If you’ve been doing CrossFit for a while, you most likely have one or probably many dream locations to drop in for a workout. There has always been that affiliate or coach or town or country where you’ve wanted to train just once. I’ve written about the fact that I considered doing a destination affiliate location for my Level-1 certification, but I decided to be more financially responsible and do it locally. However, a few of the locations I considered were the Ranch in Aromas, home of the original CrossFit Games; Rogue Fitness, in Columbus, Ohio; CrossFit Park City, home of Chris Spealler; and CrossFit Mayhem, home of Rich Froning Jr.
Although I haven’t visited or trained at any of those places yet, I was recently in Boston and got to train at two of my favorite affiliates with some really incredible coaches.
Reebok CrossFit One (Canton, Massachusetts)
Right next to the campus and international corporate headquarters of Reebok, Reebok One (as it is often known) is host to some incredible coaches, including CrossFit Games athletes Austin Malleolo, Kelley Jackson and Jennifer Smith.
It was very cool to see the Reebok facility, but this box really had impressive amounts of equipment and space. We were lucky enough to train on a day when world-renowned running coach and guru Chris Hinshaw was there to conduct a running-based WOD. We started off with a 4x400 meter running time trial in which we all tried to pace out each lap without using a watch. He instructed us to “get a feeling of your pace on the first lap … then do your best to match it the next three,” taking a one-minute rest and recovery in between. I repped out a lap at 1:35 and hit that same pace on the second and third only to finish the fourth lap at 1:31. (I thought I was getting tired, so I kicked it in a little too hard on the last 100 meters.)
Having watched videos and read some of Hinshaw’s programming in the past, I had a sneaking suspicion that we weren’t done. This hunch was correct. We were ushered over to Reebok One for three rounds of 300-meter rows (at your 2K pace, if you knew it, I did) and then six seated box jumps onto a 24- or 20-inch box. We rested 90 seconds between the sets of three, then took a three-minute break between the rounds for nine total sets of this couplet.
It was extremely cool to have Austin on hand and providing tips and motivation for all the athletes. He’s always been a favorite of mine, and his positivity and energy are contagious, even in a large group like the one I trained with that day. Great training session, and if you get a chance, I would recommend checking this place out.
CrossFit New England (Natick, Massachusetts)
I was very nervous about walking through the doors at CFNE. I’ve followed its affiliate teams for years, and I knew all about the “Built by Bergeron” athletes (Mathew Fraser, Chris Spealler, Cole Sager, Katrin Davidsdottir, Michelle Letendre, etc.). I had interviewed Ben Bergeron previously, but there was always such a mystique about CrossFit New England. They have so much CrossFit history and success.
The workout I did was a real burner, so much so that my coach for the day remarked, “Man, you picked a hell of a day to drop in.” I did indeed. The WOD was titled “Satan’s Whiskers,” and it consisted of three rounds of 10 chest-to-bar pull-ups, 10 front squats at 165 pounds (men’s Rx, I did it at 135 pounds) and 10 burpees. This was a great example of one that “doesn’t look that bad” on the whiteboard but then destroys you mentally and physically after the first round.
Of course, I went out too fast because of the setting and because not only was Ben there, but he also jumped in and did the workout with us. Our coach told us that everyone in the class before us all finished in less than 10 minutes. No pressure, right? I couldn’t be the first person to break the 10-minute mark, so I went all-out and finished in 6:30 — then laid on the floor trying to breathe for the next 10 minutes. I’ll just say that Mr. Bergeron beat my time, solidly. But it was still an incredible experience.
One of the things that makes CrossFit so special is the fact that these two workouts are possible. If you are a Chicago Bulls fan, you probably aren’t going to pull up to the United Center and hop into a practice with Derrick Rose and the rest of the team. But in CrossFit, drop-ins are not only commonplace but also usually welcomed with open arms.
My question is, if you could drop in and train at any affiliate with any Games athlete or athlete you follow, who and where would it be?
Stay on the grind.