This was a distinctly different visit than all the other ones because instead of joining a class, or working out with the coaches, I stayed for 6 hours as part of a gymnastics seminar. Basically it was a day of realizing just how out of shape I actually am. But, the good part was that i learned a lot of great progressions and I feel very confident in not only building my own personal skills up a lot, but in helping others learn how to control their bodies.
Roger, the head coach and gymnastics wiz at CrossFit Marin lead the class with coach Russ. We moved through things quickly but very thoroughly, and in the end, I know all of us in attendance had made some pretty great strides. But let's go back a bit and I'll talk a little about the actual location before getting into how the seminar was. Just like the vast majority of CrossFit gyms, this one was hidden from view completely. But once you find which entrance to drive in, it is impossible to miss. Two things stood out to me when I rounded the corner to the back of the warehouse complex: the incredible view of the mountains, with trails winding like a spider web towards them. And, the string of rowers and bars resting on the ground outside two massive roll-up doors. This was CrossFit Marin!
The place is big. Facing the doors, to your right is the gymnastics half. Just like your typical gymnastics center it is filled with tumbling mats, parallel bars, uneven bars and the whole collection of gear that inspires running around, jumping around, swinging around, rolling around and more. To your left is where you see all the weights, rowers, racks and bars. Then, to your far left you'll find a collection of what seems to be construction junk, but actually is all the equipment to their successful Parkour classes. They have everything! It had that down to earth feel about it that your typical family style CrossFit gym has. There was a group of very young children swinging around the gymnastics side, a CrossFit class with a few older people in it, a couple strong looking dudes, and a couple younger people in it as well. Then, off to the side there looked to be a personal Parkour lesson going on with a young teenager. Everybody was all smiles, and everybody was working hard!
I really think what stood out the most here was the view from the open gym doors. For me, and clearly for so many others, looking out on scenery like that just touches something deep inside that makes you connect with your inner workout animal. When I look out onto a mountain range, I want nothing but to be running around in nature, throwing my body around and throwing heavy objects around. I am sure that within the CrossFit community most of you know exactly what I'm talking about. I think that CrossFit Marin has that special aspect to it. It's really just a huge warehouse with a ton of equipment lying around; but with the addition of the view, it becomes something entirely different. Add good coaching (which they clearly have), add a ton of really cool athletes (they have one of the largest member bases of any affiliate I've been to thanks to all their different programs) and you have a pretty unique spot.
A good collection of CrossFitters showed up for the seminar and we all mingled and chatted amongst ourselves before things got underway. And things got going quickly. Roger got us prepped and we went right into tumbling. I would say we spent an average of about 30 minutes at each skill: forward and backward rolls, handstand progressions, muscle up progressions, planches, pull overs and a handful more. Let's just put it this way: we were there for 6 hours and we only had a 15-minute break to grab some food. Yeah, we got after it!
Rogers coaching was great. He talks very deliberately and clearly and you instantly understand what he's trying to say. What stood out so much to me was how much focus on safely and spotting we worked on and I appreciate that. Rather than just throwing us into drills and progressions, he really allowed us to learn how to approach this with our training partners and clients. All is all, it was one of the most informative seminars I have ever been to and as mentioned before, I not only feel that much more confident in practicing all this myself, but getting others to do it with my support.
Talking with some of the attendees and with Roger and Russ, I am that much more excited for what CrossFit has done for the “specialties” that are out there. I honestly feel that with the interest of the growing CrossFit community, gymnastics, power lifting, Olympic lifting, martial arts, running, triathlon and so much more get more and more attention. CrossFit focuses on becoming generally fit, more athletic, it focuses on allowing each athlete the means to attempt any sport. And because of the incredible effects of CrossFitting, people seek out these specialties and give them a try. I personally want to do so much more gymnastics work thanks to not only CrossFit, but to the motivating an inspiring instruction of Roger and his crew. Sure I can bang out “Fran” in a great time, and hoist a super heavy barbell off the ground. But what about having complete and total control of my own body. Gymnastics gives us the ability to understand ourselves in space. Imagine what you’d be able to do from a physical standpoint if you could do even a fraction of gymnasts can do. Yeah, it would be insane!
As for a video for this trip, it is in the works. Given the slightly different nature of the visit, I realized that I have to put a good deal more effort into the editing process. But I wanted to get the write-up up at the very least while it was all fresh in my head. So, apologies for the delay in the video but it should be up at some point this week.
I strongly urge any and all of you out there to seek out your local gymnastics center and set up a few sessions with an experienced coach. If you are in the Bay Area, CrossFit Marin is clearly top of the line. If not, I have a couple resources that are really great to get into them, and I highly suggest, CrossFitter or not, that you learn more about how you body works from a physical standpoint. Your overall athleticism will thank you!
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