I recently went on a company paid trip to Las Vegas. I arrived on Saturday and flew back to Denver on a Wednesday. My wife went with me and enjoyed Vegas at half the price. I love my new job.
I arrived in Vegas on a Saturday and in anticipation of Vegas I had went to CrossFit five or six days in a row: Saturday and Sunday were rest days. (We actually went to the Hoover Dam [thanks to a company paid rental car] and Lake Las Vegas for a hike, so Sunday was more active rest then all out rest.) Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were all CrossFit days.
Originally I had planned on using the gym at the Cosmopolitan Hotel where I stayed but found out that it would cost me $20 a day to use it. If I am going to pay $20 a day to get in a workout it better come with bumper plates. The gym at the Cosmo was pretty sweet and I could have easily came up with some good workouts and even got into a boxing ring, if I wanted. Of course, if I got into a boxing ring I would probably end up knocking myself out, not my opponent. Off to the internet I went on Sunday night looking for a local CrossFit box to visit.
I quickly found out that every box not only had a charge for your first visit, but that you had to pay more if you wanted a t-shirt. I have been to, I’m not sure, 10 or 15 or more boxes around the country and all of them let me buy a t-shirt and I could workout there as often as I wanted. Not only did you have to pay for your first visit to any of the three closest boxes to The Strip, but you had to pay a small amount any additional day you visited them.
Such is life in Vegas. This is the city where you can’t even hail your own taxi without giving someone a tip.
The closest box to The Strip was CrossFit Max Effort. My guess is that if you have visited Vegas and wanted to do CrossFit while you are there, you probably have been to Max Effort. It took me less than 10 minutes to get there from the Cosmo in the early morning hours. It’s hard to get anywhere on The Strip in less than 10 minutes.
For your fist visit to Max Effort you will need to pay $20 and if you want to get a t-shirt it is only another $10. I tried to find a t-shirt to purchase but they only had small and XL in the men’s t-shirts. I learned my lesson at CrossFit Kilo to not buy a shirt just for the sake of buying (I bought a medium and it is too small). I skipped the t-shirt and went inside.
Max Effort has a nice entry room where the receptionist sits (I think that the lady who helped me wasn’t a coach…I think she just is like an office manager or something). Their office is in a room attached to the entry and they have a room behind the entry that you walk through to get to the gym floor. This other room is a sitting area to eat and off of it is a place for the kiddies to hang out while mom and dad workout. The first thing you notice when you walk into the gym area is the size and the second thing I noticed were the really good signs hanging from the wall with words like “coordination”, “balance” and “agility” on them. They were obviously custom made and most boxes I have been to don’t have the kind of money to have luxuries like custom made signage, especially signs as big as these. The receptionist or office manager was showing me around and took me around the corner where they had two bathrooms and two shower rooms, another table for athletes to sit at and a bunch of storage cubbies for shoes, wallets or water bottles. The gym was broken into three sections, I think. The area immediately to your left as you walk in was for Oly lifting, ahead was a large area for the daily WOD and around the corner to the right (opposite of the bathrooms and such) were rowers, airdynes, medballs and rollers and other mobility tools. Anything and everything you could want. My box has one rower and this one had at least 10 with three airdynes. I think I drooled on myself.
Unfortunately I could not participate in anything other than the daily CrossFit classes so since I got there early I sat and watched the Oly class that was going on and did some mobility. I understand why they don’t let visitors participate in anything other than the daily WOD, but, man, I really wish I could have done the Oly classes everyday, too. That’s one thing I am missing is really good Oly instruction on a daily or weekly basis. I would love to work on the Oly lifts two or three times a week before a WOD.
When it was time for the class to begin the trainer – Lindsay – wrote everyone’s name on the white board. I think this helped her reinforce everyone’s names into her memory and also helped ensure everyone writes down their scores. This is a practice I already have stolen and done at the classes I coach during the week. It also became obvious very quickly that she might be a CrossFit HQ Level 1 trainer. Her eye for even the slightest faults while just warming up was awesome. Then when we started to get ready for the WOD she was quick to scale. During the WOD she did not hesitate to no-rep. I am also going to take this sort of accountability to my classes going forward. It made it feel like you were really getting something of value out of the class and instructor to know they were paying that close of attention to you and your form/movements. I have since verified that she is a CrossFit HQ Staff member; I should have been taking notes.
Oh, and I failed to mention that when I was rolling out before my first class Zach Forrest walked through with a client. I had no idea that Max Effort was his box. Always cool to workout at a box that is owned by a Games competitor. (I would later realize that Lindsay is his wife.)
The WODs at Max Effort were awesome. Day one had thrusters and running and it nearly made me puke. The second day was a metcon with a heavy deadlift, ring dips and double-unders and the final day was simply rowing 2k for time. Pretty solid variety for domains and movements in three days.
The people at Max Effort were really cool. A few of the members really took interest in me. One of the ladies was considering moving to Denver and asked about “Pahkah”. She was obviously from England and had a young daughter. She was trying to convince her husband to move from Vegas to Parker and, as someone who lived in Parker for 10 years, I raved about the city. Great place, especially for kids and the school system is top notch.
The best story was during the first class I attended while we were mobilizing the class was talking about the recent pub CrossFit was getting for Rhabdo. The usual talk occurred in a CrossFit box when Rhabdo is brought up – jokes. But the funniest part came when Lindsay made us do squat therapy against the wall, arms locked out overhead, and a very slow decent to the squat position and then hold there. This variety made squat therapy – which is usually tough anyway – much more difficult. After about the third round of doing this one guy fell over and yelled “RHABDO!”. The entire class got a good laugh.
All in all if you are in Las Vegas and want a CrossFit box to visit and get a WOD in I highly recommend Max Effort. I would say that you should hope to get Lindsay for your trainer because she was awesome, but on the final day I had Isaac (who is from Grand Junction) and he was pretty damn funny. Something tells me their trainers are all amazing.
Working out with them sort of made me feel better for the buffets I was eating. Sort of.