Tuesday, March 20, 2012

UTE CrossFit

What started out as a crappy day, turned out to be one of my better ones as a traveling crossfitter.  Normally, when one of my flights is delayed it just means an extended waiting period in some random lounge in some random city.  However, today the situation fell my way.  After a delayed flight from Omaha, I missed my connection in Salt Lake City.  This resulted in a 6+ hour wait at a particularly boring airport.  Out comes the iPad, fire up CrossFinder App, and a mere 7 miles (15 minutes) away  happens to be the "House of Hackenbruck", UTE CrossFit. 
 When I arrive CFU's competitor class is in full swing and athletes are getting busy!  I barely make it to the front counter where I am greeted by Ally, the general manager.  As I've discussed in the past first impressions are huge for me when I visit a new affiliate.  One of the things that is critical, my opinion, is that someone identifies a new face and makes contact with that person.  *** Affiliate owners; Don’t let potential new clients stand around w/o saying Hello.  I call it professionalism, others customer service, call it what you want it's simply polite.  Ally and the CFU personnel excelled in this area.

Soon after getting checked in (drop in fee is $20/$25 if you want a shirt), I was introduced to the session coach who was none other than 2011 CrossFit Games Finals athlete, Lindsey Taylor Richards.    Lindsey led the class of 15 through a routine Hollow positions (Hollow Rock), Supermans, and bar taps all of which were in an effort to get everyone's kip more efficient.  Quick sidebar... Lindsey teaches with an infectious smile and sincerity all the while with an almost tangible intensity that makes you want to try harder.  The technique and drills she taught had recently been brought to them by Dusty Hyland of DogTown CrossFit.  I hope I have a chance to meet Dusty in the future, both Lindsey and Tommy repeatedly sang his praises as a coach.
All of the pull-up prep work came in handy when the wod was revealed, Nicole.

AMRAP 15 min of 400M run, max pull ups.  To say I was excited when I found out I was getting to run at altitude (Salt Lake City 4300'+ ft. ASL) would be a gross overstatement.  Felt like I was breathing through a snorkel for 15 min.
After the wod was complete owner/coach Tommy Hackenbruck took the time to introduce himself to me and talk for a while.  When I had questions regarding the skill taught during the class he not only explained it in detail but we went over to the rings and he demonstrated the technique until my thick skull seemed to absorb it.

UTE CrossFit has a loyal membership of 200+ members.  The athletes have the opportunity to utilize either of the two buildings UTE occupies.  The primary gym is 4000+ sq. ft. while the other building is probably 2500sq ft. and treated more as an open gym area for the athletes focusing on Games competition or working on GOATs.
What I feel like I have failed to adequately relate is the degree of friendliness that I experienced at this particular affiliate.  As I've said in the past I'm no poet and writing is not my full time job.  Simply put the coaches, employees, and athletes I met are good solid Nice people.  No egos even though there easily could be with the caliber of athlete there.  No dismissiveness even though I was only passing through town.
So thank you, Tommy, Taylor, and Aly for turning what could have been a crappy day into one of my more memorable CrossFit experiences.
I plan to schedule more layovers through SLC and hope for an airline delay or two.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


CrossFit Omaha

  I’ve had the opportunity to visit CF Omaha before and both times have been good experiences.  This particular time I had a chance to visit with co-owner and head coach Joe Westerlin.  Joe has an easy laid back demeanor with the confidence of an experienced coach.  He is able to analyze and appropriately cue athletes from the very inexperienced to the well-seasoned alike.  Coming across a coach like Joe makes me really appreciate good coaching.  One of the key factors I use when evaluating a gym is the quality of coaching.  With as many gyms as I've visited I've seen the entire range of coaching from Joe's attention to detail all the way to "the workout is on the whiteboard 3,2,1...Go". 

Joe and co-owner Ricky Frausto (both CrossFit Lvl II coaches) have strength and conditioning background, both as coaches and Div 1 athletes at the University Of Nebraska- Omaha.  They have carried that extensive amount of experience and knowledge over to CF Omaha and have developed great programming.  Joe believes what separates their box from others is the quality of service they provide to their customers.  "The results speak for themselves.  The success of our athletes speaks for itself."

CrossFit Omaha started in 2007 in the varsity weight room of the University of Nebraska- Omaha.  In 2008 they moved to their current 4000+ sq ft facility (with showers) located approximately 20 minutes SW of the Epply Airport. With the quality programming and 200+ members, CrossFit Omaha has consistently fielded a Games caliber team resulting in a 3rd place finish at the 2010 Games.  Their team is currently ranked 17th in the world for the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games.

Class started w/ a few Snatch progressions to help everyone get  more focused on this technical movement, prior to the wod. Next the wod was a Snatch ladder (75/98/110/120/132/142/154/164/176/186/198)
every min on the min progress one bar, with only two attempts per bar, until you fail.  #SnatchesSuk.  I need a lot of work on this movement.  After a short break, we moved onto  3 x 30sec sets of Chest 2 Bar Pull ups w/ 90 sec rest between sets.  All in all, a great shoulder workout. 

The gym has a great relaxed feel to it with friendly coaches and athletes. There are plenty of t-shirts and other gear available for sale on site. Make sure you contact them prior to dropping in. If you're lucky maybe you'll be in town during one of their many social events like "Burpees and Beer" or an impromptu "Stink and Drink".
I definitely look forward to another visit in the future. 


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New Shirts for the collection

CrossFit New England

CrossFit Back Bay

Reebok CrossFit ONE

CrossFit Boston

CrossFit MPH

Sunday, March 4, 2012


  When I found out my travels would take me to DC, I'll say I was somewhat more enthusiastic about visiting our nation’s capital than I had been in the past. Being a somewhat recent convert to  The Outlaw Way, I didn't realize what I was missing on past trips to the area. Don't get me wrong there are some great affiliates in and around DC.  (I plan to do some entries on them in the near future.)    I most appreciate Coach Rudy Nielsen’s candid commentary on programming, as well as his Not pulling any punches attitude towards CrossFit in general.  Too often people say/write what they think others want to hear.  Boring!!!  Just like the Honey Badger, Rudy don't give a Fk!  To top it off, he backs it all up with a stable of badass athletes.

So, when I determined I could manipulate my schedule to allow myself a visit to Outlaw CrossFit, I was amped.  Imagine my disappointment when I read the Outlaw Way blog entry detailing, what I believe to be the longest PF Chang's food run ever, would prevent me from meeting the Yoda of CrossFit.  However, I will agree that it is some damn good Mongolian Beef!

Despite the fact that Rudy would not be there, I still wanted to see the gym and get in a workout.  I rolled up (about a 10 min drive from Reagan National airport) and found what, on the outside, looks to be a former auto repair shop.  I knew I had to be in the right place when I saw one of the coolest CF signs ever.

If I was forced to describe the inside of the gym I'd use the word "grunge" as in Nirvana, Pearl Jam ("10" album not the later lame stuff).  Little dimly lit, not dirty but not spit shined like some of the boxes I've been to recently and nothing but the essentials of what it takes to get busy at a CF gym.  There was a couple deep into a squat workout. (The strength portion of today’s wod) Turns out while they (Mike and Elaine) aren't coaches, they are veterans of Outlaw and a couple of the nicest people I've come across in my travels to CF boxes.  Although, I was too late to join the squat portion of the programming, they invited me to do the Met-Con portion of the workout. 

10 Min AMRAP of:
4 HSPU (Regionals standard)
8 Hang Squat Snatches 75/55
16 KBS 24/16kg

After the workout both of them were cool enough to take the time and talk about the box in general, better explain the programming philosophy, etc. A lot of pride showed when they spoke about the gym. 

Even though I didn’t get the opportunity to meet Coach Rudy and ask some of the random questions I wanted to ask.... like why the Owl on the logo? If you were president of the CrossFit nation what would be your first change to the "sport"?,  Deadwood or Walking Dead?,  you know important stuff?
 I hope to coordinate another visit when Rudy and company aren't off satisfying a cross country food craving...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

CFNE: House of Champions

     If I had to sum up my experience at CrossFit New England up with one word it would be "business".  Not that the athletes and coaches weren't friendly.  Quite the opposite.  The mood I felt when I walked in was that of focus.   Would you expect anything different from the home box of the reigning CrossFit Games Team Champions.  No one was just standing around socializing.  One guy was knocking out 12.1, a couple others were pushing him along.  Everyone else was in some stage of warm up or appeared to be into a wod of some sort.  It didn't take long before I was identified as a stranger and was greeted by Coach Mel (Ockerby).  You know the one that crushed Fran in the Team Finals?!  Soon after greating me she called the class to attention  and we got down to the business of mobility.  (I learned how to floss my hips.)  Good thing to know. Next she broke down the deadlift into very concise steps and then it was time to get to work.
The wod was called "Dark and Stormy"  25 Deadlifts @225, 50 Pull ups, 25 Deadlifts @225.  With approximately 20 students in the class we did a stagger start for the sake of pull up space. 
Did I mention Heather Bergeron @ 7months pregnant was two spots behind me?  Knocking out the wod with the women's RXweight (155lb).  And I'm happy to report she beat me by :16sec with a time of 6:47. I'll just say it...That's F'n impressive!  Not beating me, that happens more often than not, but the whole extremely pregnant status and gettin' busy with deadlifts and pull ups.  Oh and after cool down she started another wod. 
The opportunity never really presented itself for me to have a conversation with any of the coaches about the general factoids of the gym.  However I'd estimate the box to be about 4000-5000sq ft.  Plenty of equipment.  And I believe somewhere over 300 members.

  Lots of t-shirts (and thongs) for sale.  I wasn't charged a drop in fee, t-shirts were $25, and CFNE is located about 25 minutes West of Boston in a town called Natick.  Most definitely worth the trip from Boston if you're in the area.


Main Gym

Auxilary Gym

Example A
Spoils of Victory