For this article, we interviewed Ian Thompson, the Apprenticing Director for SunUte Community Center in Ignacio, Colorado.
Ian calls their center “The best in the west.” He has travelled extensively across the country and has worked out in many different gyms and recreation centers. He strongly believes that SunUte is the best. It is clean, maintained exceptionally well, and the staff is totally dedicated to making their client’s visit successful and that they will always leave their facility with a smile on their face.

In Ian’s opinion, their gym stands out from other gyms because of their community outreach and employees who are dedicated to making their facility the absolute best that it can be. They have two divisions (Fitness and Recreation) within the facility to serve all the needs one of their clients. The Fitness division provides state of the art strength training and cardio equipment as well as a full time personal training staff that is FREE to members. There are no commissions and no salesmen! They offer group exercise classes that feature LES MILLS™ certified instructors and a full size swimming pool that includes a 30 person hot tub and spa. The group exercise instructors are second to none in their approach and their lifeguard staff also provides excellent swimming instruction in group and one on one settings.


Their Recreation Division provides youth and adult sports programming that includes leagues and tournaments year round as well as an indoor climbing wall and collegiate basketball court. Their courts routinely host division II, RMAC (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) basketball tournaments – one of which was broadcast nationally on ESPN. They also offer rock climbing and archery.

They are proud to be a licensed facility for LES MILLS™ Group Fitness Programs and are therefor able to offer BODYPUMP™, BODYSTEP™, BODYFLOW™ and BODYCOMBAT™. Every three months we host a quarterly launch party. These events allow us to showcase the newest music and moves for each Les Mills program.

SunUte also offers aquatic exercises which are designessd for members who are returning to exercise. This class helps to build coordination and comfort in the water while using resistance to increase overall endurance and body strength. Additionally, they provide both group and private swim lessons. Members who are at least 8 years can join SunUte’s Youth Swim team.

They are also making moves to include an outdoor workout area that will serve as a strongman and power lifting station and will be able to support strength competitions in the near future.

Without intensity in their approach they will never meet their goals.

The biggest mistakes Ian sees people make when exercising is due to technicalities in lifts and intensity in programs. Most beginning lifters do not have the expertise to move correctly which is very inefficient. They must control their body to do what they want it to do in order to get the greatest benefit of the exercise. This is a constant in all sports . . . correct form and fundamentals lead to great returns and success. But above all else, there is no intensity. You must push yourself . . . HARD . . . every day. Any program will work for beginning lifters if they are consistent, but without intensity in their approach they will never meet their goals.


As far as other gyms, the biggest mistake he sees them make is not offering the level of customer service that SunUte does. Sure, there are some small private clubs that may be comparable, but they are very exclusive and expensive. Because SunUte is a service of the Southern Ute Tribe, they have the ability to be very affordable and maintain a staff that is committed to the customer. Their facility is also very, very clean. They strive to keep SunUte in tip top condition at all times and this has become one of their most endearing features.
SunUte is subsidized by the Southern Ute Tribe in southwest Colorado and as such is capable of providing a tremendous amount of support to employees and members. They are dedicated to making healthy habits a priority in their small community.


This facility began as a dream of two local men, Byron and Brian Frost. After many years of lobbying, this dream became a reality. SunUte is celebrating their 15th anniversary this year and continues to push the envelope on what they can do by always looking to the future. Although SunUte was originally established as a service to the Southern Ute Tribal membership and employees, the building and all of their programs are open to the public.

It is their mission “To serve the Tribal Membership and surrounding communities with a safe and welcoming environment by offering quality customer service and knowledgeable staff.”

If you would like more information about SunUte Community Club, you can check them out on their web site at or call them at 970-563-0214.
Anyone who has worked out or participated in programs at SunUte Community Club, is invited to comment on our blog.