Crash Course: Heard about the crossfit craze but have no idea what it’s all about? Have questions about form, function, and whether it’s the right workout for you? This is the place to start. CrossFit Dupont at Balance Gym in Glover Park offers a free “Intro to CrossFit” session every Saturday at noon, where trainers explain the basics of the CrossFit concept, take questions, and walk attendees through a sample WOD (workout of the day). You don’t have to be a member of Balance gym to attend. Get in touch with trainer Jeff Jenkins on the program’s website to sign up.
[left]where: 2121 Wisconsin Ave. NW
bring: water bottle, your questions
perks: wallet friendly
sweat score: 3 out of 10 [/left][right]wear: what you’d wear to the gym
instructor: Jeff Jenkins
cost: free![/right] [line]
Hang around the fitness world for two minutes and you’ll hear about CrossFit. I promise. It’s one of the hottest crazes in functional training and has become a buzzword at gyms around the country. Here in DC, CrossFit studios (or “boxes”) have been popping up all over the place. Yelp tells me there are eight open for business, and I’m willing to bet there are more in the works. Am I going to try them all? You bet. CrossFit Dupont at Balance Gym is the closest to my apartment, so I decided to stop in for their free intro class to see what all the buzz was about.
Because this program shares space with Balance Gym, it has to work within the confines of the established floor plan. So that means the CrossFit classes are not centralized in one room and have to spread out to a few different areas depending on the exercises and equipment used that day. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, but thought it was worth pointing out. From photos I’ve seen of other CrossFit gyms, the typical layout is to have one big, open area instead of subdivided rooms. We met in the main CrossFit room where all the weights, jumping boxes, foam rollers, and kettlebells are stored.
Jeff Jenkins is the main CrossFit instructor and kicked off the session by telling us a little bit about his style and how he runs the program. He is very focused on form and passionate about safe body movement. While I’m sure some in the room thought his detailed explanation of the physiology behind proper squat technique was snooze-worthy, I actually thought it was fascinating. More importantly, it made me feel better about undertaking a program as rigorous as CrossFit – where lifting heavy things is the name of the game – under the watchful eye of someone who is a stickler for form. Coming off multiple knee injuries, maybe that’s just my preference, but I’d rather do it right than tear/sprain/pull/aggravate something again.
After answering our questions, Jeff led us all through a sample Workout of the Day, or WOD. Because it was an intro class, we didn’t do any exercises that included lifting weights, but it was still a doozie combination of air squats, pushups, and sit ups. He walked us through each requirement, again emphasizing the nitty gritty details of proper form, and then let us loose to race against the clock.
Who shows up for an intro to CrossFit class, you might ask? There were six other individuals, all of whom had different fitness goals and levels of ability. It was really exciting to me to see such a range of ages, experiences, and body types sitting around a room and wanting the same thing: to get into shape and improve their health. One woman was old enough to be my mother and played occasional tennis, there was a couple who just had a baby and wanted to find a quick and effective workout program to get back in shape together, one man was there to lose weight, another was a distance runner and triathlete who wanted to improve his performance, and one woman was a former Division 1 field hockey player looking to try something new. Hats off to all of them for coming out and giving CrossFit a go!
Bottom line: this was a fun introduction to the fitness craze I’ve been hearing so much about. It was a welcoming environment and an awesome place to start my CrossFit crashes. That said, I am now ready to move past the intro classes and get down to the business of actually getting my keister kicked by a full WOD. So, where should I go next?