It goes without saying that Ultimate Obstacles (UO) of West Boylston, MA is a New England favorite for athletes training for their next obstacle course race or Ninja competition, kids wanting to have some fun playing on obstacles inspired by American Ninja Warrior, and anyone on a fitness journey looking to get healthy and strong. They offer open gym time, kid ninja classes, birthday parties, adult fitness classes, ninja competitions, college night, special events, and more. Their coaches are top-notch, and you'd probably recognize some of them from your local obstacle course races. Whether you're there for a coach-led class or for some obstacle practice during open gym time, the coaches are always there to offer tips on technique and ensure you train safely.
UO had to temporarily close the facility until further notice, but will certainly reopen once it is safe to do so. I saw this as a good opportunity to reach out to them to get some more information about the facility for those of you who haven't gotten the chance to check it out and to get the scoop on their tentative plans for the rest of the year.
I spoke with Caraline Giguere, the general manager of UO, who was nice enough to give me some great information about what they are doing for their members during quarantine, and their plans for the rest of the year:
Do you have a tentative reopening date? Are you planning anything special like a reopening party?
Caraline: We don't have an opening date yet with the isolation protocols changing continuously. We hope to be back in business with some smaller groups as soon as the stay-at-home orders are lifted, most likely starting with just classes during the week, and offering reservations only open gym times so we can keep participants at a manageable number and keep everyone comfortable. We believe even after things have settled down it might be best to keep things small and ease back into business as usual!
Are you offering anything to your members while you are closed, such as at-home workouts/live video workouts?
Caraline: Our coaches are running live workouts on our Instagram page a few times a week, and we have started Zoom classes for an even more personalized online class. We are also putting up challenges for the kids to complete – some ‘workout' style and some using at-home obstacles!
Do you have any special plans/events scheduled for this year, like competitions, summer camps? You can also include any obstacle course races that UO plans on attending as a group with the employees and members.
Caraline: We have summer morning programs scheduled for the summer, as well as Ninja competitions in the summer and fall. We hope to reschedule our Spartan Workout Tour that was supposed to happen on 4/5. We will attend the Boston Spartan Weekend on August 8 & 9, and the Fenway Sprint on November 14th.
Do you have any new obstacle setups you'd like readers to know about? Specifically, anything inspired by American Ninja Warrior or a specific race event like Spartan/FIT Challenge/Bonefrog, etc.
Caraline: We are making a few new obstacles and will be teasing them on our social media once they are finished. 🙂
Will you be making any other changes when you reopen to get athletes back in, such as deals/discounts on memberships/drop-in fees, promotions, changes to hours, etc.?
Caraline: During the month of May, we will be selling our Unlimited Summer Pass for $99. This pass includes unlimited open gym from June 21st – August 29th. When we open again, we may adjust open gym from our normal seven days a week, no reservations to reserving time slots to better control how many people we have in the gym. Things are still so up in the air that we have not made any concrete decisions yet!
Anything else you'd like to share or think readers should know?
Caraline: This is a difficult time for everyone but we will pull through. Support your local businesses, stay active, and stay calm! This will pass and we will be here for you when it does.
More about Ultimate Obstacles
I also spoke with one of UO's coaches, Eric Matta. You are bound to see him at any nearby race. He let me know that UO also offers six-week OCR Training, leasing to the bigger, local races like FIT Challenge and Spartan Race. The training consists of specific obstacle training and conditioning workouts. Eric goes over running form and race-day preparation as well. This training is obviously beneficial to both first-time racers and seasoned athletes. Furthermore, there's nothing like the sense of community that comes with training with like-minded people who have similar goals, and who you know you will see at the race!
The gym is divided into two sections: one side of the gym is designed for kids, and the other for adults, although you can certainly play at either side regardless of your age. Some of the Ninja Warrior-inspired obstacles include the Salmon Ladder, Warped Wall, Jumping Spider, Floating Steps, and you can even get some practice for the Ultimate Cliff Hanger. Some of their OCR-themed obstacles include walls and ropes to climb (including The Destroyer, inspired by FIT Challenge,) a Hercules Hoist, tires to flip, and rings and other various objects to swing from. The gym also has a room set up with plenty of workout equipment, where they hold some of their fitness classes.
Although we don't yet know when UO will be open again, you should definitely consider dropping in and checking out everything they have to offer. It is a great place to bring some friends and have some fun, and if you're looking for an awesome facility to train for OCR in New England, this is THE place.