the spaz of fitness has arrived

East Valley CrossFit

In Training on December 22, 2012 at 5:42 pm

I’m beginning to understand just how much you can gauge about a new gym from a drop-in day. Today, I had the good fortune of visiting East Valley CrossFit in AZ, and I was completely blown away. First off, the facilities are a homesick CrossFitter’s wet dream– fully decked out Rogue rig, a host of Oly-lifting platforms, bumper plates, kettlebells, ropes, plyo boxes, rowers– all the goodies, all neatly arrayed. More telling, however, was the behavior of the coaches. For me, it speaks volumes of a gym’s integrity if the coaches pay attention to their drop-in visitors, even if these people won’t be a huge source of income, even if these people might only be around for a day or two. This attitude shows that 1) these coaches actually care about their jobs as individuals responsible for the safety and well-being of those in their gym, and 2) these coaches give a damn about you as a human being even if you’re not one of their normal members.

East Valley CrossFit actually has a wide range of specialty classes– from kettlebells to rowing, running, Olympic lifting, and something called “Romanian conditioning” that piqued my interest. With my own fixation on my Olympic lifting weakness, however, I knew I wanted to at least make it to an Oly class with my limited time here in Az. The coaching staff at EVCF includes 7 USA Weightlifting Level 1 coaches. You can read more about the myriad accomplishments of their many weightlifting coaches here.

Anyway, I was one of three visiting members and I expected to just be heaped into the crowd and left to my own devices, as I often am in drop-in situations. But the coaches actually separated us and worked with us individually on technique. This meant going back to the very basics of the snatch, down to PVC drills with snatch pulls– which was actually perfect for me because in my hurry to learn all the things and lift all the weights, I really think I skipped too quickly through the basic introductory movements of the Olympic movements… and we all know I have trouble slowing down.

Some differences here: they taught us to keep our weight on the mid-foot rather than the heel with an emphasis of keeping the shoulders over the bar on its way up. Additionally (Coach) Alex pinpointed something about my pull that I never noticed– my legs extend too much before the bar reaches my hips, meaning I have no leg drive by the third pull. It’s something I’d like to slow down and work with light weight more when I get back to the box. Also, I need to begin videotaping my movements, as much as I don’t want to see how ugly they look :p

Anyway, it was really enlightening to see how another box teaches the most notoriously complex of CrossFit movements. And, my favorite thing about EVCF– it’s the first box I’ve visited that has truly the “community” feel that reminds me of my own home gym. The coaches and members all seem very familiar with one another, and they treat each other with that perfect mix of facetious derision and respect. Even better– they’re quick to embrace drop-in Jo’s as one of their own.

I really hope I have the chance to make it back before I leave town. One of the many things about staying at home that clashes with my OCD is that I can never get a handle on my family/friends’ itinerary and I’m constantly ambushed with last-minute obligations for which I did not plan.

But thanks again to the wonderful community at EVCF– I think I’ve found my new home base for all the many future visits I’ll have in Phoenix.

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