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.
A member of the 1996 Olympic fencing team. A three-time NCAA champion. A former top-ranked fencer in the United States. With those myriad career achievements behind him, Tom Strzalkowski now trains the next generation of fencers at Fencing Academy of Denver. Along with his fellow instructors, Tom designs programs for both adults and children of all skill levels. During group and private lessons specializing in sabers, foils, or épées, the coaches teach fencing fundamentals such as identifying target areas and performing basic lunges. Sessions aim to improve stamina and nimbleness, and also cater to each student's personal goals, from competing in national tournaments to rescuing a significant other from swashbuckling pirates.
Family Martial Arts Center’s instructors meld ancient techniques with modern fitness to boost students’ physical health and personal success. Under the tutelage of an experienced kickboxer, feet fly to the beat of radio hits in each 45-minute cardio kickboxing class, preparing athletes to excel in high-stakes hopscotch throwdowns. Students train in both self-defense and dance, focusing on toning muscle groups and increasing flexibility as they throw jabs and kicks at punching bags and rev up heart rates with energetic moves in the spacious studio.
Tran’s Fitness & Kickboxing’s trainers marry the ancient discipline of martial arts with the newest of newfangled technology to jumpstart each exerciser’s flagging willpower and defibrillate their steely resolves. Before each session, trainers hand out heart-rate monitors at the front desk so that students can begin to understand their peak performance and zero in on it. A 52-inch screen displays jumps in heartbeat frequency alongside the number of calories likely being burned by each participant. The system’s design tends to motivate people to push themselves, soldering strain and hard work to palpable results, and strengthening resolve during particularly fatiguing RealRyder and kickboxing sessions. Other classes forego the device in favor of old fashioned fisticuffs, including Brazilian jujitsu, which strengthens bodies and teaches people self-defense tactics such as how to leverage spindly limbs to best a bigger opponent.