For new Fight Club by UT, it is a workout without the mayhem


Shelby Tauber

Economics sophomore Cameron Slife (left) and business sophomore Max Tebbe strike a punching bag at Fight Club Austin on Monday evening. 

Courtney Runn

For the newly opened Fight Club on Rio Grande Street, the first rule doesn’t have anything to do with not talking about fight club — it’s to have fun and be safe while getting a full body workout.

The contact cardio kickboxing facility opened March 24 and hosted a free class Saturday, with a visit from guest instructor Rhuben Williams and free Red Mango smoothies for those who made it to the end of class. With music blaring and participants both inside the building and outside on the sidewalk, it’s difficult to ignore the new workout program that offers classes several times per day. 

According to co-creator Williams, Fight Club has three crucial values: it is safe, effective and fun. Combining resistance training, cardio intervals and core strength, the 60-minute classes boast a full-body workout. 

Williams’ workout program began in Athens, Ga., in 2007 and became so popular that a second location was opened in the college town, followed by a third in Statesboro, Ga. When the licensed program had an opportunity to expand, Austin seemed like the perfect fit. 

“I took it all throughout college, and it kind of became a hobby for my friends and [me],” said Alexis Dacy, University of Georgia alum and club instructor. “Why I wanted to bring it here was to create that hobby and love for working out like we had in Athens.”

Currently, there are seven instructors at the Austin location, including two UT students and several UT alumni. Initially, only two classes were offered per day, but now up to four classes are taught daily. 

The structure of the workout is up to the instructor, so no two classes are exactly alike. 

Though it is a high intensity class, any level is welcome and able to join. Williams has seen at least four people lose more than 100 pounds from taking the class and has helped train all ages from college students to 60-year-old grandmothers. 

“It’s the perfect go-between with most of the existing programs out there,” Williams said. “If you go [to] a basic gym, you’re doing some dancing around, kickboxing, punching in the air, or you got to go to a gym where there’s fighters, martial arts and a really intimidating environment. This is the perfect go-between — you get to punch and hit and kick stuff. You don’t have to come in contact with any other members, so it’s not intimidating.”  

Human development freshman Jenna Hoffend tried Fight Club the first week it opened. 

“[Fight Club] wasn’t that intimidating because I like to work out, and it was fun,” Hoffend said. 

In the future, it will continue to partner with its neighbors and hopefully host an event with Tower Bistro Pizza and Fresh Healthy Cafe. 

Williams, who returned to Athens after teaching several classes at the Austin location this past weekend, sees lasting value beyond just having a fun workout.

“When I was in college, I was in premed,” Williams said. “Now that I’m not going to be a doctor, instead of fixing people who are broken and sick, I’m on the front end. It’s preventative medicine. It’s a dance party where you get to beat up stuff.”