CrossFit Lefthand, 3640 Walnut Street, Boulder; 303-731-6153, crossfitlefthand.com
Instructor: Patrick Rios got the coaching itch from his father, who is a running coach. For the last five years he has been an avid student of CrossFit. Three years ago he started coaching and received his CrossFit Level 1 certification.
"What is there not to love about CrossFit? I love the community and the people I've met from it and through it," said Rios when I asked him what he loves about CrossFit. It's a question that anyone who has witnessed the nearly religious zeal some people have for the exercise often ask.
What is the workout? According to Rios, "A lot of what we do in the CrossFit gym is training for everything and anything that people want to do outside of the gym."
It's not fitness as a profession, where athletes have specific strength goals and the training wherewithal to reach them. Known as functional fitness, CrossFit is about being fit for the sake of it. It's fitness as a lifestyle. "We are doing movements in here that are functional as far as things you might do outside of the gym," says Rios.
This appeals to people who enjoy working out and its benefits but who either don't have the time or inclination to structure their own workouts. It also brings in the fun of group exercise. Everyone chooses different weights and difficulty levels. However they are still doing the same exercises comparatively with the same effort. "It's making sure people live healthy lives, being able to move correctly and having a lot of fun doing it," says Rios.
What's different? While the workouts change daily, there is a combination of strength building and cardiovascular exercise in the workouts. What sets it apart is the quick, efficient nature of the class. There is a group mentality that is meant to inspire camaraderie and push you harder to keep up the pace.
In an hour you can get in cardio and strength exercises that are planned for you. You just have to show up and put in the effort.
"I personally think CrossFit is the best that you can find, because it's all encompassing," says Rios. "It's going to cover everything as far as testing balance, speed, agility, strength coordination and power."
Cost: The drop-in price is $20. An unlimited monthly passe is $208.
Level: It's open to all levels. Students choose their weights and set their own pace. Rios gave variations and walked through new moves, breaking them down. Anyone intimidated by heavy weights can check out the LefthandFIT class, which doesn't use barbells.
When: This hour-long class is offered at 6 a.m., 8:30 a.m., noon, 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. These is an 8:30 a.m. class on Saturdays.
What to prepare: Water, workout clothes and athletic shoes.
Muscles worked: "In every class you work just about every muscle," says Rios. It certainly worked my major muscle groups. Walking the next day was a struggle with sore quadriceps and calves.
What I loved: The efficiency of the workout was great. We managed to fit a full body workout into an hour. I didn't have to come up with my own weight lifting routine that would have been half as effective.
What I didn't like: I drove by the gym a couple times before I found the place. I didn't see a sign off the main road, making it hard to find. Clearer signage would be nice.
How I felt after the class: I took the early morning class, so my workout was out of the way first thing and I managed to avoid exercising in the blistering afternoon heat. It was worth the early start to my day.
Know of any interesting workouts? Tell us about them so we can check them out: firstname.lastname@example.org.