Box Review: The Gym, CrossFit Kilo

My uncle peering into the window telling me the place was empty. He was right, this was the old space.

My uncle peering into the window telling me the place was empty. He was right, this was the old space.

Back “home” in Waterloo, Iowa. It was where I was born and lived for my first few years on Earth, then it was on to Iowa City for a few years, Burlington for a few years and now the greater Denver Metro area for the last 29 or 30. I have a cousin who is getting into CrossFit, but his box is in Cedar Rapids and he was out of town. Cedar Rapids is about 45 minutes south of Waterloo and since he wasn’t in town he suggested I go to CrossFit Kilo while in Waterloo. He mentioned that they won the North Central Regional – can’t turn down a box that is going to the CrossFit Games!

The Mrs. and I set off on Friday afternoon to get a workout in and my uncle even tagged along for his first CrossFit experience. My wife input Kilo into Mapquest and we were off.

When we arrived at the box my uncle noticed how unkept the landscaping was outside, I told him that was normal. Then he noticed how there were no cars in the parking lot, I told him that was normal (we were about 15 minutes early to their noon class). My uncle then walked up the steps and peered into the window and declared that the place was empty, I told him that was normal. Normally CrossFit boxes don’t worry about their outside appearance, the coaches show up a few minutes before class begins and to those who frequent globo gyms they think CrossFit gyms look empty. But he convinced me to come take a look, so I did. Sure enough, it was empty.

We quickly scrambled and found that the address on the Kilo website was different than what Mapquest thought was the address and hurried…now we were going to be late! Don’t want to be late to a CrossFit class because who knows what some gyms have as penalties for showing up late.

We found the correct Kilo and just in time.

So nice to be back in Hawkeye territory! Love the dirty feel.

So nice to be back in Hawkeye territory! Love the dirty feel.

The first thing I noticed about Kilo was the schedule on their website: they have classes pretty much all day. If a CrossFit box has a lot classes and varying classes you know they mean business. If a gym is open all day then the owners/coaches must just do one thing: teach fitness. That is a good feeling because they should have enough experience to really teach.

The second thing I noticed about Kilo were the folks lingering around working out and not participating in the daily WOD. This happened before and after both classes we attended at Kilo (we also went to an early Saturday morning class). This screams competition to me. This is a telling sign that people WANT to be there. People WANT to get better at CrossFit. People are competing.

I know many folks just show up to their CrossFit class a minute or two before it begins, do little to no stretching or mobilizing on their own and then leave immediately when the coach tells them class is over, even if it is 15 minutes before the class is over. Most folks are there to get a workout and leave and that is totally acceptable. Then there are the one percenters and the cream of the crop gyms that promote highly athletic and fit individuals. Those gyms and those people hang around and linger. After class they do a 6×6 heavy back squat and work on their muscle-ups. Maybe they get to class early and spend 30 minutes mobilizing. At Kilo there were a few girls and guys who showed up after the Saturday class to workout and do their own WOD. These guys and gals were most likely on the Kilo competition team.

Just seeing this sort of activity pumps me up. I want to hang out and keep working, too. On both days I did as I was on the third and fourth day of my first week of the Smolov Jr. program that Outlaw pointed me to to increase my back squat. My wife knows this too well: if I could hang out at the gym for hours on end, I would. As I write this I am on an off day. I coached two classes this morning and participated in the death by situps in one of the classes and I coach the 4:30 class this afternoon. All I have been thinking about is what sort of body weight WOD could I do before 4:30 to workout? I mean, body weight is basically an off day, right?

Anyway, this gym reeked of athletes. Not only CrossFit athletes but a few of the guys were definitely wrestlers and in this part of the country wrestling is probably the second biggest sport next to football…maybe even bigger than football to many residents.

The space that Kilo was currently in was dirty. Concrete floors, bumpers in various piles all over the gym, rowers up on split level behind what sort of looked like a barn door, GHD’s in another room that sort of looked like a closet, some turf laid on one side of the gym for sled pulls, rings everywhere and lots of racks for barbells. It was my kind of place! I love the grimey, grungy CrossFit gyms. It’s why I love LoDo so much and why Kilo just made me want to lift heavy things.

Lots of athletes doing their own thing.

Lots of athletes doing their own thing.

The owner, Sarah McCormick, told me that they were transitioning to a new box. That they hadn’t been at the one we went to first (the empty space) for a few months and hoped to be in their new permanent space in another few months. She almost looked like she was embarrassed of their current space, but I loved it. My guess is that they end up in a really nice, clean, professional looking spot. They appear to have the client base (and dedicated clients) to warrant spending a little money on a really top-notch box.

As we were getting ready for the first WOD I noticed that the deadlift weight was 142. That’s a strange prescribed weight…then I realized that they live up to their name “kilo” and all the bumpers and all their WODs are prescribed in kilograms. Pretty cool. If you follow any of the Olympic lifting sites like MDUSA or USAWeightlifting you know they only talk in kilograms. It sort of made for a headache for me when I was doing my back squats. Of course, after I had done a lot of math in my head I found various kilogram to pound conversion charts around the box.

The WOD on Friday was 3×2 max cleans followed immediately by 3×5 weighted strict pullups. After that portion they had a metcon of three rounds for time of 10 deadlift, 10 pistols and 10 box jumps. On Saturday the WOD was to work on your muscle-up and if you have muscle-ups do five rounds of five. After the MU work we played tug of war! A lot of fun.

All in all Kilo is a great place to workout. Some of the folks were friendlier than others and there is a lot of activity going on in the gym outside of the classes. I think some people might find that intimidating, but I think everyone should look at all that extra work as motivation. I have no doubt that if you want to get in great shape then Kilo is the place to do it.

One comment on “Box Review: The Gym, CrossFit Kilo

  1. […] My original review of CrossFit Kilo is still pretty accurate. I got to visit Kilo again this past week and see their new place as I was in Iowa for family. The workout on Friday was awesome – heavy squats with strict pullups for strength followed by a metcon combining overhead squats and deadlifts. On Saturday we did a team Fight Gone Bad, sort of, that ended up being a great lung burner. […]

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