The place is right off the highway, just a little more then ten miles outside the City, once off the highway, it's a little hidden, but that sure hasn't held them back from bringing in the members by the boat loads. At exactly a year in existence, they have brought in well over 100 members, and they are expecting that growth to continue on. Two of the three coaches were in when I entered, Michael was teaching the 8am class, and Meshelle was working out along side the rest of the athletes. Then, for the 9am, (the one I joined) Meshelle coached and Michael joined the rest of us. They both were so down to earth and chill, and the members so approachable and kind, it felt like I was walking in to a Saturday morning home BBQ rather then about to lift crazy weights. But then, to add that extra appeal, their gyms set-up motivated nothing but hard work.
Walking in, you instantly feel like there is organization here. It's not huge, but has more than enough space, and has all the equipment to comfortably take care of their larger classes (they've been getting around 18 on a regular basis). Everything is home-built, the pull up bars, bar racks, plate holders, plyo boxes, and while I would normally expect that to make things a bit grungy and "dirty", they keep it pristine and organized. Their focus to these details is something that I feel sets them apart, they use their resources to supply their members with the best equipment and, coaching and information they can, and they keep things simple by figuring out ways to do all of this while as efficiently as possible. I very quickly remembered these guys from a video posted on the CrossFit Journal during their grand opening, pretty cool.
People started rolling in and class began. We all went out and got a quick 400 meters in, then, lined up in two lines and went though an active warm up reminiscent of pre sports game: high knees, butt kicks, squat jumps and more. This ended up boositng my energy like crazy, to be able t run around the gym with such a large group of people. After about 5 minutes of that, we all gathered around to go over the workout.
21 deadlifts 225#
7 rounds of:
7 front squats 155#
7 box jumps 24"
21 deadlifts 225#
Youch. While I was feeling fresh coming in, this one had muscle tissue break-sown written all over it. Bars and plates were collected and we took plenty of time working the different moves to make sure everyone was feeling comfortable. I really respected how much time they took to focus on this in fact. I feel as though with big classes, many coaches may feel like it's wasting time to go over the details of each move. But not here, and despite the inevitability of form failure with this workout, it was great to see how they made sure everyone knew exactly what was going on. And, thanks to that, plenty of people were able to scale their weights accordingly. Once we were all set up, it was 3-2-1 go time!
I was able to bang out the deadlifts unbroken, then used the time it took to strip off the 35# from each side to recover a little. The first round of front squats and box jumps made me realize very fast that this was going to tear me up quick. And sure enough, by round 5 was was flat out dying. My front squats were pretty messy, and I could feel the strain on my low back. The tightness was causing a lack of mobility in my lumbar spine and getting my butt down deep was tougher and tighter each rep. The load on my quads (and the additional strain thanks to me utilizing my front side too much under the fatigue) made the box jumps crazy hard. The first rep each round felt like I was jumping from sand to a 40" box. But I battled through, focusing on not rushing or allowing my form to completely break down, and was able to get everything unbroken up to the final 21 deadlifts. I got those in 4 sets and finished with a time of 8:47, a time I am very comfortable with; I gave that one everything I had!
After about 10 minutes of chilling out and allowing my back to stretch out a bit, I was feeling right enough to rack up my weights and chat a little more with all the athletes. Yet another gym where, still 30 minutes after class is over most of the members are still there catching up, talking about the workout and others, and just being friendly. I love that! There was not one person in the gym slacking off during that workout, we all gave it 100%, we were all drenched, breathing heavy and feeling good; and then, a bit of socializing, meeting and telling stories, and back on with our days. Nothing better!
Tamalpais CrossFit epitomizes the promotion of a fitness community. They host seminars, run challenges, have gatherings on a regular basis, and continuously expand their following by offering a welcoming and friendly environment. Their community is broad and inclusive, and, judging by the class I joined, a great mixture of all levels of athlete.
They welcomed me back any time, and I am sure I'll be taking them up n the offer in the coming months, not only to get a little better understanding on how to put together a clean, efficient and effective affiliate, but to hang with some really cool people!