Wednesday, August 29, 2012

CrossFit DUMBO

Often the response I get when I recall my visit to CrossFit DUMBO is "Dumbo? Like the Disney elephant, Dumbo?" This is not a reference the giant eared cartooned baby elephant that entertained all of us years and years ago. Probably the farthest thing from it. DUMBO is an acronym for an area of Brooklyn seeing a recent rebirth and revitalization. CF DUMBO is definitely contributing to the coolness of the neighborhood.

                    D= down U= under M= Manhattan B= bridge O= overpass.

One of New York city's (more specifically Brooklyn) newest and fastest growing CrossFit affiliates has been in their current location for about three months now. One word to describe the gym is "Growing" said Coach Darren. The small yet loyal CF DUMBO "herd" of 20+ members moved from a 600sq ft upper floor facility to it's new 1500+ sq ft gym, and in doing so tripled their membership in less than two months. The loyalty and dedication of his members are what Darren is most proud of,in regards to his gym.

One thing that stood out to me, when I visited, was how many people stopped outside the gym and watched the athletes push through the workout. The amount of "walk by" interest was unbelievable. Based on the casual interest, I observed, the only limiting factor in the growth of this affiliate will be how many classes Coach Darren can fit into a day.

Darren describes his programming as constantly and widely varied. One week it will be strongman with gymnastics, and the next Oly lifting and pushing a car down the street. The wod I got to experience was a sick mixture of movements done Tabata style, "Death by Tabata" (power cleans, thrusters, box jumps, and burpees.) Something cool they do at CFD is awarding rubber bracelets (think the yellow Livestrong bracelets) for achieving certain standards on specific skill sets. In other words, demonstrate competency in a series of beginner movements and you are rewarded with a silver bracelet                                        (emblazoned with CrossFit DUMBO. Join the herd), master advanced movements get a gold colored bracelet,  and so on. Kind of a cool and creative way of letting members show off their achievements. It provides that proverbial carrot for athletes to strive for. Monetarily it's nothing, but psychologically it can be huge. (Does your gym have anything similar?)

We did NOT use the Easy buttons during our wod!
It is rare that I come across anything truly original at the gyms I get to visit,but that was not the case at CFD. "Champagne Friday's".  Following the wod on Fridays you'll hear the familiar sound of a cork popping and you'll see Coach Darren pouring glasses of bubbly for any who care to join. It was awesome to see so many athletes hang out and enjoy each others company after suffering through a grueling workout. The members here definitely consider each other Family. I asked one woman is her late 50's "What do your friends think about you doing crossfit?". Her response "These are my friends. They all do  crossfit"

Champagne Fridays!

CrossFit DUMBO is an easy 20 minute taxi ride from midtown Manhattan, next time your in NYC make the trip and Join the Herd!



Monday, August 13, 2012

Rich and Annie will be there, will you?

Come join Rich Froning and Annie Thorisdottir, the winners of the 2012 CrossFit Games, at the Reebok NYC Store Grand Opening Thursday, 8/16 from 4-7 PM.
Join us for light refreshments, athlete appearances, and giveaways on the hour including:
-Limited Edition Footwear
-Reebok Gift Cards
-Fitness Accessories

Friday, August 10, 2012

CrossFit Harlem

AFRO BRUTALITY. The tag line for CrossFit Harlem. Afro= as a symbol for where the gym is located, which is the far North end of Manhattan.  A predominantly African American area of NYC. Brutality = to describe the intensity of training conducted at CFH.   I witnessed this firsthand, a few weeks ago, when I dropped in on a sweltry Saturday. The gym itself is located within the Work Space Gallery/ Community Center is pretty easy to find, just take 5th Avenue north until it ends. (about a 20 min cab ride from mid-town) As I turned the corner leading to the 500 sq ft gym I found three athletes in the hallway performing burpees. Like most gyms, CFH has monthly challenges (row 50,000M, 7000DU's, 1000M handstand walk total, etc...) this months particular challenge was 1000 burpees. The difference, and this is where the "brutality" comes in, is that all 1000 must be done in one session. Ouch. By the way Coach Sarah's 12 year old son had the 2nd fastest time (1hr43min)posted for the challenge.

Upon arrival I was greeted by the somewhat imposing coach Sarah. A rather tall Swedish woman with a ton of ink. She definitely carries herself in a manner that does the CF Harlem attitude justice. After pleasantries were exchanged I asked the simple question "So what's the wod?" I got somewhat of a cold stare back and the reply of "you'll know soon enough". It's not like I was going to sneak out if I didn't like the wod but after the response I'll admit I was thinking WTF did I get myself into. Unkown. Uknowable. Turns out the wod was Nancy but with 600m runs due to the route they have laid out around the large armory building across the street. It was pretty entertaing watching the facial expressions on platoon of military personel, coming back from drill, watching me run by on the warm up with a 40lb vest on, in 95+ degree weather.  Coach Sarah pushed me through the workout with a much needed tough love style. 

Head coach/ Owner Syn Martinez is somewhat of a legend on the East Coast.  Coaches at gyms in NYC, Boston, and Philly all had great stuff to say about him.  Unfortunately he was away at a local competition and I didn't have the pleasure of meeting him in person.  Maybe next time. 

If you've been involved in CrossFit for any period of time there's no doubt you haven't come across the CFH logo.  One unique feature that sticks in my mind regarding CFH was their insanely stocked swag store.  The large walk in closet had dozen upon dozens of endless design t-shirts, tanks, sweatshirts, etc.  I dare say the volume of gear they had for sale would surpass the inventory of well over 50 other gyms I've visited, combined. 

So next time you're in NY and want a true test of your skills don't bother surfing the net, shopping for a wod you like just head north to CrossFit Harlem. 

Unknown.  Unknowable.  I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Reebok CrossFit 5th Avenue


Coming soon, to a street corner (5th Ave and West 37th) near you, in Manhattan, Reebok CrossFit 5th Avenue. Brought to you by the creative forces that produced the Empire State building WOD, and the owners of RCF Miami Beach. Scheduled to open to the public in mid-August, the 10,000 sq ft facility is in the final stages of construction.

In my humble opinion, this gym will be a game changer on the CrossFit landscape of New York City. New York City has a thriving crossfit community, but I believe this facility has the potential to take it to a whole new level. Located in the prime retail location of Fifth Ave and West 37th St. The sidewalk traffic alone will be unrivaled in the level of exposure it will provide for the sport we all know and love. The first of its kind, the concept will incorporate a stand- alone Reebok retail store in conjunction with a full functioning gym. While the gym itself will be located on the basement level, a 2000 sq ft Reebok retail store will be featured at street level.

The full details regarding the layout and features of the gym are still being held close to the vest by Owners/ Coaches Nathaniel Forster and Michael Alfaro. I have been told that it will have one of the largest pull up rigs ever seen by mankind (provided by upcoming fitness equipment provider Rhinoco). In addition to that it will feature a staffed treatment room with hot/ cold therapy as well as an ART therapist. There are also rumors of a VIP section of the gym to be exclusively available for the Reebok sponsored athletes of NYC.

For all my New York friends, keep an eye on the RCF 5th Ave website for specifics regarding the Grand Opening.   It's sure to be one hell of an event. 


Friday, June 15, 2012

CrossFit Hydro

Omaha, Nebraska’s longtime established affiliate is CrossFit Omaha, but now they are seeing a growth in the local CrossFit community. The greater Omaha area, in the past few months, has expanded to 5 CrossFit gyms. One of the newest boxes is CrossFit Hydro. Run by coaches Brandon Berry and Justin Van Beek (2012 CF Regional qualifier).

Open since February of 2012 CF Hydro has a modest following of 50+ athletes. The facility at approximately 2500 sq ft has plenty of floor space and a great athlete's lounge in the corner, perfect for hanging out post wod. Hydro is located about 15-20 minutes West of downtown Omaha. I wasn't charged a drop in fee and unfortunately they we're waiting on a new batch of t-shirts.

One of the more comfortable CF lounges I have ever seen!

I happened in on an Open Gym night so Coach Brandon and I came up with a fun fast little wod of 10 rounds of 5 HSPU, 5 burpees, and 5 Chest2Bar PU. That combo in conjunction with Mid-West humidity made for a "good time".

With the level of enthusiasm I witnessed at CF Hydro, I don't think they will have any problem establishing a place in the Mid-West CrossFit community.