Whoa, well look at this! I’m starting to cover a new topic!
As you guys know, I’m no stranger to travel. However, I’ve also started to take my training more seriously this year and quickly noticed that trying to keep up a workout routine while traveling a lot, is not a very good fit. (Only a few of you might know that my weapon of choice is CrossFit, ever since I was lured in to a box in Karlsruhe in May 2015)
This time I was in Amsterdam with the doglet for 10 days, working on a secret project. More about that later.
So hey – even if I’m traveling – why not just workout abroad, go for a run? And it’s a fair point! I’m one of those people, who time after time, kept packing their running shoes with them and never, nope, not once, ever did I ever use them. I stopped packing them with me already a long time ago.
Though as said, I’m a crossfitter. And when you’re a crossfitter, you’re a crossfitter. Times are a changin’.
Before my trip, I did a fair amount of research, finding eight boxes near-ish to the city centre of Amsterdam and a few more further out, near the airport. I also reached out to quite a few boxes before I left, to see what they could offer.
From that selection of boxes, I picked Crossfit Amsterdam for their friendly emails and helpful website as well as easy-to-use subscription and payment systems. Always a bonus. And while my experience there was wonderful (as you will find out further on), I personal HOT TIP to you, dear reader, would be to pick a box that is the least hassle to get to. Especially if you’re new to the city, getting around can be very confusing – be it by bike or by public transport. While my main concern in picking the box was finding a good atmosphere, perhaps something even more important would be to pick a box where the distance won’t discourage you during your trip!
In my case, I was staying at De Pijp, so Crossfit Amsterdam in the West of Amsterdam was not that far at all. Still though, first time travelling to the box, Google Maps suggested 12 minutes for the travel time by bike, taking the traffic into account. HELLS NO, it took me over a half an hour and I was almost late to class! The second and third time went much quicker though 😉
When researching, my biggest fear (if you could call it that) was that the box would be lacking in hospitality and, generally, welcoming atmosphere. I might have perseverance, but I’m also a total softie, so I don’t need any kind judgemental negativity and exclusion during my special trip! And, of course, the pitfall is that you can’t know the reality beforehand, no matter how nice things are sold on the websites: this whole crossfit community thing makes it very easy for boxes to sound like they are community minded but alas, that is not necessarily always true.
I’ve had the experience that sometimes you see boxes where the box in general seems to have a great atmosphere – but only if you are a regular. As an outsider or a newbie, you don’t get to enjoy that, it’s more like a privilege offered to those with seniority. And a huge turn off for me.
Arriving to the box, the first time, was of course a little scary as I didn’t know what to expect, but all my worries were for nought – I was promptly and with exceptional friendliness taken-charge-of by Martijn, the trainer. As a matter of fact, all the trainers took charge and did not leave their tiny foreign Drop-Inner hanging, which I greatly appreciated.
So how were the workouts?
I had bought a set of three “Drop-In”-classes, which was the perfect amount for me. Someone doing a heavier workout routine would naturally need more.
From the first moments at the box, I got a warm welcome and the general atmosphere was inclusive, pretty jolly even. This is a characteristic I think Crossfit Amsterdam can definitely be proud of! It’s one thing that the trainers are nice, but that everybody else there has the same mind set, is a thing to treasure.
I have a fair amount of chronic back pain which has held back my workouts since… well, forever. With that in mind, I found that the workouts were generally very scalable, though still varied a lot in immediate intensity. But since we’re talking about CrossFit, that’s kind of a main feature and not a bug! 😉
The classes I attended included quite a few advanced CrossFitters, but not so many that it would be a turn-off to beginners/intermediates (such as myself), even if I was finishing the Bear Complex-workout by myself, long after everybody else was done 😀
And the WODs…
1.Morning session with Martijn
WOD: Switching between of sets of pull-ups and double-unders
Ah, so simple and elegant, yet deceptively “easy” and lightweight for a workout! Perfect for the morning. I was sore like a mother the next day. BONUS POINT for someone on holiday: not exhausted or too tired afterwards! I still managed to do a kick-ass job with sight-seeing!
2. Afternoon session with a lovely lady coach whose-name-I-may-have-forgotten
WOD: Seven rounds of The Bear Complex & Bear crawl & Rope climb, with repetitions decreasing ever round, only Rope Climb staying the same
Oh, this. Hardest workout I’ve done in ages. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been on the verge of puking during exercise! It definitely felt quite advanced, or maybe it just pinpointed my personal training weaknesses. I guess it’s a sign I need to go to the Open Gym more…
I did a scaled down version of the Rope Climb. Rope climbs are a definite pet peeve for me. And while my back can start acting up while doing it, somehow I think most of my hold-ups are rather psychological. It was also the first time I did the Bear Complex as a part of a set, and WOD, against a time limit, rather than doing some weight training and technique. So in that sense a very useful, albeit extremely tough and challenging workout. (As said, I started with too heavy weights at the beginning, so kinda my own fault, too.)
This one though, I’m glad I had no plans afterwards – it took me the whole day to recover!
3. Afternoon session with Tosca
WOD: Running 1,5km with a weighed vest (vest optional), 10 Burpees & 15 double-unders AMRAP
Wonderfully exhausting and rewarding in the right balance! Personally, if I felt that the 2nd session I did was highlighting my weaknesses at CrossFit, this one was stuff I felt very comfortable doing, even if the time limit and AMRAP provided a good challenge. Though I actually think I counted my rounds wrong 😀 (Sorry guys!)
Overall, I can say that the sessions did what CrossFit promises: offered plenty of variety, did not let you get bored and definitely got you sweaty!
So keep it up! Salil eka, salil vika! First one at the gym, last one to leave!
Crossfit Amsterdam – thanks a lot for having me. See you next time I’m in town!
1075 LB Amsterdam