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A single mom or dad? How to find the time, energy and money for fitness.

Chris Gmitro

When you’re a single parent with limited resources, going to the gym or hiring a personal trainer is usually a pipe-dream luxury. Even if you could spare the greenbacks, in terms of time and energy, you’re spread super thin as it is. After all, juggling a full-time job, raising kids, and doing house work makes you way too pooped to even contemplate dressing up as a gym rat for a few hours a week. But doesn’t exercise generate that additional energy you need to make it through the day? Absolutely! Is it possible to stick to a reliable exercise routine at home? Tricky, tricky: this is true.


However, with the right mindset,some basic home gym equipment and pliant tots to accompany you, it can be done – within schedule and budget, for sure. To get an idea on how to burn those excess pounds off while tackling single parenthood, the following valuable tips should help:


For Motivation, Start with Simple Walking


For a single parent, there are multiple benefits for going out for a nice, long walk. You not only exercise cardio and work up a calorie-burning sweat (when walking at a focused, fast pace), you relieve stress and refreshingly change up your surroundings. Have your kids join you, putting the youngest in a jogging stroller designed for multitasking jogging parents.


The idea is to eventually develop the stamina – and motivation – to run, at which point you’ll want to sign up for an outdoor class that trains you to run long distances. Running is easily one of the most easy-to-do, effective and inexpensive ways to get into shape. With just a trusty pair of jogging shoes and a can of mace, you’re good to go.  


Don’t Fall for the Hype


All food products tweaked, primped and geared towards healthy living, weight loss, or even stress relief aren’t worth your precious dollars you can alternatively be setting aside for your kids’ college fund. Do them, and yourself, a favor and avoid all food products that “tell” you how good it is. The “wordless” natural, holistic alternative is always better and kinder to your pocketbook.


For instance, you don’t need fancy, specially packaged granola. It’s down-to-earth wholesome alternative – oatmeal – is an infinitely cheaper version and just as delicious when sprinkled with nuts, cinnamon and raisins at home. Why spring for the “instant, easy microwaveable chicken pesto pasta” when the cheaper-yet-all-wholesome alternative is a mix of lean protein, fresh veggies and organic pasta?


Always braking your supermarket cart for food that is close to the source – Mother Nature being the source, here – will give you the best health, fitness and energy-generating results you are looking for.


Getting Serious Mileage Out of Your Yoga Mat


Involving your kids in your exercise routine can be a family-bonding activity in more ways than you can imagine. Not only does it teach them discipline, technique and a love for health, when you get creative, you can associate art, creativity, and fun with the activity, which is joyful for the entire family.


For example, if you’re avidly embracing yoga and/or calisthenics – using your body weight instead of weights to build muscle strength – you’ll likely go through standard studio yoga mats every 6 months. Using standard kid’s art-and-crafts materials, save the material of your discarded mats for fun family-bonding projects, like creating large pinwheels out of different colored mats, or fashioning a unique decoration trinket for the year’s Christmas tree.


As for a fun, exercise-related activity, teach yourself and your kids to interpret the meaning of wear patterns on your mat every six months. The marks might reveal places where you or your exercising kid could correct technique and form depending on where the body is continually placed on the mat. Deep drag marks, for instance, when practicing yoga, could mean you need to lift your feet a tad higher before you step into and out of certain yoga positions. Consult with a yoga pro friend to get the most meaningful interpretations.


A Final Thought


As a single parent, saving money while optimizing activities and resources so that it benefits the whole family is always top-of-mind. With the above tips, you’ll clearly be generating win-win-win scenarios for yourself and your children alike. The trick is breaking out of the single-parent-mind-cycle-trap of (guiltily) feeling you shouldn’t be spending time and money on exercise that mostly benefits you over your children… particularly in the beginning when you’re not convinced that the effort will pan out


Article by: Travis White

The Perch

Chris Gmitro

It’s that time of year again when we hope that the hottest days of summer are behind us and the weather starts to cool down. Early august is a perfect time for climbing in the alpine around Salt Lake City. With the summer heat to our backs, me and my buddy Zack drove to the Elephants Perch in search of world class granite and cool temperates. Here’s what we found.

Day 1

After a leaving Salt lake at 7:30 am we arrived at our destination red fish lake around 1:30 pm with some minor stops. One of the great things about the Perch is that you have the option to take a boat ride to avoid the first five miles of the approach. After gladly handing the gentleman at the dock $17 dollars we were off across the lake taking in the beauty of the sawtooth’s. Once off the boat, it was a quick two and a half hour stroll up to one of the better camp sites me and my partner have ever had. After all, whats better than camping next to one of the most beautiful swimming holes in the country? 


BEEP BEEP BEEP, I roll over and hit snooze on the alarm. After another battle with the alarm we are finally up and out of camp around 7:30am and at the base just in time to start climbing at 8am. INSERT PHOTO

The granite was cold, the cracks were thin, and the climbing was fantastic on the first pitch of the Direct Becky. After clawing our way up the crux pitch, the hard stuff was over and all we had left was 9 5.10 pitches and a few easier ones to the top. Without a beta spray down, heres what the route looked like. 

After about 6:30 hours on route we were finally walking down the descent, back to the ultimate swimming hole aka our camp. 

Day 3

After throwing down some quick breakfast and packing up camp we were at the base of the mountaineers route and climbing by 7:45 am. Since we want to get home at a decent time, opted to do the route in two mega long pitches to speed things up. Without spraying you down on every pitch, here are some photo’s!

After topping out around 9:30 am, we started the walk out and the drive back to salt lake. Hope you liked the pictures and possibly they even ignited some psyche for you to get out before the season in the high country comes to a close. Have more questions? Swing by the gear room and get the spray down on the perch! 

Tips for staying active with a disability

Chris Gmitro

Physical disabilities can come in many different forms and require different strategies to manage. Whether it’s a mobility issue, visual impairment, or you’re confined to a wheelchair, the need for physical activity is paramount. Staying active and being able to get out and move around your community is vital for the wellbeing of both your body and mind.

As the Centers for Disease Control puts it, “having a disability does not mean a person is not healthy or that he or she cannot be healthy. Being healthy means the same thing for all of us - getting and staying well so we can lead full, active lives. Here are some tips for staying active with a physical disability.

Find exercise that best suits your needs/limitations

Staying active and getting enough exercise is important for anyone, but it’s especially important for those with a physical disability. Not only does regular exercise help boost mood and mental health, it also helps to prevent additional complications that can arise from your physical disability.

The first step is to set realistic, tangible exercise goals. Write them down. Keep an exercise journal that tracks your progress. When something is measureable, it’s easier to keep focused.

It’s important to know that “staying active” is not confined to traditional “workouts.” You don’t have to run miles or lift weights to stay active. Everyone is different, and you need to feel comfortable tailoring your activity to what your body can handle. Find an accessible local pool and go for a swim. Take up gardening or yoga. These are all great low-impact methods of staying active. Know how to target your disability. Stretching exercises are crucial for some with musculoskeletal conditions. For those confined to a wheelchair, strength exercises can improve mobility.

The National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability has some great resources on maintain physical activity.

Give yourself some help to get around town

Don’t always attempt to “power through” your disability on your own. Your physical disability is only a limitation if you let it control your everyday life. Accepting various methods of aid is not weak, it’s smart. Truly living without limits comes when you accept your limitations and begin to make steps to manage/offset them. Living in denial is not sustainable.

For those with visual impairments and some other conditions, a service dog may be the best way to stay mobile.

“These specially trained dogs can help by retrieving objects that are out of their person’s reach, opening and closing doors, turning light switches off and on, barking to indicate that help is needed, finding another person and leading the person to the handler, assisting ambulatory persons to walk by providing balance and counterbalance, providing deep pressure, and many other individual tasks as needed by a person with a disability,” says Assistance Dogs International.

Apart from getting a canine helper, you should look into other transportation aids including canes, walkers, and scooters. Even if you can get around in short bursts without a mobility aid, getting around town is another story. You might want to invest in one of these for extended periods of mobility, like grocery shopping or taking a stroll through your city park.

Join a class

Fitness classes have the benefit of adhering to a tight schedule and providing accountability for those involved. Through fitness classes, people with physical disabilities can make human connections that help them stay motivated. They can also benefit from the expertise of those who work with physical disabilities on a daily basis.

How to Step Up Your Camp-Kitchen Game: THE RAMEN BOMB

Chris Gmitro

Nourishing yourself in the great outdoors is no easy feat and the farther you get from civilization the more difficult it becomes. Sure we all have that climbing partner who brings lamb and kale lasagna and eats it right in front of you while you enjoy your humble PB&J.  As you venture farther away from the comfort of your kitchen and rely on a backpack to transport food for days (or even weeks), the importance of thoughtful meal planning can’t be ignored. In fact, it can make or break your plans of achieving a big objective.


The key to success for meal planning on extended trips is having a variety of lightweight and calorie-dense vehicles to which you can add substance.  Common vehicles might be pasta, quinoa, or tortillas, to which you might add cheese, veggies, fresh-caught fish, trailside-harvested leafy greens, or any number of lightweight dehydrated foodstuffs.

The Ramen Bomb is a technique that has less weight than ready-to-eat breads and requires less cooking time than most pastas and grains.

  • Start with one packet of ramen per person and double the amount of water the package recommends.  

  • When the water comes to a boil, drop in the ramen and simmer for about 30 seconds.

  • Have a zip lock bag of instant mashed potatoes at the ready and add a few spoonfuls at a time to thicken the bomb. Stop adding the potatoes when you can dip a spoon in the mix and it comes out just coated; the bomb will continue to thicken. 

  • Now is the time for add-ins, dig into your food bag and make use of anything that casts a shadow… I’ve gotten as crazy as peanut butter and Nutella, trout and wild onions, cheese and salami, canned oysters and crème fresh. The sky is the limit!

 Ramen noodles and dehydrated refried beans (or mashed potatoes) with mix-ins of cheese, spices, hot sauce, & avocado.

Ramen noodles and dehydrated refried beans (or mashed potatoes) with mix-ins of cheese, spices, hot sauce, & avocado.

Practice and refine your technique and share the crazy ramen bombs you create by tagging your pictures with #wasatchready and #theramenbomb on social media.

Warning: The Ramen Bomb is a backcountry technique and should be used with caution the closer you get to society.`