This is a part of our ongoing ‘We Tried it’ series where we test out weird and wonderful things to do or see in Colorado. Go here to see what else we’ve tried. Comment below and let us know what we should do next.

Ever dreamed of having a gymnast body and didn’t know where to start? We have a place. Awaken gym is Denver’s first adult gymnastics training facility and it not only offers different kinds of classes but also different levels.

The Basics

Photo Courtesy of Awaken

Orench Lagman, who is the founder of Awaken, has been a personal trainer for over 20 years and helped coach the USA’s Men’s and Women’s taekwondo programs, and also assisted with the Olympic volleyball and wrestling team. Using his knowledge from Olympic lifting and personal training, he created Awaken since he believes that being strong and mobile is the best fitness someone can do for their body. Awaken consist of two rooms. The first one is larger where all the main activities take place and includes space for the monkey bars. The other area is much smaller and has a spring floor with stall bars along the side. Awaken currently has only one location in Denver, but there are plans to expand to a bigger gym due to demand.

The gym offers different classes based on three different levels. To start, everyone begins at blue so you can strengthen your core, upper body, and hip strength before you can progress. Once you and the instructors believe you are ready to move into more challenging courses, you can test out of blue into gray, and then gray into the highest level — green. There are many classes to choose from in each level, so you will never get bored.

The Experience

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One thing everyone should know before signing up is that gymnastics, in general, requires a lot of stretching and flexibility. The class I chose to do was Foundations class in the Blue level so I could focus on learning gymnastics terminology while also incorporating the use of the stall bar, rings, monkey bars, walls and floor. To start off the class, they had everyone jog in a big circle which then went into high knees, and then of course stretching. After stretching, we grabbed the gym rings and attached them to the monkey bars. This allowed us to do pull-ups using the rings with our bodies at an angle. You could lessen the intensity of your pull up by putting yourself at a certain angle — the higher up your body was angled, the easier it was. Throughout the workout, there were many opportunities to adjust and change the intensity of your activity.

One of the hardest exercises for me incorporated lifting with just your body weight. For example, the “human flag” incorporated the stall bars and required you to grip the side of the stall bar with both hands while raising your bottom half like a flag. I couldn’t even lift my legs off of the bar for half a second no matter how hard I tried.

The Verdict

If you’re looking for a class that is all about using your own body weight while having fun to get ripped, then this is for you. With some of the exercises, I couldn’t believe how little muscle I had compared to others since certain exercises worked certain muscle groups that I clearly have never worked before. It wasn’t my favorite workout since there were a lot of breaks in between from station to station with some stretching included. But like I said before and in previous articles, strength classes aren’t my favorite since I barely break a sweat.  If you are looking for something different in your strength building routine though, I would highly recommend Awaken gym. Beyond the unique workout, they are a tight-knit friendly community, and the fact that you have to test out into different levels offers a challenge against your own self.

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