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.
Eager to provide marital-arts expertise and fitness know-how, Peak Training Center offers instruction and conditioning to people of all ages and skill levels. Four coaches and specialized instructors help aspiring MMA fighters step up their games and show regular exercisers efficient methods of getting in shape. The staff teaches Brazilian Jiu-jitsu—the world's premier form of grappling—as well as kickboxing, muay thai, and mixed martial arts. They also build cardio endurance in athletes by turning to dance, with classes such as Zumba and hot hula. They lead yoga sessions to promote flexibility and Pilates classes to build strong cores, a necessary step before athletes can throw solid punches or stun opponents by exposing their six-packs.
Blue Dolphin Swim School?s crew of swim-savvy instructors teaches novice aquanauts to navigate waters in a small-group setting. Unite with motivated moms and dads who take fresh-picked babies?ages six months to two-years young?for a dip in a four-week session of water-entry classes. Each 30-minute class lets guardians guide little ones through the water, gently splashing faces and singing songs. Immersing babies in the aqueous warmth of 90-degree water evokes familiar memories of being in the womb, and learning breath-holding techniques makes it easier to frequent their favorite watering holes.
Two reusable swim diapers are mandatory for all classes, and may be purchased on site for an additional fee at the Blue Dolphin Swim School.
Designed as one of the tallest, steepest man-made climbing destinations in the Rocky Mountain region, ROCK'n & JAM'n challenges climbers new and old with a medley of nook- and cranny-laden walls. During the two-hour introductory lesson, ROCK'n & JAM'n's full-time, web-slinging instructors teach aspiring mountain goats the basics of belaying (a term used to describe rope management between climbing partners), safety, and how to avoid rookie climbing errors such as ignoring gravity and walking vertically up the wall. After two hours of training, you'll be free to spend the rest of the day taking on challenges such as Boulder or the neck-craning Front Canyon.
SkateStart owner Patrick O'Toole started his skating career as many people do: by falling down constantly while skating a faulty board. He wanted to spend time with his skateboarding cousins, so his father bought him a generic, unresponsive deck from a big-box store. It barely rolled and always cancelled their playtime last minute to watch soap operas. His junky equipment and lack of knowledge kept him from keeping up with his peers. It wasn't until his father surprised him with a safe, professional skate set that his cousins finally slowed down and began teaching him the ins and outs of thrashing cement waves.
Now in his 20s, Patrick makes it his professional mission to teach the next generation of skaters the proper techniques they need to enjoy the sport. He and his team of certified instructors use his patent-pending skateboard system that shows beginners where to place their feet to push off, perform an ollie, and avoid tripping a board's self-destruct countdown. In addition to imparting fundamental skills, their lessons also build up the confidence necessary to tackle more complex maneuvers.
Halfway through a 1080, a glove slips?it's time to bail. Normally, the prospect of landing means crashing a shoulder into snow and ice, but instead a cloud seems to catch the fall. At Progresh, a giant indoor airbag absorbs the impact of falls as skiers, snow- and skateboarders, BMX bike mechanics, and gymnasts practice airborne tricks in a controlled training environment. Before designing the jumps, ramps, rails, and trampolines that fill the 11,000-square-foot suite, the gym's founders each spent more than 20 years riding slopes and working with children in gymnastics programs. Using that experience, the staff helps athletes master everything from grinding rails and jibs to dropping off 10-foot cliffs and vert walls?all with the greater safety and confidence afforded by the inflatable airbag.