escape from the stresses of everyday life—which is also championed in her yoga classes. She specializes in Iyengar-inspired yoga, a gentle practice that consists of standing postures and emphasizes a custom proper alignment pose for each student, as well as pranayama, or deep breathing, and relaxation. An avid yoga practitioner for more than two decades, she touts her own health as proof of yoga's benefits. "Yoga and massage are like my fountain of youth,” she says. “I'm more flexible and, in some ways, better shape than I was in my 20s—I'm obviously a convert."
To make yoga accessible to students of all experience levels, Carrie recruits props such as blankets, straps, blocks, and bolsters. She limits her classes to 12 students so that she can personally attend to each one, carefully monitoring their form and offering physical adjustments when needed. The poses in her classes are adapted for each student, so beginners practice the basic form of the pose alongside more experienced pupils, then move into a more advanced version of the same pose.
The Colorado School of Acting's directors, Elizabeth Horne and Troy Horne, combine their dual loves of stage and screen to impart acting chops to students of all ages and experience levels. Elizabeth—who has acted in more than 25 plays and 12 movies—and Troy—a sitcom and film producer who appeared on Broadway in the Tony Award–winning musical Rent—staff their team with veteran acting instructors, each of whom have more than 10 years of experience in the biz. During their classes, they teach students to focus and perform under a variety of circumstances, with workshops in subjects ranging from improv and commercial work to audition skills and voiceovers. They welcome kids for acting summer camps, where they introduce fundamentals of memorization, character development, and rehearsal. Instructors also help thespians develop with more advanced training, including filmmaking summer camps for kids, and a certificate program for all age levels that requires students to audition or present a signed permission slip from David Schwimmer.
The owners of Qi pool their experience to design innovative, unique exercise classes. Leading a staff of personal trainers and experienced instructors, the club maintains meditative training studios where yoga and cycling fuse in courses such as QiCycle-Yoga, and Qi Ryders, which uses RealRyder bikes.
The resulting roster of classes have earned Qi a second- and third-place spot on 5280's 2011 readers’ choice awards for Health Club/Gym and Yoga respectively. Such classes include Qi Yoga, a unique focus on core energy and muscular strength, and QiCycle-KORE, a cycling program blended with a bootcamp workout. The commitment to healthy living extends beyond the gym, with community programs, such as the free running club, a group that meets regularly to jog through City Park, Congress Park, and local Thanksgiving dinners.
Eager to provide marital-arts expertise and fitness know-how, Peak Training Center offers instruction and conditioning to people of all ages and skill levels. Four coaches and specialized instructors help aspiring MMA fighters step up their games and show regular exercisers efficient methods of getting in shape. The staff teaches Brazilian Jiu-jitsu—the world's premier form of grappling—as well as kickboxing, muay thai, and mixed martial arts. They also build cardio endurance in athletes by turning to dance, with classes such as Zumba and hot hula. They lead yoga sessions to promote flexibility and Pilates classes to build strong cores, a necessary step before athletes can throw solid punches or stun opponents by exposing their six-packs.