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.
Reebok CrossFit BCN is a good example of how a box can be decked out with all the bells and whistles but, if the vital factor of good, focussed coaching is missing, the whole work out experience can be compromised.
Let’s start with appearances (because the first ones count, right?) and work our way down. CrossFit BCN, a big, light, clean box right in the center of Barcelona, was the first air-conditioned box I’d been to, and thank God for that – Spain’s late-July heat was a killer. Motivational phrases, CrossFit rules and the box’s name bombing made for awesome wall art, although more personal touches, including a post-WOD score board, were missing. There were couches, a reception area, showers and large changing rooms. In fact, this box had all the style and trimmings of a “normal” gym, and that made a nice change. So far, all good!
My initial welcome to the gym was hurried. I must have interrupted something at the reception desk. I was directed to the bathrooms and left to my own devices. “To my own devices”…no, I don’t mean that I wanted help in the bathroom, but more that I felt that I had been diverted there quickly, merely to “occupy” me. Read the rest of this entry
There wasn’t much hope of Entreno Cruzado being a decent CrossFit box. Not only was it in Spain – where people tend to choose beer, tapas and sunbathing over exercise – it’s also on the paradisical island of Mallorca. Mallorca might be Ibiza’s beautiful and more subdued neighbour, but the nightlife is still a huge attraction; sun-roasted, permanently-drunk 18-year-old English boys dominate the streets during summer; and locals tend to have an “island mentality”. The Entreno Cruzado box was small, had started out as an unaffiliated gym and, on top of all this, day-time temperatures were reaching 30 degrees, plus humidity. My expectations were low.
On the short bus ride to the box from Palma, Mallorca’s capital, I consoled myself that any work out would be better than none, and at least I’d be forced away from tapas for a while.
Forget about the deep-fried food, I was soon eating humble pie. Read the rest of this entry
During the month I trained at CrossFit ALC in Alicante, Spain, I was constantly asked “Por que??!”. Why Alicante? This is a city known for attracting hoards of German tourists during summer who flock to the beach, even though the city itself isn’t particularly pretty. Why would a travelling CrossFitter choose to base herself here? Bright lights and shining stars – Carl Paoli, Mr GWOD himself is part-owner of this impressive box, located on Spain’s stunning Costa Blanca.
Seeking training experience in a European box, I was sure that a box owned by someone like Paoli would guarantee good coaching, programming and experience. Oh, and Annie Thorisdottir was due for a visit with Paoli sometime in the summer. My short time at CrossFit ALC certainly taught me a lot, including the fact that, although this is a solid box, a name is only part of a puzzle. Read the rest of this entry
It was my birthday eve. 30 years old tomorrow and I figured that smashing yourself in a long WOD was a pretty good way to tie off a decade. And smashed I was…quickly discovering that Madrid’s Urban Box CrossFit is no place for the faint hearted.
I walked for an hour through Madrid’s vibrant streets just to get to Urban Box CrossFit, thinking that this would be a good way to discover more of Spain’s capital (correct), and that the WOD wouldn’t be so hard that I needed to conserve my energy (incorrect). I walked through the bright, white entranceway and saw the WOD on the board. Read the rest of this entry
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. Read the rest of this entry
I was walking through an historic street in Granada, southern Spain, with a friend the other day and asked her what she thought of the bodies of the Spanish girls (yeah, I should’ve been admiring the 16th century cathedral but mine is a CrossFit experience as well as a travel one!). “They’re all really skinny”, she replied, with admiration.
Skinny. Hmmmm. I saw skinny-fat. Little girls. “Skinny” for sure, but with arms incapable of carrying a child for long, legs that would tire quickly when climbing a hill and saggy bums.
Later, I was giving my spiel on the benefits of CrossFit to a girl in Mallorca (Ibiza’s less crazy and potentially more beautiful neighbour) and she asked if CrossFit would help her lose weight because she wanted that “little gap at the top of (her) thighs”. Sigh. Yes, it will help you lose weight, but it will also make you healthier overall. Read the rest of this entry
While there´s nothing quite like discovering another 14th century cathedral nestled amongst the narrow, winding streets of a tiny village, if you spend long enough in Spain you´ll likely find that you´ve got tapas coming out of your ears, wine through your pores and that all of these little villages start blurring into one.
This is the time to discover another side of Spain. A side that will make you pause and ask: “Hang on, where am I again?”. That is until you walk into another tapas bar because, let´s be honest, they´re something that you´ll never escape in this beautiful green country. Green?! Let´s go to Galicia… Read the rest of this entry
How can you choose a CrossFit box to train at if you don’t know what you should be looking for? And how can you judge the quality of your CrossFit box if you’ve never experienced another one?
CrossFit. Travel. Two passions combined.
From the snow covered mountains of New Zealand´s South Island, to Dubai´s dusty desert and Spain´s stunning beaches I´ve wandered. And I´ve boxed jumped. I´ve visited as many CrossFit boxes as time, logistics and priorities have allowed. Following the CrossFit.com affilitate finder map, I’ve kept off the tourist trail as much as possible, been to some amazing places, met inspiring people, kept relatively (?!) fit and had room for that self-exploration that so many travellers seem to crave.
And now you reap the benefits. Check out the straight-talking, honest reviews about the boxes I’ve visited for more of an idea of what you can expect from your box. These reviews are entirely from my point of view and experience. It has been interesting to see how every box is run slightly differently. What I look for and like will be different to you, so the summaries are as factual as possible.
There are a few other Bits ‘n’ pieces also worth a read, like why weightlifting is so important for girls, why we should stop obsessing so much about being skinny and a piece about an endurance swimmer who turned to CrossFit for increased gains.
The Travel section in Box Jumping offers an alternative insight to a range of travel destinations. This is a CrossFit-free section of the website, with information on local favourties, food and festivals, and how to get the most out of random destinations.
Keep on scrolling….