I walked into the huge facility just as a good sized class was getting under way with their workout, and I hung out and watched as they all tore it up. The gym is pretty easy to get to, just off the 101 and sitting smack dab off a main street, it's pretty much impossible to miss. Of all the locations, this one is the baby and it has a bit of a minimalist feel because of that. A few rowers, a string of pull up bars, DB's and KB's, plates and bars. Besides a few other odds and ends, that's really it. And while I like how open the space feels (it inspires moving around a lot, which is awesome in my mind) I know it will begin to fill up a little more, both with more equipment and members!
TJ is a soft-spoken, down to earth coach who exudes passion for his work. He has this quiet confidence that I am sure is the only marketing he needs, and it clearly works. I am fascinated by the process of getting people into the gym, and TJ shows (along with guys like Jay from Albany CrossFit and Jeff Martin from CrossFit Brand X) that all you need to do is follow your heart and keep pushing forward and good things will happen. As cheesy as that sounds it totally works, and in only a few years TJ has been able to form himself a little Empire in Marin County. Pretty cool. And the people he has helping aren't so bad either. Andy Boone is the co-owner of Novato and it is clear he is a perfect fit for building up the community there.
What stood out to me is the all around commitment to building and supporting their community. As a bit of a foreigner to the area, I learned that Marin and the surrounding areas (yes, it's incredibly beautiful up there!) are ideal locations for people looking to settle down for the rest of their lives. TJ found that this is the majority of his membership base (about 500 between all gyms) and his gyms seem to have that secure, friendly, stay-here-for-life sort of feel about them. I applaud him for really getting to the root of the community, then supplying them exactly what works for them. I think this is something that all gym owners, and shoot, even athletes looking for a gym should really pay attention to.
So on to the workout. Well, I totally screwed this visit up by not getting there for the class I walked in on, so I ended up getting the same workout in by my lonesome.
5 rounds for total reps of:
45 sec. Sumo Deadlift High Pulls 75#
15 sec. rest
45 sec. thrusters 75#
15 sec. rest
45 sec. lateral jumps
This was a cardio test if there ever was one and I honestly had no clue what to expect, especially since my legs felt insanely tight from yesterdays prowler fun. The board had a couple of the better times up in the low 500's, so I had that to shoot for. I banged out 133 in the first round, really picking up tons on the lateral jumps. Then 130 on the second round and it was downhill from there. The rests were nice, but going all out basically meant that no amount of rest would have been all that beneficial. I got 120, then 115 and 115 giving me a total rep count of 613. I feel as though that's a pretty good score for that. I also feel like this sort of workout is something I do very well with, the endurance focused ones with lighter additional weights (fight gone bad is like this).
All in all it was a great experience. I think that they had good enough coaching and resources for a serious competitor to really improve, but still keep that overall chill feel that will welcome anyone and everyone. There is nothing intimidating about their style, and there is a lot to be said for having that personality in a community that gets a lot of flack for being "scary". I really hope I can get out to their other locations at some point in the near future, that would be great!
Never Stop, GET FIT.