One man got his start in the fitness industry as a wilderness firefighter. Another got his start as a medic in the Navy, with an influential stop in Thailand. Two completely different paths led two men to Denver, where an opportunity to disrupt the fitness industry came to them before they even realized it.
Brad Cooley, the former Navy medic, and Ned Matheson, the former firefighter, found themselves as roommates and colleagues at a local big box gym in the Mile High City. An opportunity came to Brad to potentially start a spin studio in an urban building in the Lower Downtown District (LoDo) of Denver, and Ned joined Brad for an exploratory meeting. The two liked most of what they saw, loved the opportunity to change their direction in life, and their minds started working together.
The drive to do something new, different and provide a place where people can go to train like athletes regardless of their fitness background is what drove these two to develop a workout that would stand apart within a competitive industry. The evolution of their idea was influenced by a small 800-sq. ft. studio, but ultimately became the basis for what would be a sought-after model in the fitness world.
Matheson recalls the process of defining what the workout would be: “It came down to wanting something that wasn’t going to be an hour. We wanted to increase heart rate throughout the workout using various forms of exercise, plyometric and different types of movements. Initially, we started with 24 people, 24 different stations and it was chaotic. We played with numbers and came across 12 exercises, one minute on with 30 seconds of rest in between, and dropped it to the 36-minute mark. We decided we wanted to stay below the 45-minute mark, but above 30. It’s the perfect number.”
Cooley continued to determine the types of movements that were important to them as they defined the full workout: “We were looking to hit the entire body, top to bottom, front to back, with safety as our biggest concern. We didn’t want to over train a member, whether a superstar athlete or a newbie, but it also had to be an effective, tough workout for everyone.”
The final product became a 36-minute, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout that focuses on building strength and stamina.