Category Archives: News

The Secret To Reaching Your Fitness Goals Faster!

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If you don’t already have a heart rate monitor, you should probably drop what you’re doing and go get one before your next workout! Most trainers and fitness instructors are recommending their clients to go out and get one. There are so many benefits in using a heart rate monitor for your daily activities and workouts such as tracking your level of effort during exercise, see how many calories your burning and tracking your progress!

   A brief background on heart rate and exercise.

Your heart rate is measured by the amount of times it beats per minute. Your heart is a muscle and as you exercise more your heart gets stronger, just like other muscles in your body. The stronger the heart is, the more blood it can pump throughout the body to deliver oxygen to working muscles. So, when you are training your heart will get stronger and won’t have to work as hard and you can track your heart rate during workouts using a heart rate monitor. Measuring the rate of your heart during exercise can help you gauge if you’re pushing your body too hard or not hard enough.


   Heart rate monitors (HRM) are a great way to reach your fitness goals faster and more effectively. Heart rate monitors are able to find and maintain the right exercise intensity. For example, if you wanted to maintain working out at moderate intensity (50-70 percent of max heart rate) for thirty minutes the monitor will allow you to see if you’re working out in that range of intensity. There are ranges in prices of heart rate monitors and some of the higher end monitors can even provide specific zone intensity and time requirements to reach your specific weight loss or performance fitness goals! Cool! Using a HRM is a more proficient way of making sure your getting the most benefit from you workout rather than manually taking your pulse or trying to guess what intensity level you’re at.

Another benefit of heart rate monitors are that they provide feedback that help prevent you from exercising too hard in a single sessions or from over training in general, which can lead to having to take days off & thus prolonging you to reach your fitness goals. If you are paying attention to a heart rate monitor during a workout and it seems much higher during or after a workout than you expected it can be a sign that you’re over working the body and should lower the exercise intensity and/or your body needs to rest!

HRMs also can help keep you in check and track your progress over time. Some monitors are able to display your progress over time and can help you identify errors in your training regime or if you’re right on track! Heart rate monitors also keep you in check because you’re wearing a device that’s always letting you know if you’ve completed your training goals or if you actually worked out at the intensity you set your goal for. It’s a nice way to be held responsible for your workouts.

So, what are you waiting for? Reach your fitness goals faster & get a heart rate monitor!

Now that you know how to tackle your goals faster, come and check us out if you’re ever in the Denver area for a great workout! If you have any questions email us at

VegaStrong: Championing For Carol

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Hi Bonza Family and Friends!

Do you like helping your fellow humans?   Read on.

This blog post you’re about to read is not about weight loss

It’s not about becoming a fitter you,

And it’s not about how to workout from home.

Today, we are asking for your help for a member and her family.

Rebecca is a participant in the Bonza Bodies 50 Day Total Body Transformation that is currently going on. She also co-authors a weekly blog post called Fitness Felines. Her mother Carol is terminally ill and currently receiving nursing care and hospice. She is receiving the best care possible to help make her as comfortable as possible and that care comes with a price. Rebecca and her family have started a fund to help raise money for her continued care.
Carol was diagnosed with COPD last summer. After being hospitalized in September for low sodium, she was put on oxygen full time and inhalers to help with respiration. During her stay, two spots were found on her left lung. The nodes were biopsied in November and confirmed to be Stage 3 Small Cell Cancer. Because of the location of the nodes, they are inoperable. Small cell cancer is very aggressive and though it could potentially be “slowed down” with chemotherapy, it cannot be cured. Carol opted not to pursue chemotherapy. The combination of her COPD and the nodes constricting her airways, breathing has become labored, resulting in restless sleep. After having to be hospitalized a few days before Christmas, Carol is now at Someren Glen, a skilled nursing facility. Summit Community Hospice is also providing care and resources.

Bonza Bodies has reached out to Rebecca and her family to extend a helping hand.
We will be doing a couple different things over the next couple weeks to help raise money for Carol and her family.

There will be an opportunity to donate money the night of the wine tasting. Bonza Bodies is holding a wine tasting and party for all of our members! This is also the official end party of the 50 Day Total Body Transformation. The party is Friday night the 27th at Bonza Bodies downtown beginning at 5pm! Come one come all we would love to see you there! Friends and family are very welcome!

Then on March 1st there is a Virtual Fun Run happening. This is a run/walk that can done from anywhere you’d like! All the family asks is that you send them your pictures of yourself/your group running or walking while wearing Red, Carol’s favorite color. You can share them with us on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook, hashtagging #vegastrong and #fitnessfelines.  If you would like to join the organized group for this event they are meeting at Confluence Park behind the REI downtown at 9 a.m. March 1st.  Anyone is welcome just make sure to wear red! Thanks for your support!

Lastly on Saturday March 7th Bonza Bodies will host a workout that anyone can attend for a $10 suggested donation. The workout will be will be a 90 minute butt kicking, to make sure you get your value for the money (donating never hurt so good!), that you have come to expect and love on a Saturday morning at Bonza. Depending on the response we get we may have 2 sessions! Right now the first session is at 730-9am (possible second session at 915-1045am). So go sign up on MBO and let us know you’re in! Then go to the VegaStrong Go Fund Me page and make a donation! You can also go to Red Rocks for a donation that morning but space is limited so get your butt signed up!

Thank you so much for your donation to this amazing family and courageous woman. If you are interested in learning more about this story or Bonza Bodies Small Group Fitness Studio email us at


And as always:

Stay True To Your Goals

Jamie Atlas


On a Weight Loss Journey? Eat at the Protein Bar!

By | Denver Fitness, News, Nutrition | One Comment

We’ve known it all along! A veggie and protein rich diet is a key weight loss factor!

And now there is a restaurant in Denver that serves just that!

We here at Bonza Bodies Small Group Fitness Studio would like to take this chance to welcome our favorite restaurant The Protein Bar into the neighborhood; like seriously, they’re blocks from our studio located in the 80202 area code of downtown Denver! And they serve the perfect meals to compliment our tailor made food plan for weight loss! Plenty of fresh vegetable and protein options! Oh and did we mention they also have an incredible vegetarian menu?

So naturally, we went to welcome them in person and maybe grab a few of our favorite meals.

protein bar salad

The above meal is a favorite of mine, light on the calores and high on the fiber.  Note that this salad has cheddar cheese on it, and depending on what level of our food plan you follow, you can have it with or without.  They won’t make a big deal out of it if you ask for the salad without it, I promise! Either way this is a protein packed, healthy meal, (with the flavors to back it up!) bound to leave you full and satisfied for hours after!

protein bar rito

If you’re eating on the go (because these days who isn’t?) or have been given the green light to add some gluten into your food plan, grab the salad and take it in hand with a wheat flaxseed tortilla! Guaranteed to fill you up and make you feel great!



The great thing about The Protein Bar, or at least one of the many, is they cater to ALL types of diets and needs. I can get my favorite bowl or salad any way I want, heavy on the broccoli please. Furthermore the flavor they manage to pack into all their dishes is from the food itself! Unlike the deep fried fat flavor we are served when we generally try to eat on the run (fast food anyone)?

So get OUT of your food rut and into the fresh flavors of The Protein Bar! (did we mention it’s awesome?)

cute mouse photo: NOM NOM MOUSE Omnomnom.gif
Stay True To Your Goals
Jamie Atlas

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!

Roundus Booticus: Spicing Up Your Workout

By | Denver Fitness, News, Uncategorized | No Comments

Exercise takes time, and many of us don’t have a lot of time to spare so how we work out becomes really important. Whether you’re a gym lover, hitting up fitness classes or just working out at the playground while the kids throw wood chips at each other, nobody likes a stale workout. And here’s a secret: your trainers don’t like it either.

That’s why we formulate our fitness classes around workouts that change. It keeps it interesting for all of us. And best of all, the diversity challenges your body to work different muscle groups in different ways, all in the name of functional movement. Two claps!

bonza booty

Are you looking at my Bonza booty?

Now, take booty-busting exercises as an example. Lots of people do straight lunges, regular squats and so on to engage this muscle group. All good things. But how do you mix it up?

As part of my favorite Wednesday pastime, I paid another visit to Corey Rose at 9News to share some fitness tips to spice up your workout. Check them out and give ’em a try!








Denver club Genesis Fitness shuts down and all I have is one question…

By | Denver Fitness, News | One Comment

Genesis Fitness held its last workout tonight.

They had to shut the doors on what has been a respectable and well known boot camp workout center since 2003.  Genesis Fitness won the 2009 ‘best boot camp’ award by Westword.  At their peak they had some of the best talent in Denver working for them.

Then something happened.  I know about the end result, but it’s more the trend of what’s happening that’s worrying me.

I’ve been in the Denver Fitness Market since 2001 now (man that makes me feel old) and something is happening and I don’t like it.

An uncomfortable trend.  A trend that threatens your fitness experience and your choices as you know it.

March 2014: Bodylab Denver Shuts Down

Earlier in the year, Bodylab Denver shut down.  They had a slightly different small group personal training model, more like the training workouts we do at our Bonza Bodies Fitness studio.  They were just a few blocks down the road from our 18th and broadway location – now I think there’s a lot of business to be had in the 80202 region, so for these guys to shut down had me worried for small group training – as it turns out, our model is thankfully different enough from theirs.  We don’t push quite as hard and spend a bit more effort on injury prevention and individuals goal-focused tweaks within the workouts, which may have saved us.  For now.  To be honest though, it made me wonder if us adding a large group workout piece a la crossfit or something wouldn’t be beneficial for us.  And then, without warning….

July 2014:  Genesis Fitness Denver Shuts Down

Now let’s get something straight.  Genesis had everything they needed to succeed.  A great location, great trainers (he’s left now, but Adam Harris was one of their trainers who had a reputiation that preceded him – – he’ a take-no-prisoners kind of Scotsman that will leave you a sweaty mess on the floor (note:  he’s actually Welsh, but me being Australian means I love it when people tell him he’s Welsh about as much as I hate it when people ask me if I’m from South Africa or England).

Genesis Fitness was all about kickass workouts that were brutally intense.  We have a member who is with us at Bonza now who tells it best.  When I asked “why did you leave genesis fitness to come to Bonza bodies” he stated quite clearly that genesis would have killed him if he had kept going.   Now, this gentleman was 40 plus and had a few injuries under his belt – so to be fair, the kind of ‘constant pushing’ as opposed to our ‘strategic gains’ strategy might not have been best for where he had been.  I’ll tell you what Genesis did amazingly well though – community.

Genesis Fitness Had  A Community that were like Family

So much in fact that in late June when Genesis Fitness shut their doors, a group of the members just went out and started up their own thing.  If you go to you’ll be able to see the makeshift website they’ve put together.  Even though Genesis the club has fallen, the people and their community (at least the diehards) have stuck together.  How long will this transformative effort be able to be maintained?  Let’s hope as long as they can.

I love the members I have now at our lakewood and downtown studios – but I can tell you I would welcome any of these Genesis members with open arms regardless of their physical ability or how hard they ‘crush it on leg day’, because if they have anything, it’s passion and a willingness to join a community and fight for the workout they want.  It feels like the members we have now.  Maybe it’s our members we have combined with our small group approach that has held us over for now.  I mean, I don’t go to bed worrying that we’re shutting down anytime soon, but when all you see is foundations of Denver fitness falling all around you, you gotta wonder if they felt the same way before they fell.  

There were a couple of other clubs that have shut down over the last few years, some affected by rulings to park workouts, some by greedy landlords and some by bad or unethical business practices of their own.  But there are a few that have been thriving.  These are divided into two main sections:

  1. People that run club/s with an infinite amount of passion and change they want to make
  2. Businesses that run clubs with an infinite amount of money they’re looking to make

I’m talking the big monsters like Corepower, Orange Theory Fitness and big box chains that have the money to build treadmill warehouses with well dressed salespeople.

I see a trend towards fancy clubs that care more about the workout toys than the people who use them – more about the market segment than the passion behind what they are delivering.

My one question is this.

Which club will you support?


Jamie Atlas is the owner of Bonza Bodies Fitness, a small fitness studio that focuses on goal-focused workouts in a small group (1-8) environment.  Members of Bonza receive at home workouts, nutrition plans and perosnalized attention towards their goals and care to avoid joint or muscle issues that could hinder progress if agitated.  Bonza Bodies Fitness is a 2 time winner of 5280 Top Of The Town Best Boot Camp and Best Gym, Jamie Atlas is a 4-time winner of Best Personal Trainer and is also a spokesperson for multiple non-profit and values-driven organizations.  You can contact Jamie or ask about a free membership trial on

Beat The Denver Heat – A Workout Guide

By | Denver Fitness, News | No Comments

As Denver gets hotter, it becomes harder to find exercise options that won’t burn you up.

You’re into watching your fitness.  But you’re also watching the temperature.  And it’s hot.  It’s so hot you can only wear spandex so you don’t burst into flames halfway through your lunchtime jog.

If you’ve been trying desperately to avoid the heat wave (tsunami?) that’s been sweeping Denver, you’re not alone.  If you’re a workout type and love the outdoors, then you’ll find yourself in a world of pain if you aren’t prepared for the high temperatures.

So how to avoid the heat and still get your workout in?

Here’s a few suggestions – some obvious, some more devious 🙂

Find some shade

If you can grab something heavy that you can lift, something you can wrap around a tree and pull on (a band, a trx, a strap of some sort) and can lay down some cones, then you’ve got all the workout you need – just give yourself a little ingenuity, think about a circuit you could do that would consist of 4-5 different exercises and you’re good to go!

Choose appropriate clothing

Wear something light and wicking – technology has come a long way, and high performance clothing can help move water away, cool in and if you believe the hype, improve your performance through increased circulation.  At upwards of 2-300 dollars for some of these outfits, the price tag ensures you’ll lighten your wallet, that’s for sure.

Shorten it up, Early it up

Do workouts HAVE to be an hour long?  The longer you’re out, the higher your temperature will rise – and the more you’ll sweat.  If you want to workout, try to workout for less time with more intensity.  To dodge the whole ‘I’m melting, I’m melting’ dilemma, get up earlier in the day and get your workout in before that big ol’ heatball in the sky comes out to play.

Get Home Spa on your bad self.

If you’re going to get hot, then again, shorten up your workouts, get really intense, get really sweaty then make sure you allocate time for a nice long shower.  Take your time, really sit and enjoy the cool water as it brings down your core temperature and washes away the workout grit from your body.  You’ll emerge refreshed, clean and probably de-stressed – I mean, it’s hard to answer emails or take phone calls in the shower, and all of us can do with a break from technology from time to time.

Drink Water.

So...thirsty... water... tastes.. soo... good!

It’s often said, but rarely followed. Dehydration will affect performance, concentration, and give you a range of problems you don’t want to even know about (constipation, anyone?).  Drink up and if you’re in the heat, drink more.  Here in Colorado the dryness means we need extra liquids. Don’t be afraid to mix it with a little juice or gatorade for flavor, but make sure you drink enough that your urine runs ‘near clear’.

Funny side story, my mother was in Peru once staying right on the edge of the forest.   She left her hotel to go for a run in the cool evening, waving goodbye to the ever-beaming hotel staff.  “I’m off for a run”, she said.  They laughed as if to say “why would you want to do that, you silly tourist”.  By the time she got back a search party had been assembled, trucks loaded with guns and mean lookin’ fellas.  As she walked up to the lobby she was enthusiastically welcomed back by the hotel manager, who gently explained to my mother that the evening is when the big cats like to hunt.  The laughter from the employees had been that of  “yeah, right.  Like anyone would be crazy enough to do that at this time of day!”

Essentially, a slow moving target such as my mother was prime eatin’s, and she had been lucky that her scrawny bones had been deemed not worth the hunt.

So, be glad you’re not being chased by a panther.. I guess that applies for just about any situation though 🙂

Yours in health,

Jamie Atlas

Bonza Bodies Fitness

We offer small group, 1-1, youth training and corporate wellness packages.  

Want to get to know us better?  Email



Lori with a medicine ball.

Quick Full Body Workout at Capitol Building

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Full Body Fat Burn using a Medicine Ball, Momentum

Are you looking for a new exercise to do in the gym or outdoors? The medicine ball tearaway is hard to beat for a full body fat burn that has a functional fitness component to it. The exercise uses lateral momentum to activate as many muscles as possible. 30 seconds of this drill guarantees to raise even the hardiest of athletes.

We had fun shooting this outside in civic park right outside the capitol building. Lots of good open space to use for a workout if you’re ever in the neighborhood 🙂

In our Denver fitness studio we use this medicine ball as part of our full body routines, but we don’t use it every workout (because we have so many other fun exercises we’re playing with it just wouldn’t be fair to the other pieces of functional equipment we have!)

If you think you’ve seen it all before, here’s your new exercise to play with.

The Medicine Ball Tearaway (as shown in the Denver Post Fitness Section, Nov 2011)

However, don’t attempt this exercise without having first done a few ‘test runs’. As with any exercise, if you aren’t familiar with what can go wrong, you can be sure you’ll find out sooner or later.


The moral of the story: Check the bounce factor of your medicine ball before you smash it with full body force into the ground.

Okay so now you’ve seen that, I’m going to trust that you won’t make that mistake… ever.

If I ever see you do this in our Denver Bonza Bodies fitness studio, expect me to refer you to this blog post… after I get you an icepack, that is.

Yours in health,

Jamie Atlas

Turkey Day Pre-Feed Strategy for Success

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Thanksgiving Day Eating Plan

Weight loss is a goal for most people around this time of year. You’ve been exercising and working out with the best intentions, but around this time even our hardest working Bonza people can go AWOL for at least a few days.

At Bonza we’re having a class at 815am this Thanksgiving (as we do every year), and we’re also meeting to run in the Turkey Trot (which should be loads and loads of fun). But if you’re not able to join us, here’s a few strategies you need to remember to keep things under control (or at least contained).

Eat Protein first to maintain your shapely figure

Fill up on that delish turkey first before you chow down into the high carb options. I’m not saying dont have some of granny’s special apple pie, but have the protein first. Turkey First, then Ham, then maybe some salad and then get into the other stuff I won’t even suggest for fear you’ll take it as a green light to engorge upon it.

Chew your food and talk to your guests to keep your waist in shape

Chewing by itself stimulates signals to the body to let it know that you’re actually taking in food. the more you chew, the fuller you’ll feel. Talking to your guests is a great way to slow the intake of food as well. Don’t make it seem like you don’t like it, but have your conversation starters at the ready. You KNOW uncle Jeff loves being asked about his action figure collection, and once you get grandpa a few drinks, he’ll answer any questions you’d like to know about the recession and the good ol’ days (really? Only a nickel for a can of soda? And the can was made from lead?! Fascinating!).

Here’s an article from the delightful and humorous Laura Shunk of WestWord who wrote an article using some of the strategies we use here at Bonza. Read up – she’s hilarious (much funnier than this claptrap anyway! 🙂

And a short fitness video with some insider tips for you:

Happy Thanksgiving Day from all of us at Bonza!

Gobble Gobble! (but not too much!)

Bar Belle

When Fat Things Happen to Good People

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Weight loss for a Denver Food Critic?

When I found out Laura was the food writer for Denver magazine Westword, I was happy but at the same time disappointed. I mean, when it comes to overcoming eating and lifestyle habits, there’s challenges and then there’s challenges. And weight loss doesn’t mix well with compulsory dessert samplings – no matter how you spin it.

This was going to be one of those kinds of challenges…

The question was this – could my weight loss food plan be tweaked to allow someone to eat whatever they wanted and still lose weight (and as a food critic, she didn’t get a choice most of the time – she HAD to eat the worst thing on the menu – it was her job!) And while Denver isn’t known for being the center of cuisine, there are certainly some excellent restaurants that produce awfully delicious treats that a food writer has no choice but to partake in.

Tweaking our weight loss food plan to allow for gluttony

Now, the food plan we use here at our Downtown Denver Bonza Bodies location is pretty solid. It’s gotten some amazing results for people and seen some amazing results (like one of our Denver resident members Alan Normac, who recently lost 90 lbs to became a size 34 for the first time since he was 15… he’s 48).

But would the weight loss food plan hold up to scrutiny with this kind of gluttony being an integral part of it? Well, it certainly needed me to open the hood and tweak a few things, but so far I think we’re moving in the right direction.

Here’s the first installment from Laura, as featured in the Westword blog, Cafe Society:

Would you like to know more about Bonza or come visit with a friend?

Just email us at with your question. We love questions!

Yours in health,

Jamie Atlas