Green Lake Gym Rat: Northwest Crossfit

July 27, 2015 7:35am

20150723_191847As Green Lake continues to expand with more businesses and residents, so does its fitness footprint! While the park loop remains to be one of Seattle’s most popular trails, one can’t help but notice the plethora of fitness options in our neighborhood. In fact, within a one mile radius, Green Lake and Roosevelt have nine specialty gyms!

So, as it’s in the thick of the summer and we’re feeling motivated, why not try some of these gyms out for size? We are excited to launch the first of our Gym Rat Series, where we try on neighborhood gyms on for size. First up? Let’s get the scary one out of the way: Northwest Crossfit.

And by scary we mean intimidating, awesome, inspiring. I should know, I pass by every now and then with a walk-of-shame-Thai-food-takeout in hand. The loud thrashing of weights, exasperating cries and open garage-style gym gives curious passerbys a glimpse into the world of Crossfit. I took my first class this week and not only did I survive, there was no trashing or crying. And, I’m going back for more.

So what is Crossfit?  
Crossfit is a principal strength and conditioning program designed for universal scalability, with functional movements that are constantly varied at high intensity. Workouts focus on ten fitness domains including cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy. Multiple, diverse and randomized physical challenges. So yes, tires and ropes and poles, oh my!

5 Things to Know Before You Go:

  1. You have to commit.  Your first sign this isn’t your regular gym – you cannot just “drop-in” on a whim. When you sign up for Crossfit (online), you must partake in a two-week beginner’s series.  This is the best part, because it requires commitment and planning. I should know, because I had to decline free tickets to a show at the Fifth Avenue Theatre. I just need that to be documented somewhere.
  2.  You’re not alone. The unknown is scary and uncomfortable. I showed up early and stood outside awkwardly, only to be joined by others within minutes. You take the class as a series and workout with the same 20-30 people every time. Your first class you go around the room and say your name and what brought you here. By the end of the first class people were high-fiving each other. There is a very real sense of community here, which is great support if you’re looking for it. Critics call it a “cult” but I was drinking the Kool-aid.
  3. No workout is the same. Crossfit is all about challenging your body and switching up routines and workouts. If you get stuck in a gym rut, this might be a great option for you. Each class is 40-50 minutes long and includes a warm-up, mobility work, workout explanation, workout, cool-down and surprise skill-work. For our first day we did a series of bur-pees, squats, sit-ups and 200 meter runs. As your class progresses, so do your workouts.
  4. Modifications do exist. A  lot of people warned me about injuries and improper form.  I’ll tell you right now that even in a room of 30 people, both instructors corrected me when I needed it. They provided modifications when people couldn’t complete a push-up or bur-pee correctly. Despite its reputation, your first class of Crossfit you’re not expected to squat with 300 pounds or climb a rope. The instructors are there to work with you. But you are responsible for yourself, so know your body and what feels right. If you have never worked out a day in your life, you might want to wait.
  5. It is pricey. Crossfit is no joke, and neither is its price tag unfortunately. For a beginner’s series, you can sign up for $195, which includes six sessions over two weeks with two additional weeks unlimited. There is a deal on Groupon right now for $59. The regular monthly fees range $185-$220. But you are paying for much more than the workout itself, it really does have a family atmosphere and, depending on how important that is to you, the price might not matter.

To learn more about Northwest Crossfit, visit their website at and follow them on FacebookTwitter and  YouTube.  The next Beginners Series starts on August 3.