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In Denver Colorado there is a mythical indian ceremonial ground just a few miles down from a place  that is affectionately called ‘Red Rocks’.  Sometimes people like to run up these mythical stairs, perhaps drawn to the redness of the rocks or the beautiful landscape that comes with it – certainly helps take one’s mind off of the intense fitness workout they usually face.

The old 'last one to the top is a rotten egg'.... never fails :)

The old 'last one to the top is a rotten egg' trick.... never fails 🙂




We meet at 730am or 815am depending on the season.  We usually start meeting at 815am from October through til June.  If you aren’t sure email me at

Live in Denver?  Go to WWW.FITNESSBYATLAS.COM to get a free pass to one of our classes

meet at the visitors center up top of red rocks.  just look for the 6’7″ Australian guy or a small group of friendly lookin’ people waiting for me to show up 🙂

As you can see, it is well worth the visit:


don't worry - you don't have to climb them all. Just most of them. Numerous times.

Multiple bands of Red Rock exercise groupies have been known to gather at various times of morning, but depending on what world famous band is playing later that night, sometimes will show up early in the afternoon to get a quick stair session in.

Some come well prepared to sweat.  Some just show up to play.  All leave with a smile on their face.  Here’s why:

Three reasons why Red Rocks is the Best Workout in the World:

#1 – The air


If you like running, think of any stadium you might have been in.  Now imagine the traffic, industry and stagnant air you were breathing in.  The air at red rocks is worth bottling and selling – unfortunately you are at such a high elevation you might not get much in the jar!

The air is clean, but also it is thin – perfect for hardening any cardiovascular system to compete with regular sea-level loving folks.

#2:  The stairs


They come in a variety of punishing depths and widths, each with their own cardiovascular and muscular challenges.  It is almost as if climbing to the top of these stairs is to overcome gravity itself – which seems to get significantly more challenging as you keep going up…

Maybe its a heavier gravity area at the top of the stairs 😉  you know, increased density of rock and all that physics jargon.  Here is my new theory of Red Rocks relativity:    E = MC vomit

#3:  The people


Imagine going to a track meet.  Or maybe a spin class.  You might even like going to the gym with all its recycled air and minimal stairs 🙂

Every time I go to Red Rocks I know I will see something I have never seen before.

It might be someone climbing up the stairs backwards on hands and feet.

Perhaps some collection of guys who have decided to risk skin cancer on 90% of their body in the middle of winter.

Or even just sitting back and absorbing the massive blend of people all accepting each other for just being there.  For releasing their inner child and just playing.


"Just one more round of stairs, Mom!"

So if you are in the Denver area and you have never been to Red Rocks, go check it out.  Go any morning (Saturday is always a popular day) and bring your running shoes – even if you have no plans to workout (you will at least look the part, right?).

The fever is contagious.  Seeing so many people with smiles on their faces may cause you to remember what it felt like to exercise without worrying about what ‘zone’ your heart rate was in.

So that’s my Red Rocks.  I urge you to go – but I also urge you to have fun with it.  Treat the large open landscape of rocky goodness with the same joy that you would a playground in your younger years.

Forget about the sets and reps and just experiment and play.  Do some smaller steps, bigger steps, side to side steps, funky push-ups, stretches on the rail, breathe deep, laugh with a friend and most importantly, feed your playful spirit.

Exercise should not be about how many calories you burned in that hour, but how much life you squeezed out of every minute of it.

Or maybe I’m crazy.  If you know me, then you already know my obsession with the integrative nature of the muscles of the body and the intricate muscles that hold us all together (which I guess answers the whole ‘crazy’ question)

Want to be part of a class at Red Rocks?

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I teach a class there every saturday at 815am.  If you are interested, you can email or call me on 720 203 3084 with any questions you might have, bootcamp related or not.  or just comment on this post and I will track you down from there.

Now go get to Red Rocks and start a’ steppin’!

Yours in health,

Jamie Atlas

Live in Denver?  Go to WWW.FITNESSBYATLAS.COM to get a free pass to one of our classes

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  • heather Jul 31, 2009 Reply

    you up for answering questions?

    1.) how long of a run is it to start [bottom or top] down one small stair –> across a long –> down another small –> across a long – i’m sure you get the picture, just trying to get a feel for distance.

    how much do you charge for your bootcamp? what does it entail?

    men, women alike?

    thanks in advance for your time in advance,


    • jamieatlas Aug 11, 2009 Reply

      Hi Heather! Here are some raw stats that are fun to know:

      there are 23 flights of stairs from the road to the stage.
      there are 23 flights of stairs from the stage to the top.
      there are 46 flights of stairs in the from the road to the top.
      there are 196 stairs from the road to the stage.
      there are 192 stairs from the stage to the top.
      there are 388 stairs total from lower parking to the top.
      there are 21 planter boxes total – 9 to the concession stand,12 to the top.
      there are 69 rows of seats.
      there are 138 steps from the stage to the top on the stairs ( next to the seats ).
      if you do add-ons, from the stage to the top, 23 flights of stairs with 8 stairs per flight you will run 4416 steps.
      it is a 5K to run all of the wooden bleachers to the top

      Taken from

      Having said all that, you can mix and match whatever you like when you get there – we run a class that adds bands and other innovative exercises for upper body work. Anytime you want to come along just let me know 🙂

      • Shaunna Sep 8, 2009 Reply

        What days and times do you do boot camps at Red Rocks?
        How much do they cost?

        • jamieatlas Sep 12, 2009 Reply

          Hey Shaunna! Red rocks bootcamps happen every saturday at 815am. Sometimes we mix it up and sometimes we change locations if something special is happening. To get on the mailing list for red rocks details just send an email to and I will keep you in the loop.

          Classes are on a donations basis – we keep it up to the individual (most people give 5 bucks) we are about to announce a new charity that we will be supporting which is a small microloans charity in South Africa – my mother spent some time working with this charity so I know it to be a legitimate one driven by good people (which always makes a difference, right?!)

  • Rebecca Miles May 13, 2011 Reply

    Jamie, still doing this??? I am totally interested in trying this out!

  • […] on three separate stages with set times that are slightly staggered but unless you are a dedicated Red Rocks step runner you will probably end up missing something.  So I would recommend charting your day(s) […]

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