As the sun set over San Francisco, I drove on down to Potrero Hill to the most contradictory of CrossFit affiliates that I have visited, CrossFit Potrero Hill. Why is it a contradiction you ask? Well, the second you pull up, as a CrossFitter, you would know. In the re-done, well-manicured area that clearly used to be just massive warehouses, you see the huge neon “World Gym” sign shining through the night. Yep, CrossFit Potrero Hill is located INSIDE a “dreaded” globo gym.
So, I strolled through the front doors, signed in at the fancy front desk just past the food and drink bar and began to make my way through the gym. Sure, it’s you typical globo gym, but I definitely do have to give them a handful of credit, not just for the fact that they welcomed CrossFit into their space, but because for a globo gym, it was a pretty well equipped one. But I am not here to write about them, I’m here for the CrossFit! Head coach and owner Eric welcomed me into the cage and I instantly felt at home.
So, you walk down a hallway that the cardio equipment makes and you make your way towards a fenced in area in the back corner of the gym. Walk through the fence opening and you are instantly transported into CrossFit world. There’s a sweet pull up rig wrapped around the back curved wall, there are stacks of bumpers, kettlebells, bars, med balls, boxes and all the necessary gear. It’s not the biggest space, but it’s perfectly organized and somehow felt like it was one of the biggest boxes I had been in.
There was a pretty good sized class in for the evening, and each and every one of them seemed pretty pumped to get after it. It was a diverse group as well and I was really excited to sweat with them all, despite my complete fatigue from so many workouts to that point. With Eric leading, and coach Michael assisting, we all went through a great warm up while chatting amongst ourselves. We then prepared for the workout:
3 rounds of:
Tabata toe taps
20 ring push ups
100 double unders
This turned out to be a really cool workout. And actually it was the perfect burn out post crazy couple days of programming. The way this one was run was to do the toe taps (basically starting with one foot on a plyo box and then jumping up to switch feet. Each time your foot touches the box counts as one rep), then directly into the push ups and double unders. I swapped in wall balls instead of push ups as my shoulders were about broken in two. There was also about a minute or so break between rounds. Eric wanted us to attack this workout without counting reps or time, he just wanted us to get after it as hard as we could and see if we could handle the mental challenge of just pushing ourselves. I like this; I like the idea of not always working against a clock. We as CrossFitters get a bit over-involved sometimes in the classic “what’s your time”/”what’s your number” concept of training. I think that if you can every now and again turn the clock off and put your pen down and just get after a work out is a great test of where your fitness stands. Do you have the ability to work against yourself just as hard as you do against the clock? This is a key, not only for competitors, but also for any athlete out there. To make true gains in fitness, you need to be able to push yourself through self-motivation. Eric did a great job of getting all of us to understand this, and I was really impressed with the effort everyone put forth. Each person took it upon themselves to “get that number” on their tabata, and while I could not see the push up efforts because I was on the wall ball, I saw some pretty hardcore efforts with the jump ropes all around.
It was an interesting experience to be working so hard, with a group of people on ellipiticals watching us. It was the perfect example of being active for the hell of it, and being active for a reason. You can find endless articles and opinions from CrossFitters on globo gyms and none of them are in the least bit understanding and kind. Hell, I have been known to share my sarcastic and somewhat insulting words with people about the “benefits” of spending money at a gym like that. I don’t really want to get into that topic here at all, but I will say I still share mostly the same opinion I always have towards what those places will do for you. But having a CrossFit affiliate literally inside one, well that just bleeds contradiction like I have never seen. It shocks me that people can really sit at their leg extension machines watching a group of divers athletes banging out 3 rep max back squats and getting after prowler pushes without feeling bad about themselves or getting up and actually working hard themselves. The way I view it, Eric and his crew have stationed themselves in the best place you could possibly be to share with the world how great CrossFit actually is.
CrossFit began as a grass-roots fitness concept and has grown faster then, well hell, it’s like the Facebook of fitness! But most of these affiliates hide themselves; garages, warehouses, small locations in obscure spots. I love that about CrossFit of course, I love that if you are someone who wants to get fit, you have to find places that will help you do it. There’s no advertising or anything like that, just go find it. But CrossFit Potrero Hill plops themselves right smack dab in the middle of everything that is wrong with the fitness industry and just do their thing. I applaud them for allowing themselves to stand out. I applaud them for showing, rather than saying, how great CrossFit is. I WILL be back there for a workout or two in the coming months, it was quite an experience!
CrossFit Potrero Hill
290 De Haro Street
San Francisco, CA 94103-5124
As I finish this post I have one more visit in the Bay Area. I am so pumped to be able to get back on my own program after so much unknown this past month, but I will miss being able to train with all these different athletes! I know I’ll be getting back to a lot of them as I prepare for the CrossFit Games!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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