Blog Archives

Small Town Morocco at 22

Belal didn’t actually work in the restaurant he coaxed us in to.  He’d been watching as we wandered slowly through the town square, gazing non-committedly at menus.  We’d been looking for our first Moroccan meal and an escape from the 40 degree heat that was beating down on Chefchaouen, a small village tucked in the Rif Mountains of northern Morocco.  Suddenly standing up from a table, Belal invited us to sit down, waving his arm backwards, putting the restaurant on display.  Seeing doubt on our faces, he turned to pick up a menu and assured us of the great range available – tagines, kebabs, fruit juices…”anything you want!”.  We didn’t need much convincing.  All the restaurants looked much the same and this guy had made a non-aggressive effort to talk to us.  We sat down.

 

We scanned the menu.  “Do you have hummus?”, we asked, sure that hummus and bread would be qP1120072uite the typical start to our Moroccan adventure.  Belal looked at us blankly.  “Hummus?” I repeated.  He turned and shouted to the kitchen.  The owner came out.  This was serious.  “Yeah, yeah”, the owner assured us after more to-ing and fro-ing.  “And a tagine?” I requested.  He looked pained.  “Mmmm.  A tagine would take too long to make”, he apologised.  Right.  We’d arrived in the middle of Ramadan and the only people sitting in the surrounding restaurants were fellow tourists.  The place was mostly empty for a reason and food hadn’t been pre-prepared.  We asked what our options actually were and the owner shouted down to the kitchen, with Belal standing nervously by, his narrow frame moving from one foot to another. Read the rest of this entry

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Review: CrossFit Trondheim. Norway

Given that Oslo, Norway’s capital, had surprised me with its small size, green suburbs and quiet atmosphere, I hadn’t expected much from a CrossFit box 500km to its north in a random town called, Trondheim, especially given that the only reason I was there was to visit an amazing friend.

I better straighten out my misconceptions quickly.  For starters, Trondheim is beautiful.  It has bars, restaurants and quirky streets hugging the long arm of one of Norway’s 1,190 fjords.  Secondly, this is no sleepy hollow; but a city bursting with students and many tourists.  And thirdly, the CrossFit box up that way is totally legit.

Coach Mya at CrossFit Trondheim

Coach Mya at CrossFit Trondheim

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Review: CrossFit Twente. Holland

When the owner of a gym looks around himself with pride, and says that he’s standing there as a result of a hobby that got out of control, you can be sure of a few things – he’s going to be a passionate coach, the gym will have a good vibe, and he’ll do all he can for his athletes.

CrossFit might just make you puke....

CrossFit might just make you puke… Awesome wall art at CrossFit Twente.

Jan, the energetic but “mature” owner of CrossFit Twente, still holds down his normal day job and started out as a rowing coach.  When he discovered and began to dabble in CrossFit, his strength and fitness gains spoke for themselves.  He noticed that this new sport helped to reduce injuries and improve weaknesses, and so decided to use the training method as part of his rowers’ training programme. Read the rest of this entry

An Argentine Job Interview, For a Kiwi

Jorge never asks to see my CV.  Apparently it’s good enough to know that I am from New Zealand and have four years’ experience in the country’s biggest market research company (probably a fact one shouldn’t be too proud of).  After only a brief chat about who I am he seems satisfied and promptly offers me an interviewee position in his call centre.  He promises that I will be made supervisor should the other candidate pull out. It appears that my being recommended by a friend of a friend of my boyfriend was sufficient for me to not only be offered an interview, but also a job.

Tired of talking about his soon-to-be new employee, I find that I am about to learn some personalised facts about Argentina’s history.  “You see Josie, I fought in the war of the Islas Malvinas” (go around Argentina calling these the Falkland Islands and you won’t be making any friends fast). Read the rest of this entry

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.

Me and my lovely CrossFit La Forja class mate.  No, we didn't deadlift that together.  But it would have been fun!

Me and my lovely CrossFit La Forja classmate. No, we didn’t deadlift that together. But it would have been fun!

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Review: Reebok CrossFit BCN. Barcelona, Spain.

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!

Wall art.  CrossFit's 10 physical competencies

Wall art. CrossFit’s 10 physical competencies

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

Review: Entreno Cruzado CrossFit. Mallorca, Spain.

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.

Post-WOD sweatiness with some Entreno Cruzado athletes

Post-WOD sweatiness with some Entreno Cruzado athletes

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

CrossFit and Travel Combined

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.

Finding new limits at the beach. Tawharanui, Northland, NZ.

Finding new limits at the beach. Tawharanui, Northland, NZ.

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….