You never know what you are capable of until you give it a try.
That statement pretty much sums up my experience last week during my visit to University Ave (UAVE) CrossFit, October's featured gym of the month. I was taken out of my comfort zone once again but what's interesting is that little by little and new experience after new experience, I'm finding that my comfort zone is steadily shrinking. What do I mean by that? Well, a year ago, maybe even six months ago, I wouldn't have dared attempt CrossFit let alone try a never-before-visited CrossFit gym, however, now even though it is still a bit intimidating and always challenging, I was eager and willing to give UAVE a try. And, better yet, I actually found it fun!
Before we get into it, what is CrossFit anyway?
CrossFit is defined as “constantly varied functional movement performed at high intensity with the goal of: increased work capacity across a broad range of time and modal domains". To simplify, CrossFit is a total body workout incorporating a variety of movements including strength, plyometrics, endurance, HIIT (high-intensity-interval-training), cardio and strongman. In a typical CrossFit class, you will work everything from your head to your toes in full-body functional movements that make you stronger, faster and fitter in your everyday life.
Every CrossFit class is led by a certified CrossFit instructor that will take you through a warmup, skills practice including strength training movements and a full-body conditioning workout otherwise known as your workout of the day (WOD). The classes are typically one hour in length and by the end (or more like five minutes in) you will be sweating, breathing hard and hopefully having fun (I know I was)!
CrossFit workouts are different everyday so you can come several times throughout the week and you will never have the same workout twice. If you find yourself getting bored with doing the same routine over and over again, CrossFit might be the perfect thing for you because you get exposed to new and exciting workouts each time you step foot in the gym.
Who can do CrossFit?
CrossFit is literally for anybody that has a desire to be more fit. Each workout is scalable meaning whether you have zero CrossFit experience or have been taking classes for years, you can join and participate. There are modifications for nearly everything allowing you to start at a comfortable level and work at your own pace to complete the workout.
My UAVE Experience...
During my week visit to UAVE CrossFit, I took two different classes with two completely different workouts. As mentioned previously, prior to the workout of the day (WOD), the coaches led the class through a thorough warmup and skill practice to prepare for the workout ahead. And, before I get into the workouts, let me first highlight the coaches...
The coaches at UAVE CrossFit are extremely knowledgeable and helpful. I worked with two different coaches (Hannah and Kelsea) during my time at UAVE and both of them were amazing. They were always willing to help and make sure I knew how to do the movements as we progressed through the workout. Whether you are new or seasoned with CrossFit style workouts, rest assured, the coaches at UAVE will always work with you to modify as needed ensuring you have a safe and effective workout.
As for the WOD's themselves....
My first workout, appropriately named 'Detention', was definitely a challenge. When I first saw the workout I hesitated because I cannot do a handstand, let alone a handstand pushup. And, jumping regular rope is hard enough not to mention attempting double unders. Again, this is where the coaches are key. Hannah explained different modifications at varying levels of difficulty progressing to the RX'd strict handstand push-ups. I was able to modify off of a box and did way better than I thought after initially reading the workout. Same for the double unders. While I didn't do any actual double unders in my workout, I learned the movement and was able to practice single unders in place of the doubles. Even with the modifiers, it was an intense workout that left me dripping sweat just a few minutes in.
The second workout on Friday, 'Mind Control', was totally different from the 'Detention' WOD but equally as challenging. Also, it's worth mentioning that Friday's warmup prep might have been one of my favorites because we did a group relay. It's probably been at least twenty years since I'd done any sort of relay race and it was SO MUCH FUN!
Similar to my first workout, there were things in this WOD that I had no clue how to do or even try. Coach Kelsea was right there to assist in modifications to the workout. In this case, she helped me modify the toes to bar to knees to chest. I also modified the weight on the front squats because, let me tell you, even the bar is sometimes all the weight you need (especially if you are newer to CrossFit). This workout had a bit of running which actually ended up being a nice recovery in between the two strength movements. By the end of the workout, I was spent but proud of getting through 7 completed rounds of that AMRAP WOD.
Outside of the tough workouts that pushed me outside my comfort zone, one of my favorite things about my experience was the people. UAVE CrossFit is the epitome of a fitness community. I felt like a part of the group from the minute I walked in the gym. On my first day, Coach Hannah showed me around the gym and as members walked through the door everyone greeted me, introduced themselves and welcomed me as part of the team. When I came back for my second workout led by Coach Kelsea, I again felt like part of the group.
During the workouts themselves, both Hannah and Kelsea as well as the members working out were so encouraging to one another (and myself). I could definitely feel the family and team vibe which no doubt helped get me through each workout. It's so helpful to have a supportive group pushing one another towards their achieving their best.
Another highlight of my week was witnessing a few members take part in the first workout of the 20.1 CrossFit Open. If you don't know what this is, the Open is a five week, five workout CrossFit competition. Workouts are released each Thursday through November 9th and participants have until the following Monday to complete and submit their results. It's a big celebration across the CrossFit community and a true challenge of fitness over the next five weeks. It was exciting to watch a few members at UAVE complete their first Open workout and they crushed it. If you're reading UAVE friends, good luck as you continue this journey!! You've got this!!
What does membership at UAVE look like and how much does it cost?
There are a few different membership options available depending on how much time and money you want to invest. For $125/month, you can attend 12 classes over the course of a single month or for $155, you get unlimited access and can CrossFit as much as you want in any given month! And, if committing to a monthly membership isn't your thing, no problem. UAVE offers drop in packages as well. A single class drop in is $15 or you can purchase class packs at $65 for 5 classes or $115 for 10 classes.
Another great offering available is their CrossFit Foundations course. This is an ideal option for beginners and those just starting their CrossFit journey. The course is $75 and includes six specific Foundation classes plus access to three regularly scheduled CrossFit classes. This course is offered monthly over the course of the year. If you're interested, they actually have a course coming up November 12th through the 23rd.
If this foundations course does not fit with your schedule or you're just looking for more individualized coaching, the coaches at UAVE also offer personal training sessions at the gym.
How do you get started?!
If you're interested in trying out UAVE CrossFit, I'd suggest reaching out to the team via their website or Facebook page, or better yet, drop by and see them in person! The gym is open anytime there is a scheduled class so you could stop by to see things in action then talk with a coach about next steps. Everyone is friendly so while it might feel intimidating to walk into a new-to-you gym, you'll be instantly welcomed as part of the family. I'd also suggest checking out the Foundations course because that will give you a nice understanding of CrossFit style workouts and what you can expect from a regular membership at UAVE.
And, in case you're wondering about classes....classes are offered several times in both the mornings and evenings Monday through Friday as well as Saturday mornings. There is also an open gym Monday through Friday plus Sunday afternoons. Open gym time is up to the member as to what they want to accomplish. There is always a WOD posted or it can be used as a nice opportunity to come in and foam roll/stretch. Alternatively, some members will use the open gym to work on any areas of weakness such as weight lifting, gymnastics, cardio or other particular movements they need a little extra help with. There is a always a coach around during open gym to assist as needed.
Need more info?
If you have any additional questions or would like to hear more about my experience, please don't hesitate to reach out. You can also send any inquiries about the gym, classes, and membership options to the team at UAVE CrossFit through their website or Facebook page.
Many thanks again to Hannah, Kelsea and everyone that I met over the last week. I was honored to be a part of the gym, had a great time visiting and am looking forward to coming back to visit!!
If you're interested in checking out the other gym's that have been featured in this monthly series, you can read all about them here! And, stay tuned for November's featured gym to be announced soon!!