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
In July, 2019 I was doing some work in Portland, ME and had the opportunity to get in an early morning workout at Beacon Community Fitness, formerly CrossFit Beacon. I think it’s worth mentioning that Portland is a great town. It’s right on the water. Plenty of great food and shops. There’s also lots of places to visit both north and south of the city and costal Maine is absolutely gorgeous.
There’s lots of CrossFit/workout options in the Portland area. I was staying by the airport and had 3-4 within a 10-minute drive. I settled on Beacon due to their volume of high online ratings, their responsiveness to my call and their scheduled workout for that day. When I called ahead they gave me all the details I needed and the person I spoke with was quite upbeat. They said they’d be happy to have me workout with them.
It’s easy to get to, just of I-295. I arrived a few minutes before it opened and there were a couple of people waiting in the parking lot already. When they opened up, I introduced myself, paid my drop-in fee and signed the waiver and went to warm up.
Here are the details. (As always, all ratings are on a scale of 1-5 barbells)
I initially called and left a message and was responded to promptly. I reviewed the workout with them and let them know which class I’d be at. Everything was smooth there.
They’ve got a clean web site that’s easy to navigate. There’s some info on all of their coaches, lots of testimonials and a class schedule. There’s a section for drop-ins right on their main navigation bar. It’s got all the details and contact information.
There’s a section on the main navigation bar for the WOD as well. It indicates the workout for the current day and past days.
It’s also worth noting that the communication I’ve had with them since my visit for additional Q & A has been exceptional.
Beacon is quite clean. Granted, I was there for the first class of the day but you can tell they take care of the facility. No residual chalk or dirt buildup that I could see. I’d say more here but there’s not much else to say. Less is more in this case.
Beacon Community Fitness is a somewhat different facility. It looks like a business front when you arrive with windows up front. It’s a stand-alone building. When I walked in, there’s a room with a handful of rowers and assault bikes and a small open floor. At first, I was wondering what else there was. Then the coach showed me through a doorway with a few steps up to the back room.
This room was much larger. It’s not massive but it was a pretty decent sized class and we weren’t on top of each other. They don’t have a traditional rig. They have a line of free-standing racks that are anchored to the floor, each with a pullup bar. There’s also stations along the wall with wallball targets. Everything is pretty well organized. The equipment appeared to be in good shape. No signs of abuse or neglect. The building is situated right in front of a running/biking trail, which is great for running workouts.
We warmed up with stretches and a run. From there, the strength portion was a sled push. We had a little extra time so we did some tire flips as well (always fun).
The metcon was more aerobic capacity. It was several rounds (I believe 5) of 10 burpees, 100m run, 10 air squats, 100m run, 10 push ups, 100m run, 10 box jumps, 100m run. So, we used the running trail. The interesting part was when we retuned from the run, we came in through the front section and ran across it, and up a ramp to the back. This kept people from running into each other when they were entering and leaving for the run. It all worked out.
As a separate note, Beacon is one of the places that has religiously posted workouts daily during the pandemic. I did a couple of them. Extra credit for reliability!
I was greeted by coach Tyson. His official title is a coach/lightkeeper. I’m told he’s one of the founders and “continues to be that steadfast person who continues to keep the light on for us all!” How can you not like that?
Tyson is the type of person who makes you feel comfortable. He was quite hospitable and introduced me to the class before we got started. He said their drop-ins pick the music genre for the class. I went with rock. Wanted to go with something with as much universal appeal as possible.
Tyson was quite attentive to everyone throughout the workout. He was good about answering any questions I had.
Beacon has a friendly culture. You can see there’s a sense of community here. They’re quite outgoing and I had the opportunity to interact with several members. The coaches help facilitate this culture. I was made to feel welcome and a part of the group. There was plenty of encouragement among members during the workout and post-workout congratulations.
Drop-in Cost and Swag
Drop-in costs are slightly higher than I usually see at $25 but not unheard of at all. They do offer a couple’s drop-in rate of $40 and weekly individual classes for individuals and couples at $60 and $100 respectively, which is pretty good.
I don’t have clear notes on the swag cost but I recall it was a good rate. I believe around $15 with your drop in.
When I reflect on a drop-in, I find that a big measure of a drop-in is how comfortable I felt. Beacon Community Fitness is an easy place to feel comfortable. I really like the coaching and the people here. Those are two of the top criteria for me. I hope to get back to Portland soon and I’d love to visit Beacon Community Fitness again.
Wishing you safe, healthy and successful travels.
Beacon Community Fitness
341 Marginal Way
Portland, ME 04101
I know I may have said this a few times before but really like returning to places I’ve dropped in to previously. My return visit to Hunter’s Creek CrossFit in Orlando was especially important to me because Hunter’s Creek was the first CrossFit I had ever written about. The first time I had dropped in there I was only contemplating blogging about my experiences. So, I was sure there were observations I hadn’t made the first time around. And, after several visits to other places since my first visit there, I knew I would come with a different perspective and would be able to make more educated observations.
This write up will compare and contrast some of my previous observations to my first visit. A lot of the ratings for Hunter’s Creek have gone up in this review, so please reference this write up when making your drop-in decisions for the Orlando area.
Ready to see what happened? Me too.
The communication was good the first time. This time I contacted them via email and received a direct response from their owner, Daniel. I had a particular concern due to an injury and Daniel assured me he’d be able to help me modify and still get an “amazing workout”. Frankly, his reassurance was the difference between me going vs. sitting it out.
I signed in to class and paid my drop-in fee online so I was ready to go when I arrived. I had previously wrote that this option was not available. So, either something changed or I missed it, which is more likely the case.
I wanted to get a closer look this time to my last visit. I poked my head in the bathroom, as that can be telling. No real issues there. This is a busy, active facility. However, they manage to stay on top of things. The floor was clean as well as the equipment.
Again, not the largest place I’ve been to but it doesn’t have to be. I did observe on my first visit that some of the rubber plates were loose on their steel hubs. Some of those plates are still there but it appears they’re “thinning the herd” and there seemed to be a greater proportion of newer plates. There’s not a great abundance of machines (rowers/bikes) but they have a few. I may have missed some but I did look around.
I also mentioned in my last write up that the rig “appears to be solid”. I got to use it this time and I want to amend that statement. This rig would most likely require a shifting of tectonic plates to move. It’s the most solid rig I’ve ever experienced. It’s got supports on top of it that I haven’t seen anywhere else. It’s not going anywhere.
There’s a good layout here. The rig is in the center with plenty of space around it. So, if you have a workout that involves pull ups and a lift, everyone can be stationed around the rig and they don’t have to navigate around other people to get back and forth to their stations.
Hunter’s Creek seems to have a good formula. It started with a thorough warmup followed by a review of all the movements for the workout.
This workout included a lift progression of push press, push jerk and split jerk. The metcon included push press, push jerk, burpees and jump rope, which I modified to the ski erg to accommodate my leg injury. It felt like a complete workout.
My first time at Hunter's Creek I had a really good experience with their coach. This time the owner, Daniel, coached the class and the experience was very similar. I had mentioned that I had a mobility issue this time around. (It seems I often do - Things get more interesting when your age starts with a 5.) Daniel gave me a means of modifying while, as he promised, still getting an amazing workout.
When class first started, Daniel introduced me and another drop-in to the group. He gathered everyone around the board to review the workout. He warmed us up and went through all the movements we'd need for the class.
We matched up with similar height partners for the lift. Daniel did an excellent job of making the rounds with everyone to observe and encourage them both during the lift and the workout. It’s a very hands-on coaching environment at Hunters Creek which I particularly appreciate.
Special thanks to Daniel for helping me get some pics after class, as my arms were too shaky after all that shoulder-to-overhead.
I really like the people at Hunter’s Creek. They’re friendly and they’ve got great energy. You can tell they’re proud to be members there, as you’ll find in more close-knit CrossFit communities. One of the guys I was partnered with for the lift gave me a helpful tip.
In between rounds in the metcon I looked up and received a couple looks of encouragement from nearby members. There was plenty of congrats after the workout was done.
Drop-In Cost and Swag
No real change here from my previous visit. $20 to drop in and $25 for a shirt. However, they did have a shirt in my size this time so I was happy because I really like their logo design.
I get to the Orlando area a lot in my travels and I’m honestly torn between making Hunter’s Creek my go-to place and checking out other places to experience, as that’s now what I do. It’s nice to have a place that I know will be consistently good and I’ll feel comfortable with. I’m sure I’ll return. If you’re looking for a place to try in the Orlando area, I think you’d be very happy with Hunter’s Creek CrossFit.
Hunter’s Creek CrossFit
2120 Orinoco Dr #200
Orlando, FL 32837
If you’ve read some of my other posts, you’ll notice a running theme of communicating with the places where I might want to drop in. This will help both you and the CrossFit you are looking to visit. And there is definitely a give-and-take to the transaction. So, here’s some thoughts on communication.
Let's start with the obvious – As of this posting, places are just starting to open back up now. Different states have different rules and different CrossFits are moving at different paces. Most places won't be ready for drop-ins for some time but as things improve, you'll definitely want to find out what an individual CrossFit's stance is on dropping in. They will almost certainly have limited class sizes for a while.
Let them know you’re coming – While you can drop in unannounced, it’s definitely good etiquette to let your host to know that they’ll have a drop-in and give a reasonable amount of nitice whenever possible. In a recent interview with CrossFit owners (more from that in an upcoming post), I was told the ideal notice before dropping in is to contact them the week before. This gives them time to respond.
There may be something special going on that’s not mentioned on the schedule. For instance, they could be preparing for a special event which may affect their ability to accept drop-ins at that time.
It's also a good opportunity to let them know if you have circumstances they should be aware of like a mobility issue.
You’ll know what to expect – There’s many places that don’t list their WOD on their web site. It may be on an app that you don’t have access to it. Also, per the above special circumstance scenario, you have the opportunity to learn if there’s anything you need to expect. Calling ahead is a very good opportunity to ask any other questions that may not be addressed by their web site. For instance, some sites don’t list their drop-in fees.
Getting a hint of the culture – It may sound odd that you can get a sense of the culture from a phone call or an email but if you pay close attention, you can learn a lot from how the person responding to you communicates. Do they sound welcoming? Do they say things like “we’d love to have you”? Do they have a few minutes to answer your questions and give you details? Are they willing to help you if you need to scale a workout? If so, these are good signs. If they sound like it’s an inconvenience, you may have caught them at a bad time or it also might be a sign that you want to keep looking.
Bringing the right gear – As many of us are flying to our destinations, it can be helpful if you can pack lighter. If you know there’s not going to be double unders or heavy lifting and you can leave the jump rope and weight belt at home, that’s always a plus. If there’s going to be a run as a part of the workout, you can decide if you’d prefer to bring running shoes.
Finding the right workout – I recently called a place and they had a WOD scheduled that was very similar to what I had done the night before at my home CrossFit. Two days in a row wouldn’t have been a great idea. So, while the CrossFit checked off all the boxes for the type of place I wanted to visit, the workout wasn’t right on that day and I kept looking. (Don't worry, I'll be back.)
You may have certain things that you want to work on or want to avoid because it might exacerbate an injury. That communication will be important for you. If the workout isn’t right for you on that day, maybe you go on a different day or at least you'll know to have a scaling option or, if there’s other drop-in options in the area, perhaps you want to look further.
Communication is an important tool in finding the right places to help you stay fit in your travels. There’s a lot you can learn from an email or a 5-minute conversation that will not only help you make the best choice for you but to better assure that the place you select will get you a result you'll be happy with.
Please contact me if you have any questions on this or other drop-in/travel topics at email@example.com.
Wishing you safe, healthy and successful travels.
Travelling or not, a good massage gun is a great weapon to have in your arsenal. (Pun somewhat intended.) When I decided I wanted a massage gun I must admit it was difficult knowing where to start. If you look on Amazon, there’s literally hundreds of them. How would I find one that would do the job as advertised, was well built, from a reputable company, had a decent warranty, preferably travelled well and wasn’t too expensive?
The first mission was to narrow down to my criteria. Customer reviews are important, so I looked for 4 stars and up. Then I wanted to narrow it down to something that was around $200 or less. There are plenty of pretty well-rated guns for even less than that but I wanted to stick with a company that had some credibility and there are so many I’ve never heard of.
I researched quite a bit and tried several at stores. The TheraGun is very nice but a lot more than I wanted to pay. My chiropractor uses the Hypervolt and it works really well but that was a little out of my desired price range as well at around $300. There’s also many products that maybe aren’t as well rated but cost closer to $100. However, I wanted something that I was confident would hold up.
I decided on the Sonic X from LifePro Fitness. It lists for $299 but I always see it marked down to $215 on their site. It’s regularly $215 on Amazon as well and I’ve always seen it with a $15 coupon. When I purchased it (in March, 2020) I happened to catch it on sale for just under $180. This seemed like the good value I was looking for.
It was rated well on Amazon. Over 700 reviews, 98% of which was 4 stars or better. 90% was 5 stars. LifePro has a large selection of products so, it’s not an overnight company. There’s lots of models and options beyond massage guns. They’ve got a vibrating foam roller, a vibrating massage ball and several other products.
What It Comes With:
The Sonic X comes with a case, the gun itself, a charging chord and 4 heads; flat, ball, bullet and spinal. I see other guns come with several more but, to date, I haven’t had a need for anything this doesn’t have.
Effectiveness and Functionality:
Does it do the job? It certainly does. I’ve been able to use it on my quads, traps, lower back, arms and hamstrings. It’s definitely helped. One of the other reasons I selected this particular gun is because of it’s RPM range. It has 5 speeds and goes up to 3200 RPM.
At first, I was a little concerned that this particular gun didn’t have a digital display. It’s got little LEDs to indicate power level and battery life. It’s a one-button unit so, it’s very simple. After some use I found a display isn’t really necessary. I don’t miss it.
One of the big selling points is the lifetime warranty. The language on their web site and in their videos is pretty clear that if you have a problem with one of their products, they’ll stand behind it.
Ergonomics and Build
The Sonic X feels well-constructed. It doesn’t have a cheap plastic or toy-ish feel. Another positive of this gun is the shape. It’s got a long handle, which allows me to reach my back on my own. I can also move my hand higher up on the unit for easier to reach areas. It’s easy for my wife to grip with her smaller hands. It’s also pretty quiet. At 2.2 lbs, it does have a little heft but not enough to really tire your hand.
It’s been more than 2 months since I’ve received it and we only charged it when it originally arrived. My wife and I use it on average about every other day. I’m sure I can take it on the road on a full charge without the charging chord and not have to worry about the battery running out.
Although it has a nice little case, it’s shape will allow you to wrap it in some clothes without the case and not be too obtrusive. However, that 2.2 lbs will add a little weight to your travel bag.
Overall, the LifePro Sonic X was a good choice for me. It’s well constructed and very easy to operate. It works great on sore muscles and the lifetime warranty is excellent piece of mind. I would love it if it were maybe just a little smaller and lighter but I would rather have quality over size and weight in this equation. There’s several other options from LifePro if you like the warranty but want something a little different. I’m quite happy with my purchase and hope this helps you with your decision-making process.
As a bonus, a card came with this gun offering a free vibrating massage ball (lists for $49) for filling out an online form. A staple of my travel is a lacrosse ball. If this is a good cross between a lacrosse ball and a massage gun, it will be a fantastic addition. It has the advantage of being light and portable. I just received it so look for my feedback soon. BTW - I can’t guarantee this isn’t a temporary offer so look at it as a nice-to-have if you receive the offer when you order this massage gun.
I’m always happy to share more details on my experience with this or any product. Please feel free to ask me any questions by commenting on this post, on social media or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please stay safe, stay healthy and stay strong in mind, body and spirit.
My family went on a cruise in August, 2019. When we came into port at St. Thomas, did we want to go snorkeling? No. Did we swim with dolphins? Nope. Did we go sight-seeing? Well, yes. But that came later.
That morning, my wife and I were the second and third people off the ship (of about 4,000). We hopped in a cab and it was off to Reebok CrossFit St. Thomas (RCFSTT) for the 8:00am class. Our ship was docked in the Havensight port in the capitol of Charlotte Amalie. It was less than a 10-minute ride to the Antilles School, where Reebok CrossFit St. Thomas was located.
If you’ve read my other write-ups, you know I like to do my homework and for me, as this was a little different than dropping in somewhere in the contiguous 48. So, I wanted to be especially sure things were lined up. We were only in port for part of the day so timing was particularly important.
I reached out to them via email a few weeks before we left for our trip. I got a response from the owner, Gilly. It took several days and she apologized for the delay. Not a big deal. People do get busy and I left plenty of time in advance, which I recommend for a trip like this. Gilly said she’d love to have us. We just brought the basics – wrist wraps and grips. Turns out we needed both.
Here's how our experience went. (As always, all ratings are on a scale of 1-5 barbells)
As this is a little different to get to, I thought an extra section would be helpful. No rating. Just some logistical details for you. I noticed two ports in Charlotte Amalie. One was in Havensight, where we were docked (and it appears most cruise lines dock here). It’s about a 10 minute ride to Reebok CrossFit St. Thomas from there. The other was in Crown Bay, which is a little to the west. Figure an additional 10 minute ride (total of about 20 mins).
There’s loads of cabs on St. Thomas. You shouldn’t have a problem getting one. And, what’s really important and really helpful is if you’re from the US, St. Thomas is a US territory so, your cell phones should work just as they do at home. You’ll want to double check with your cell carrier before you go. I use Verizon and have never had an issue. So, when you’re done your workout, it’s easy enough to call a cab. Our cab driver on the way over gave us his card.
We felt pretty comfortable with cab travel there, which was nice. One less thing to worry about.
It’s worth emphasizing again, because the chances are St. Thomas is not where you reside, do your homework well ahead of time. That will help give you a level of comfort. Look up their address and check out where they are on a map so you can see how far it is from where you’re staying.
As it’s a tourist destination, Gilly and her team is used to drop-ins and do have some details for you in the Visitors section of their web site.
There’s also an online form for questions. I encourage you to let them know when you’re interested in joining them and ask any questions you have. This will likely be a little different for you and I’m sure they get lots of questions so, don’t be shy.
Once I made initial contact, communication flow was thorough and responsive.
Their home page talks about community and if you look and they have lots of great pics to illustrate it. They also have a lot of details on their coaches. The only thing that’s missing that I would have love to have seen is the coaches’ CrossFit certification level.
Overall, with the homework and advanced contact, I felt comfortable going to a place that’s far away from home as well as getting there and back to the ship.
They do use the Triib app where they post their workouts if you want to see it ahead of time.
Reebok CrossFit St. Thomas is clean but well-used. The beauty of a CrossFit is it doesn’t have to be gleaming to be clean. There’s no over abundances of chalk anywhere or chalk buildup on the rig. The floor was clean as well.
RCFSTT isn’t a huge facility but they have three big bay doors that lead out to an area with a couple of rigs, rubber flooring and artificial grass, where we warmed up. Geographically, this is a good area to take advantage of the outdoors so why not?
The equipment was in pretty good shape. None of the plates or barbells appeared to be too weathered. There was plenty of equipment for everyone.
There was a warmup in the outside area that was appropriate in length and movements to get us prepared for the workout.
When on vacation, I’d prefer not to bring my Nanos so, I had running shoes and it was a good thing because running was part of the workout. I realize other workouts will be different.
On this day they had a lift of cleans for 1, followed by a Metcon that included cleans, running and pullups. It was a good mix and helped me to feel I was working off the cruise food, which was much needed.
Was it humid? Of course. It was August in the tropics. I would have been surprised if it wasn’t. No regrets. I will say, however, it was so humid that when I chalked my hands for pullups it quickly got pretty pasty.
Crystal was our coach. She’s strong and has a strong presence. This doesn’t mean she wasn’t friendly. She definitely was. But you can tell she knows her stuff and was completely comfortable. She introduced us to the class and was clear in her communication.
She helped us get set up, answered questions and offered suggestions for those needing to scale a movement. During the workout, she was attentive and encouraging. Although she was making the rounds to all of the members, I think she wanted to be sure my wife and I were ok. My guess is because they get their fair share of visitors, she wanted to be sure humidity wasn’t an issue. As it turns out, my wife and I aren’t strangers to humidity.
The folks here were quite nice. You could see there was a good amount of camaraderie. Someone had their dog with them, who appeared to be a regular. There was a lot of support and encouragement.
When the workout was over, one of the members offered to give us a lift back to the port, which was super nice. We had a chance to chat with him about living on the island. It was great. That said, I would never ask for a favor like this, nor would I expect it again. It was a very nice one-off.
Drop-in Cost and Swag
Their web site has most of the information I’m looking for in a drop in. It gives drop in rates ($20) under About > Membership Rates. It doesn’t mention it, but you can get a t-shirt with it for an additional $15. My wife and I took advantage of that. You can never have enough CrossFit swag and how often do we get to St Thomas?
As I often post, the inventory was a little picked over. I think they had one shirt in my wife’s size and one in the size and style I preferred. That was all we needed so we were happy.
Vacation is great and I think any coach will support recovery time but I think they’d be more encouraging of a workout to maintain consistency. It made us feel like we were back in touch with our health so our visit to Reebok CrossFit St Thomas was just what we needed. It’s a solid place in all aspects and not only would I go back there but I absolutely plan to when I return. I can go snorkeling some other time.
Wishing you safe, healthy and successful travels.
Reebok CrossFit St Thomas
7280 Frenchman’s Bay #16-1
St Thomas, VI 00802
(Located at Antilles School)
(340) 201 – 2782
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.
You’re sitting at home. There’s a lot more time on your hands. You’re hanging out with your new best friend, Netflix. What’s there to do? Eat! And that’s a danger that’s not all that dissimilar to being on the road.
Not only do you have the opportunity to eat more often now than ever, there’s a natural attraction to comfort foods. Let’s face it, these are very different times. Our routines are way off, and we’re fairly cut off from our friends and family. It can get downright depressing.
It can be the same way on the road. You’re often out there on your own and it’s easy to go for a less healthy meal. There’s a lot more easy choices than healthy ones; similar to the grocery store. Eating healthy is a conscious decision and an effort. It takes planning and preparation.
So, what do we do in times like these? Fortunately, the same rules apply in situations like this as they would on the road. Here’s a few ideas to help keep you on track:
Let's not forget that healthier foods are going to better support your immune system. So, staying on track is that much more important these days.
We’re all in uncharted territory. Some of the rules have changed and we’re all reacting to them and trying to find a rhythm and balance. These are just some reminders and suggestions that I hope will help.
Please stay safe, stay healthy and stay strong in mind, body and spirit.
It’s pretty much a given that no one is going anywhere right now. It’s our new reality, at least for the moment. This is a blog about travelling and staying healthy, right? So, what’s a traveler to do? Continue to stay healthy, of course!
This is really a blog about staying healthy, oriented towards travelers so we can remain consistent and maintain our regiments. We can still do this. We just don’t happen to be travelling right now.
You’ve surely heard the phrase “necessity is the mother of invention.” I see lots of CrossFits getting creative, posting home workouts and even holding classes online. This is great news, as we need this consistency for mind, body and spirit. The same principles as working out while travelling.
This is a bit of a case study of my home gym, Blackbird CrossFit and how they have approached the situation. I’m not in the business of promoting a product or a particular CrossFit. My goal is to report what I encounter that might benefit you. However, I can honestly say they’ve done an excellent job of programming and adapting to the online environment. Here’s what they’ve done.
First, Blackbird has lent out equipment to its members at no charge. This is a big deal and I expect many CrossFits are not in a position to do this for various reasons. There’s certainly some risk to this on their part. We had to sign an equipment lease agreement, which is reasonable. Speaking for myself and my wife and several members that I’ve heard from, this has had a massive positive impact.
Next, they have programming each day to keep us going. And this isn’t just burpees and air squats. Many of these workouts are pretty darn tough. I’ve seen many CrossFits offering this as well, which is great. Because they’ve lent our equipment, Blackbird offers options and adaptations for those who have a barbell, or dumbbells or no equipment at all (i.e. backpack shoulder to overhead) with each workout.
They have three live online classes per day (two on Saturdays) where you have a coach to help you warm up and go through the movements with you. They will also suggest any corrections to your form, start your clock, cheer you on throughout the workout and discuss feedback with everyone once the workout is over. You can also see your fellow athletes for community and encouragement. They record the morning session each day if you can’t make one of the live classes. I’ve used the recordings and they definitely help. Other CrossFits are also holding live classes in varying frequencies. I’ve even done a virtual drop-in (look for an upcoming piece about that). Please check with your preferred CrossFit for details.
Blackbird, as well as other CrossFits are offering virtual memberships. This is fair and reasonable, considering they must pay their coaches for their time and are offering good programming. Another very important point is we want all of our owners, many who are like family to us, to make it to the other side of this. Blackbird’s online unlimited monthly membership is $95. And the nice thing is you don’t have to be a regular member to have a virtual membership. If you’re interested in learning more about their program, please contact them at email@example.com.
I’d love to hear from other CrossFit owners to let us know what kinds of things you’re doing. Please feel free to comment on this post. If you have a preferred CrossFit, I encourage you to reach out to them. I also encourage you to pass this along, whether it’s Blackbird’s program or another one.
These are unusual times. We need to stay consistent for our physical health and, quite frankly, our sanity. Now more than ever. We also can’t do this without our CrossFit owners. We need to help each other through the storm so we all emerge from this a healthier and stronger community.
As my usual closing remark of wishing you safe, healthy and successful travels does not apply these days, I will instead wish for all of you to stay safe, stay healthy and stay strong in mind, body and spirit.
Author: Matt C.
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