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It’s been a few weeks since I first stepped foot into Brick NYC for a free intro to CrossFit class and I am still shocked that I stumbled on such an amazing community.  After YEARS of hearing about CrossFit – and about all of the good and bad associated with it, I had been avoiding CrossFit like the plague. In my head, I’d written it off as a thing about going big or going home and not about technique.  Brick, from the get-go, proved me wrong. I am a form fiend…if an instructor isn’t really focused on HOW we are doing a move, I am completely not ok with it and never return. My first class with Dell, one of the Brick coaches, made me realize that not all “Boxes” are the same or can be written off as dangerous places. That first hour, with all of the obsessive form corrections, told me everything I needed to know… basically, that I’d discovered where I could find out all about CrossFit and still be safe.

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Two days later, I’d enrolled in Brick’s version of Foundations –the Academy. The way that it works at Brick is that you have to take 8 classes, each about one of the core moves of CrossFit, that you can take in any order. Although there are 5 coaches at Brick, all of my Academy classes were with Dell and Erica. I couldn’t have asked for more supportive people to train with. Both are ridiculously supportive, attentive coaches who are obsessed with teaching each move correctly. Each class takes you through a super slow breakdown of each movement.  The last one I took was the Hang Clean. This Olympic move was explained every step of the way.
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All of the Academy classes start by each participant introducing themselves and answering a random question (Favorite brunch? What superhero would you be? Favorite dessert?) before launching into a warm up. Every Academy warm up was challenging and always got me fired up for class.  More than a few times I heard people grumbling about the fact that the “warm-up” felt like a workout but I loved that. It is awesome to feel like you got something in before slowing down to learn the move of the evening.
Brick CrossFit NYC 2 copy For the Hang Clean, first we practice with a PVC pipe, and Erica (who is an awesome bundle of energy and joy) would break down each part of the movement. We worked on it for a while in the class. It is a weirdly hard movement to get down and so we practice a LOT with the PVC going through each part of the movement before we moved onto the bar. As we did each part, she would watch us and correct us as we went. I never once felt like I wasn’t being watched. If there was a moment in any section where we were not smooth, Erica was immediately on us, correcting and watching us then get it right. Form at Brick is paramount.
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After going though the moves, every class ends with a “Workout Of The Day” where the move you learned is incorporated into a 5-10 minute workout where you do “As Many Rounds As Posssible” – ie: an evil AMAP. It is funny how freaking hard these short workouts are…they never failed to leave me gasping! That night’s AMRAP was Hang Cleans, Weighted Lunges and Push ups. It was hard – so hard that I didn’t even remember to count how many rounds I actually did. As Erica gathered the group around at the end and because it was my last night before I was cleared for CrossFit instead of “Brick”, she had everyone yell “Maggie” on three… which made my night!
Brick CrossFit NYC 9 copyAcademy classes can be taken in sequence or hodge-podged together over weeks, like I did. I wouldn’t recommend doing it my way, since I ended up feeling like the little kid who got left behind as I watched others graduate and move on to the regular CrossFit.  My first night of “real” CrossFit, randomly the Hang Clean, was the big move of the night and even though I came in DEAD last everyone was super encouraging and really there is only one place to go from there…
Photos by Eric Stafford from Stafford Sports Media

One thought on “Breaking It Down: CrossFit Academy at Brick

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