Review: CrossFit La Forja. Sevilla, Spain.
The reality of trying to combine travel and CrossFit was starting to hit home. Getting to the gym frequently was a piece of paleo-approved cake when I was swanning around Madrid for a week and cruising Alicante for over a month. But hitting the road with a friend in tow proved to be a whole different kettle of deep-fried fish. Spontaneous travel, stays of only one night in cities and the desire to actually see the places I was visiting required some reprioritisation on my part. Was mine a CrossFit journey? No. Mine was a personal journey, which combined both CrossFit and travel. I had to push CrossFit sessions aside (shocking, I know) and went six days without seeing the inside of a box. And then I started to go crazy. It was time to find me a box.
Spain’s southern region of Andalucia is rich with Moorish culture – that mix from back when the Arabs ruled from exquisitely designed palaces until the Spaniards bowled on through and took over. Seville is the largest city of Andalucia, boasting a population of 1.5 million and (as of January 2014) four CrossFit boxes (up from only one in mid-2013!). Fortunately, I’d walked Seville’s beautiful streets a couple of years prior so I didn’t feel so guilty about leaving my travel buddy and going in search of the local box.
Unfortunately, CrossFit La Forja is not near central Seville and, after the first bus ride from my hotel, I realised I’d only make the mid-morning session if I caught a taxi. 18 Euro later, I walked into the box crossing my fingers that I wouldn’t be charged a drop-in fee. Thankfully, I wasn’t.
Raul, owner of CrossFit La Forja, had been very accommodating regarding my session time, not being phased by me
constantly changing it (transport was an issue). As it turned out, the morning classes were very small (the Spaniards tend to start and finish their days later; the afternoon classes are apparently quite busy) and my attendance raised the class size to a whopping three people. Raul was very welcoming, and gave me a run down on the gym and the WOD, but left it up to Jose, another coach, to take the class.
From there, the class seemed to lose organisation and structure (yes, from the beginning). Jose was lovely. A great guy. But he seemed to be rather distracted and didn’t appear to appreciate the factors that make a good class. I had to cotton on that we were to go through a warm-up by ourselves. In most CrossFit gyms, warm-ups are done together as a class, so it’s good to ensure that any newbies are aware if the warm up is to be done differently. I jumped on the rower and did a few stretches, until I realised that my two other classmates had already moved on to their strength work.
4×10 strict pull ups
3×12 ring push ups
With no time-frame or structure given for the strength portion of the session, and ring push ups being much harder for girls than guys, the male in the class finished far ahead of us and had a while to wait while we struggled through. Meanwhile, Jose was busy banging out double unders, stopping now and then for a chat. Yes, he noted the form we should maintain while doing our ring push ups, but he didn’t correct the form of my classmate, who had elbows going out all over the place.
Push ups done, we modified the WOD to suit the small class size. Working as a three-some was fun – my classmates were nice, and we pushed each other, even though Jose continued to do his own thing. With his shirt off. Maybe he was bored? I suppose that coaching (watching?) just three people might not be that much fun, especially if one is a random, but I really don’t care. From a regular athlete’s point of view, I’m paying a lot of money to get fit and I expect high-quality, dedicated coaching in return. Get your sweat on in your own time.
After the WOD we went for a long run around the block and my buddies emphasised that we were to run together the whole way. We were a team and there would be burpees waiting for us if we didn’t stick together. I liked that.
Back inside, Jose was still going hard with his workout. The up-shot of this was that the gym remained open, giving us plenty of time to stretch, and I even did some extra lifting.
I was kindly offered a ride back into town by one of my classmates, giving me a chance to gain some intel on the gym. Turns out that the coaches were busy preparing for their own competition and were regularly dedicating a lot of class time to their own training. Despite athletes having called them out on this, they evidently hadn’t stopped. Very uncool. Considering that a former coach was opening up his own box just down the road (Lord knows why he didn’t seek out a more central location), you’d think the guys at CrossFit La Forja would be doing all they could to make theirs a high-quality gym.
The homely feel, t-shirts on the wall and friendly coaches are all wasted when the coaching isn’t up to scratch. I’m sorry. I liked you guys, but I wouldn’t sign up.
*Note: When I dropped-in at this box it was called CrossFit Sevilla. I’m guessing that when the former coach opened up down the road something must have happened and he took the name with him. Which might explain why his website says he’s been around since 2011…
Drop-in date: 05/08/13
More info: crossfitlaforja.com
Posted on 27/01/2014, in Boxes, Spanish Boxes and tagged adventure, burpees, CrossFit, drop in, la forja, pull ups, push ups, sevilla, seville, Spain, Travel, WOD. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.