On a crisp, clear Saturday evening I headed on down to Balance Gym Thomas Circle for my first installment of this project. I have a good connection with Balance already, seeing how I run my own company out of their other location up in Kalorama. I am close with the owners, and have lifted with all of them on many occasions over the past few years. Last night was a little different down at the new location, it was their holiday/grand opening, and they would be having a big coaches workout (along with a ton of classes and other demos) to get things underway.
Danielle Dionne is the coach there, a level 1 certified coach who competed impressively at the 2009 CrossFit Games. She is incredibly energetic and passionate about fitness and it shows the second she walks into the room. As a brand new affiliate (their website is up, but not officially announced yet), she clearly has a very healthy approach to how to get people involved: a long foundations course. What this means is that she'll be focusing quite a bit on making sure people can perform all the weightlifting moves properly before they are allowed to throw lots of weight on and move it around at intensity. While it's right at it's beginning stages, I am so sure CrossFit Balance is going to be wildly successful under Danielle's care.
Another great thing they have going for them is the fact that this studio space also has a huge gym right next to it. Balance Gym is actually a "gym" gym, with rows of dumbbells, machines and cardio equipment. The best part though, is the boxing ring they just put in and the tractor tires along the alley, along with some pretty unique and interesting classes. Damn cool place all around.
The most noticeable thing about CrossFit Balance though is the studio space itself. It is a spacious, high ceilinged 2,700 sq. ft. box with pristine equipment (CrossFit basics: dynamax balls, kettlebells, barbells, bumpers, jump ropes, GHD's, rowers and plyo boxes). But the best part is the Strength Grid designed by Frank Passanante from Steel Fit (www.steelfitstore.blogspot.com). This thing is great! Not sure my words can express it properly, but all combined there are seemingly endless pull up bars (including thick bars); the squat racks are built in, and there's a jungle gym sort of deal going on in the middle of the gym with horizontal ladders, polls and handles to climb all over. Check out this video here with me, Blair Morrison of Anywherefit and Mark Crick (co-owner of Balance Gym) to see it in use.
We had about 8 people ready to go, including me. The workout was taken from a hopper bucket and our good friend Reggie (shot the video!) picked out the workout: AMRAP 10 minutes of 5 x Deadlifts (275 men/ 185 women), 15 x push ups, 25 x double unders. This was exhausting. It was a great workout though, and after time was up I had finished 6 rounds and the deadlifts and push ups on the 7th.
I had a blast with everyone, enjoyed the workout and the people, and I get the feeling that this place will become sort of the greater Washington, DC Head Quarters for CrossFit. I am certain in my time remaining in DC I will be working out down there on a regular basis. They are welcoming, down to earth, fun, and hard working, and all these things make for a great workout any day of the week. I would recommend this to anyone who has an interest in general fitness and wants to get some CrossFit in, but also wants to play around, flip some tires, climb around a crazy adult jungle gym and try out some other styles of classes as well. It just about has everything you can think of. So, give CrossFit a try, and mix in a little of everything else. The funny thing is, when you mix it all in, you will actually be getting the true CrossFit: not-specializing, doing it all, general physical preparedness.
Tomorrow I'll be a few blocks away at CrossFit MPH for another great workout.
1111 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
Coach Danielle Dionne - firstname.lastname@example.org
Never Stop, GET FIT.