Colorado is no stranger to high-end gyms, altitude training and co-working spaces. This is why owners Jim Gerber and Kris Peters sought to open a fitness center combining all three. Meet Traverse Fitness – where Gerber and Peters are redefining how you work out in the Mile High City. Sure, when you think altitude training – you think heading into the Rockies to summit a 14er. Even running a few laps around Sloan’s Lake will do the trick – after all, Denver has its own reputation. So how exactly do you train at altitude inside of a gym? We were wondering the same question – so we reached out to Traverse to find out for ourselves.
Bringing the outdoors in.
When Gerber and Peters decided to start a new gym in Denver – they knew he had to think outside of the box. While surviving a pandemic, fire, rebrand and relocation were setbacks in the process – figuring out how to bring the outdoors in would be their biggest feat.
“Co-Founders and Partners Kris Peters and Jim Gerber met three years ago on a skinning expedition and immediately connected over their shared values and experiences in the fitness industry. After meeting up the next day, they left with a rough outline for what Traverse was to become. With Colorado being home to so many amazing outdoor experiences, they wanted to create challenging workouts that would allow their members to take advantage of those outdoor adventures,” explained the company.
After a year of obstacles – the pop-up gym was finally able to open its doors to the community permanently.
“The Traverse facility is the first of its kind. Our Altitude room is the first in the United States to take members from Sea Level – 20,000 feet. This amenity, along with our unparalleled HIIT classes, fully accommodated cowork space, complimentary recovery services, and personal training makes Traverse a place truly unlike any other.”
Train 20,000 feet above sea level.
By far the most alluring amenity is Traverse’s altitude room. The one-of-a-kind 1,000 square foot training room can create an altitude range between sea level and 20,000 feet. A new height – even most avid hikers in Colorado have yet to reach without leaving the state. For perspective – the tallest peak in North America is Denali in Alaska, which towers 20,308 feet above sea level. At Traverse, you can train for Mount Elbert all day long – or aim higher and train for summits like Denali and Everest.
As for the several health benefits involved – altitude training might just be what your workouts have been missing. Especially if your fitness data has been recently plateauing. So how does it work?
“Once inside, the simulated altitude triggers a range of physiological adaptations, invigorating the body’s systems to perform at higher standards. At lower altitudes, the body utilizes the studio’s supplemental oxygen to actively improve cardiovascular performance and enhance physical output. Essentially, you can work out harder for a longer period of time,” said Gerber. “At higher altitudes, the body is challenged in a reduced oxygen environment. With training, the muscle fibers show an increase in efficiency, size and capillarization. A high-altitude environment also stimulates the production of red blood cells and hemoglobin, which increases transportation of oxygen throughout the body.”
Whether speed is a top priority in your next 10k or you’re ready to PR at sea level after training a mile-high – the altitude room is a definite go-to for next-level fitness. But that brings us to the next question – why train at altitude indoors when you live at altitude?
According to Gerber – all athletes have their own training goals. Regardless of what those goals are – training should be the primary focus.
“For example, a cyclist preparing for an upcoming race over Vail Pass no longer has to commute 2+ hours, deal with equipment, and battle weather conditions. By eliminating these barriers, we allow these members to focus entirely on their training and making progress over the competition,” he explained.
High-Intensity Interval Training.
Another popular workout on the weekly class schedule at Traverse is HIIT. Also known as High Intensity Interval Training. In other words – it’s all about intermittent anaerobic activity followed by a period of rest. According to Vox – HIIT workouts were voted top workout in 2020 in a survey by the American College of Sports Medicine. Traverse utilizes Technogym SkillRun treadmills as well as Kaiser Air-compressed Functional Trainings – redefining the way HIIT workouts are executed. “This function-first training approach is designed to maximize fitness potential and develop high-level proficiency for any of life’s adventures,” said Traverse.
In addition to challenging sweat sessions – Traverse opens its doors to sports recovery too. From Normatec compression sleeves to Zero Gravity chairs – there’s an entire space dedicated to preventing injury, reducing pain and relieving stress.
According to a study, “…maximizing the performance capacity of an athlete is not only a matter of training. It also depends on an optimal balance between training and recovery in order to prevent maladaptation to accumulated psychological and physiological stresses induced by the training load.”
Combing Work-outs and Co-Working
Going beyond just workouts, recovery and an impressive altitude room – Traverse also offers a unique space for co-working. With more people working from home than ever – chances are many of us can spare an afternoon to pack up our mobile desks and head to the gym.
“So much of our society is moving online, behind screens, and having a safe outlet these days is more important that’s ever,” said Gerber. “After ‘home’ and ‘work’, many of us no longer have a ‘Third Place’ to connection, workout recharge, and be productive. Traverse is a place where you can prioritize your fitness, social connections, and mental health in a responsible way. By combining the best of the boutique fitness space, the amenities of a larger gym facility, and open coworker space, we are proud to have become that ‘Third Place’ for our members.
Traverse gym opened its doors on January 13, 2021. Memberships start at $179 a month – which includes access to Open Gym HIIT workouts, seven-day reservation privileges, unlimited HIIT and access to recovery equipment, the co-working space and the Traverse Digital Library. To gain access to the Altitude Room – members must upgrade their membership status to Expedition. Go here to learn more.