Gypsum’s multi-faceted fitness instructor |

Gypsum’s multi-faceted fitness instructor

Dominique Taylor/EnterpriseFitness instructor Richie Vasquez counts down with his class to the next excercise set during his spin class Monday at the Gypsum Recreation Center.

GYPSUM ” Ritchie Vazquez is something like a modern day Renaissance man.

A single father, Vazquez works as a fitness instructor and personal trailer at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Beaver Creek and the Gypsum Recreation Center. He grew up in the tropics of Puerto Rico, but he has found a home in the mountains of Colorado. In his spare time, he plays with a local funk/jazz group but during his younger days, he played backup for the Latin boy band “Menudo.”

A track and basketball athlete in college back in Puerto Rico, Vazquez was originally studying business administration when a coach urged him to consider fitness instruction as a career. He ultimately took that advice. Four years ago, he was became a fitness instructor job at the Ritz Carlton in Beaver Creek.

“I said ‘Let’s try the mountains!’ Why not?”

Working at the Ritz means meeting with clients who likely have demanding expectations.

“In the hotel business, it’s always all about the guest. We call it ‘fancy training’ at the Ritz … and you don’t know if you are going to see this person or this group, ever again,” he says.

That’s a double challenge ” to meet the desires of a sophisticated client and to give him or her at least a nugget of new information. Vazquez is constantly on the lookout for knowledge and technique.

“This is a job where you are always learning,” he says. “Every day there is new report or you watch another class and you see something different.”

In contrast, Vazquez says his job in Gypsum allows him to work with clients over time. The challenge there is how to keep his students interested. Although he calls some of his classes “boot camp,” Vazquez says that he’s not a high-strung drill sergeant.

“I try to do more enjoyable classes,” he says, “at the same time, students can see results.”

Advanced classes are his favorite teaching venues. The spinning/boot camp combination is the most challenging.

In the months ahead, Vazquez plans to add a muscle conditioning class to his Gypsum repertoire. During his down time he takes care of his 6-year-old daughter, Soraya, and he plays bass with Flux 5 ” which brings up the subject of his Menudo days.

“How did you hear about that?” asks Vazquez.

For the record, Vazquez was never a Menudo member. He played bass for the group’s backup band; and toured the United States, Central America and South America with the original members of the popular Latin band during a reunion tour.

“It was a fantasy life,” Vazquez says.

But that wasn’t his only brush with fame. Back in Puerto Rico, he played bass for many famous Latin musicians. Vazquez was called into service by Menudo when the original bass player lined up for the tour was unable to go.

Word leaked out about his ties with the group when one of the members telephoned him at the Ritz. A co-worker answered the phone and asked if the caller was indeed the Ricky of Menudo fame. Thus the story spread.

“I have people asking me if I was in Menudo. I tell everyone no, I was just a musician for them. I was not in the group,” he says.

While his life spins on several levels, Vazquez plainly revels in its diversity. He is particularly excited about working at the Gypsum rec center.

“Everybody here works as a team. Everything runs really smoothly,” he says. “I’m glad to see the valley has grown, and in the future we are going to have a lot more opportunities.”

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