We Tried It: SPENGA is the Triple Threat of the Workout World

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Strength training at a SPENGA class. Courtesy SPENGA

Let me be honest: I have never been one for the gym. Sure, I’ve taken a yoga class here and there and I love to hike and ride my bike in the summertime, but when it comes to lifting weights and spinning with resistance until your legs feel like Jell-O, I’d say you can count me out. That is, until I tried a class at the new SPENGA studio in Broomfield.

“Ready? Here it is!” SPENGA co-owner Kelli Becker shouts over the music pounding through the dimly-lit spin room. “Crank that resistance up until you reach your ‘zone 4!’” Gripping the handlebars so hard my knuckles turned white, I cranked the knob one final time, raised myself up off the bike seat and pedaled as hard and fast as I possibly could. Surprisingly, I didn’t mind the burning in my legs so much as I watched the RPMs climb with the clock. Next thing I knew, it was time to lift some weights.

Kelli and her husband, Steve, opened the first Colorado SPENGA location last May and the couple is planning on opening at least four more studios in Northern Colorado in the near future. With a background in triathlons and a passion for exercising, they say they were excited to leave their former jobs to start the project together, and were not surprised when the “boutique fitness studio,” as they call it, gained popularity within a matter of weeks.

So what makes SPENGA so different from any other gym? Each class is broken down into three 20-minute sessions of spin, strength training and yoga, which creates a balance of cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training. What’s more: Each component changes slightly with every class so that every muscle group regularly gets a workout. “Most people say they know they need all three parts, but they have a tendency to gravitate toward what they’re familiar with and what they like the most,” Steve says. “This way, they’re exercising all three without having to do each of them for a long period of time.”

With an emphasis on the individual reaching his or her own “sweet spot,” SPENGA is appealing to even those who don’t consider themselves particularly athletic (ahem, me). I noticed this almost immediately, since the class size was relatively small (there were about 10 of us, but classes can hold up to 24 people), each person gets to run a 4-minute test to find their own personal “sweet spot” before the class starts, and Kelli never instructed the group to reach the same RPMs, lift the same amount of weight or bend the same exact way as the people around us. Because of this, I found myself focusing on what worked best for me, and I was able to push my limits without focusing on numbers or what others were doing.

“My favorite person is the person who comes in feeling like they’re not athletic or that they can’t do it, because I think everyone has an inner athlete and can shatter that expectation of what you think you can do,” Kelli tells me. “You may not be the best at ball sports and you may not be the fastest person out there, but I believe our bodies were made to move and it’s amazing to see what they’re capable of.”

I walked away from my first SPENGA class with sore muscles and sweat dripping down my face, but I felt more confident in my physical strength that day than I ever have. Inner athlete? Found!

SPENGA is located at 8181 Arista Place, Broomfield. Memberships range from $69/month (to work out once per week) to $139/month for unlimited sessions. Check the website for the class schedule.

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