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
It's almost easier to list which fighting styles they don't teach at Castle Rock Martial Arts. In classes for ages four and older, teachers cover seven different styles including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Tae Kwon Do, and Judo. A seven-time winner of Castle Rock Magazine's Best of the Best awards, Castle Rock Martial Arts offers fitness solutions for all temperaments.
Imperial Combat Arts is unique among martial-arts studios in that the techniques it specializes in are directly descended from military combat methods. These techniques exist in their original, fight-oriented forms and have not been adapted to the world of competitive sport. Instead of showy routines and tournament-specific moves, instructors impart techniques such as "hand toughening, ripping and gouging, paralyzing pinches, nerve attacks, ground fighting, bone breaking, joint manipulation, and controlling tactics," along with weapon use.