Review: CrossFit Queenstown
In an adventure haven like Queenstown you could almost be forgiven for not finding time to visit the local CrossFit box. In New Zealand´s adrenalin capital you can spend your days hiking, mountain biking, rafting, bungee jumping, kayaking…but for a CrossFit fanatic there´s always time to check out a new box. I managed to get to CrossFit Queenstown twice in ten days.
CrossFit Queenstown was still in its early stages when I passed through in January 2013. Owners Steve and Graham (who was due to move on shortly) had set up in one of the side rooms of the local Events Center, with plans to move locations when there were able, which they have now done. With the spirit of good ol´ Kiwi ingenuity (not that either of them are Kiwis) they were making things work as best they could.
The space in the Events Center was suitable for the small classes, they used pull up structures in the main gym when necessary and getting all the gear from the store room seemed to form part of the warm up! I didn´t like the carpet, and seeing myself working out in front of a mirror for the first time in a while was interesting. I liked it! No, I wasn´t checking myself out while doing bicep curls! But it was good to see my form – “ahhh, that´s why they always say “knees out” to me!” – and I think that the odd mirror in a CrossFit box could certainly have its place.
One of the main reasons I think CrossFit Queenstown has the potential to grow into a good box is the enthusiasm and passion that Steve exudes. From the moment I walked through the door he was friendly and welcoming, showing me around and introducing me to other members. We chatted a lot about his perspective on CrossFit, how we wants to run his box and what it´s like running a box in a tourist town with such a transient population. He emphasized that he was a stickler for form and was realistic in recognizing that he still had a lot to learn – two points that I believe are necessary in an effective coach, and points that most owners/coaches don´t seem to get.
CrossFit Queenstown`s Facebook page is busy and enthusiastic, and I think the number of comments from box members is an indication of the close community feel of the box. As well as general chit-chat some of the posts are informative and Steve is obviously interested in further educating his members as much as he can on form, techniques and general CrossFit news.
When I visited CrossFit Queenstown I found the other members to be friendly and it was cool to meet people living such interesting lives – some had been living in Queenstown for a while, others were there for shorter periods, one girl from Canada was working for the Department of Conservation and had only recently moved to Queenstown after finishing another project further north. The second time I went there were a number of girls who had just come off an on-ramp programme. It was good to see that the box was growing and that lots of girls were getting into CrossFit down south.
9 minute ladder
Power clean + front squat, box jumps (3 reps of each, then 6, then 9 etc).
As for the work out, I didn´t like the timed warm up, and CrossFit Queenstown is the first box I`ve been to that does this. I think timing warm ups invokes competition and pressure when we should be concentrating on loosening up and getting our bodies moving. The work outs themselves were tough but well planned. Movements were explained clearly and Steve ensured that we knew how to execute them properly. With no squat racks in the room we had to help each other lift the heavy weights on to our shoulders. Not ideal, but we managed. As I recall, they had a fair amount of strength work in their programming and the strength of some of the girls was impressive. Coaching during the work outs was good, with good points being made about form and plenty of encouragement from both the coaches and other members.
And then there`s the location, set below the towering peaks of Queenstown`s mountains, few boxes would be in settings as beautiful as this one. CrossFit Queenstown previously had access to a massive field where they were able to conduct workouts, and I wouldn`t be surprised if they had the same now. In addition, there are a lot of other adventure and sporting competitions occurring in the region, allowing CrossFit Queenstown athletes to demonstrate their new-and-improved fitness in other disciplines, maintaining that concept of Balancing WODs and Play.
Queenstown is an area that not only promotes, but demands health, fitness and adventure. With the awesome owners, enthusiastic athletes and great location, CrossFit Queenstown already has the elements to grow not only into a big box but also an effective box. If Steve can tighten up his ship and harness that difficult, transient population of Queenstown, CrossFit Queenstown will only continue to improve.
More info: crossfitqueenstown.co.nz