Fitness Friday: Kicking Butt

Alternative workouts at UFC Gym

The vicious cycle: conference room, your desk, the Starbucks downstairs (we like to call it the modern gal’s Gatorade) and then back again. Anyone feeling a little hamsterlike? The last thing you need after work is to go in more loops, whether it’s on the bike machine or jogging around the block.

Welcome to Fitness Friday, when our team tries workouts that won’t just keep your blood pumping, but will straighten out your humdrum gym routine.

For a whole week, our team of four snagged free passes to UFC Gym. We love the open, high-ceilinged space, and the facilities feel new and clean. (Plus, it doesn't have that awful muggy, sweaty feel in the air when you walk in, like—ahem—some gyms do.) Sure, it’s known for face-to-the-floor, foot-in-your-gut martial arts, but it also offers 15-plus other types of exercise classes, with two to six happening each day. That means a whole world of ways to get your sweat on without having to resort to boring machines (although they have those, too).

Which classes kicked our butts and which made us want to get back into the ring for more? 

Pound Rockout
What it is: In a music-driven aerobic-like format, what makes this class special is the weighted drumsticks called Ripsticks. You’ll smack ’em on the floor, bang ’em against each other and smash ’em in the air—a great way to give your arms a workout, while the squats and lunges take care of your legs.

Our reaction: “Super bass-heavy and super fun!”

Sweat meter: Starts with a low intensity, and while you may break out into a bit of a glow toward the middle, the variance in intensity (including a couple songs where you lie on your back) means you never get soaked.

Takeaway: The drumsticks are a blast and make the hour fly by. The pleasant next-day ache in your arms shows you’re getting real results.

What it is: Fast, high-energy jabs and kicks using techniques from the UFC Mixed Martial Arts program incorporating muay thai, boxing, shadowboxing and hapkido.

Our reaction: “I deserve to eat the biggest bowl of ramen of my life after this. And a cake. An entire cake.”

Sweat meter: Drenched from start to finish. No breaks from our hardcore instructor, so pace yourself and grab water when you need it—which for us meant often.

Takeaway: Totally kicked our butts! Think constant cardio and burning muscles for 50 minutes. Maybe just a tad out of our league as newbies, but something we definitely want to work up to.

What it is: An aerobic, interval, Latin-inspired "dance" class with a contemporary soundtrack and super motivational atmosphere. While some Zumba classes keep it nice and easy and give you space to breathe, our instructor Dawn was a fast-moving ball of activity—definitely the most intense Zumba class any of us have ever taken.

Our reaction: “Were we just in an ’80s dance-a-thon?”

Sweat meter: Definitely be ready to start sweating by the second quarter. All that hopping, jumping and swinging mean your heart rate never slows down.

Takeaway: At first, arbitrary dancing to a slew of pop songs felt a little silly—until ten minutes later when you start to sweat and you realize you’re giving your body a serious workout. Plus, you can't help but love the infectious, positive energy.

What it is: Yoga moves that incorporate power, strength and flexibility, with an emphasis on deep breathing and spiritual and physical balance. In our experience, this class had a much slower pace, with an nice languid lead up and similarly slow cool down that took up most of the class. There’s a nice spot of intensity in the middle, but it’s better for those that want to stretch out and get balanced than work on their cardio.

Our reaction: "Om. Bye, bye stress."

Sweat meter: Might sport a few beads halfway through, but generally you'll stay dry.

Takeaway: All that strength and flexibility training made the body feel great by the end, and the spot of more intense workout time in the middle was just enough to make us feel accomplished. It’s a great, no-pressure workout easing into it, and you leave feeling refreshed and totally zen.

UFC is currently having a $29 registration fee special. Membership packages range from $14–$99 a month. For a month-to-month package that includes access to fitness classes (not including martial arts classes), the monthly fee is $44. Contact UFC Gym at 672-2655 for more information, to speak to a membership representative or get a guest pass.