Review: CrossFit Krig- Retiro. Madrid.
Hola Madrid! Sangría consumed, historic buildings visited, it was time to see how the Spanish did CrossFit. In a city of 3.2 million people there are just 19 CrossFit boxes in Madrid. CrossFit is only just starting to grow here, in a country where sport and fitness are not at the top of most people’s priority list (especially the females’). In fact, I found it unsurprising that three of the four girls in my class at CrossFit Krig- Retiro weren’t Spanish.
I had no idea how long the subways and connections would take to get me to CrossFit Krig-Retiro (one of two boxes run by CrossFit Krig in Madrid) and ended up getting their quite early. I interrupted a personal training session and was quickly told to wait while the guys finished their session. Feeling a little awkward, I found a wooden pole and did some arm swings and other stretches while I watched my soon-to-be coaches perform some nice olympic lifting.
I found the programming of the class to be quite random and certainly not the structure that I was used to. We didn’t even seem to follow what had been written on the white board! There were various parts to the session, including a vigorous warm up, strength and WOD, which had us doing a lot of work.
3×4 back squat
?x? snatch pull
(The strength portion pretty much seemed to be whatever we had time for)
3RFT, 15min time cap
20x toes to bar
80x double unders
40x kettle bell swings
My coach for the day was Mario – a young, enthusiastic guy, who was chatty, quick to smile and who certainly made me feel welcome. The tabata warm up was a sudden shock to the system but certainly got the blood flowing. Following the Tabata and a few other exercises, we were to complete reps of snatch, back squat and snatch pull, all as part of the strength portion of the work out. It was a lot, and I was used to concentrating on one movement in a session, without having to hurry through. All the same, Mario wandered around providing a lot of coaching and encouragement, and I really appreciated that he gave me the same attention as everyone else.
With a reasonably-sized class and not enough equipment we all started the WOD on different stations. But the high number of reps meant that we ended up catching up with each other, essentially creating a pretty good excuse to have a wee rest (naughty!).
A number of people in the class appeared to be having problems with the pull portion of the snatch (myself included) and I asked if they ever did the Burgener warm up which works this. Mario noted that they don’t, explaining that CrossFit Krig doesn’t religiously follow the CrossFit format, and that this works for them. Furthermore, according to the CrossFit Krig website, they have designed their own training system, breaking their athletes into five levels of fitness, and then only using the best and most relevant aspects of CrossFit (95% of what is found on CrossFit.com). According to CrossFit Krig their training method is totally unique. I respect people that take the time to investigate, explore and adapt to what works best for them and their clients without thinking that CrossFit HAS to be executed following a standard template. I think this is particularly true in different cultures, like Spain, where work out methods like CrossFit are just so different.
Although CrossFit Krig-Retiro had responded to my drop-in request very quickly, and Mario himself was very out-going, I found the athletes themselves a little slower to open up. All the same, I got chatting after the session and found them to be friendly enough – and I even realised that a couple of the girls spoke English. Wish I’d known earlier!
The gym itself was one of those difficultly designed spaces with a long, narrow entrance, small WOD space and a separate area for the rowers and more weights. But you make things work how you can. I loved the black walls and CrossFit Retiro name splashed in white down the side wall of the entrance – it was cool without being to grungy.
CrossFit Retiro’s location next to Madrid’s Retiro Park is central, and a walk back to my hostel through the park was a nice way to end a good session and check out a different part of Madrid – people jogging, walking and roller blading through one of the city’s lovliest and largest open spaces.
As for the Spaniards being slow to take up CrossFit – it is certainly growing in popularlity, but the Spanish girls were one of the main inspirations for my post on skinny-fat people. A culture of being fit and focussing on health is definately lacking in this country where you can get beer for 1 Euro and deep fried tapas for less than a bottle of water.
Drop-in date: 06/05/13
More info: crossfitkrig.com/crossfit-krig-retiro/