LA Fitness and Crossfit: strange bedfellows for sure. Weird as it was, last Saturday marked the undeniable romance between “Globogym” and “Box.” LA Fitness and Crossfit had a connection, and I got to be the matchmaker :).
I wish LA Fitness, my home gym for over 6 years, was a Crossfit facility. I wish it had bumper plates, platforms, kettlebells, big med balls, rings, pull up rigs, and wide open spaces. But for all it’s shortcomings, LA Fitness is home base. So I train in my big commercial gym and make it my own special place.
I hang out in the squat rack for the heavy lifts, and then I set up a circuit that looks sort of like a Crossfit “WOD.” Except I have to do handstand pushups near the water fountain or in the yoga room, farmers walks all over the place like I’m lost, kettlebell swings with dumbbells, and instead of dropping the barbell on the floor, I have to catch it with the top of my thighs. Got some gnarly red marks from that.
My bodybuilding friend tells me Crossfit isn’t allowed. The old dudes tell me I’m going to hurt myself. The figure competitor tells me that if she wanted to sweat that much, she would just do P90X. I shrug, then look around for some opens space to practice my handstand walks.
After a year of these training shenanigans and two mediocre performances in two Crossfit-style competitions, I needed some redemption. Both of those times I walked away with a sour sense that I could have done much better, and that my results weren’t a true measure of what I could do. I kept training like a weirdo, kept improving, and tried my best to stay ready.
Last Saturday I was sitting around 15th place in the intermediate division in the Battleground Competition at Cal State Dominguez Hills. Event one was 900 meter race, and I finished first in my heat. A year ago I was bounced in the first round at Battlefit West, and a few months ago Jake and I were eviscerated by a bunch of Crossfit elites. Needless to say, I was elated at this small victory. Pretty cool feeling blasting up to pass the two leaders in the last stretch of the race, and it was good enough for 11th overall in that event!
Event two was the Snatch Ladder, and since I’ve recently snatched 205 on two separate occasions, I was hoping to match my best. Major disappointment, as I nearly failed on my first to attempts of 165 and 175. I failed to get 185 at all, and I was left finishing 30 pounds shy of my PR. The ladder format was something new for me, which only provided 20 seconds to perform each lift before moving on to the higher weight. Fortunately many of the competitors were equally weak on this movement, and I finished around 17th.
The third event called for 2 minutes of handstand pushups followed by 2 minutes of front squats at 135lbs. No rest. I got 29 clean handstand pushups, and 31 front squats, which was good enough for a top 15 finish in each.
With one event to go, I was pushing for a top ten finish. My strengths were behind me, and the only event left was an 8 minute grinder of a workout that I was not looking forward to:
In 8 minutes, we had to farmer walk 50lb. kettlebells 25 yards and back, kettlebell swing one 25 times, farmer walk again, and then bang out 25 goblet squats. REPEAT TWO MORE TIMES. I tried half of this workout (modified for LA Fitness), then quit in a pile of misery. There was no way I was going to go through that torture more than once. My goal was to make it through the 8 minutes without stopping, but I didn’t think it would be possible to finish within the allotted time. Only two people had finished the workout all day, and we were the 20th heat to run!
Somehow, with the help of a friend and two brothers yelling obscenity-laced encouragement, I made it to my final set of goblet squats with one minute remaining. This beast of a workout was going down! I banged out about 17 reps, paused with the kettlebell at my chest, then reeled off 8 more reps before collapsing in a heap at the bottom of the platform. I didn’t get much love from the announcer, so I had no idea where I had finished. But I had finished.
My final time was 7:32, which was first out of EVERYONE in my division, and enough to propel me to second place overall! In the grand scheme, it was a simple second place finish in the middle division of a bunch of guys and girls competing to finish workouts on a Saturday. But dang it felt good! LA Fitness and a little creativity go the job done. At the end of the day, they gave that 2nd place medal to a dude who trains at a globogym. Feel the love.
I worked hard, I continued to improve my training protocol, and I worked on my weakness. It was an incredible day, and the finish was a simultaneous motivation and satisfaction, especially considering the beatdown I received on the last two comps. I can’t wait for the next one.
All the LA Fitness peeps: Rerack your dumbbells and plates, quit curling in the squat rack, and know that YOU CAN train for a Crossfit competition at a “globogym.”