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As a city filled with animal lovers, Denver has done more than most to accommodate owners and their cuddly creatures. Mile High bars, restaurants, farmers’ markets, retail stores, and more open their doors to man’s best friend as a legitimate customer. Still, human-canine workouts have been mostly confined to jogs around the park—until now.
Personal trainer Isabel Chamberlin doesn’t think locals should settle when it comes to their (or their pets’) fitness regimens. In July, the 62-year-old Aurora resident launched Paws4Fitness, an hour-long boot camp where participants and their pups can exercise together. And this past Sunday, she conducted her first combined yoga class for dogs and masters.
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Boot camp classes, which are held every Sunday at 9 a.m. in Aurora’s Aqua Vista Park, start with a quick warm-up and then move into interval training, alternating between running, jumping over hurdles, and body weight movements, such as burpees and high knees. The dogs sprint and hurdle with their owners, but they sit and pant while the humans wheeze through the other drills. Chamberlin also incorporates resistance or strength exercises, ab work, and some basic yoga moves into her main classes. Hands-free leashes are recommended to get the most out of the workouts (as well as plastic bags for you know what).
The new indoor yoga sessions are offered Sundays at 11 a.m. at Camp Bow Wow in Aurora. They don’t transform pups into literal downward dogs; rather, they offer a welcoming environment for yogis who aren’t comfortable leaving their pets at home during vinyasa. “Give me a break,” Chamberlin says, laughing. “Your dog’s not going to be doing yoga. But dogs know how to stretch their bodies better than most humans do, and we can feed off their energy.”
Chamberlin owns two dogs, Guinness and Voodoo (pictured), whom she ‘lends’ to people who want to try the class but don’t have a pooch of their own. Many of her customers work in dog-related industries or volunteer for animal-focused charities. “I’ve met so many great people doing this,” she says. “Anyone who works in a dog business just can’t be mean.”
Follow editorial assistant Mary Clare Fischer on Twitter at @mc_fischer.