On December 26, 2019, I visited CrossFit OTG for a post-Christmas workout. This was my fourth visit to OTG and I was joined by my wife, who has come with me at least a couple of times. The family that works out together stays healthy together. It’s close to where my family lives, so it’s very convenient while I’m there.
CrossFit OTG is in Egg Harbor Township, NJ, which is about 15 minutes from Atlantic City and less than an hour east of Philadelphia. I was referred here by sister (yep, more family CrossFitters), who had dropped in several times previously. So, I didn’t do my usual vetting via Google reviews. However, in looking at the reviews, there’s plenty of drop-ins that offer their experiences and they’re quite positive.
I spoke with the owner, Nick before my first visit there. He was very personable on the phone and happy to have me join them.
CrossFit OTG is the kind of place where you definitely get your money’s worth from your workout. It’s common to get cash-outs and some fun warmups as well.
Let’s give you some details. (As always, all ratings are on a scale of 1-5 barbells)
In researching CrossFit OTG as if I weren’t referred there, all the information you’d need is on their web page. There’s a couple of links to get to the drop-in details. Their schedule offers lots of options. They also post the movements (but not the rep scheme) for their WODs for the entire week, which is convenient. You can sign up to drop in online to save you (and them) time when you arrive.
Nick (the owner) was happy to answer any questions when I first called. At that time, my sister had recently dropped in for a week and he remembered her. He was very welcoming.
Their web site offers details on each of their coaches, including their certification levels as well as background information and insights into their personalities as it relates to CrossFit. I haven’t seen many sites that offer more details on their coaches.
CrossFit OTG maintains a good level of cleanliness. Granted, you’ll see a fair amount of chalk but there’s a difference between well-used and dirty. If you look at an area of the floor that’s not too close to the rigs, you’ll see it’s clean. They encourage people to wipe down their equipment when done.
I have noticed a fair amount of chalk on the barbells. However, dumbbells, kettlebells, wall balls and cardio equipment all looked good. The bathrooms appeared to be in pretty good shape as well.
OTG is a large facility. There’s a warm up room and a spacious main area. There’s two rigs; one against the back wall and a free-standing rig on the side – plenty to accommodate a large class. They also have a dozen Echo bikes, more than a dozen rowers and plenty of weights and plates. You should have no trouble getting a set of dumb bells or a kettle bell in the weight you want to use.
Most things are in good condition here. I noticed some slam balls that were dead but there were several in good condition. They also have some soft boxes, which is very nice.
You’ll know you’ve had a workout when you’ve left CrossFit OTG. That’s not meant to scare you. It may just be a timing thing, but I seem to be there for a lot of “chipper” workouts. Guess I’m just lucky.
Seriously, I don’t mind long workouts. After all, I’m on a mission to build a better me. It’s also important to remember while the workout may challenge you, there’s plenty of ways to scale for your needs. The coaches will help you.
For this workout it was an ascending round of 10-20-30 wall balls and dumbbell snatches and descending 30-20-10 pull ups and no push up burpees. There was a scaled version on the board as well, which plenty of the athletes selected, myself included. The WOD was followed by a nice little cash out of ab work (v-holds, hollow rocks and Russian twists).
Nick was the coach on this day. I’ve also visited when Rob was the coach. Rob did a great job introducing himself, explaining the WOD and checking on us throughout the workout.
On this particular occasion, Nick had everyone gather at the display to explain the workout and then started warming us up. He went through the movements with us, breaking down the dumbbell snatches into its fundamentals. We warmed up on all the movements prior to the WOD.
It’s clear Nick enjoys what he does. You can tell he takes pride in his business and is passionate for CrossFit. He wants to challenge you and help you succeed. He’s encouraging and energetic throughout the entire workout.
As this location is close to the beach, they appear to get a lot of drop-ins. The coaches have routinely introduced me at the beginning of class. My wife and I both got a welcome back hug from Nick when he saw us. We saw him introduce a drop-in from South Carolina before the next class.
Every time I visit, I get to chat with people a little more. People are approachable here. And many have started to recognize us when we come. People encourage each other. There’s plenty of “good job’s” and fist bumps when the workout is over.
Drop-in Cost and Swag
The cost to drop in to CrossFit OTG is $20. However, if you are a Wodify athlete and sign in through Wodify it’s $15. They also offer a 7-day pass if you’re going to be in town for a week for $50. If you want to get a lot of workouts in during the week, it’s a great value. More details can be found at http://www.crossfitotg.com/drop-in-visitors.
As with many places, swag is a bit hit-and-miss here. It often depends on how picked over it is. They didn’t have anything in my size but I liked the design. Nick said new shirts were due to arrive soon. So, I’m sure I’ll pick something up next time I return. Shirts were $25 each or 2 for $40.
I enjoy visiting CrossFit OTG. Nick has a clear passion for CrossFit and I always get a heck of a workout there. The people are friendly. I feel more comfortable there with each visit. They cater to drop-ins and treat you like you’re a member. I will definitely visit them a fifth time and beyond.
Wishing you safe, healthy and successful travels.
3330 Bargaintown Rd Suite 1
Egg Harbor Twp, NJ 08234
Theoretically, it’s easier to drop in than ever before. You don’t even have to leave your house. There’s actually a little more to it than that but many CrossFits are offering live online classes right now. So, maybe you have a special place that you’ve been to and you want to workout with them and feel a little less distant.
I contacted Kayla, the owner of CrossFit For the People because I was aware they were doing live online classes, I really enjoy the folks at CFTP and, of course, dropping in is what I do. They’ve always had good programming. Kayla was as gracious, as always, and let me join in. So, my wife and I jumped in for one of their Saturday morning class.
CFTSP’s workout was consistent with their on-premise workouts. Our coach was Joe, known as “the king of warmups” and he was true to his title. A good long warmup and into an even longer workout of KB swings, jump rope, pushups, sit ups and man-makers. It was a partner WOD but your partner didn’t have to be in the room. Fortunately, I had my partner with me. I imagine the logistics would have been more difficult with an online partner. Even as a partner WOD, this was still a chipper. The workout moved along smoothly until we got to the man-makers. It got a little (or maybe a lot) slower at that point but luckily that was the last movement.
I was really glad we got to do this workout. It was nice to see some familiar faces and have that feeling of dropping in, or close to it. The coach and everyone online was very nice, as always. I’ll try to drop in to another session with them soon.
Conceptually, dropping in online is pretty easy. However, if you’re interested in trying it, there’s some things to keep in mind.
There’s another really good alternative for you. Not all places are live online. However, some still have great programming so if you follow them on Facebook or Instagram, you can get their workout details and do it on your own. Nick at CrossFit OTG in New Jersey has been religiously posting a video each day on his workout and gives you all the details. I’ve also seen really good posts from Reebok CrossFit St Thomas, CrossFit Beacon (Portland, ME), CrossFit Crosscheck (Mississauga, Canada) and Stay Classy CrossFit (San Diego), to name just a few.
There are owners and coaches are still working hard to bring you excellent programming. The important thing is to keep moving and stay consistent.
Please stay safe, stay healthy and stay strong in mind, body and spirit.
The best gear, from a traveller’s point of view, should be quite portable while being a beneficial tool for our workouts. VersaLifts wedges hit the mark on both points. Shoes are one of the biggest space-takers in our travels so a product like this, which eliminates the need to bring an extra pair of shoes, is great.
Being portable is only half the solution. If gear is portable but not a useful tool, it’s still a waste of space. Not the case here.
The VersaLift V2 is a pair of wedges that slip into any shoe and raise your heal ½”. They work like lifters and keep your feet well planted for squat movements and allow you to better drive through your heals. The first time I used them I PR’d my back squat by 15 lbs. That doesn’t mean it’s going to turn you into uber lifter but it does help over wearing just a pair of Nanos, for instance.
They don’t slip around in your shoes. Once I got them in place they were like a natural extension of my shoe. There wasn’t much getting used to them at all.
You can either wear them over or under your shoe inserts. I’ve worn them over because it’s simple and quick.
VirsaLift’s web site says the V2’s will last indefinitely. I haven’t had them quite that long so I’m taking their word for it.
Lace up well, as your foot will be a little higher in a shoe that wasn’t originally designed for it. However the VersaLift V2’s are unobtrusive enough that they wont have a negative impact. Because they’re half-wedges instead of the entire length of your shoe you still have a lot of mobility in your shoes.
The box claims that they don’t interfere with box jumps, running, double unders or “anything else”. I’m not so sure I’d want to heavy deadlift in them but, as I mentioned, they’re pretty unobtrusive. I did a 12 days of Christmas workout and they were great for the front squats, wall balls and thrusters and didn’t get in the way of the box jumps or dead lift movements (granted, the dead lifts were light).
How do they compare to lifters? I honestly can’t say, as I don’t own a pair of lifters. However, I’ve spoken with several people (all far more advanced than me) that have both, including a L3 CrossFit coach and they say that unless you’re working on advanced lifting, they really like the result from the VersaLifts. One has said that he prefers the V2’s to his lifters.
And they’re ideal for travelers. They take up almost no room in your bag. A pair of VirsaLift V2’s come in a box that’s just under 6”x 3.5” x .75”. Pretty darn compact.
They’re reasonably priced at $28.00, which is a heck of a lot less than a pair of lifters.
So, high marks for portability, usefulness and price. This is a weapon that’s literally a no-brainer to add to your bag.
Wishing you safe, healthy and successful travels.
Author: Matt C.
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