One of my favorite things about doing Crossfit, is that once you are part of the CrossFit community, you are part of a family no matter where you go. I mean, what is not to love about that? So when I recently went to St. Augustine in Florida, I finally got to be one of those Crossfitters asking for recommendations. Heidi, one of my Brick coaches, is down in the area often and had nothing but good things to say about Crossfit Atlantic, now The Academy, which totally sealed the deal for me. Didn’t hurt that they have a kick-ass logo and I totally wanted to rock one of their shirts…
So, on the one rainy, grey day of the trip, it seemed like the perfect time to check out one of their classes. I got really excited when I pulled up outside of their warehouse space (by NYC standards, it was HUGE) and walked in to a big, warm welcome from one of their coaches who was manning the front desk. She made me feel immediately at home, gave me a quick low-down on the big open space and introduced me to the coach of that WOD, Alan. After stashing my stuff, I was told to grab a rower and get 750m to warm up. I pulled mine to the back of the group so that I could be by the big, open bay doors and just took in the awesome surroundings.
Then, it was off to some hip-opening exercises and some conditioning drills across the floor. I chatted with the super-fit woman next to me and when we got to the final inchworm move across the floor, she groaned. Alan heard her and said “Come on! We have a visitor from New York! Let’s show her we do all of the inchworms!” I just grinned and as a pair, we made our way across the floor.
Alan went over the workout quickly and told us that we would be working on rope climbing as our strength section that day. I immediately felt doomed. The last time I even attempted a rope climb was in elementary school and it didn’t go so well. Alan demoed the move that would make climbing “more about your legs” and while I was game to try, I still thought this probably wasn’t going to go well for me. There were about 16 of us that day, so each rope had 4 people to it. I teamed up with another woman who wanted to try from the modified box start that had been given as an option, and her husband and friend rounded out our foursome.
Alan made his way over to us and asked me if I’d ever done a rope climb… and I, of course, immediately fessed up to having absolutely no idea what I was doing. He grinned and gave us a thorough demo from the box…and even managed to make me feel like “Oh, yeah! I CAN do this.” The key is to wrap the rope around your leg and pin it with your foot, and just stretch out but the TRICK is that to move up the rope, you have to spin your leg to move the rope down your leg and you up the rope. I wasn’t so good at that spin part but did manage to inch my way up the rope! VICTORY! Then, you let go of the wrap while keeping a firm hold on the rope so you don’t slide down, before you can come down with control.
I totally could have called it a day after that since it was such a win but there was a Workout of the Day to do. That day, it was a 5 rounds for time of 2 squat clean and jerks (heavy for you), 10 handstand push-ups, and 10 toes to bar.
This was an amazingly ripped group of athletes and while a little part of me wanted to go big like them, I knew a lighter load was the way I needed to go. Alan came over to see if I needed to modify the handstand pushups – which I always do. He had me grab a box and really focus on tapping the crown of my head to the ground. Then, we were off. The funniest part for me is that since they are in a warehouse space, dropping your bar at the lift is totally ok, but since at Brick that is an absolute no-no, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Don’t mind me, the weird one in the back! After a little under ten minutes we were done.
I snagged the owner at the end to settle up for my drop-in and inquire about one of those cool tanks they were all sporting but sadly, they were all sold out. Seems the only solution is to go back next time I’m in town… because if you didn’t get a t-shirt at your drop-in, did you really go?
Photos by Eric Stafford, Stafford Sports Media for FBS