Colorado is consistently ranked among the top healthiest states in the country. Many people here stay active by exploring the great outdoors, others join one or more of the countless variety of gyms available. But there's a one-of-a-kind gym in the metro area that not only helps people build muscle, it builds community.
Courtney Samuel started Bodies by Perseverance (BBP) about 20 years ago, offering group classes and personal training in Denver's Five Points neighborhood. Since then, he's expanded BBP and opened a smaller location at the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora.
"We specialize in personal training, group training, and boxing," Samuel told CBS News Colorado. "It's an athlete's approach to training for the average individual."
More than a place for strength training, BBP is also focused on strengthening the community.
"I really think that's the secret sauce here, it's the community they actually form," said BBP member Derek Kelsey. "You're not just coming here and lifting weights. It's actually building a connection with the people you're working out with and it's a community vibe, and I think that's what encourages people to come back and pursue their goals."
And for Samuel, those goals include making sure that the community he's helped create is accessible to anyone. Every day, he drives between his locations in Aurora and Denver and passes other gyms on just about every corner, he says. But he's not phased by the competition.
"I mean, long story short it's what I signed up for and competition is competition," said Samuel. "But, we try to differentiate ourselves from the competition by being true to who we are."
And perhaps what sets BBP apart is how Samuel opens up his Denver gym to local kids. It's his way, he explained, of teaching the importance of health and fitness while also providing a safe and fun place for youth to go after school to stay out of trouble.
"This is just a way of me giving back and serving," Samuel said. "I know a lot of these kids can't afford it so a lot of them come for free."
The youth classes Samuel leads may not be what pays the bills and keeps the lights on at BBP, but it's what fuels his passion for growing a strong community. A community he plans to build up for years to come.
"It's cool to come in here and see how far we've come, but in my mind it's still day one and we've got a long way to go," said Samuel.
To learn more about BBP and the classes offered, visit mybbp.com.
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