The Austin Bouldering Project is a large facility, and a bit of a "choose your own adventure" workout. On the left side, visitors will find a gym full of standard equipment (treadmills, ellipticals, free weights, bench presses) as well as some specialty equipment geared to help climbers train (weighed vests, Olympic style rings, and a rope that'll take you back to gym class). On the right side, the pièce de résistance: a variety of color-coded climbing walls that bob and weave through the light-filled space.
I started my workout in the standard gym, concentrating on stretching my back, arms and legs. Next up was cardio — try five to ten minutes of jump rope and a light jog on the treadmill. After you're properly warmed up, it's time for the main event: rent a pair of climbing shoes and grab some hand chalk, and walk into the climbing area.
The heavy padding on the floor (fully prepared to cushion your body in case of a fall) gave me a confidence boost. Find the colored climbing route that corresponds to your skill level. If you are a beginner, start with yellow, green and red routes to test your abilities. Climb for at least 45 minutes, taking breaks to rest, and to admire the other climbers tearing it up! If you struggle, don't be discouraged. The climbing community is friendly, and I found both employees and climbers alike who were happy to pass on some tips and encouragement. When you've had your fill, grab a towel at the front and find your way back to the locker room for a sauna and a shower.