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Fitness Origin is the anti-gym for sand lovers

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A first glimpse of Fitness Origin -- a new gym that opened in Colorado Springs this month -- had us wondering: What, exactly, goes on in this room full of sand with straps hanging from the walls? It sort of looks like one of those secret basement serial-killer lairs discovered under a hatch in the floor on Law & Order. But Fitness Origin co-owner and founder Jeremy Ueberroth explains that the straps are, in fact, resistance bands, and the sand creates a low-impact environment for workouts while increasing exercise intensity.

Fitness Origin's program is based on a circuit, with eight stations for both training and resting that incorporate not just resistance bands but kettle bells, sandbags and ropes. The sandy setup accommodates up to sixteen participants at a time, who rotate in seventy-second intervals; one or two trainers man the circuit throughout the day, providing individualized instruction and coaching.

"It meets a variety of people's fitness levels needs, from people in rehab to full conditioning for athletes," says Ueberroth, adding that he looked at military exercise formats, martial arts training and other programs like P90X, Curves and Insanity before creating what he calls an "intuitive" workout in the 1,000-square-foot space. So why does the sign on the front of the building say "The Original Anti-Gym," raising echoes of Denver's controversial Anti-Gym?

Ueberroth says that's a joke, more than anything. "It was a creative way of expressing what we stand for. We take the guesswork out of using gym equipment, there are no classes or class times, and no appointments with trainers are necessary," he says.

We had just one more question: How sanitary is that sand?

Ueberroth says the sand is sanitized every other day using a natural liquid salt chlorine, similar to what is used to clean volleyball pits; the sand is also raked repeatedly throughout the day. If you're still a little germaphobic about the idea of working out in sand, Fitness Origin offers "sand socks" to wear during workouts, and members can also BYO socks. But barefoot is just fine, too.

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