Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Contradiction That Is Las Vegas

So, hanging here in Las Vegas I am constantly struggling with two strong feelings: entertainment and depression.  Here's why.  Las Vegas as everyone knows it (the strip, the gambling, the drinking and so on) is confined to a relatively small area surrounded by some of America's most incredible natural resources.  Red Rock Canyon, Mt. Charleston,  Gold Butte Region, Lake Mead, and on, and on.  If you want to hike, bike, run, climb, paddle, or just be wonderfully active in some amazingly scenic areas, the land surrounding Las Vegas is so great!  But then you go "downtown",  this is about as ugly an area as I have ever been.  I totally understand how it can be fun (hence the use of "entertaining" earlier), but when you take a step back and just look at what's going on, it is just sad.

It is the definition of American consumerism, people coming out to spend endless amounts of money with the blind hope that they will strike it big and go home shiny millionaires.  Everywhere smells of smoke, each turn is met with hoards of overweight, unhealthy tourists with drink in hand, clearly not very happy with the days "winnings".  On the other side, you can see groups of smashed-out-of-their-minds bachelor and bachelorette parties, insisting on attention, and hoping to experience what The (absolutely hilarious movie) Hangover says Vegas is all about.  Now don't get me wrong, I am not a complete buzz-kill.  I enjoy a drink from time to time, I enjoy goofing off with friends, I also enjoy spending a few bucks here and there for no apparent reason but for sheer entertainment.  But this place is where those fun little rampages get blown way out of proportion.  This is where people can use the excuse "I'm in Vegas", or "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" to drink too much, eat more food then the human body even knows what to do with, throw away most or sometimes even all of their money, and just experience what it must be like to be a gluttonous, unhealthy person.

Here's what I think is a good idea if you want to come to Vegas.
  • Go hit up one of the many awesome CrossFit gyms
  • Take a day trip out around the city and check out what the crazy mountains and dessert have to offer
  • See a show (especially Cirque Du Soleil, they are such beasts!)
  • Go to a fancy restaurant
  • Wander around a bit and be reminded (or be inspired) why it's so important to be active, healthy and fit
  • Yeah, go ahead and gamble a little, have a drink or two; just don't be "that guy/girl" like most people seem to be in Vegas
Oh, and one other thing: Las Vegas Athletic Club.  For all you CrossFitters out there, this place IS the definition of a globo-gym.  There must have been over 400 people jammed into a shopping mall size athletic center, moving slowly, hanging out and watching music videos on the hundreds of flat screens lining the walls between sets of chest flyes and smith machine tricep extensions.  Wow!  I have an article brewing about all this that would be preaching to the choir by my readers, but needs to be read by everyone else.  I'll be sure to share it with everyone when it is posted though!

Now that my little rant is over with, I can share with you my second workout at the awesome CrossFit 702.  Chris and I headed over for the noon class which was being run by Zach (co-owner of 702 and CrossFit Las Vegas).  Three girls came in for class, and we were joined by 702 trainer Josh as well.

50 pull ups
400 meter run
21 thrusters 95#
800 meter run
21 thrusters 95#
400 meter run
50 pull ups

Man did this one rock!  First off, got to give some major props to Zach.  His energy and passion were so clear as he put us through a great warm up.  His knowledge and efficiency for getting information across was top of the line.  Another thing that impressed me with him, and this is something that I have very, very rarely seen, was that he would make sure people did each rep perfectly during the workout.  This meant that he would even stop you if he felt that you were off enough and needed that specific attention.  It is so common to see coaches just let people go and finish, no matter what, then tell them afterward they need to work on something.  And I have always felt that that method is just no good.  So, mad props to Zach for that.

So back to the workout.  I was able to get the first round of pull ups in sets of 30 and 20, the took off hard on the run.  The first set of thrusters I did in two sets as well, 15 and 6.  I then struggled through the 800 meters, but still felt good.  The second set of thrusters I got in 3 sets, then went all out for the last run.  It was the last set of pull ups that got me.  I got 15, 10, then just started getting what I could.  On my 30th rep I felt a little something on my hand and when I fell from the bar I was able to see that I had peeled the entire right side of my left hand clear off.  And I do mean the entire side.  It's gross.  With Zach pushing me along I finished in 13:58 and feel really good with that time.  I would love to get it in sub-13, and I know I dogged it a little on the thrusters, but still very happy with that time.
A view of CrossFit 702

Another great experience at CrossFit 702!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

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