In recent years, Crossfit has been growing at a rate that can only be described as freakish. Affiliates are popping up left and right, people are getting Level I certified, and the Crossfit Games have officialy moved from Dave Casto’s backyard to the Home Depot Center. The once underground movement, only known to an exclusive group of people, is starting to surface, even appearing in mainstream media, such as this:
However despite Crossfit’s popularity, it’s rapid growth has been rather isolated. Particularly within Western nations such as the United States and Canada. Sure, Chris Spealler might have taken a trip down to India and promoters often point to this as evidence for Crossfit’s international appeal. In reality however, Crossfit remains relatively unheard of in Asia, a region that constitutes the majority of the people in the world (sorry white people).
There are currently over 600 Crossfit affiliates in the world, only 7 of which can be found in Asia. A quick note: I am basing these numbers off of the affiliate blog on the main site. Even if these numbers are inaccurate, I think it can be generally agreed upon that Crossfit’s role in the Asian fitness industry is small.
So why does all of this matter? My answer is simple: I’ve never lived in America.
For those of you who don't know (which should be no one since nobody reads this anyway), I lived overseas my whole life, the majority of which was spent in Beijing, China. I was lucky enough to be introduced to Crossfit and subsequently the Paleolithic lifestyle. I've been Crossfitting for 2 or 3 months now and the results are just incredible. I firmly believe that in achieving elite fitness, Crossfit is the way to go (more on that some other day). However having been introduced to Crossfit in Beijing where it is essentially unheard of, conditions of course were not ideal.
Don't get me wrong, I had a great certified coach who was able to provide me with some serious quality training. What's even better was that he was willing to train me for free. Unfortunately the only facility I could train at was the school gym. The gym was nice, and not as machine riddled as your typical globogym. There were bumpers, pull-up bars, rings, kettlebells, medicine balls, and a squat rack essentially most of the equipment used in a Crossfit-style gym. But there was one problem. The gym was located in SCHOOL.
Ask any Crossfitter, and they'll tell you that it's loud. Dropping a 95-pound barbell after completing Fran (a benchmark Crossfit workout), playing ACDC's Thunderstruck over the speakers, and screaming the word "FUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKK" on your last rep of a heavy set of back squats aren't exactly appropriate in school. Even ball-slams were out of the question because teachers in the neighboring office would FILE complaints about the noise as opposed to confronting us themselves. Go figure.
But I understand, after all we were in school, so the teachers definitely had a right to work peacefully. So we tried our best to be quiet (note the word TRIED), and frankly being quiet sucks. By being quiet, I really wasn't able to gain much experience with Olympic weightlifting, a fundamental component of Crossfit's training regime. What I had was by no doubt sufficient, but it definitely could have been better.
I resolved to find an affiliate gym the minute I arrived in Boston for college and what I found was Crossfit Fenway. I attended a free trial and it was GREAT. The coaching quality was top-notch and dropping that barbell overhead amidst some push-jerks in a WOD (workout of the day) was also incredibly liberating. The equipment was basic and economical, just the way I like it. There wasn't a fancy machine in sight, and there were ample amounts of kettlebells, barbells, bumpers, and other heavy things. The environment, which would probably be characterized as barren by the modern fitness industry, was perfect because it promoted grunt hard work, which in my opinion is what training is all about. On a softer side, the gym had a massage therapy room and oddly enough (though awesome), a circus acrobatics room. With windows that stretch from the ceiling to the floor, people on the street couldn't help but stop and look when they passed by. At the end I think two people even came in and signed up for a free trial!
The session started off with some dot drills, which I had never done before, designed to improve agility and coordination. We then spent some time on proper cleaning technique (as in the Olympic lift, not feather dusting) , one of my major weaknesses. To top it off we finished with a WOD, where I got my ass handed to me by two much older people. Damn. The WOD was a beast of a workout, an all out sprint and very tiring. It is outlined below:
WOD: Three Rounds for time of:
14 Sumo Deadlift High Pulls (28 kg, Rx'd is 32)
Sprint down the street and back
7 Shoulders to overhead (45-50 kg, Rx'd is 60)
Although I'm somewhat worried about finances, I think I will probably join Crossfit Fenway in pursuit of my fitness goals. It's going to be a good year.