Category Archives: Denver Fitness

The plight of small group personal training in 2014

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Small Group Personal Training (and I) Owe 2014 To You.

No, seriously.  Whether you’re currently a personal training client, boot camp or weight loss challenge participant or have been one in the past, you’re a part of the reason why we’re here today.   Even if you’ve just read some of our stuff, talked about us to someone or done nothing at all but read this far into this post, I mean it.  You’re helping create awareness with every workout, every mention, every activated neuron in that beautiful head of yours.

60 lbs weight loss

Sometimes weight loss results come from smart work, not just hard work.

Let me explain further why you’re to thank for small group personal training:

If you were once with us and left, that forced me to sit down and think deeply about why you did.  About what we could do to make Bonza better so the next person would want to stay forever.  When you stayed, that gave me the chance to show you different ideas, to brainstorm with you and let you them give me the thumbs up or thumbs down.  I’ll say it because you’re too nice to – it hasn’t been all smooth sailing.  We’ve gained some good people but lost a few as well.

It might be an exaggeration to compare running a personal-training focused fitness studio to a battlefield, but let’s put it this way.  Every time I look out at the clubs and studios that are making headlines, it gives me the strength to keep fighting.

Because Bodylab shut down.   They had a great nutrition program (like we do) and got great results (like we do) but couldn’t make it work.

Chi Fitness changed hands.  Became a house divided – where workouts once met yoga, the innovative concept eventually sputtered out.

Orange Theory Fitness grew exponentially but in a different direction than what made them effective in the first place.

All of these studios have or did have the chance to be game changers, but they all shied away from the small group concept  they were borne of and went with something different. The closest thing left to a dedicated small group training experience is Pearl Street Fitness (who do a great job – theirs is a little larger than our class sizes and with a different movement philosophy, but do a great job at what they want to be good at, which I salute).

Running a small group personal training fitness studio is worth every minute of effort.

liz smiling

This is Liz. She’s holding a ViPR. Just one of many functional training tools/devices of torture that took off in 2014

So don’t get me wrong, the battlefield I’m talking about isn’t with other studios.

It’s with the crystal clear view I see and the battle to get other clubs and trainers to save this concept before it gets overlooked altogether.

Which is that people need attention.

They need to be able to go to whatever workout they want to with whatever trainer is there and get a personalized experience.  Are we at a place where I’m happy with it yet?  No.  But I’m hard to please.  And we’re getting there.  We’re closer every month.

Sorry, where are my manners!  Let me get off my soapbox for a moment.

That’s better.  (deep breath)

Happy Holidays to you from Bonza and all of our personal training staff.

Of course, I’m hoping when you read ‘happy holidays’, you’ll insert your religious/seasonal/solstice-based celebration of choice to that, sparing me the awkwardness of getting it wrong and feeling angst about my ignorance when it comes to knowing what to say.  What’s that?  I know, right?  Thanks for understanding.

christmas tree zoomed

Tihis cool zoom out effect helps me understand what LSD must feel like…

So when I look back at the year that was, a lot seems to have happened.  It’s actually kinda dizzying, both for me personally as a personal trainer and fitness professional, and for Bonza Bodies as a club coming into a level of it’s own finally after many transformations and reorganizations.

We won a few awards for personal training, one for boot camp, spoke at a few events and got seen on TV about a million times it feels like.  The funniest thing is that the thing I’m most excited about is the place Bonza is at right now.  We’ve got members that have stuck with us, managers that have been resilient even when I’ve loaded endless projects upon their sh9ulders.  A couple of new faces and new game plans that have me giggling (yes, giggling) about what 2015 will hold for us.

So thanks.  For being a part of a movement to get clubs to pay better attention to you and not accept it when they say “Oh, you want personal attention?  Trainers corner is over there.  Don’t forget to budget the thousand dollars per month you’ll need to afford it!  PS Nutrition is extra”

We’re not where we want to be.  But we’re getting there.  And it’s in big part thanks to you.

Here’s to you – have a happy and safe holiday season, you butthead.

Be true to your goals,

Jamie Atlas

Sarah's new personal trainer Rex seemed adamant she finish her set before moving on.

Sarah’s new personal trainer Rex seemed adamant she finish her set before moving on.

Weight Loss is just a part of our best transformation program ever

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 A weight loss experience you’ll actually be able to stick with.

The holidays are full of eating and drinking — either from stress, for celebration, or because we’re in a hurry and grabbing a donut seems easier than cooking some eggs. But the season of gathering over plates of calories and goblets of sugar is short-lived. And, like clockwork, here comes January and with it all the weight loss programs that promise all of the results with none of the support, nutrition or essential elements of any quality get in shape program.  They don’t really expect you to stick around, they’re just looking for their share of the ‘new years resolutionaries’ to pad their membership stats.  Why bother providing quality to someone who’s not really gonna stick around past the first two weeks anyway, right?

We don’t have a dozen studios to choose from, just one in downtown denver (80202) and our humble lakewood location.  If the weather stays nice we’ll have a few workouts at red rocks just because it’s amazing to do that.  If you live or work near either of those locations (or know someone that does that you can tell about this program) then you need to get involved.  What else are you gonna do?  Rely on willpower to do it yourself?  Say it with me and tell me how it sounds:  “Me getting in really great shape is gonna work this time because I really seriously mean it this time.  No, stop laughing.  I’m being serious right now.  No, this isn’t like the other times, it’s different because I say so.  Stop making that face!”

You say weight loss, we say transformation

In the dwindling days of December, you still have time to turn things around but if you don’t, all is forgiven on January 5th when we launch our best total body transformation yet.

who-is-awesome (1)I’ve been a personal trainer for a long time (what, you think I’m going to date myself by telling you how long? A long time, kids.) and I pride myself on my holistic approach to functional training. But this time, we’ve outdone ourselves. This is a 50-day total body transformation with all the bells and whistles to get the job done. It’s like fitness goals on steroids. Wait– No. It’s a VIP-level fitness experience including workouts, nutrition and support that is in essence a weight loss (or should we say fat loss) experience. Because that’s how transformation happens. Because you’re awesome and you deserve it.

Anyone who’s joined our classes at the studio or at Red Rocks has probably heard our trainers talking about nutrition and food choices. Tips to survive dinner parties, some of our favorite dishes for the holidays, and so on. It’s because we care about your results. We’re not just going to run you through a tough workout and then send you off to the bakery for a reward. Nope, we’re tackling your health like we would our own.

Join us for 50 days, starting January 5, and see what I’m talking about. Get the details below and sign up here.

50 dayys back 2-2




We’ve Kicked Off Our 21 Day Ski Intensive

By | Denver Fitness, winter sports | No Comments

Are YOU ready for ski season?

If your answer is no, its not too late to start! Join us for our 21 day ski intensive at Bonza Bodies Denver Fitness. Classes are conveniently held at both our Downtown location in the 80203 AND our Lakewood location 80215! Our workouts are specifically geared toward getting those gorgeous legs ready for fresh Colorado mountain powder.

Why Should You Go To Ski Training At Bonza?

Classes are offered at different times daily with our world class Bonza Bodies Denver Fitness Trainers, including a Wednesday yoga class for flexibility and core-strengthening featuring moves specific to sking. So if you want to have the agility, balance and core strength to hit the runs like never before check the schedule for class times.

If you’d like more information on the program here’s the blog post that tells you all about it:

Current members are free to attend all classes without signing up and as always if you can’t make it to class here’s a video demonstrating workouts you can do at home or on the road…  If you’d like to learn how you can jump in on this before we get too far into the program (we just started this program Monday the 1st!) then send an email to and we’ll get you set up lickety split! Read More

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

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That has become my attitude when it comes to watching TV. But don’t get too excited — it doesn’t mean we can hang out on the couch together, throwing back potato chips and pints of Ben & Jerry’s. No, no, no. What I mean is that I’m okay with you watching your favorite shows — in moderation — as long as you make good use of the commercial breaks. Here’s how:

TV exerciseMake a plan. Create a list of 4 exercises and 4 stretches you know and love. Make them things that won’t require a bunch of fancy equipment. Try using paper plates.

30 second drill. When a commercial comes on, start your way through the list, alternating exercise and stretches every commercial. There are rarely more than 4 commercials (unless you’re watching a Survivor season finale!) so you should be able to get through 2 stretches and 2 exercises, enough to get you moving but not enough to make you feel like you’re going to drown in your own sweat.

Half-timer break. Once you’ve done 2 full sets of your exercises and stretches, next commercial break get up and grab a glass of water. Repeat until your show is over (feel free to substitute a glass of water with a bathroom break if you’re watching a 2 hour special)! Avoid grabbing a handful of snacks on the way through — mindless eating happens most often when watching TV!

There’s no real substitute for a well constructed workout with your favorite trainer. But I get it, there’s a lot of addicting stuff on TV. And honestly, I’d rather you get hooked on a show than a snack.

Flexibility At Home – Broom Style

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If you’ve wondered about getting your flexibility in, wait no longer.  Here’s a video from our Bonza Bodies trainer (blast from the past!)  Erin J.  She shows us a few drills that you can do at home with nothing more than a broomstick.  It’s actually surprisingly effective.

Multi-task for flexibility

If you don’t think you have time to get your stretches in, maybe you’re right… but maybe you’re wrong.  Here’s 3 strategies to help you find the time:

  1. set up a yoga mat in front of the tv.  Nothing says ‘please lie down and stretch’ like a yoga mat.  Leave it out and take advantage of it next time you sit down for a rerun of ‘golden girls’.
  2. the shower is your friend – buy some non-slip grips for the floor and get your stretches in there.  Nothing like a warm shower to get the joints ready for moving.
  3. Make it part of your nighttime ritual – give yourself a mindset to work through, some thoughts to embrace and some stretches to squeeze in to make sure you’re going to get a great nights sleep and wake up feeling loose and limber.

Anyone out there got a way they sneak in stretches?   Don’t say while driving, don’t say while driving….


Be true to your goals

Jamie Atlas and the Bonza Bodies Team.



Announcing Our Ski Conditioning 21 day Intensive Program

By | Denver Fitness, Uncategorized, winter sports | No Comments

Ski Conditioning Is Back At Bonza!

If you’ve been waiting for us to launch our 21 day intensive ski conditioning program to get you in the shape you need to be to master those mountains, here’s the details!  


If you aren’t sure what we’re all about, just continue on down to the bottom of this post to see our 9News Wednesday Workout Ski Conditioning spot, read our ski conditioning article in the Denver Post or see why the right training is important in this video from our youtube channel. snow mountain long

What is the 21 Day Ski Conditioning Program exactly?:

Click-Here-to-Sign-Up-Box-11.1.12Ski conditioning to get you in the best ski shape ever!  We’re throwing in our proven fat loss food plan 2.0 to get you into your skinny ski pants as well!  Workouts with our award winning trainers with one sole purpose – give you the strong legs, flexible core and agile balance to be able to master the ski slopes like never before, then wake up the next morning and do it all over again: What you get:

  • Choose from 7 Ski Conditioning specific workouts – attend  as many as you like!
  • Workouts run at both our downtown and lakewood location
  • Guaranteed small personalized group size – no more than 16 people per instructor.
  • 21 day ski success preparation plan
  • fat loss food plan
  • Kickoff night (optional attendance) is Dec 1st from 6-8pm – this intense workout includes optional body fat testing and ski fitness testing to see how ski ready you are! !

When does the Ski Conditioning program start?

This Award Winning Denver Ski Conditioning Program starts December 1st!

How much is the 21 day ski conditioning program?

97 dollars for 21 days of ski conditioning, food plan, video workouts, ski tips and 21 day preparation plan (and more!)

What times do the workouts run?

Starting Dec 1st with a 2 hour 6-8pm workout/testing at lakewood, then: Downtown:

  • Mon Wed 545pm
  • Fri 430pm.  
  • Wed 5am & 6am,
  • Sat 745am Tighten Up (total body) 


  • Mon Wed & 630am
  • Tues &  Thurs 615pm
  • Wed 630pm Yoga for Function 
  • Sat 730am Tighten Up (total body)



We don’t have room in our small personal studios to fit you all in.   Only the first 50 to sign up will be accepted. CLICK HERE to sign in and lock in your spot today Got questions?  Email or call us at 1-866-609-5004 today! Click-Here-to-Sign-Up-Box-11.1.12       denver post ski pic Click the link below to go directly to the 9News Ski Conditioning TV Spot:

When Less Is More

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It’s the season for my favorite weight loss show (to criticize) and it has me thinking… It’s time we talk about balance and moderation. A lot of pop culture has us under the impression that in order to get fit and lose weight, we have to spend half a day in the gym, eat like a bird and fit the rest of our regular life into what’s left.

I’ve been a personal trainer for a long time and have picked up some tips along the way that might make working toward your weight loss goals a little less punishing.

When you’ve got weight to lose, it can be tempting to block out a 2-hour window for cardio or weight training. However, there are multiple reasons why being at the gym for longer than 45 minutes can be detrimental to your efforts. Here are a few:

Hormone response. These are the chemicals that tell your body to grow muscle, burn fat and slow the metabolism. They all work hard while you’re working out, but after a certain period of time (40-60 minutes) they start to flatten out.

Quality of work. When you’re working out, technique is a factor. You want your time to be effective. Past an hour of intense work, your focus and technique usually starts to suffer, putting you at risk of injury.

Joint recovery. Working hard does not mean working long. The trouble is, the harder you work the more force that is put on your joints. Your joints need recovery so they can be ready to go at your next session. Joint injury is a common cause for people having to stop working out.

other 23 hoursLife beyond the gym. I’ll be the first to say that staying active and working hard toward your fitness goals is important. And the best part of putting in the work in the gym is improving your quality of life outside the gym. It’s why we focus on functional training, why our classes are under an hour long, and why we talk openly about things like healthy food choices, navigating parties while you’re on a food plan and other fun ways to stay active.

Training for Football Season

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Maybe you don’t play in the NFL. Maybe you don’t even watch football. But we can all agree that football players put massive amounts of stress on their bodies, so training is critical. And really, we can all train like a football player, using major muscle groups that will support our activities on and off the field.

As a personal trainer, I like to keep things interesting for my clients and seasonal changes are a great time to spice up your workout. So why not toss in some football-inspired exercises to kick off Fall?

I recently teamed up with my friend Corey Rose from 9News to hammer out some training tips that you can do at home, at work or during halftime. Check it out:


You may recognize some of these exercises from our boot camp classes. But for football training, we’ve added some twists. So instead of a straight lunge, we’ve added resistance bands. Pushups roll into pushups (feel that core? OHHHH YEAHHHH). And bursts of power from sprints will have you moving like an athlete, even if it’s just in the back yard.

As always, these exercises are made for functional training. So whether you’re catching a pass or chasing the kids, your body is ready to move like you need it to, and be less prone to injury in the process.

And as temperatures drop and you’re trading your running shoes for snowshoes, check out this little bit I did with the Denver Post to prep for backcountry adventures this winter.

This One’s For You, Denver!

By | Denver Fitness, News | No Comments

In a time where gyms are run by big money, investors, fancy locations and signage, there are still regular folks like us sitting in the basement, doing good work. And it’s tough out there, as we’ve seen with our fallen friends like Genesis and BodyLab. We work hard to bring you the best personal trainers in the biz. We listen to our members and try our best to give you what you need to be successful. It takes a village, both in and outside of the gym.

So it’s an exciting and humbling experience to win an award, especially when it’s determined by the public. And right now, I’m pretty overwhelmed by our growing list of awards and successes. But since there’s no televised event, no podium, no little gold guys to hold (although I’m not above body paint if there are any volunteers?), I’ll do it here:

For the following 2014 awards:

5280’s Top of the Town, Best Personal Trainer

5280’s Top of the Town, Best Health Club/Gym

Denver A-List, Best Personal Trainer

Denver A-List, Best Boot Camp



I’d like to thank the academy. And all the members and personal trainers whose blood, sweat and tears fill our fitness studios and workouts with love. This is for all of you who show up, do the work, and laugh at my jokes. I also want to thank all the other gyms, health clubs, fitness studios and hardworking personal trainers in town for doing your part to make Denver healthier. And 9News for helping me share fitness and nutrition tips every week.

Every squat, lunge, stair and pushup connects us — not because misery loves company, as some of you would say, but because you’re reaching your fitness and weight loss goals and our trainers are reaching our goals of doing what we love.

Okay, the music is playing and there’s some dude in a suit trying to escort me off the stage so I will awkwardly lean in to say one more thing: THIS ONE’S FOR YOU, DENVER: TWO CLAPS!