The downtown Denver fitness scene has never been better. Fitness studios and gyms have been popping up left and right in Denver. You can barely walk down a few blocks in LoDo, Five Points, RiNo, CapHill, or LoHi without encountering several kick ass fitness establishments, from spin to cycling to hot yoga to climbing and everything in between. There are now so many excellent Denver group fitness studios that it can leave prospective members stymied. Which workout studio is right for you? Let’s compare some of the best fitness studios in Denver to help you pick the one that is right for you!
Best Downtown Denver Fitness Studios 2022: Orangetheory versus F45 versus Worth The Fight
Every downtown Denver neighborhood is packed to the gill with group fitness studios. A big selection may sound good in theory, but too much choice actually leaves us less satisfied at the end of the day. That’s why we limited our review to three awesome downtown Denver gym options:
🔸Worth The Fight Boxing & Fitness Studio Denver: Like Orangetheory but with boxing fitness as your cardio instead of the treadmill and rower – fun, empowering bootcamp fitness classes incorporating boxing (on your own bag, not sparring!), strength training, high intensity interval training, yoga, pilates, and kickboxing. Try WTF Boxing with 7 days of unlimited fitness classes for $29!
🔸Orangetheory Denver: Heart rate-guided high intensity classes combining running, rowing, and resistance training, with the goal of being in the orange zone of heart rate for 12+ minutes.
🔸F45 Denver: HIIT fitness classes in a circuit style with a focus on functional fitness and a plethora of unique fitness equipment!
Based on our personal experience with these 3 top group fitness studios in Denver, you can’t go wrong with any of them. Okay, let’s get into the pros and cons of each downtown Denver gym:
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What is the best Denver fitness studio – Orangetheory Denver v. F45 Denver v. WTF Boxing?
Worth The Fight Boxing & Fitness Studio is a top notch small independent group fitness studio with awesome fitness classes that focus on fun, empowerment, and inclusivity.
Worth The Fight Boxing & Fitness Studio is is a boxing fitness, strength training, yoga, HIIT, pilates, and bootcamp fitness studio based on the philosophy that fun is the route to fitness. Finding a workout fun leads you to do it more and eventually develop a workout habit. Fitness programming traditionally doesn’t make fun a priority. WTF Boxing was founded to change that but still ensuring you get a killer workout in the process. Boxing is a full-body cardio workout that is more fun than other cardio workouts.
If you are skeptical of that, come try a boxing class at Worth The Fight today, and they’ll show you. WTF Boxing has the most enjoyable workout of the three fitness studios featured while still being very challenging. Another enemy of a fun workout is boredom, which WTF Boxing combats with significant variation in each class. No two workout classes at WTF are the same. If you’re LGBTQ or BIPOC, read about why WTF Boxing is a top fitness studio in Denver for queer people or why WTF Boxing is a great fitness studio for people who identify as BIPOC.
WTF does not use the term “exercise” because it is associated with drudgery and guilt. Exercise is recharacterized as “move more in whatever way is fun”, whether that is dancing alone, walking with a friend, building houses for Habitat for Humanity, etc.-WTF Boxing
WTF Boxing classes have two parts: first you hit your own heavy punching bag for six rounds and then you do strength training and HIIT (or, in WTF’s patented Fight & Flex class, you spend the second half doing yoga and pilates). 90% of WTF members have never boxed before, so don’t be intimidated if you’re new to boxing. The coaches are great at helping beginners learn to box, and every fitness class begins with a demo of the punches to get everyone up to speed. Boxing burns at least as many, if not more, calories as running, rowing, spin, or other popular cardio workouts. Everyone has their own boxing bag and strength or HIIT equipment. Also, WTF Boxing has the best rate of these three studios – mention that you saw this post and sign up in the studio and you can lock in $20 a month off for life!
Worth The Fight’s workouts can be done anyone, no matter whether they are new to fitness or a fitness buff. You can adjust the difficulty of the workout since everyone has their own punching bag – go super fast and hard or slower and more methodical. Boxing properly (which involves your torso and legs, not just your arms) is great exercise. WTF’s fitness classes do not use exercises that most people cannot perform like handstand pushups. Plus, every exercise comes with modifications if people need or want them. No one should feel uncomfortable because a workout involves a lot of exercises they can’t do! This is part of WTF’s commitment to making to inclusivity!
A welcoming accepting environment for all at Worth The Fight is paramount – it is not a judgmental or elitist environment. Some people have quipped that feel like they have to work out before they can even go to their downtown Denver gym – WTF Boxing does not think anyone should feel that way!
Learn more about the reasons you should join Denver’s premier boxing fitness studio!
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WTF’s founders assert that consistently doing small, achievable steps is how you get healthy, not supplements, crazy diets, or over-the-top exercise regimens. There is no quick fix to get fit or shed pounds. If there was a magic bullet, would two-thirds of Americans be overweight? Sometimes you’ll lose weight with quick fix solutions – the trouble is that quick fixes are not sustainable by their nature, which makes it hard to maintain that weight loss when you stop the quick fix.
Read more from Worth The Fight about how to sustainably lose weight based on the experience of Worth The Fight co-founder, Gladys Santiago, who lost 100+ pounds through lifestyle modifications.
In spite of the ads you see to the contrary, the only route to long-term health is long-term lifestyle changes. WTF Boxing cofounder Gladys was able to lose 120 pounds through long-term lifestyle modifications. Making drastic lifestyle changes or making too many changes simultaneously is a recipe for failure. Becoming super fit was transformational for WTF Boxing founder Gladys. That transformation was the inspiration to launch WTF Boxing to help other people achieve the same thing. If want to get healthier, and you’re tired of quick fixes, weird supplements, and six-week challenges, join Worth The Fight Boxing and lock in a lifetime discount.
There are some cons to WTF Boxing. To start with, boxing is a skill-based cardio, which can be intimidating for people who haven’t boxed before. Not everyone knows how to box. On the other hand, the vast majority of WTF Boxing members have never boxed, and WTF’s employees have lots of experience working with beginners. The boxing fitness classes are also designed with beginner in mind (while still being challenging to more advanced boxers). Once you get the punches down, it is very satisfying to crank them out and beat that full-length heavy bag into submission (jk). Also, you cannot use your WTF membership while traveling because WTF has only one location.
If you care about supporting local small businesses, WTF Boxing is a tiny, independent, locally-owned business, unlike F45 and Orangetheory, which are franchises, one of many owned by the same people. WTF Boxing is also a female-owned LBTQ-owned BIPOC-owned business. The owners are CapHill locals who are passionate about bringing fitness to Denverites. They are in their downtown Denver group fitness studio every day. It’s a very personalized experience – WTF Boxing cares about every member.
Sign up if you would like to try a boxing class or come to WTF’s free events! You can also reach out to WTF Boxing on Instagram @worththefightboxing or the Worth The Fight Facebook page.
Orangetheory is a killer downtown Denver fitness studio that you can rely on for a sick workout.
Orangetheory was launched more than a decade ago and it immediately caught on. Orangetheory has “2G” and “3G” workouts (2 group and 3 group workouts). The groups rotate through the treadmill, the rower, and strength training. The Orangetheory workouts in Denver are HIIT (i.e., high intensity interval training where you do short bursts of high-intensity exercise).
Orangetheory tests the programming of its OTF Denver workouts, and the franchisor frequently comes out with new class formats to keep things fresh. We have even taken part in their testing. Once testing is complete, Orangetheory Denver comes out with new programming rather than resting on their laurels as a top fitness studio. We appreciate this. You won’t get bored at Orangetheory in Denver because they are always changing things up (although I can’t lie – I do sometimes get bored with running on a treadmill).
Orangetheory Denver also hosts community events. Multiple times per year there is a new challenge at their downtown Denver fitness studio. One is the Dri Tri, their version of a triathlon, which is 300 of a bodyweight movement, 2000 meters on the rower, and a 5k run on the treadmill. You haven’t lived unless you’ve done the Dri Tri at an Orangetheory in Denver in the thin air. Another fun event Orangetheory has is called “The Hills Run Red,” a series of rising inclines, each designed to be far more intense than their group fitness classes. “Although physically taxing, the classes were always meant to be fun,” reminds OTF’s Denver’s workout designer, Vincent Emanuele.
Another cool feature of Orangetheory Denver is its use of heart rate monitors. At OTF Downtown Denver, you wear a heart rate monitor which tells you which zone your heart rate is in. You can also view other data like distance run, calories burned, and splat points; each “splat point” is 1 minute in the orange or red zone. Orangetheory tells you to aim for at least 12 splat points per workout class because this translates to a higher metabolic rate for the rest of the day. Most people love this but if you don’t want to see that data, you can turn it off and just enjoy your fitness class.
The physiology behind the Orangetheory Downtown Denver workout is known as “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption,” or EPOC. Our 1 hour workout is designed to produce 12 minutes+ at 84%+ of maximum heart rate. This program design produces workout “after burn” effect, which is an increased metabolic rate for up to 24 hours.-orangetheory
We should note there is scientific dispute about the “after burn” theory. Some experts assert that a cardio-heavy fitness regimen may burn fat less well than a strength-based one. Also, the afterburn effect is a small effect, if real at all – the weight loss effect you get from exercising mostly happens in the gym, not out of it! On the other hand, most people just need to move more, whether doing strength or cardio, so you needn’t get too hung up on this point unless you are already super fit and trying to optimize.
There are not many cons to OTF Denver. The locations are generally well-run (although the standard has dropped during the past few years as memberships waned). One con is that running on a treadmill is one of the more injury-prone forms of cardio workout. This become more true as you age. I find that I can’t run regularly or I start getting IT band flare ups. If you are not fit or already a runner, running can be intimidating. Some people also find some of the running at Orangetheory boring. Also, at the Denver Orange Theory locations, you are fairly close to other people. See how close the rowers and treadmills are in the photo in this post? This may be a factor if you are worried about illnesses or being too close to others at your Denver exercise classes.
F45 Denver is a decent fitness studio in Denver offering HIIT workout classes in a circuit format.
F45 opened in the U.S. only a few years ago, and it only came to Denver in 2020. But F45 has quickly established itself as a popular fitness franchise. F45 Denver offers circuit-based high intensity interval training in 45 minute-classes. Each class is made up of spending 40 seconds to a minute on an exercise followed by a set amount of resting for like 20 seconds before you move to the next movement. F45 says that you can burn up to 1,000 calories in a 45-minute class, but it does not provide anything to back up this figure that I can find. When I did F45 classes, I found that my heart rate did not get elevated nearly as much as at Orangetheory, likely because there is so much rest in between exercises.
F45 Training is a global fitness community specializing in innovative, high-intensity group workouts that are fast, fun, and results-driven. F45 is specifically designed to provide a functional full-body workout while improving energy levels, metabolic rate, strength, and endurance.-F45
You save a little time by choosing a Denver gym like F45 where you complete your group fitness class in 45 minutes (although classes at WTF Boxing and OTF are 50 minutes so not much difference there). F45 Denver’s focus is functional fitness – i.e., every movement is supposed to have a functional purpose. F45 in Denver has a huge amount of fitness equipment. I’ve never used sledgehammers at any other Denver fitness studio. This means that there is a lot that is new to keep your interest, but such a large variety of unusual fitness equipment can be intimidating to people without a lot of fitness studio experience. F45 says its fitness programming is done by an algorithm and then reviewed by an elite athlete, but we felt the programming was a little all over the place.
Some fitness professionals have alleged that the F45 programming elevates the injury risk of people at a typical level of fitness. This may be partly the result of F45 having a large diversity of equipment; if you haven’t used a sledgehammer or sandbag or revo bar before in a fitness context, you might do so improperly, and you could injure yourself in the process. On the other hand, others disagree that F45 puts people at higher risk of injury and note that other workouts, like CrossFit, can also increase your risk of injury. Not surprisingly, that assertion has been disputed by CrossFit, but it is our opinion that CrossFit is designed by and for primarily young fit men, so it might not be right for all people. My wife tore both her rotator cuffs doing CrossFit regularly. At any rate, we don’t think this issue is settled. No matter what workout you choose, make sure that you’re performing the exercises properly and that you’re using the correct weight/size fitness equipment and performing movements with proper technique.
At first after you start at F45 in Denver, it is hard to follow the classes because the programming is relatively complex. F45 has a lot of vocab to learn! For example, every workout has its own name (like “Hollywood” or “Cheetah”) that don’t have any obvious connection with the contents of the fitness class. You just have to attend for awhile to learn what it all means. This intimidated me a little, but after I attended for a little while I got comfortable with it. Another drawback to F45 is a lot of the 45 minute workout is spent switching from one station to another. This is worsened by the large diversity of equipment F45 uses because you only have like 15 seconds to determine the right size/weight to use and figure out how to use it properly (if you don’t know). Any extra time spent doing this cuts into the amount of time you spend working out. As a result, you spend a good amount of the class not working out. I get a much better workout at Worth The Fight Boxing or Orangetheory because of this. Some F45 locations also have a kind of an exclusive environment.
We hope this helped you to select the downtown Denver fitness club for you – and we hope to see you at Worth The Fight Boxing! You can 7 days of unlimited boxing classes at WTF Boxing Denver for $29 if you wanna check it out!
If you are hungry or thirsty after all that working out, you can satiate your appetite at one of the best restaurants in Uptown Denver or one of the best downtown Denver bars.