Church of Crossfit (4): The Local Church/Gym

By February 9, 2011No Comments

It is now time to turn to describing my experience at the local Crossfit gym.  If you’re more interested in the lessons I’ve learned on my journey and not so much on the process itself, you can skim or skip this post.  But it will be helpful in providing valuable context.

After returning from my trip to Peru, I returned to XSport and began doing various workouts that I learned from Scott on my own.  It wasn’t long, however, before I was bored to death. The gym seemed like one of the most dis-connected places I had ever been: as I have written, it was like a giant shopping mall for fitness, where everyone was alone together, chasing after an illusive image of buffness.

I told Scott about my gym fatigue and he advised me to make the switch to the local Crossfit gym, less than a mile away.  After pondering this for a couple of months, and visiting once, I signed up for 10 sessions at the Crossfit box.

So what is a Crossfit box like?  The first thing I noticed is that the gym was not built around my workout preferences but rather around the Crossfit philosophy.  There was no day care for my kids.  No televisions anywhere.  No smoothie stand.  No expensive treadmills and ellipticals.  No weigh machines. There weren’t even any showers.

Instead, there was a large, rather empty warehouse space littered with barbells, bumper weights, Russian kettle-bells (that’s Lance Armstrong with one above), and 20 lb. medicine balls.  Gymnastics rings and heavy ropes like the one you climbed in 3rd grade hung from the ceiling.  There were a couple of truck tires and sledgehammers sitting against one wall.   Whiteboards on the walls listed the day’s workout (which everyone would do a version of) and other announcements.

All the workouts are done in groups/classes, supervised by an certified/ordained Crossfit coach.  The group might be as small as 2 or as large as 12, but the togetherness element is one of the most critical pieces of Crossfit DNA.  I’ll delve deeper into this in my next post.

The liturgy for the workout is divided into three basic movements.  The first 15 minutes is spent on warm-up, which by itself can be pretty intensive for newbies. They have a shirt that says, “our warm-up is your work-out.”

The next part of class is usually spent working on form and technique for the lifts, which are mainly Olympic lifts, like the snatch and the clean and jerk.  These are explosive lifts: difficult to get the hang of at first, but pretty fun once you get used to it. Here’s a video if you’re interested.

The final part of class is spent on a workout designed simultaneously to challenge your strength and endurance.  The workout might be anywhere from 2 to 15 minutes, depending on how fit you are or how heavy you’re lifting.  On special days, we’ll do a workout that lasts around 30 minutes (see below), but these are rare.  The reason for this is because most of the workouts involve maximum output and very little rest.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that this would be a very different workout experience.

Friday: Church of Crossfit (5): “Invite Your Friends to Experience Our Community”

Question: What intrigues or interests you most about Crossfit as I’ve described it?

Leave a Reply