Bodylab Denver… I’m honestly sad you’re gone from the Denver Fitness Scene…

Bodylab Denver closed down today.  I’m now sad.

I’ll be honest, at first a part of me was kinda secretly happy.  Their fitness studio was on 9th and Lincoln (8 blocks from us) and starred Matt D’Amico, a personal trainer with a huge amount of passion and enough tattoos to make a biker jealous.  He oozed cool, drank tequila shots after sessions, lived a life of freedom some trainers would love to have.  His studio also offered small group personal training, so were kinda our competition.  I mean, in the Denver downtown area we were both seen as the premier place to go for small training groups (they had 1-6, we have 1-8).  The Bodylab Denver studio closing meant that there was one less competitor in the area, one less club for me to worry ab0ut competing against us.

But then I realized something.  I was being a complete and utter tool. You see,

Reason #1: Bodylab Denver being open was actually good for Denver Fitness and personal training in general.

Now before you go barging in with all kinds of accusatory statements about poorly performed box jumps or rampant alcoholism (I’ve read the blog posts, I know what’s what), I’ll say this.  Some people NEED to be given strict instruction and a ‘no retreat, no surrender’ ultimatum.  Hell, it’s part of why the ‘anti-gym’ existed back then – to get people fired up.  Some people NEED the kind of approach we offer at Bonza, and others need the hand-holding-care-bear type mentality of a Curves or a Planet Fitness.  Now the owner of bodylab, Matt D’Amico was smart enough to take out the whole ‘cupcake throwing’ concept that the Anti-Gym was well known for (yeah, really.  Google it – I’ll wait…), but kept the ‘do it or fear mild levels of humiliation and judgment’ piece – WHICH IS OK.  Some people need that driver to get themselves into great shape.  I respect that and Denver fitness needs it so they can get what they want.  In short, the more small studios we have offering unique and individual branded workouts and fitness stylings, the better.  What did you want, a Denver fitness scene full of stepford wife trainers?

"I'm a very lucky trainer... I'm a very lucky trainer"

“I’m a very lucky trainer… I’m a very lucky trainer”

Reason #2: Bodylab Denver being gone means less people can experience what small group personal training is.

Let’s get one thing clear.  Small group personal training is hard. You have to commit to a small group of people, which means you have to charge more than the big box clubs that are packing people in like they’re sardines and charging less money.  You have to be ultra focused on giving a high amount of attention and care to each person in the class.  If you don’t, then you’re just another clipboard cowboy counting reps and watching the clock.  So I’m sorry that the small group personal training model didn’t work for them – I truly believe in that model and not many clubs in Denver offer small group personal training.  Especially not small personal training studios.   Sure, their system seemed to encourage the ‘insult your heritage and sexual orientation if you can’t lift that weight’ side, but I can understand that some people need that.  At Bonza we kinda prefer leading people with enthusiasm and we never say things about their momma and we seem to get the job done.  But maybe I’m missing something.  Like your man-card… no, no.  That doesn’t feel right.  Apologies to you and your man-card.

just kidding

just kidding

Reason #3:  BodyLab Denver was one of the little guys.  We need more little guys.

Even though our workout styles are fundamentally different in approach, we both got results.  Even though we both had different approaches to our members, we were able to find people that loved what we did.  We both paid attention to our members, treated them like individuals, at the very least.  Big box gyms don’t have that.  They can’t.  They’ve got to have 3,000 members or shut the doors.  I don’t know about you, but we’ve capped our downtown membership at 250 members.  We’re not there yet, but in the meantime we have a small enough membership to actually know our people – their joint issues, their goals, the things they want us to bug them about when they come in to class.

But they’re a little guy.  We don’t need little guys shutting down.  We need little guys opening up so there can be more trainers trying to show the world how awesome fitness and health can really be.   We need people like you to show up and try them out.  You don’t have to stay three, but go try it out so you know and can tell other people about it when they ask.  Each fitness studio is as different as a snowflake, and when you find your match, you’ll know what it means to truly love your workout.

but not as tasty

snowflake on tongue beats pole on tongue every time.


So by bye, Bodylab Denver.  You were a ‘competitor’, but at least you were a competitor that believed in the small group training methods, and you didn’t sell out.  You decided who you were going to be and you stayed that way the whole way through.

If anyone out there is a small fitness business owner and wants to have a drink (and by drink I mean organic fair trade herbal tea, of COURSE!) and just talk shop, you can just  email me at and it’ll come right to me.  Us small group fitness guys have it tough sometimes – the more we talk to each other the better chance we have of thriving and helping people in ways that other big box gyms can’t dream of.


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