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Gym Belle  - noun  one who enjoys pull-ups, push-ups, lifting things up/putting 'em down, PRs of all kinds, racing, jumping, spinning, daring and blogging re same (more here)


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Cross Fit NYC

Cross Fit on 26th between 6th and Broadway is a no-frills gym.  No high tech equipment.  No towels.  Lots of sweaty men grunting theatrically.

Each day, Cross Fit offers a Workout of the Day ("WOD").  You sign up for a time, and you go do that workout.  Some of the workouts are about how much you can lift in a few reps, or even just one.  Some are about getting through many reps as you can in a short amount of time.  It's about pushing yourself to accomplish more than you did the last time, and more than you thought you could.  If you do the WODS 4 or 5 times a week, week after week, you'll get a well-balanced workout even though each individual sessions, or even a week of sessions, may focus only on a few areas.

You can't just join.  Before you can become a member, you take a 3 week 6 session class called Elements that teaches you all of the foundational things you need to know in order to be able to tackle the WODs.  If you're not ready to commit to Elements, Cross Fit offers free beginner classes a few times a week. You can take those more than once.

At the urging of a girl friend who's been doing this for a few months, I tried the beginner class last night. The instructor, a young woman who looks strong but not nearly as strong as she is, walked a group of four of us (3 dudes and me) through squats, push-ups, strict pull ups, knees-to-elbows (hanging from the bar bringing your knees to your elbows) and burpees. 

Then we did a mini-workout: 21 burpees, 21 knees-to-elbows, 15 burpees, 15 knees-to-elbows, 9 burpees and 9 knees-to-elbows.  The idea was to go as fast as you could and we would be cut off at 10 minutes.  There was an option to do 5 sets of 9 each instead, but, for me, getting the worst overwith is easier.  I had to take a few breaks on the elbows-to-knees.  Hanging from a bar without gloves is just ouchy.  I was also seriously winded from the burpees, especially the 21 rep set.  Still, I had two things going for me compared to the guys.  One, they were all new to burpees.  Two, I'm pretty sure that knees-to-elbows is much easier when you're small.  I finished first at around 7 minutes and 43 seconds. 

After class was over, I stuck around to watch my friend who had talked me into this finish her WOD.  She was dead-lifting serious weight when I walked over.  The bar was bending.  By the end of the workout, she beat her personal record and dead-lifted 215 lbs.  It was seriously cool.

I don't have 4 of 5 days to devote to something like this, especially given the location, so I don't think that membership is in my future.  There are too many other workouts that I enjoy and too few hours in the day.  That said, Elements is very tempting.  I will keep you posted.

-Gym Belle-


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