When I showed up to meet my CrossFit certified trainer, Sean Murphy, I found myself approaching a co-ed group performing Olympic lifting as part of an ongoing group class. The outdoor facility was as simple as it gets — a group of mats under a weather-protective tarp, a set of monkey bars, a shed for housing basic supplies like jump ropes and weights, and tractor tires resting about. The rugged scene was a far cry from the luxury home of my morning workouts at Equinox, but the fitness element challenged me in an entirely different and refreshing way.
Sean handed me a jump rope to warm up and then took me through the basics of what would make up my workout. In a completely encouraging and noncondescending way, Sean guided me on how to perfect a simple squat (lead with your booty!), challenged me to do the most perfect push-up that brought my chest barely an inch from the ground, and taught me how to do jumping pull-ups. We did a series of stretches for my hips and quads and it was time for the real workout. To see what it consisted of and what I thought,
My workout was scrawled with a piece of chalk on a mat under the monkey bars: 15 jumping pull-ups, 15 deep squats, 15 perfect push-ups, and a 200 meter run, all to be completed three times. He challenged me to do the entire workout in under eight minutes, and that gave me the extra competitive push that always gets me going. This workout is deceivingly simple — I was breathing heavily after round two. I completed my workout in just under seven minutes, but there was ab-work to follow that challenged my core and we finished with some stretching.
This was just a sample of the workouts offered at CrossFit facilities. Sean described how no workout is ever the same, but they always incorporate exercises that build strength and power while increasing endurance. Typically, the workouts last anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour, and after my experience I can see why the CrossFit methodology has so many dedicated followers. I would definitely recommend checking out Boost Athletics (Sean's training business) if you're in San Francisco, and if you're looking for an ever-changing outdoor workout look into CrossFit facilities in your area.
Photo courtesy of Boost Athletics