Review: CrossFit Central Wellington
0630hs on a weekday morning. The second and final morning class of the day and CrossFit Central Wellington is totally packed out. Just like the 0530hs class. Why? How is it that a box that seems to lack some of the core CrossFit principles can attract so many people? From what I can see, the central Wellington location on Taranaki Street is enviable – easy to get to before and after work, with some good after-hours parking. Second, owner Mike, is proactive – he was very prompt in responding to my request for a session, and followed up afterwards with further invitations to join the box. The box is also involved in quite a few New Zealand-wide CrossFit competitions.
If you read a few of my posts you´ll soon pick up on what I consider to be the pros and cons of a box. Friends, post-WOD activities, competitions and general culture are things that you experience with time at a box and I appreciate that I can´t pick up on all the nuances of a box in just one session. But one visit is certainly time enough to form something of an opinion.
Excited about doing a CrossFit session after barely stepping into a box during most of January, I was surprised by how busy CrossFit Central Wellington was. While the earlier session was still finishing, I stood just inside the front door with other members, wondering why more people weren’t rolling out or stretching while they were waiting for their session. I felt a bit lost as there were no coaches available to greet me (which was fine) and none of the other members, upon seeing a newbie, thought to say hi (which wasn´t so fine). Eventually, another coach arrived and greeted me and some other newbies, but didn`t stick around for much of a chat.
Joining the actual class was a matter of following everyone else as I didn`t manage to pick up on any clear directions. And it wasn´t until after the short warm up when we were into the strength work that I found time to introduce myself as a newbie to the coach and to ask her her name. I was particularly put out by this. Surely a coach should approach all new members before starting a session? In addition, it wasn`t until we were well into the WOD that I realised there was a second coach on the floor. Perhaps they had divided the class up in a way that I didn`t pick up on, but I thought this was odd.
(Strength) 5x 1 clean high, 1x clean hang + 1x split jerk. Rest 30 secs. 12x heavy KBS (16kg), rest 2 mins.
(WOD) 3RFT 20x dumb bell hang power clean, 10x box jumps, 400m run.
One of the reasons CrossFit is generally so expensive is that boxes are supposed to offer small classes with close attention. If you don`t know who is in your class, and the abilities of those people, how can you expect to provide proficient coaching? As it was, my class was so big and Nic, the coach, so restricted in the attention she could provide, that I felt that they could have used a third coach on the floor. To her credit, Nic did make an effort to walk around during the strength portion of the session, and she offered some good coaching cues. Yet I found myself to feel lost at times during the session as the coaches didn`t have enough time to ensure that everyone was up to speed. My workout partner was also a little lost, so I don`t think this was just the blonde in me coming out! According to CrossFit Central Wellington`s website, they cap most of the WOD class sizes at 28 people with two coaches. Even with the two coaches this is a massive class.
Despite the large class and somewhat-cramped conditions, I enjoyed the work out. The strength portion was interesting and the WOD was just the style that I like. Although we had to share boxes while doing the box jumps this worked fine.
People disappeared quickly after the WOD, probably heading straight to work, although a couple hung back to stretch and practise their pull ups. I joined them and appreciated having the space to do this.
CrossFit Central Wellington`s set up is a bit strange in that the space is massive with a few different parts to it, but the large classes held at the front of the box block any access backwards. This makes it hard for people waiting for the next class to sneak through and get stretching and mobility done.
I must say that I like the CrossFit Central Wellington website, and think their Frequently Asked Questions section is good – these are all questions that non-CrossFitters seem to ask when you talk to them about joining a box: “I need to get fitter before I start CrossFit” and “but I`m a girl and don`t want to get bulky”!!
CrossFit Central Wellington has a bit of a reputation for being run somewhat like a traditional gym, and I can see why. In the CrossFit spirit this is a shame, but it seems to be working for them given the ever-expanding class sizes. I would be interested to talk more with current members to find out why they like this box so much, as I`m sure they will have reasons that I was unable to pick up on in only one session. However, I do wonder if them choosing to stay at CrossFit Central Wellington is a result of not knowing what else is out there…
More info: crossfitcw.co.nz