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I’m not a CrossFit convert…but I could be.

November 30, 2012

So I left you hanging, didn’t I? Sorry about that. So I was pretty nervous, and when I showed up to Reebok CrossFit Bicocca. There were only 6 of us there for the free trial class, and here’s what we did:

  • Mobility stretching
  • Warm-up: Jumping Jacks, High Knees, Air Squats (don’t remember how many)
  • WOD: 5 rounds for time: 5 Burpees, 7 Box Jumps, 9 Air Squats

Here’s what I liked:

  • Instructors – Stefano and Marco were professional and welcoming, and they traded off during the workout explaining what CrossFit is, what some of the basic moves are, and how the lesson would proceed. Stefano won the Reebok CrossFit fitness Championship 2012 in Italy, which is cool.
  • Box – The “box,” what all CrossFit gyms are called, was pretty spartan (as is normal), and new. The locker rooms were still being finished. 🙂 It’s always great to find something new in Italy.
  • Box Jumps – Can you remember the last time you jumped with both feet onto a box? Me neither, until last Friday. I was pretty intimidated at first but towards the end I was really enjoying them. Yes. I’d like to jump more boxes, please.
  • Mobility – I think this gets overlooked (by me, and by weight lifters in general) so it’s a good reminder to keep flexible and not to ignore parts of my body which aren’t muscles.

Here’s what wasn’t so great:

  • CrossFit is in BFE. As I mentioned in the last post, this place is far from my house. I budgeted an hour to get there and it took about 50 minutes. On the way home it took me about 40 minutes, which means for an hour workout, I’m spending 150 minutes, 2.5 hours. For someone who works from home, and literally walks 4 minutes to her gym (case in point: Wednesday’s workout at my normal gym: 2.6 hours for 2.5 hours of workout), I’m not interested in this kind of trek for any sort of regularity. There are other boxes in Milan, which I still have to check out, but I did like that this was backed by Reebok as it ensures some consistency with what I’m seeing elsewhere.
  • The Intro workout. I know an intro lesson means exactly that, but it was pretty light on working out (though I was working hard and got sweaty during the WOD) and I didn’t get a full hour or even 30 minutes of exercise. Given that my normal workouts are from 60-90 minutes, I left feeling unfinished. This really isn’t their fault, but rather my own expectations. I was ready to jump into a normal class which probably isn’t a great idea for beginners…but I was ready to get my butt kicked! 🙂
  • Burpees. The intro WOD included burpees, which are recognized by the Geneva Conventions in some countries as cruel and unusual punishment. There are a lot of ways to get a workout without flinging yourself to the floor continuously. I joke. Kinda. In any case, I would recommend not doing it for an intro workout. Save it for the more experienced CrossFitters who grow to love torture. Also, instructors, just FYI, you say burr-pees, not bear-pees. 🙂

But here’s what I think I could grow to love:

Reebok Crossfit Bicocca, Italy

  • CrossFit every day – One of the great things about CF is a wide range of workouts that means you’re doing something different every day. When you chance upon a WOD you’ve already done, you can measure your progress comparing metrics from last time. I sometimes do WODs at home, but I think I’d really want…(see next point)
  • The Community – That’s pretty much what everyone talks about when I read about why people love CrossFit. In Italy, it will probably take some time to catch on. So the community isn’t really there yet. But it will be. It would be great to be a part of that community from the beginning, and I’d like to meet more women into weight lifting here in Italy (there are very few in my current gym). Related, I’m also looking into Nike Women Italia in Milan for this reason.
  • The Basics – one thing I didn’t realize is everyone new to CrossFit needs to do an entry-level class where you go over all the basic moves so you know the correct form and also you can experiment with weights so you know what weight you should start with when finally jumping into the regular CrossFit sessions. Since a lot of the Olympic lifting moves are new to me, I welcome the opportunity to get some personal attention and also set a foundation for weights and moving forward on improving.

So I didn’t become a convert from Day 1…but I think I could. I just need to figure out how to fit CrossFit into my life here.

Moving forward, I’ll most likely do The Basics course so I can drop in on any CrossFit box in the world and not have to do an intro lesson, and look at getting a few visits so I can do a weekend workout there.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. November 30, 2012 4:28 pm

    I had my first class Monday! Mine is about a 25 minute drive (compared to my 0 minute drive to my at-home gym), but I loved everything about it. Well, except the whole wanted to quit and cry and throw-up part during the LONGEST nine minutes of my life.. lol
    I am a pretty sensitive person so think I would struggle with the pressure of the classes, though I know they are meant to make you a better person and you should only compete with yourself – it’s pretty frustrating to come in last!

    • November 30, 2012 4:36 pm

      Doh! Thanks for bringing this up – I wanted to address this point and I totally forgot!

      Re: competitive pressure, I was going to put it on both the good and bad sides – it’s hard to have others around you doing something and think you’ll end up last, but at the same time I like that when you want to stop, people around you are continuing, so you better get on it, too! I think I’d like the pair WODs, too, as long as my partner didn’t care when I sucked 🙂

      • November 30, 2012 5:02 pm

        I like my heavy lifting on my own- no pressure. Breaks when I want. However.. I would love to look like the chicks that crossfit.. so think I need to suck it up and do the uncomfortable things in order to reach my goals. Such a tough decision! Oh.. and the price 😛

      • November 30, 2012 5:05 pm

        Another great point. I didn’t even get into that yet…super expensive here, and that seems to be the norm everywhere. Sigh.

        But yes, would love to look like them!

  2. November 30, 2012 4:57 pm

    The burpees are indeed killer. My last routine included 6 sets of 15. I do not like them, but they give results after a few workouts.

    • November 30, 2012 5:03 pm

      Jason! Thanks for dropping by – hope I get to see you at one of these events soon 😉

      6 sets of 15. Wow. Well, maybe I could grow to love them. Maybe. 🙂

  3. November 30, 2012 5:02 pm

    Sara! I just returned from Milan and wish I knew about Crossfit Biccoca while I was visiting. In addition to food blogging, I work for lululemon Athletica and it would’ve been great to check out the athletic scene since its pretty scarce in Italy.

    If you’re in NYC again, send me a message at and I can recommend Crossfit studios in the city, hope all is well!

    • November 30, 2012 5:04 pm

      Justine – definitely! I didn’t know you worked for Lululemon. I think I’ve been to every store in Manhattan (on my several trips in the past year or so). Will definitely ping you – hoping to get back there in the next few months.

      • December 3, 2012 4:08 pm

        When I return from my world food tour I decided to work for lulu because they have a great mission and vision for life and health 🙂 Perhaps we’ve crossed paths already?! Planning to do a few health and wellness projects at my store in the near future so I hope you to see you in town soon xo!

  4. November 30, 2012 5:14 pm

    Good on you for going aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall the way out there. Wow. That is a trek for a workout. I have a race rule that I won’t drive longer than it takes to complete a race unless there’s something really special about the race itself. I can’t see driving that far for Crossfit, but I am really liking it.

    In a few weeks when I’m out of school for the semester, I’m going to start going 3x/week – basically all the days I don’t run (Sundays off, though).

    Wait till you get to rope climb or do 50 dang pull ups in a WOD. It’s sick. But, hey, in the one month I’ve been doing Crossfit only 1-2 days/week I already have more power during my hill runs and, wouldya look at that, these jeans just slip right on…

    • November 30, 2012 7:37 pm

      I like your rule about the drive. The drive would be shorter actually (but not by much) but I’m on public transportation 🙂

      I better do the Basics course so I can do CF with you next time I’m in town (May most likely) 🙂

  5. November 30, 2012 7:03 pm

    WOOT! Finally. 🙂

    Burpees are actually great for an intro workout because almost everyone can fall down on the floor and get back up. We all hate them, but know they are awesome for cardio.

    I think you would love the Olympic lifts. There is nothing like the feeling of taking a bar from the ground to overhead in one smooth movement like in the snatch.

    • November 30, 2012 7:38 pm


      Burpees unfortunately are so awkward though – hard to know if you’re doing them right 🙂 Bah.

      I would love to do some Olympic lifting…I will get on this Basics course so next time you guys won’t leave me at the hotel when you go to the box 😉

      • November 30, 2012 10:50 pm

        That’s the beauty though, as long as you are getting your chest to the ground, getting back to your feet, and jumping, you can’t really do them wrong. Sometimes I’m literally crawling to get back on my feet. There are a lot of ways to improve efficiency, but beginners won’t remember the tips when they have to concentrate just to breathe.

  6. November 30, 2012 9:16 pm

    I can’t do burpees due to having a screw in my toe so jumping on my toes is really out of the question, but what are they good for anyway? Cardio, mostly? I can think of SO many nicer ways to do cardio…
    Crossfit really is all the rage now, they offer classes at my gym but I haven’t dared one yet 🙂
    You are making me very curious about it though!

    • December 11, 2012 6:00 pm

      @Annika – Missed this comment. A screw in your toe? Ouch! Yes, they are great for cardio, and engaging your entire body in motion. You should definitely check it out – I’m sure it’s in Sweden!

  7. Giovanni permalink
    December 11, 2012 5:49 pm

    Reebok Crossfit Bicocca is the box where I’m training all days, and I’m very happy you wrote this article.
    Stefano in my opinion is one of the best italian trainers: after Basics, you have to try a normal class (not an intro class): usually normal classes are very hard.
    ….and if you want to work very very hard…you’ve to try RCFB competitors classes…… 😉

    • December 11, 2012 6:10 pm

      @Giovanni – thanks for stopping by! I’m looking into the Basics course right now and will hopefully graduate to a normal class soon. 🙂 Maybe I’ll run into you at RCFB!

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