UFC Gym?s four fight-centric Denver-area gyms ditch the polished look of wood-floored workout studios for gritty, competitive spaces filled with 150-pound punching bags and intense workouts. Like a baker molding gingerbread men, UFC Gym sculpts six-packs with boxing, kickboxing, and mixed-martial-arts classes. Although instructors and students agree that the gym?s atmosphere may enkindle intimidation in first-time attendees, most experience boosted self-confidence after conquering their first class. Private training sessions further stoke courage with workouts that leave patrons with the exhilaration of having survived 12 rounds in the ring or five minutes in a high-school lunchroom.
Lance Farrell drew from his extensive background in tae kwon do to take down opponents in the ring for many years before he realized he could use his powers to help others combat obesity and health issues. He developed Farrell's Extreme Bodyshaping to provide patrons of all fitness levels with a comfortable place in which to undergo a mental and physical transformation, much like a crushed-velvet cocoon. He stripped away the sparring and contact drills from his fighter training, leaving just the components that burn fat and build muscle.
When students sign up for a program, they're grouped into teams of peers who encourage one another through moments of weakness and provide a sense of accountability. The instructors and coaches guide these teams toward fitness on a 10-week quest based on four pillars—cardiovascular exercise to burn fat, strength training to build muscle, nutrition coaching to map out a healthy diet, and enthusiastic trainers to provide motivation. At the end of each session, each of Farrell's locations rewards a student with a $1,000 prize—or a year’s worth of high-fives—congratulating them on their dramatic physical transformation. Students who stick around and strive to get healthy over the course of a year get a shot at the $10,000 prize, though winners have reported that leading a healthier life is a greater reward than the money.
Equipment: Target pads, blocker pads
Students should bring: Water bottle, comfortable workout clothes
Average class length: 30-60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1?5 people
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
The grappling fighting style known as jujitsu first came to Brazil in 1914 stored in the hands and mind of Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese immigrant and master of the art. He only stayed a year, but it was enough time to plant the seeds for a new jujitsu academy in Brazil. One of the first students at that academy was Hélio Gracie.
Hélio absorbed the fighting style quickly, adapting many of the techniques to suit his small frame. He discovered methods of leverage that allowed him to execute joint locks, choke holds, and takedowns on much larger opponents, forming the core of his new Gracie jujitsu method. Ultimately, Hélio's son Royce brought the fighting style to America, famously winning UFC 1, 2, and 4 by defeating opponents many times his own size. Suddenly, Americans lined up to learn this newly unveiled Brazilian fighting style, demonstrating their eagerness by folding themselves inside a box and shipping themselves south.
Relson Gracie, Hélio's second oldest son, chose to be an ambassador of his family's fighting style. He was already teaching abroad when his little brother Royce skyrocketed Brazilian jujitsu to popularity. He founded his first school under the name Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in Hawaii, and as the art became popular, he opened new branches of his academy all across the United States. Today, he visits more than 40 academies and associations, sharing his knowledge with thousands of students. In his absence, he leaves instructors whom he personally trained to oversee the education of aspiring fighters.