Weighing the Options, Part III

In the latest installment of the Outside Bozeman gym round-up, we break from the routine-based facilities and investigate CrossFit gyms: a certification, a brand, a trend, a cult, a fad, a fitness phenomenon. Say what you will about the trendiness, but this strength-and-conditioning workout is incredibly demanding, incorporating speed and score for competition and excitement. And it will kick your ass.

Founder and former gymnast Greg Glassman created CrossFit when he was hired to train the Santa Cruz police department in 1995. Combining weightlifting, gymnastics, and running, CrossFit effectively develops ten principal fitness skills: cardiorespiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. Although the experience is different every day, each class is structured with warm-ups, skill development, and the WOD (Workout Of the Day). Participants (affectionately called "athletes") row, jump rope, climb, and hurl crazy props such as medicine balls, kettle bells, and truck tires. With names like "Fight Gone Bad," "Pukapalooza," and "Donkey Kong," the workouts are broad, general, short, and intense.

Power Up CrossFit
2308 N. 7th Ave., Suite H
Co-owners Chris and Lisa Lupo are certified CrossFit trainers. Classes are open to all levels; however, new athletes must complete the fundamentals class before they can participate with other athletes. The trainers reviewed specific skills with me before each daily workout. I was encouraged throughout the classes with corrections, adjustments, feedback, and tips. Lisa was a source of constant support—she replaced the concept of defeat with acceptance. Power Up’s focus on form (rather than time or score) is consistent, from the fundamentals class through the various WODs. The community of athletes is welcoming and enthusiastic. My favorite quote from Power Up: “Time and score don’t mean crap if your form sucks.”

Bridger CrossFit
34 E. Mendenhall
Owner Ben Dodge holds CrossFit certifications from 2009 and is a former gymnast—evident by his strength and agility on the rings—and co-owner Jenna Dodge is certified in seven levels of CrossFit (she's also an Ironman triathlete). Morning classes are open to all, but afternoon classes are separated into beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Athletes perform a baseline workout in the required fundamentals class to determine skill levels. Bridger’s fundamentals class was less about form and more about assessments and goals. I was particularly fond of the agility exercises, which reminded me of recess, complete with giggling. The trainers are equally attentive, informative, and available for web or phone coaching when the batteries run a little low. Bridger also offers frequent nutrition seminars and endurance-sports training. My favorite quote from Bridger: “You can cry but don’t be a baby about it.”