Box Review: Endorphin

OK – so this isn’t a review of a CrossFit “box”, but I have a category that I use for reviews like this, so I am going with it.

This past weekend a friend of mine celebrated his 40th birthday by inviting folks to come workout with him at one of his favorite places to workout. Endorphin is a “cycle/row” facility. It is NOT CrossFit. Let me preface the rest of this blog entry by saying I LOVE CrossFit (if this site isn’t evidence enough). I haven’t done any sort of group, instructor led class other than CrossFit for at least two or two and a half years. Prior to that I did do some boot camp classes at 24 Hour Fitness. I love lifting heavy. I love Olympic lifting. I love CrossFit. With that being said, take that into consideration for my review of Endorphin.

Endorphin is selling sweat. Long, sweaty classes. I think they have three or five locations around the Denver metro area and the one I went to was on Broadway and Yale. The space wasn’t all that big. They had about 20 stationary bikes and 20 Concept 2 rowers and there wasn’t much room for anything else. The rowers were close enough that when we got off the rowers to do pushups there wasn’t enough room between the rowers for two people to do pushups, barely enough room for one person to do them. And the bikes were so tightly packed that while I was warming up on my bike I started to do some arm swings and could touch the bikes behind me. It was cramped. And it was full. Half of the class started on the bikes while the other half started on the rowers. About 40 people in a small space and when we swapped bikes/rowers it was a traffic jam.

When I was talking to my friend last week prior to the class he stated that there were some “beasts” that would be attending. He said this because I said I was hoping to compete in some form with folks in the class to see where my CrossFit training stacked up against a group like this. Before the class started I didn’t see any beasts. Lots of skinny people. Very little muscle definition in any of them. What you would expect to see in a class that stresses long aerobic activity with little to no resistance training.

The class was 15 minutes on the bike (think cycle classes) with a brief transition to the rowers for about 15 minutes – times 2. So the class was just over an hour and it was basically constant aerobic movement. Here are my observations: Continue reading

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Box Review: CrossFit Julia and the Tough Pumpkin

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Me during the farmer carry

This post is well overdue. It has been over three weeks since I competed in the Tough Pumpkin at CrossFit Julia. I competed in the “Rookie” competition with three other members from my box. It was a two male, two female competition aimed at CrossFit competition rookies. I know one of the girls on my team was a rookie and it was her first comp, the other female has been in a few competitions just this year, but her range of motion is just barely adequate and she is still working on a few of the basic movements (pullups, for example). This was my third competition this year (and my third ever) and the second male was a college swimmer, but I am not sure if he has competed in a CrossFit comp before.

Julia is a fairy small box located in pretty much the exact opposite corner of the Denver metro area from where I live. I live in Southeast Aurora and Julia is in Louisville or what could be considered outside the Northwest corner of the Denver metro area. While the box was small they appear to do a great job with storage of equipment and have adequate floor space. I would guess that if they have a class of 15 individuals they are pretty tightly packed. But, hey, so are we at my box.

Julia does have a nice entry way with a desk and seating area and a decent sized room for children. They have some cabinets where I’m guessing some members might keep post-workout nutrition along with other basic eats.

I heard really good things about this competition from last year and was looking forward to the WODs. Last year I heard they included some sort of football toss, catch and run into a WOD. Continue reading

Box Review: CrossFit Max Effort

Looking at the Oly area from the WOD area

Looking at the Oly area from the WOD area

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Box Review: CrossFit Archaic

1002267_10200868626451736_1908593057_nWhat else are you supposed to do in Rapid City at 5:30am? I went to CrossFit, of course.

I gave CrossFit Archaic a call when we arrived in Rapid City and they were happy to have me the next morning. Their first class is at 5:30am and they don’t have a second class until 9:00am. I figure, like most coaches, they would rather not stay late and I had to keep on my Smolov Jr. program in an attempt to increase my back squat, so I asked if there was a chance anyone gets there before 5:30am and they said they would accommodate. Score one for the good guys and a bonus point for the gracious CrossFit community.

I arrived at Archaic at about 4:50am and after a bit I started to warm up in the parking lot. I wanted to be sure I was ready to rock the squats when the coach got there because I wanted to participate in the daily WOD, too. Continue reading