Crash Course: CrossFit Praxis is located just above the 14th and U intersection and right next door to spin studio Ride DC. It offers members a full schedule of class options to choose from each week, including WODs, endurance classes, mobility classes, CrossFit Football classes, and yoga classes. Praxis also holds two free introductory sessions each week, Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 11 a.m.
where: 2217 14th Street NW // U Street Metro
bring: water (no water fountain)
perks: free intro class
sweat score: 8 out of 10
wear: whatever you want
Disclaimer: I don’t do CrossFit. In fact, this Praxis crash is only my third official run-in with CrossFit, the first being at an introductory class at Balance Gym last year and the second at an event on the National Mall. I’ve always enjoyed the workouts (or “WODs”) but have never taken that next step to sign up for foundations or join a gym. Why am I sharing this? To let you know that I’m coming at this workout with a beginner’s perspective, and I hope that helps others who are interested in exploring what CrossFit is all about too. And for those of you who are at the box a few times a week and rattle off WOD names like members of your family, than you know the drill already!
CrossFit Praxis is a no-frills, we-mean-business space. Its two sprawling workout rooms have soaring ceilings, stark lighting, and rubber floors just begging for more medicine ball slams. The front entryway is lined with a row of metal lockers and an open-storage shelving unit for your belongings. The only other noticeable accouterment is a shining neon vending unit for Power Supply meals. You won’t find a water fountain to fill your water bottle because the focus here is on the workout, not thirst-quenching, so make sure to BYO.
Praxis offers two free introductory classes each week hosted by a rotating cadre of coaches. It’s a great way for the gym to showcase its team members, philosophy, and mission. It’s also a great way for people to check out this CrossFit workout everyone’s been talking about, free of charge. A win-win in my book.
At the session I attended last week, Coach Megan enthusiastically welcomed me and the two other curious souls who showed up to try a WOD on for size. She started with an overview of what CrossFit Praxis is all about, detailing the types of workouts offered, the community and team atmosphere it aims to foster, and added a bit of testimony about her own CrossFit experience. Her passion and dedication to sharing CrossFit with others was palpable. It made me want to jump up and do ten box jumps right then and there. Which is good, because after the introductory briefing, we transitioned immediately to the sweaty portion of class. Box jumps for everyone!
Coach Megan took ample time to teach, demonstrate, and provide individual feedback on each of the moves we would be completing in the workout. We learned the ins-and-outs of the box jump, the shoulder press, the air squat, and the CrossFit sit up. I was very impressed with her attention to detail and how she made each of the moves accessible to all of us, no matter our level of experience or ability. I learned I need to work on keeping my weight further back in my heels when I do air squats. I also need to remember to keep my arms back by my ears, not out in front of my face. All excellent tips I’ll take away and use in future workouts.
After we had sufficient time to practice each of the techniques, Coach Megan walked us through the day’s workout. For those of you who are more familiar with CrossFit, she referred to it as a “fight gone bad.” Sounds positive.
In essence, the WOD was a minute of each exercise with a minute of rest at the end, three times through. The exercises were: sit ups, air squats, box jumps, shoulder press, jumping jacks. We were asked to keep track of our total reps at the end of the round and try to better that number during the next one. This is crazy hard to do when you’re working on little rest, gasping for air, and praying to the CrossFit deities that you don’t bite it during a box jump. But I loved the rush I got from trying to beat my own personal goal, and finished the workout feeling accomplished, if not completely wiped out. Compared to the only other intro class I’ve ever done, this one included a workout that really put us through our paces!
I slowly gathered myself off of the floor after class, thanked Megan and my classmates for an awesome workout, and gingerly made my way around the corner to Sweetgreen for lunch. I was famished and knew I needed to quickly replenish everything I just burned or face that terrible-awful energy crash that comes after a tough session. Sweetgreen offered me a credit to try their May seasonal salad, and this was the perfect opportunity to dive right in. It’s a blend of kale and mesclun leaves with strawberries, feta, cucumber, mint, and dried cranberries with a champagne vinaigrette. I added in shrimp for a little extra protein and topped it all off with a cold glass of strawberry mint limeade. Delicious!
If you’re in the 14th + U neighborhood and are looking for a friendly, real-deal CrossFit introductory class, I recommend popping into Praxis. Give it a go and see how you like it! Oh, and be sure to check out my list of free DC workouts for other free CrossFit intro classes at gyms around the city.