Q&A with Ex-British Judo Champion and new General Manager of UFC GYM Dubai
Well known across the UAE’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, joins UFC GYM® as general manager of the Middle East flagship club in Bay Square, Business Bay, Dubai – opening in April, 2016.
Since debuting in 2009, the UFC GYM fitness franchise has grown at a rapid pace opening more than 125 locations throughout the United States, Australia and Canada, with over 30 new clubs expected to open in the next year. Ms Garrett explains why she believes the clubs will prove just as popular in Dubai.
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 programs to fit all ages and fitness levels.
What will membership include?
Unlimited access to the UFC Octagon® and signature classes such as Daily Ultimate Training® (DUT®), TRX®, Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, boxing, mixed martial arts conditioning, women’s self-defense, as well as group fitness classes such as Zumba, yoga, Cycle Circuit and more.
What’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 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 – it is perfect for both families and serious athletes, with comprehensive youth programs 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 tougher than other gyms?
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 ‘Train Different®’. Take grappling for example – I have been involved in judo since I was nine years old and three minutes pushing and pulling a training partner around can make you completely fatigued – 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 available 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 many will not have seen before.
Will the trainers be trained differently?
Our handpicked team will take undertake and 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 – these are all pre-requisites of the job. I personally love working with children and I’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 favorite elements of driving this concept in Dubai.
Should members expect a decent café?
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 ‘80 per cent diet’ 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 – 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 we’ll be announcing some exciting new ways we can all play our part in this. Located right in the middle of Dubai’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 – 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 – it is of the highest importance there is a community feel quickly generated in the gym. Everyone from managers to coaches and cleaners will be out and about speaking with members and ensuring no ice remains unbroken.