Want to train like Conor McGregor? This Daily Ultimate Training class at UFC Gyms promises an epic workout
What It Is: Daily Ultimate Training at UFC Gym
Who Tried It: Grace Gavilanes, PEOPLE.com associate editor
Level of Difficulty: 7/10
Boot camp classes are my weakness. I curse for the duration of class, taking breaks to brush the sweat off my brow/lip/nose/chin before attempting to go another round. But after that hour comes to an end? I am in a state of euphoria. I’m also tired. Always tired and always ready to nurse my bruises and fatigue with yet another episode of Game of Thrones.
Ahead of the highly anticipated match between reigning UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor and undefeated professional boxer Floyd Mayweather airing on Aug. 26, I decided to satisfy my passion for HIIT classes and take on a Daily Ultimate Training (DUT) class — exclusively offered at UFC Gyms — in an attempt to feel like half as much of a badass as McGregor probably feels after completing endless reps of squat jumps.
I walked into a DUT class in N.Y.C. on a Thursday after work, coming face-to-face with a large group of people in a crowded space that seemed to be a quarter of the gym, which also boasts krav maga, kickboxing and other high-intensity classes. I’m 97 percent positive I was one of the only first-timers at DUT, considering how many students high-fived our instructor before/during/after class. Or maybe these gym-goers, still smiling through each torturous pushup, are just really that friendly all the time. It’s a question that still keeps me up at night.
An important tidbit that influenced my experience: This particular class consisted of 26 people. The space we were in seemed to be intended for 15.
The first few minutes of class consisted of a warmup round that had participants forming two long lines, with each student going down the line performing backward lunges, bear crawls and kangaroo jumps. There were so many of us that people began to get backed up. A few of us, myself included, kept bumping into each other a few times during warmup.
The actual workout was a little of the same. We had to team up to conquer 10 different stations — comprised of burpees, box jumps, partner pushups and kettle bell squats, among other moves — for one round. We were asked to work as hard as we could for one minute before taking a 30-second break ahead of the next workout. Our instructor was very helpful and would regularly come to check in on me to offer pointers and correct my form during the heavy rope pulling portion of the workout, which I really appreciated.
I’m not normally a fan of teaming up with people in fitness classes (I consider working out me-time; does that make me a snob?), but there was something really nice about having someone next to me every step of the way. There was hardly any verbal communication with the exception of “Oh, I’m sorry for bumping my sweaty arm into yours!” (JK, that doesn’t happen; the apology not the action — there’s sweat everywhere) but knowing looks that translated to “Oh my God, I can’t do this anymore” and “You got this, you got this!” were regularly exchanged.
We tackled the 10 stations for one round before taking the last few minutes of the 45-minute class to do squats and jumping jacks with kettle bells. I stopped halfway to classily dry the sweat on my face with my tank top before finishing up the set and heading home.
Verdict: I know I would have fallen in deep, deep love with UFC Gym’s signature class if there were fewer people and more space in class. I’m also certain the class would have felt more difficult if there were at most 20 people in class, which according to the instructor (who acknowledged the tight space) will soon become reality. And when that happens, I’d be more than willing to give DUT another shot.