Review: The Black Box, Crossfit NYC

When my good friend, Bianca from MizzFit, asked me to try Crossfit with her, I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Crossfit has been becoming quite the fitness phenomenon and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Bob Harper, trainer from the Biggest Loser, swears by it.

“Dude, it has been the best, most eye-opening experience for me. I’ve been in the training business for over twenty years and all of a sudden I start doing Crossfit and you know what it just all makes sense to me now.” – Bob Harper

It also caught my attention when Reebok came out with an entire clothing and shoe line exclusively for Crossfit. If this workout has its own line of clothing it must be good (clearly my head is in the right place). Crossfit was founded in 2000 by Greg Glassman. Crossfit is known for its virtual online community where the workout of the day (WOD) is posted daily along with blog posts about members and the upcoming games. You can participate in Crossfit two ways, either on your own getting by getting your workouts online daily or going to one of 3,400 CrossFit-affiliated gyms (aka “boxes”) worldwide (most are located in the US). In 2010 Reebok signed a 10-year deal with Crossfit, and in 2011 sponsored the annual Crossfit games which have been going on since 2007.

So what exactly is Crossfit? Crossfit is exercise program that focuses on strength and conditioning with the goal of improving your fitness level. “Our program delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing.”  

If you really want to know all the details click here and enjoy the 11 page read. The types of exercises you can expect to see at a Crossfit gym  are functional movements (like pushups and pullups, deadlifts and squats, gymnastics, kettlebells, running, rowing, and olympic lifting), executed at high intensity in a group setting.

In New York City there are 6 “boxes”. I checked out the Black Box (aka Crossfit NYC) located on 25 West 26th Street. Walking the couple of blocks from my apartment to the Black Box I was extremely nervous, I had no idea what to expect. All I had heard was everyone passes out and since I have T-Rex arms I knew my chances of this happening to me were great. I walked into a large loft space that had bench presses around the outside of the room, pull up bars hanging all around the room and various fitness equipment scattered about. There was a WOD class going on as well as a clearly experienced Crossfitter with his shirt off running laps around the loft (I did not mind this). I would say the make-up of the people there were mostly guys but there was a good amount of girls there as well. Since I got there early I decided to make friends with some of the guys standing around me. One said he had been going there for a couple of months so he could get back in shape. He said so far the results has been great. He also reassured me I wouldn’t die (thank goodness, I had a double Soul Cycle class the next day I did not want to miss).

The way the classes are set up is there is an intro class which anyone can take for free (did you see that, I said FREE). After you take the intro class you can decide if you want to sign up for the two-week elements workshop. The elements workshop meets 3x a week for two weeks (6 sessions total in case you didn’t drink your coffee today). EVERYONE MUST TAKE THE ELEMENTS WORKSHOP to be allowed into their WOD classes. It does not matter how fit you are you must take this workshop. You would be surprised how many people do not know the correct way to do a proper squat or pushup. Once you have completed the elements workshop you can start doing the WOD workouts. The Black Box offers 3 different WODs: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

I was lucky enough to drop-in on one of the sessions of the elements course. That day we were learning the proper form of a pushup, squat, and a pull-up from a badass instructor named Jeff. The first 45 minutes of the class went through the proper forms of the exercises and the last 15 minutes was dedicated to a workout. During the 45 minutes of proper form it was quite educational to learn that I could not do a pushup with my T-Rex arms and watching me TRY to get into a sling band to help me with my pull-ups was highly entertaining. MizzFit was kicking herself for not filming me (I was honestly happy she couldn’t get to her phone in time). During the last 15 minutes I was put through a workout that  would result in me not being able to walk for the next 3 days. What did this magical workout consist of, you ask… 1 minute of squats with a 10 second rest x 4 and 1 minute of pushups with a 10 second rest x 4. That was it! And I am telling you I could NOT walk. It was the most pain my legs had been in (my legs hurt more from this than from running a half marathon).

After my experience I can now see why people do it and get addicted to it. You get great results and you build strength (you can also wear the cool knee-high socks everyone seems to wear, but you should know this trend hasn’t picked up in New York yet). The key to this workout is just showing up. If you don’t show up, you won’t get results it is that simple. MizzFit had a different viewpoint on the class which I am sure she will write about soon so check out her website. Will I join? I don’t know yet because I love trying lots of different classes (but that tends to be my downfall in fitness, too much variety). If I do join I will make sure to let you know. For more information click any of the links below:

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