RITIKA SHARMA / EMIRATES BUSINESS
Once fitness is gone, everything is gone â€“ this old saying holds immense value in the current age that is largely driven by machines and technology. Considering the mammoth potential of rapidly emerging fitness industry in the UAE, which is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of upto 15 percent till 2018, many big names have set up their facilities here.
Aiming to capitalise on the existing growth avenues in the fitness market, the US-based UFC GYM is all set to take the industry by storm. With plethora of development plans, for expanding its operations across the UAE and the region, in the pipeline, UFC GYM has already started treading the growth channel quite judiciously.
In one of the latest developments, UFC GYM has come up with a state-of-the-art facility in Dubai. Opened this Monday, this facility will offer strenuous lessons of exercising coupled with martial arts training.
Well known across the UAEâ€™s fitness scene, having worked in the country as a manager of three major clubs since 2008, ex-British judo champion and black belt, Lisa Garrett has taken the role to spearhead the operations as general manager of UFC GYM, the Middle Eastâ€™s flagship club located in Bay Square, Business Bay in Dubai.
Since debuting in 2009, the UFC GYM fitness franchise has grown at a rapid pace opening more than 125 locations throughout the US, Australia and Canada, with over 30 new clubs expected to open in the next year.
Emirates Business spoke to Garrett, who explains why she believes the newly opened facility will act magnet for individuals to pump iron.
What makes the concept so popular?
It simply delivers everything members and their families need to move, get fit and live a healthier lifestyle. Developed through exclusive access to the training regimens of internationally acclaimed UFC athletes, we will offer a full-range of functional fitness classes, group and private MMA training, group fitness, personal and group dynamic performance-based training, plus MMA youth courses, providing training programmes to fit all ages and fitness
What will membership include?
Unlimited access to the UFC OctagonÂ® and signature classes such as Daily Ultimate TrainingÂ® (DUTÂ®), TRXÂ®, Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, boxing, mixed martial arts conditioning, womenâ€™s self-defence, as well as group fitness classes such as Zumba, yoga, Cycle Circuit and more.
Whatâ€™s really going to be different from other gyms in Dubai?
At 22,000 square feet, our first Dubai gym is big and packed with exciting new fitness-related opportunities. A 24-foot professional Octagon will be the centerpiece, combined with the genuine championship lighting rig, which will be an iconic space to meet and train. It is a real thrill for youngsters to be trained by real-life fighters and work on their skills in an authentic arena they can identify from the television. We will have 100 youths as young as four-year kicking a bag, getting fit and learning discipline, while their parents work out with full peace of mind.
So will it be a more family-oriented environment than other gyms?
Absolutely â€” it is perfect for both families and serious athletes, with comprehensive youth programmes for children, which will be a huge bonus for many parents wanting to get
involved who find it difficult to find time for working out while looking after their children.
How can youth benefit from going along with parents?
There will be a real sense of community, discipline and education as well as the chance to grow their self-esteem. Introducing children, from an early age, to exercise and the discipline MMA can bring is a powerful formula for their mental and physical development.
Is the training actually tough?
Mixing up your exercise is important for making gains in the gym and UFC GYM provides a perfect opportunity to train differently, hence our motto is â€˜Train Differentâ€™. Take grappling for example â€” I have been involved in judo since I was nine years and three minutes pushing and pulling a training partner around can make you completely fatigued â€” very few other activities can boast this intensity. Even the muscles used to gently break your fall while sparring with a partner are more than you will ever use in a
routine gym session.
What is DUT training?
We see our signature Daily Ultimate Training (DUT) workout as the ultimate in daily group sessions, mixing up over 90 movements in one-hour classes to keep your mind interested and your body focused. DUT combines resistance training, body movement drills and cardio respiratory endurance with a weights segment to provide hard-hitting calorie burning classes with innovative exercises.
Will the trainers be trained differently?
Our handpicked team will undergo intensive five-day UFC GYM certification process from former WEC lightweight champion Rob McCullough, who ensures the standard of all UFC GYM trainers, which will show them the techniques to train like a fighter.
Above all else, our coaches will be required to enjoy their work, the teaching of others and creating a sense of community â€” these are all pre-requisites of the job. I personally love working with children and Iâ€™m sure we will all enjoy the sense of achievement, seeing youth and adults progress through the grading systems in chosen disciplines, which gives a real sense of accomplishment. Working with members and developing their skills as well as their fitness is something I have missed more than anything in recent years and it is going to be one of my favourite elements of driving this concept in Dubai.
Should members expect a decent cafÃ©?
UFC GYM is committed to high nutrition standards by installing an Arm Bar, which serves clean food options, tailored for those on strict Paleo, or high-protein diets, offering fresh and healthy ingredients throughout. Many believe achieving body goals is often â€˜80 per cent dietâ€™ and a leading supplier in nutritious pre-made snacks will deliver options to help members achieve results faster. Staff, well trained in nutrition, will advise on the right things to eat and drink for nutritional requirements. Juices, protein shakes and powders to suit particular regimes will be on hand and you can even have it served in your UFC GYM shaker.
So the branded merchandise will be out in full force?
Made in the US the retail is 100 per cent authentic UFC GYM gear and members will be proudly sporting the real deal. Everything is top quality with plenty of selection â€“ there are even over 30 different colors of gloves to wear during your workout.
Will UFC GYM be doing any community work?
We will be hosting regular charity and community events to help Dubai get more active and weâ€™ll be announcing some exciting new ways we can all play our part in this. Located right in the middle of Dubaiâ€™s business district, the corporate angle will also be important to us, so we will be offering very attractive corporate packages and hopefully convincing businesses to work with us to help the community.
Any other reasons to join?
The gym will be open from 5.30am â€“ 11pm, every day. There will be disciplines and classes on offer for youth, adults, individuals, groups and families of all levels, so no one will ever feel intimidated. Above all the atmosphere will be welcoming and engaging â€” it is of the highest importance that there is a community feel fast generating in the gym. Everyone from managers to coaches and cleaners will be open about speaking with members and ensuring no ice remains unbroken.
About UFC GYM
UFC GYM is the first major brand extension of Las Vegas-based UFC, the world leader in the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA). In alliance with California-based New Evolution Ventures (NeV), developers of many of the worldâ€™s most successful fitness brands, the UFC GYM brand gives UFC enthusiasts and fitness seekers of all ages the opportunity to practice the training techniques of famed UFC athletes.