I’m pretty stoked for the revitalization of the White Rock area and the addition of the UFC Gym is a great one. Before they contacted me, I had no idea there was a UFC chain of gyms that offered a fusion of mixed martial arts classes and a functional gym. Fitness enthusiasts get a chance to learn and incorporate MMA-inspired workouts into their fitness regimen.
Let me preface this review with a warning. It’s directly across from Cane Rosso by White Rock. Self-control required. Don’t give in like I have (twice), by rewarding myself after a hard workout with their Zoli or Honey Bastard pizza. Ehehe… I’m human!
The Gym: My first impression was “wow!” The space is impressive and spacious. The UFC White Rock Gym is the largest location in the nation and all the equipment is brand new. As you walk in, you can be slightly overwhelmed by how big the place is. The gym is a rectangular box and includes a decent size weight room, an octagon/caged ring for the jiu-jitsu classes, treadmill/cardio section, rows of punching bags, astro turf for mobility drills, and numerous other exercise machines to help you train for anything you want.
The Classes: I had the pleasure of taking three different classes at the UFC gym. My first class was the MATRX, or mixed martial arts and TRX combo class. I thought this was an interesting fusion of high impact kick boxing on the bags and low impact, yet challenging exercises on the TRX ropes. For this class, we warmed up on the turf and loosened up our muscles and alternated between MMA/punching bag work and TRX exercises. The trainers will wrap your hands and give you gloves. When going through the kickboxing segment, you’ll be asked to punch, kick and knee the bags and then quickly take off your gloves before hoping over to a set of TRX suspension ropes. FYI, since the bags are so new, they actually hurt. It’s recommended to punch or kick at 50 percent of power because you don’t want to risk hurting your joints. I believe eventually your shins and wrists will get used to the bag. But since it was painful, I couldn’t get as intense of a workout as some of the guys who were going all out on the bags. Baby punches man….
For my next visit, I tried the Daily Ultimate Training (DUT) class, a cardio fitness class. Whew, that class was a challenge. I believe each class can be very different and the structure is dependent on what the trainers want to work on that day. For this particular class, we started with a few warmup and mobility drills on the turf, numerous laps around the perimeter of the gym, and weight work with free weights and the machines. The class was concluded with ab work and light stretching. Everyone in the class was sweating hard! The warmup alone had me out of breath, but I knew I was keeping my heart rate up and I loved that.
As exhausted as my friends and I were after DUT, when Ron, our instructor, mentioned that a Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ) class was next, we mustered the energy to take a second class because we really wanted to spend some time in the octagon. Double header workouts! Holla! The BJJ class welcomes all levels and while most of the members were new, there were a few more experienced students in class. I thought that Ron did a great job balancing the different levels and teaching everyone the basics of BJJ and self defense. It’s a pretty unique class and involves getting pretty close and personal with your partners. We practiced self-defense movements on each other without actually throwing or hurting anyone. It’s more about form and knowing where to place yourself if someone were to attack you. If you can’t handle getting someone’s sweat on you, either skip the class or man up. Extra scrubbing come shower time. Ha!
The Instructor: The UFC instructors I had so far were Joel and Ron. They are tough instructors and definitely push you. If you’re looking for hand holding, you won’t get that. They offer enough encouragement, but I think their goal is to training you to become stronger and tougher.
Loved: I love the variety of classes and the set up of the gym. It’s a full functioning gym with a unique schedule of classes that you don’t get anywhere else. They also have a few machines and rigs with monkey bars that make this a great place to train for obstacle course events like Spartan or Tough Mudder races. The DUT class was my favorite class. I love a class that is challenging and fast paced. The gym is also really clean and I can always appreciate sanitation!
Feedback: Crank up the music please! Because the gym has recently opened, it’s not like the gym is buzzing with energy and based on my visits, the majority of attendees are there for the classes and we could use some awesome jams to get through the next set.
I think post workout stretching should be emphasized more. These workouts are intense and while the warm up is great, I think there should be some time saved for a post-stretch. You don’t want people injuring themselves. I’d also recommend offering water breaks. There weren’t any in MATRX and few in DUT. None at all in BJJ. Let us hydrate!
The Next Day: I was ok from the MATRX and didn’t experience much soreness, but I think that’s because I wasn’t going 100 percent during the punching bag sets. I did see bruises all over my shins and knees. No biggie though. The DUT left me hurting-so-good sore the next day and felt a lot of it in my legs and upper back.
Difficulty Level: Just based on these classes, I think beginners would fare better in the MATRX or BJJ classes. They aren’t as fast paced as the DUT. I’d recommend DUT for intermediate to more advance levels of fitness. It’s easy to get left behind if you can’t keep up, particularly during the cardio sessions.
FYI/Costs/Parking: Parking is plentiful. It’s directly across from Cane Rosso and is hidden in a shopping center. If you’re new, you can sign up for a free guest pass to get access to the gym and/or take as many classes as you’d like that day. The facility also has locker rooms with showers and plenty of space to put away your belongings. Standard membership is $89 + $49 processing fee which includes ALL classes and access to the entire facility. If you just want to use the facility with no classes, it’s $29 per month. Although, keep a lookout for monthly specials for memberships. For June, July and August, UFC is currently running a family special for an adult and child. There are also other tiers that include or exclude BJJ in the membership. Don’t forget that in addition to enrollment fees, there is a $49 processing fee like you would find at most gyms. And also like gyms, you can’t drop-in for classes without a membership.
For classes like kickboxing and boxing, you need to bring your own wraps and gloves or you can buy them at the gym. For first-timers, you’ll receive loaners for the trial class.
The Takeaway: If you decide to sign up at UFC Gym, you’re basically getting a gym membership and access to classes like Mixed Martial Arts and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and other similar training classes. It’s definitely a unique offering outside typical big box gyms and other boutique gyms. It was truly a fun and refreshing experience trying something new.
Deep Fried Fit was compensated for her time in reviewing UFC Gym White Rock. All opinions expressed are her own.