17 minutes | Jul 23rd 2020

Mark Morgenstern with the UFC Gym - Rio Rancho

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Kevin: Mixing It Up With The Fitness Community is a podcast created by FIt Mix that introduces you to local health and fitness individuals along with their stories.Kevin: Episode 17. Mark Morgenstern with the UFC Gym. In this episode, Mark talks about the gym, winning Rio Rancho's business person of the year, the impact of the Coronavirus, and more.Sara: All right. Well, hello mark. How are you doing today?Mark: I'm doing well. How are you, Sara?Sara: I'm doing great. Thanks so much for joining our Podcast. It really means a lot for you to take time out of your busy day to join us to talk about the UFC Gym. So thank you.Mark: You're welcome. It's my pleasure.Sara: All right. The first question. Easiest question. What is UFC Gym?Mark: That's a very good question. UFC Gym is a fitness-focused community that brings the style of training a fighter might do to prepare for a fight. We bring that to the general public. We bring that to the fan of UFC gym, the everyday person getting off work that wants a really good workout in a great environment. And we also, you know, during that they learn some of the striking aspects that a fighter might use to step into a cage and do a fight.Sara: That's really cool. So you have different classes there, though, like kind of a range of classes. Talk about all the classes that you offer there.Mark: Yes, we have our most popular classes called DUT. People always wonder what that stands for, which is daily ultimate training. So you always need your daily dose of ultimate training. And that is a strength and conditioning class. It can be a circuit style class. It can be a HIIT class. It might be just a strength or a kettlebell class. So any kind of, just strength and conditioning style. And our coaches have the leeway to kind of program how they see fit for their style. Our other classes are boxing and kickboxing. Those are a lot of fun. They are cardio, kickboxing, and boxing. So we keep you moving, but you learn how to strike. You learn the basic punches on the bag and kicks on the bag. And we keep you moving the whole time. So those are a lot of fun. And then we also offer a Brazilian jujitsu class for adults and for youth. We have a really great youth program doing the ground submission, training Brazilian Jujitsu.Sara: That's super cool. I can definitely attest to the DUT class. That class is so hard, but so much fun. I love what you do in that class.Mark: Awesome. Thank you so much. And that's the cool thing, is that it is very hard. But anyone can do it. It's all scalable. We can always alternate movements. You can rest and go at your own pace. And it's really cool the feeling that the people get when they see a workout. And I know they're thinking there's no way I'm going to be able to do this, but with the right process and taking their time, they get through it. And then, you know, they're so excited that they actually did something so challenging.Sara: It's like a really fun circuit style class. I know some of the ones that I've been to, we were rowing. And then we were doing some kind of lifting, like either that's like Olympic lifting or dumbbell movements. And then you have, like, wall balls and box jumps. You really get a bang for your buck in that class. Like, I've burned some of the most calories ever in that class.Mark: Awesome, yes, definitely. And those are the ones I like to set up the most myself. Are the station ones, the circuit training, where you're at a station for a period of time and you know the rest is coming and you know you're going to rotate somewhere new. So it kind of inspires you to go really hard for that station. In my programming, I always try to get some sort of cardio, some sort of leg movement, some sort of core movement and an upper-body movement when it's those circuit style of classes.Sara: It's really all intensive. I highly suggest that, like, I know a lot of people who are like CrossFitters around here will dabble with that class, too, because it's pretty similar. But I would say even more intense because it's 60 minutes straight as opposed to like, you know, a eight-minute workout or whatever that we're accustomed to. So I love seeing, like, people branching out and doing that as well.Mark: Yeah. Very cool. Very cool. I like to see them come in to and try out. And we go to other CrossFit gyms to do their style of workouts. But we are told that often that a lot of the CrossFitters come here just for the change-up instead of doing a slower pace strength workout. And then one short cardio workout they get the whole time you're going. So.Sara: Exactly. And I also notice that there's so many people of different ages. I've seen kids in high school there up to maybe someone like your mother or father's age there. It's awesome to see everyone of all different ages and like, shapes, sizes, colors, you know, like athletic ability all hitting the same hard workout.Mark: Right. And that's something we always, I guess, stress here is that you can come into our gym, stand right next to a professional athlete as a, you know, if you're a 65 year-old lady, which we have taking our classes regular or, you know, the untrained student. You can stand right next to a professional athlete, do the same workout and you will both be satisfied and have a great time.Sara: Yeah. And it's the same way with the boxing and kickboxing classes. These are great tools to arm yourself with no matter what age you are. Everything can translate over into real life if you're ever, you know, in a potentially dangerous situation.Mark: Yes. Yes. And that's what we use our jujitsu for, more of kind of the hands-on. A lot of it, you know, true-life assaults or something do end up on the ground. And so knowing how to control yourself there. And our boxing classes, you know, if you're standing up in an altercation with somebody, the average person only has about 30 seconds of all-out fight in them. So even though we're not training, you know, professional fighters here, we're getting people in really, really good shape so that they could fend somebody off possibly.Sara: Wow. Good to know. I didn't know that. The whole 30-second thing. Very interesting. Well, then I guess everyone who attends your classes will be well prepared.Mark: Yes. And if not, they'll be able to run away very quickly.Sara: Yes, exactly. I'm curious. Since we're in this global pandemic right now, how have you had to kind of shift everything at UFC Gym?Mark: Well, I mean, we've had to alter our hours just because the gym is not as busy. So that's taken, you know, kind of a negative effect on sales and income. We're operating at less hours. We've taken a few time slots off the schedule. We're not running our youth program, which is really big. There's usually up to 20 kids in a class Monday through Friday. And that can vary. But on popular days, there's up to 20 kids and it's Monday through Friday. And so all of their memberships are frozen right now. The kids aren't coming in. We have a lot of members that only come here for our Brazilian Jujitsu program. So adults, they're not coming in because there's no Brazilian jujitsu. You know, so many people, not just at our gym, but at all gyms. They go to class-based settings because either they're not sure what to do or they don't want to program something. They just want to come in and have it ready for them to go and do it. And so even though we're providing programmed workouts because we're not teaching classes, there's a lot of people that aren't coming in. So we've had to adjust, you know, to accommodate not having the income that we're used to just to make it by and make sure we make it through this. And also, you know, expenses are different right now. So whereas before my expenses might be merchandise or new equipment or fixing things. Right now my expenses are sanitation, paper towels, toilet paper, make, you know, making sure the gym is clean, disinfecting tools and all that stuff to keep it safe. That's where the expenses are going right now. So it's definitely an interesting and challenging time right now to be a business owner.Sara: Yeah, for sure. But I mean, going off of your point about how people look for that kind of class setting. Have you been offering classes or workouts online for members to take part in or day from home?Mark: So that the online classes that we offered when we were shut down, they were great. A lot of them were the people that follow us pretty intensely and they know what to do. So they were able to follow the online. But most of the people that come in looking for that little bit of work, that push. It's just not the same being at home, online. But we do plan. I mean, we do offer now we offer personal training where people can come in and kind of find a spot and gym away from other people and feel safe with social distancing. Sara: Yeah, I mean, it's a tricky situation. And then going forward we now have to require masks be worn in the gym. So that's just like another thing that, as a gym owner, you have to be mindful of. You're continuously in limbo with a different mandate coming out. Mark: You know. Within 20 minutes of the announcement of having to wear masks while working out, we lost memberships. People don't want to come into a gym and wear a mask to workout. Because of the challenge it presents and I don't know how much you know, how much data's out there about, you know, lack of oxygen. You see so many things. You don't know what's true data and what's not. People just choose to not come in and work out in the privacy of their homes or something.Sara: Yeah. I guess maybe you might have to shift to doing online workouts again or Facebook or Zoom or Instagram.Mark: That kind of what it's looking like right now is, you know, if we can get members to keep their membership and we'll provide online workouts for them. That's what we're going to do. I'll absolutely do whatever it takes to shift my efforts so that we can surv
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