Construction workers work on the CrossFit Sanitas building. Eric and Melissa Roza are opening CrossFit Sanitas in January at 2525 Arapahoe in Boulder. Cliff Grassmick / December 14, 2012
If you go

What: CrossFit Sanitas

When: opens Jan. 1, 2013

Where: 2525 Arapahoe Ave.

More info:

A s Eric and Melissa Roza, of Boulder, got more and more into CrossFit, they began to wonder why more of their friends didn’t do the high-intensity blend of strength and conditioning exercises.

Perhaps because with its kettlebells and PVC pipes it’s intimidating, or because it seems inconvenient to drive to a warehouse on the outskirts of town for a workout.

“CrossFit has this reputation of being this kind of garage-y kind of thing, and I like a lot of that,” said Eric Roza. “But in general we’re thinking about what does a busy professional need to make (CrossFit) fit in and make it not intimidating?”

So the two put their heads together and came up with a list of criteria the sport would need to attract busy parents, professionals and athletes. Their gym, CrossFit Sanitas will open on Jan. 1, just in time for New Year’s resolutions and working off extra holiday pounds.

Though the new facility will have many of the familiar CrossFit components — PVC pipes, kettlebells, rings and ropes — the gym will feature a softer side, too. CrossFit Sanitas offers childcare, massages, locker rooms and a cold plunge pool, which the Rozas hope will make the gym more inviting to newcomers who might be intimidated by the sport’s rough appearance.

“We’re not the Olympic weightlifting champions, but we are the busy 40-something couple,” said CrossFit Sanitas co-founder Eric Roza. “We’re probably a really good representation of people who have been on a certain journey and maybe we can use that to help get other people motivated.”

The pair fell in love with the workout for different reasons. Eric Roza, current CEO of DataLogix in Westminster, picked up CrossFit three years ago because of its efficient nature. As head of the company he travels constantly, so each city he stops in he tries out a new CrossFit gym, or does portions of a CrossFit workout in his hotel rooms.

He even introduced CrossFit to his workplace about a year and a half ago. Twice a week, a coach comes to the office over the lunch hour, which has helped some employees lose weight, exercise regularly for the first time and even train for marathons.

Melissa Roza, who will run the day-to-day operations of the business, finally took a class after her husband’s persistence. She’s a mother of four, and most recently had twins, which caused back and knee pain whenever she’d pick them up.

But after a few weeks of CrossFit, 41-year-old Melissa Roza says she felt stronger, her aches and pains diminished and she found she had more energy.

“It really spoke to me,” Melissa Roza said. “I started telling all my friends about it, and they were really interested in something that could be so effective in so little time.”

The idea to open a CrossFit gym started percolating earlier this year. As parents and business professionals, the Rozas wanted to find a way to make the CrossFit lifestyle easier, more accessible and less intimidating for busy Boulderites.

After searching for a space, the pair decided on the 10,000-square foot location between Folsom and 28th St., just north of Arapahoe, due to its central location and proximity to grocery stores and shops. Their hope is that the location will make working out more like an errand stop.

“If we’re going to try to upend this whole paradigm and make it so it’s part of everybody’s day,” said Eric Roza, “and make it so it just fits right in and it’s not a destination kind of thing, this would be the way to do it.”

During his travels and CrossFit gym stops across the country, Eric Roza met Caleb Diebolt, a former Navy diver and rugby player, who he convinced to move to Boulder from Boston to become the gym’s head coach.

The Rozas hope to combine CrossFit with educational classes about nutrition, stress, sleep and basic health and wellness. They hope to partner with trail runners, triathletes, cyclists and other athletes to make CrossFit part of other sports’ training regimens.

Through a more all-encompassing workout and education program, Eric Roza said he hopes athletes will get sick less, incur fewer injuries and chronic illnesses, eat healthier and feel like they’re part of a social community, while improving all aspects of physical and mental health.

“We won’t succeed if we don’t accomplish that,” he said. “These sound like big claims, but these are the things I want to go for. If we look at this as a longer journey, little pieces of this start to spill over beyond CrossFit. You start to feel like you’re having a real big impact.”

–Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.

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