On Saturday morning, I hauled my buns to CrossFit Burlington. The main reasons I chose this particular box are a) it’s less than a mile from my office, and b) their class schedule is the most convenient for me. I was a bit skeptical because they didn’t have any pricing listed on their website, but I was willing to just give it a shot.
When I first arrived, I felt SO out of place. If you’ve ever been to a CF box, you probably know what I mean. It’s just not like other gyms. There are no frills. Nothing is pretty. It’s a big open space with pull up bars, stacks of weights and medicine balls, and rowing machines. I was further discouraged when I got to the desk, and without even saying hello, the guy working there just handed me a waiver to fill out. Like, “OK, nice to meet you too, guy.”
Only after I had filled out the waiver did I receive any verbal acknowledgement from the desk guy. He asked if I’d ever done CF before, if I’d ever done any high intensity workout program before, or if I had any injuries or illnesses that might make me unable to complete certain exercises. After that, he said that we’d be working with Coach Dave, and to make ourselves at home until he came to fetch us. I nervously struck up conversation with the only other noob present, a guy named Rob. He was really nice, and just as nervous as I was, so I felt like I had a good companion.
Going in, I was fully prepared to bail if I felt at all like I was being pressured to do things I had no business doing, but thankfully it never came to that. When Coach Dave came over and introduced himself, I immediately liked him better than counter guy (who as it turns out is the owner?). He explained that we’d do a tour of the facility, go through the standard warmup, break down some exercises, and do a workout using those exercises. He was very friendly, clear, and checked in with us frequently to see if we had any questions.
He took us around and showed us the board where they post the weekly schedule and the workout of the day (WOD). As we walked around, several people offered greetings, told us to have a great workout, and that we were going to love it, which I thought was nice. Everyone seemed really friendly and outgoing. After that it was time for warmups, which were pretty standard dynamic warmups–high knees, butt kicks, and other similar exercises back and forth across the floor.
Next we went over proper squat form, because a squat is one of the “9 foundational functional movements” of CF. It’s also part of a wall ball toss, which we’d be doing as part of our workout. Generally, I pride myself on my squat form, but I got a few good pointers from Coach Dave, and I was DEFINITELY feeling it more than I usually do by implementing his suggestions. We also learned box jumps (which are scary!), proper pushup form, and wall ball tosses. I was already a bit tired just from learning the exercises and going through them a few times, but now it was time for the actual workout. We were to do 9 wall balls, 9 situps, 9 box jumps, 9 pushups, and then grab the medicine ball and run out to the sdiewalk and back. We’d have 9 minutes to do as many reps of the cycle as possible.
Now, 9 minutes doesn’t sound like that long, but when you don’t have a recovery period in between exercises, well, it starts to be a lot harder. I completed my first round doing full pushups and jumping onto a 16 inch box, but the second round, I had to switch back to the 8 inch box, and I did a nine count plank instead of pushups. Coach Dave had offered this as a modification, but I still expected him to berate me for not trying pushups. Instead, he shouted “Great plank, Rachel, nice!” which surprised me and made me feel good. Throughout the three reps I managed to complete, Coach Dave was encouraging and positive, never mean, never telling us that we weren’t good enough, or giving us a hard time for taking modifications where necessary.
By the end of the nine minutes, I was breathing hard, shaking, and feeling a bit pukey, but also feeling really proud of myself. Rob and I high fived each other, and Coach Dave high fived each of us as well. We took a few minutes to recover, and then it was time for the pricing/membership spiel. If we want to join the box, the next step is a one hour, one-on-one session with either Coach Dave or the owner to go over the 9 foundation movements and make sure we can complete them with good form. Many CF boxes offer a two week foundations class for $200, but CF Burlington just condenses it into this one-on-one session, which costs $50. After that, 12 classes per month are $165, or unlimited classes are $195. These prices are comparable to other boxes in the area that I’d researched, so I wasn’t too surprised. On my way out, the owner actually remembered my name and said good job, so that helped to revise my opinion of him a bit.
All day Sunday and Monday I had some pretty intense DOMS, particularly in my quads, but nothing that I haven’t experienced before after a tough workout or race, and today I feel completely back to normal. I’ve already signed up to do a one-on-one session with Coach Dave tomorrow night, so I can give CrossFit a serious try for at least one month, to see if it can get me where I want to be. I liked Coach Dave, I felt like the other box members were pretty nice, and I felt like I got a lot out of a relatively short workout. With how busy as I am, I just don’t have the time to commit to spending hours slogging away at the gym. Having a short, intense workout is just what I need right now.
Have you ever tried box jumps? Do you find them scary too?