Have you heard of the Fitness & Health Bloggers Conference? It’s a conference for Fitness and Health Bloggers (clearly!) and will be held in Denver, Colorado this year. As a local Denver blogger, I was invited to attend a special sneak peek of the very new Colorado Center for Health & Wellness. The Colorado Health & Wellness Center will host the conference this year.
I mention sneak peek because the Center actually opens tomorrow!
The Colorado Center is located on the Anschutz Medical Campus and is the leading research facility for obesity and wellness.
The group of about 20 bloggers ranged from personal trainers to registered dietitians to green living bloggers to foodie bloggers to runner bloggers. It was really cool to meet bloggers in different spaces than my own!
The group met after work on a Friday – we enjoyed meeting each other and tasting some delicious snacks before the tour started.
First – Chicken Skewers with Cilantro Lime drizzle; next – Pita Bread with Black Bean Hummus and Goat Cheese; Last – Roast Beef and Sauteed Onions on Bruschetta Bread.
The food was created and made by the Center’s onsite restaurant, Bistro Elaia. The concept of this restaurant is to provide fast, healthy, delicious food and to show people that healthy food can taste GREAT!
Bistro Elaia uses its own homegrown herbs, too.
After we all had a chance to try the food, it was time to get started!
The entrance to the Center is beautiful! Depending on what angle this glass is viewed and how the light hits it, the colors change.
Our tour started with an overview of Bistro Elaia and the capabilities of the kitchens. The Center is first and foremost, a research facility so while the public can come in and enjoy Bistro Elaia food, sometimes seating may be closed off because the center is conducting a research study that day.
The Center has 2 kitchens – a demonstration kitchen and a metabolic. The demonstration kitchen is for cooking classes (recorded and placed on the Center’s website, broadcast throughout the Center on their TV station) and to show how easy healthy cooking can be. The metabolic kitchen is to teach, hands-on, study participants how to cook their food. If a person participates in a weight loss program, they may need help learning exactly how to measure their foods and cook it – that’s what the metabolic kitchen is for. It’s also for RDs and scientists to develop menus and new food for special diets (GF, lactose intolerant, etc) or to study how athletes eat and process food.
Next to the kitchens, there’s a test grocery lab – this wasn’t completely finished when we toured but it will be a smaller grocery store set up. It’s intended to teach study participants about how to grocery shop (where to shop in the store, what to look for on food labels, etc) but will also be used to study how people shop.
(NOTE: visitors to the Center are only studied if they sign up for a study – there isn’t 24/7 video monitoring to observe and uses your behaviors without your consent.)
We then moved onto my favorite part of the center – the Fitness Center!
This gym is state of the art to the MAX. Not only is all of the equipment new, it’s all TechnoGym brand. Each piece of equipment has a system enabled to record your workouts… on a USB/flashdrive.
If someone is participating in a weight loss or athlete program, they can be set up with a flash drive with a prescribed exercise routine loaded on. When the participant gets to a machine, they pop in the flash drive and they’re told how many reps they’re supposed to do.
The flash drive is tricky too because it also records progress – how many reps actually done (vs. prescribed), how fast they were completed.
All data can then be uploaded to a user profile so the participant can access the information and their progress anywhere in the center, at home, on their phone. Pretty neat!
The fitness center also has rooms for (and a schedule of) group fitness classes. The fitness center is open to any of the general public – students and staff at the medical campus are allowed a discounted rate and non-student/staff users are offered a reasonably monthly rate.
We then moved into the clinical part of the center. This clinic has it all – private rooms for screening, shared common area for doctors and clinicians to collaborate and share their studies, phlebotomy lab and athlete/body analysis labs.
I was most interested in the Human Performance Lab. Any athlete – from Olympic to regular ol’ runners like me – have the option of utilizing this service (for a fee, of course).
The staff can analyze the efficiency of your body while exercising, what’s going on internally by taking blood while you’re exercising, resting heart rate, when your body starts producing lactic acid and beyond! Staff can then help you train for next race better and more efficiently or can give you tips to improve your overall health and athleticism.
The Center also has the ability to accurately test and record your body composition.
Finally, after the clinic, we made our way upstairs to the beautiful meeting space that the Center offers. It was past sunset when we got up there but the outdoor rooftop space looks incredible – the doors to the outside open completely, rendering the meeting space far more open and airy than any meeting space I’ve seen. This meeting space is open to the public – and completely free! – so anyone can stop in and hang out to read, work, whatever!
Also on the rooftop is a green roof – the Center has planted grass and plants on the roof for a very unique and picturesque place to relax or meet.
As I mentioned, the Colorado Center for Health and Wellness opens tomorrow. It’s the first facility of it’s kind and is changing how scientists observe and research health and wellness. I was so honored to be included in this initial walk-through – our blogger group was only the second group to tour, the first being national news media! – and I’m proud to know that this facility exists right in my backyard. Having a center like this will help increase wellness and health awareness within our community, then our city, then our state, then our country.
If you’re in Denver, I absolutely encourage you to stop in and check this place out – it will blow your mind! And if you’re coming to the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference, you’re in for a real treat! Not only is the Center hosting but participants will have full access to the fitness center during the conference.
Will you be attending the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference? I’ll see you there!